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Jewish World Review August 30, 2000 / 29 Menachem-Av, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Consumer Reports

Lieberman and the
paradox of liberal 'tolerance' -- I APPLAUD Sen. Joseph Lieberman for publicly professing his faith and the media for not freaking out over it. I applaud neither of them for their utter failure to apply the same openness toward conservatives of faith.

In every major paper I canvassed this morning there appeared at least one article, sometimes two, praising Lieberman for proclaiming his faith to "members of a black church in Detroit." Without exception, Lieberman's call for a restoration of faith in America's public life was received favorably by the press. Nary a concern was registered about the inappropriateness of mixing religion with politics.

One of the most common complaints from the left about Christian conservatives is that they don't keep their faith to themselves: "... it's a private matter and has no place in the public arena, especially not the political arena." So, does the devout Lieberman keep his religion to himself as the left seemingly prefers? His aides would have you think so, referring to the issue of Lieberman's religion as "a media-made distraction." Nothing could be further from the truth.

The media didn't make Lieberman say, "As a people, we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purposes." They didn't fabricate his statement that he hoped that his candidacy would "reinforce a belief that I feel as strongly as anything else, that there must be a place for faith in America's public life."

Lieberman even had the audacity to suggest that Judeo-Christian principles were incorporated into this nation's founding documents, a point I often make myself. Note also that his allusions to religion were not off-the-cuff, but premeditated and conspicuous. As the Los Angeles Times observed, "(Lieberman) has placed his religion front and center in the campaign."

One article stated that although Lieberman advocates a major role for religion in rebuilding our nation's crumbling moral framework, he has never before campaigned on the issue. Well, that has certainly changed now. It's almost as if his being selected as Gore's running mate -- in part because of his ethical, if not religious, image -- has emboldened him to publicly profess his faith. This would not have been possible without the media's green light.

Do you suppose the media would have greeted as warmly a conservative's expression of faith? We needn't speculate because we already have them on the record. When George Bush responded during a debate that his favorite political philosopher was the Christian Savior, the left went bonkers. They decried Christian "intolerance" and the dangerous fusion of politics and religion. This is remarkable, considering that Bush invoked Christ spontaneously -- not as part of his prepared remarks.

To its credit, the New York Times admitted that if Lieberman's words had been spoken by a conservative Christian they would have been received with alarm by many Democrats, "who are wary of the political activism of the religious right." Unfortunately, it didn't go on to draw the obvious conclusion that there is rank hypocrisy among the left on this issue. Even Lieberman himself has done nothing to stand up against the demonstrable mistreatment of Christian conservatives by his fellow travelers, i.e., Democrats.

Which gives rise to the question: What is it about Christian conservatives that so rattles the left? Is it their religion or their politics? I used to think it was just another example of intolerance toward Christians, but I'm not so sure anymore. Al Gore, for example, can proudly speak of being born again without any condemnation from the left. Then again, Bill Clinton can harass the daylights out of women without so much as a peep from feminists, and Jesse Jackson can survive as a moral leader after making flagrantly anti-Semitic remarks.

Assuming there is a modicum of consistency in the left's thinking on these issues, what's the common theme? It seems to me that the only way these things can be reconciled is to understand that it is not the Christianity of Christian conservatives that many on the left fear -- except to the extent it aids in their discipline and ability to mobilize -- but their conservatism.

For all of their talk about the virtues of tolerance, too many leftists simply cannot countenance conservatives and conservatism. How do they justify their intolerance? Simple: on the basis of perceived conservative "intolerance."

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.



08/28/00: A campaign divided against itself
08/23/00: Al Gore's trickle-down populism
08/21/00: Prosperity without a clue
08/16/00: AlGore can run but he can't hide
08/14/00: When hate speech is OK
08/09/00: Bush: The pundits' enigma
08/07/00: GOP convention: Live or Memorex?
08/02/00: The first attack dog
07/31/00: The Cheney taint?
07/26/00: The anti-gun bogeyman
07/24/00: The raging culture war
07/19/00: Is Hillary 'Good for the Jews'?
07/17/00: How dare you, George?
07/12/00: Jacoby's raw deal
07/10/00: The perplexities of liberalism
07/05/00: Big Al and big oil
07/03/00: Partial-birth and total death
06/28/00: Some questions for you, Mr. Gore
06/26/00: Supreme Court assaults religious freedom
06/21/00: Waco: We are the jury
06/19/00: "Outrage" just doesn't quite cut it anymore!
06/14/00: Al Gore: Government's best friend
06/12/00: Say goodbye to medical privacy
06/07/00: Elian: Whose hands were tied?
06/05/00: Who, which, what is the real Al Gore?
06/01/00: Legacy-building idea for Clinton
05/30/00: Clinton: Above the law or not?
05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?
05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
05/08/00: Don't shoot Eddie Eagle
05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
04/19/00: President Clinton: Teaching children responsibility
04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights
04/12/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing
04/10/00:The fraying of America
04/05/00: Noonan: End Clintonism now
04/03/00: Bush: On going for the gold
03/29/00: Phantasma-Gore-ia
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
02/24/00: A conservative firewall, after all
02/22/00: Bush or four more of Clinton-Gore?
02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
01/12/00: Media's McCain efforts may backfire
01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
01/03/00: McMedia?
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?