Thursday, September 30, 2004

Arianna Huffington On What True Morality Is

Her latest column is brilliant. She talks often and passionately about the tragedy of Republicans co-opting the term "morality" to refer exclusively to such social issues as abortion and gay marriage when they ignore economic morality and the morality (or lack thereof) of war. How can a party that widens the gulf between the haves and have nots and under whose control more and more people drop below the poverty line be said to have a moral fiscal policy? How can an administration that sends thousands of troops to war, causing the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians and over 1,000 American troops in a war of choice be said to have a moral foreign policy? Yet the Republican Party wins the morality primary by throwing God's name around.

Here's an extended excerpt:

It was revealed last week that the Republican Party has sent out an incendiary mass mailing warning that, if elected, "liberals" (and I'll give you one guess which presidential candidate that includes) will try to — I kid you not — ban the Bible.

The full-color flyer features a picture of the Bible with the word "Banned" stamped across it, and a photo of a man, on bended knee, placing a wedding band on the hand of another man, accompanied by the word "Allowed."

Clearly, Bush and the GOP have taken their Bible-thumping ways to a whole new level: Now they're using the Good Book to try to bash in the skulls of their opponents.
This "God is on our side" attack is all the more outrageous because it's not coming from some shadowy 527 committee that Bush can publicly — albeit disingenuously — distance himself from but, rather, from deep in the heart of the Bush-run Republican National Committee. The president's team has undoubtedly "approved this message."

They've also used the official campaign website to attack Kerry, a Catholic, as being "Wrong for Catholics", while an RNC website,, slams him for not being loyal enough to the Pope. We've certainly come a long way since another JFK had to assure voters in 1960 that he wouldn't take orders from the Vatican.

The idea that Kerry and the Democrats are anti-Bible and that Bush has a hot line to The Man Upstairs is both offensive and patently absurd. One look at the latest statistics showing the rise in the number of Americans living in poverty proves that Republicans — who, contrary to their claims, do not hold a copyright on the Bible — have grotesquely perverted its core teachings.

As Rev. Jim Wallis, the editor of
Sojourners magazine, told me: "It's a bitter irony: these people accuse Democrats of wanting to ban the Bible, then proceed to utterly ignore the vast majority of its contents when it comes to questions of social justice, war and peace, and protecting the environment."

Perhaps the holy rollers in the Bush camp should crack open a Bible and see what it has to say about caring for the poor (Matthew 25:40), caring for the Earth (Genesis 2:15), and caring for human rights (Genesis 1:27). I've got a hunch Jesus wouldn't be too thrilled with Bush's first term.

And while they're acquainting themselves with the Book they purport to defend, the Bushies might also want to have a look at John 8:32 to see what it has to say about the moral imperative of telling the truth. Instead, they are doing everything in their power to convince nervous voters that a vote for John Kerry is a vote for another 9/11. It's the latest vile twist in the Bush-Cheney "all fear, all the time" campaign strategy, and the last desperate gasp of an administration utterly clueless about how to actually win the war on terror.


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