Saturday, November 15, 2008

On Bearing False Witness

One of the most despicable ads I've ever seen during a political campaign was put out by Elizabeth Dole last month. In it she accused her opponent, Kay Hagan, of accepting support from some secular group which apparently doesn't believe in God. The ad ended with a voice which we are to believe was Hagan's, saying "There is no God".

Fortunately, Hagan responded directly to this ad, with a response which one commentator called "the strongest political ad I've ever seen". In the ad Hagan talked about how her faith has always guided her life, how she has taught Sunday School, and how Dole should be ashamed of herself for "bearing false witness". Fortunately, Dole was sent back to private life where she can now languish in a richly-deserved obscurity.

Now we see that same phrase used in today's Wichita Eagle. A letter-writer named Mary Caruso complains about the Spirit One Christian Center sporting a sign saying "America, we have a Muslim President". Again, a despicable falsehood, and Spirit One should be ashamed of itself. But, as Colin Powell says, what if Obama were a Muslim? Hating Muslims seems to be the last form of discrimination which is still socially acceptable. We still have a long way to go to achieve religious tolerance in this country.

Evidence of that truth is contained in another letter in today's paper, from a worker at the Women's Health Clinic who for years has had to endure the anti-abortion protests outside her building. She writes that it is hard to keep in mind that they are not representative of most "pro-lifers".

I think she is being overly generous. In fact the so-called "pro-life" movement consists of a bunch of bullies, who seek to impose their religious views on the rest of us. We are supposed to have religious freedom in this country, with each of us being free to believe as our faith determines. Joe Biden had the most intelligent thing to say on this subject, when he said that he has always been a practicing Catholic and accepts his faith's teaching that life begins at conception, but he doesn't seek to impose his religous views on others. Would that everybody was this wise.

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