Reviews > Culture

Right and wrong

Culture | Angry conservatives should keep in mind what a Bush loss would mean

Issue: "Iraq: What went wrong?," May 15, 2004

AS MANY AS HALF A MILLION PRO-ABORTION fanatics marched on Washington on April 25 ("All the rage," May 8), screaming about their right to kill the not-yet-born. In the crowd were "tarts" for choice, gays for choice, and anarchists for choice. They marched alongside representatives of more mainstream advocates of abortion: feminists, the National Education Association, Democratic politicians.

The monumental question in the next election is whether America wants to be governed by these people.

Some Christians and conservatives are waffling about whether to support the reelection of President Bush. He is not conservative enough, they say. He is running a deficit. He advocates too much big government. Even some conservatives are thinking the war in Iraq might have been a mistake, that we are getting bogged down in a quagmire, with some thinking we should be even more forceful in dealing with terrorists, while others think our current measures are endangering civil liberties.

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But such concerns, though often legitimate, pale before the cultural stakes in this next election.

Who do you want to select federal and Supreme Court judges? The Republicans, in the courtly spirit of compromise that is so frustrating to many conservatives, favor strict constructionists who tend to be pro-life, but they say they will not impose any pro-life litmus test. John Kerry, on the other hand, says that he will impose a litmus test, that he will appoint no judges who are pro-life.

And with that mentality, other things will follow. Democratic lawmakers are supporting the destruction of human embryos for their stem cells. Put the "progressives" in power and there will be no brake on other kinds of genetic engineering and reproductive technology.

If the progressives gain power, we will definitely have gay marriage. Sen. Kerry says he personally opposes marriage for homosexuals, but his election would mean a new cultural and political climate, and, given his allies and his advisors and his court appointees, the sanction of homosexuality in marriage laws will just be a matter of time.

It is important too to look at the next step, where other countries are, once homosexuals win the marriage debate. The next step in their quest to make their sexual practices socially acceptable is to silence those who make moral judgments against their lifestyle. Criticism of homosexuality is already outlawed as "hate speech" in Scandinavia, and prosecutors specifically target pastors who teach what the Bible says on the subject. And now Canada-our neighbor to the north who, in many ways, seems so much like us-has passed essentially the same law.

No, Sen. Kerry and the Democratic lawmakers up for reelection are not advocating this particular bill, but can anyone doubt that their election would put us on this same trajectory?

Other overt attacks on Christian belief are on the horizon from "progressive" ideologues. Not only the gay radicals but the pro-abortion radicals want to exalt their vices into virtues, and secure privileges that put them beyond criticism. Jim Doyle, the governor of Wisconsin and a Kerry kingpin, has just vetoed a "conscience clause" that would have allowed doctors and other healthcare professionals to refuse to perform abortions. The pro-abortionists want to require Christian doctors to perform abortions.

The left is enjoying a renaissance, of sorts, a resurgence of those nostalgic days in the 1960s and 1970s of self-righteousness and revolution. The Vietnam War days are back in vogue, and protest marches, teach-ins, and "direct-action" tactics have become cool again with our cultural elite. The veterans and leaders of the old anti-war movement have come out of hiding, and we are on the verge of electing one of them to the presidency.

The war and the economy are important, of course, but they are merely problems in the here and now. In the long term, they represent only moments in the history of this country. In the larger history of Western civilization, they shrink in significance. The direction of our culture-even the survival of any kind of recognizable American civilization-is of far greater importance.

Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith

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