Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A Double Standard?

Here's an example of what I mean by the double standard applied by at least some pro-life conservatives to pro-choice leaders within the GOP. Jerry Falwell seems to have discovered a pluralist, big-tent approach to governing, conceding that the "GOP is not a church":

Apparently some media reports have indicated that a few religious conservatives are upset that a preponderance of moderate and liberal members of the party has been assigned the high-profile primetime speaking slots.

The fact is, I have no problem with this. I think the party has picked the most visible and energetic speakers for this important event. I certainly don’t agree with some of the political positions of Rudy Giuliani or George Pataki and a few other high-profile party members, but I join them in their support of President Bush in this critical election. They are important voices of this diverse party.

I’m sure there are a few evangelical pastors who believe the Republican Party should be reflective of a Southern Baptist church, but that would be a big mistake. The party represents a wide range of political viewpoints and the leadership understands this; the GOP is not a church.

Most religious conservatives would agree with me that, as long as the Republican leadership remains chiefly pro-family, pro-life and pro-traditional marriage, we will continue to favor the party. At this time, the Republican platform, while not perfect, reflects respect for unborn life and traditional marriage — key issues for evangelicals.

I’ve often said that I wouldn’t have voted for my own mother if she were an abortion-rights candidate. But in the complex game of politics, we must work with people who have conflicting viewpoints on momentous issues in order to secure the greater good for the nation. While we must never compromise our Bible-based values in our churches, most conservative people of faith realize that we must work with a sense of cooperation in the political realm.

Besides noting some "disagreement," he offers not a peep of protest. You don't often hear Falwell strike such a laid-back, inclusive pose when the conversation turns to the Dems or the state of the country in general. Can you imagine him saying that "gays are important voices within this diverse country"? Indeed, much of his Moral Majority effort could have been met with his same logic: "the USA is not a church."

For another example, look at the Catholic League's index of recent press releases. Plenty on Kerry and abortion, but not a word (as far as I can tell -- please correct me if I'm wrong) about the GOP convention speakers.

Not to suggest that Falwell and the Catholic League comprise the universe of pro-life voices (heaven forbid), and certainly the convention lineup has not been embraced throughout the party, but I do find it puzzling that two of the most steadfast forces within the pro-life movement seem so willing to look the other way for perceived political expediency.


UPDATE: Add Lou Sheldon and his Traditional Values Coalition to the list. CBS reports Sheldon explaining that "We are very pleased that [the] campaign and the convention committee has selected people like Giuliani, Pataki, and Schwarzenegger to speak." "Their talk is for the undecided people watching television," Sheldon says. "President Bush is smart and Karl Rove is smart," he adds. "The undecided are not conservative Christians."


Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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