Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Christians And Democrats: An Open letter To Anne Rice

Dear Ms. Rice;
On your website, you recently posted an endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton for president, and wrote that in your opinion, the Democratic Party best reflects the values you hold based on the Gospels.

An endorsement of Senator Clinton is, in itself, unremarkable and certainly, a matter of opinion that anyone could respect based the principles of freedom I'm sure we both hold dear. What intrigued me was your rationale for these beliefs in light of the other strong views you profess as a believing Christian. Hopefully what follows will be food for thought and dialog and a basis for clarity.

You start out by writing that you are `devoutly committed to the separation of church and state in America' and that the separation of church and state has been `good for all Christians in this country'.

I find that an interesting idea. The phrase `separation of church and state' appears nowhere within our Constitution, and the concept was alien to the founding fathers. They went to some pains to acknowledge the debt of our new Republic to a divine providence and to link its success, liberty and prosperity with faith in G-d. What is actually written in the Constitution is that Congress shall make no law regarding the free practice of religion, and as the founding fathers made clear in their subsequent writings, this was expressly designed to avoid the establishment of a state church, the subsequent struggles for power between various denominations and tests of faith to hold public office, which the founders had seen first hand in Europe.

The concept of `separation of church and state' is a fairly new and fluid one, and an issue that is still being hashed out by the Supreme Court, as America still remains an intensely religious nation. The idea of a formal legal separation of church and state first came to light in a significant way in the 1970's, when the original Constitution's express meaning was stretched out of shape by a predominantly liberal Supreme Court, sparked by politically designed lawsuits from the ACLU, an organization then headed by a committed Marxist and atheist, Roger Baldwin.This, of course, was also the court that distorted the equal protection statues of the Constitution to make Roe V Wade the law of the land, something you also mention later on in your missive, and which I'll revisit shortly.

As for this being `good for all Christians', respectfully, I find it fascinating that you, as a believing Christian would see it in that light. You need merely glance at Europe's social democracies, which unlike America have actually had legally mandated strict separation of church and state for several generations. The result has been a profound lack of respect for Christianity and a major decline in its status and influence as well as a general withering away of Judeo-Christian morality and values in these societies. As you may know, Pope Benedict has had a number of things to say on this subject.

It is also interesting to note that these aggressively secular European social democracies are held up as a model for America by almost all the leaders of the Democratic Party.

In the second part of your statement, you write movingly about abortion, referring to it as a `horror' and say that regardless of your firm opposition to it, you are not convinced that legal restrictions on abortion will work, or that rescinding Roe vs. Wade, or `packing' the Supreme Court with judges committed to doing this is a solution.You call for increased education on the part of men and women so that they make intelligent and moral reproductive choices and say that the Democratic party is most likely to lead the country to a solution on abortion.

Might I submit to you that what you're really horrified over is not abortion per se (which after all, has been around for a very long time), but the culture of abortion that has legitimized and normalized this practice as a `reproductive right' that came into being when Roe V Wade became the law of the land.

You call, essentially, for a change in that culture, rather than an outright legal ban on abortion and I agree with you. But you might ask yourself: broken down on broad lines, which party has most supported that culture and backed legislation to enable it? Who has fought tooth and nail to oppose parental notification in the case of minors, sonograms in abortion clinics and the banning of the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion? Are you aware that Senator Clinton, your preferred candidate voted against banning this modern form of infanticide, in which an almost fully formed baby is partially dragged out of the womb legs first, has its skull punctured with scissors and its brains vacuumed out to collapse the head before it is removed as a corpse from the womb?

It is the Democratic Party, Ms. Rice, that receives vast amounts of money in cash and in kind from NARAL and other groups who support unrestricted abortion on demand and are part of what can only be referred to as the abortion lobby...which is why the debate over abortion is being held entirely on the Republican end of the campaign, and the Democrats running for president have not even mentioned the issue in their numerous debates.

Forgive my presumption,but I simply cannot see how you would expect the party that derives the most benefit from the status quo on abortion to take the lead in changing things. And given how you feel about the issue, I have trouble seeing how you could support the party - and the candidate - who are on the record as promoting a practice you admit to being horrified by.

One simply can't have it both ways, in my opinion.

Am I suggesting that one cannot be a committed Christian and a Democrat? Of course not, and I have friends who are. But frankly, it is a minority position unless one is prepared to step around a veritable minefield of certain issues and ignore others.

I am a registered independent, and we both know that G-d is neither a Republican or a Democrat. But as someone who is not a Christian but who has infinite respect for those who are, the inconsistencies that emerge make it quite obvious to me why most people of faith increasingly tend not to support the Democratic party, given my understanding of the Bible and the Gospels and what they signify.

I would be quite interested in your response and further discussion on these issues, either publicly on my website or privately via e-mail if you wish, and I look forward to hearing from you.

-Anne Rice is the best selling author of `Interview With A Vampire', `Queen Of The Damned' and most recently `Christ Our Lord, Out Of Egypt'

No comments: