Today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal features a debate over the so-called “Religious Right.” James Taranto, editor of the paper’s excellent Web site, OpinionJournal.com, defends the involvement of conservative Christiansin national debate. Taranto, who identifies himself as a social moderate who is “not a Christian, or even a religious believer,” makes a strong case: “One can disagree with religious conservatives on abortion, gay rights, school prayer, creationism and any number of other issues, and still recognize that they have good reason to feel disfranchised. This isn’t the same as the oft-heard complaint of “anti-Christian bigotry,” which is at best imprecise, since American Christians are all over the map politically. But those who hold traditionalist views have been shut out of the democratic process by a series of court decisions that, based on constitutional reasoning ranging from plausible to ludicrous, declared the preferred policies of the secular left the law of the land.” Journalist Christopher Hitchens–always ready with sarcasm–cites the late Sen. Barry Goldwater as his model of a secular conservative. As his opposing article makes abundantly clear, Hitchens wants nothing to do with the followers of “the possibly mythical Nazarene.” The Right should disavow Christians and Christianity, he urges, and return to the atheistic views of Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss. And as for Christians, “I have never understood why conservative entrepreneurs are so all-fired pious and Bible-thumping, let alone why so many of them claim Jesus as their best friend and personal savior. The Old Testament is bad enough: The commandments forbid us even to envy or covet our neighbor’s goods, and thus condemn the very spirit of emulation and ambition that makes enterprise possible. But the New Testament is worse: It tells us to forget thrift and saving, to take no thought for the morrow, and to throw away our hard-earned wealth on the shiftless and the losers.” Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair magazine. John Bunyan would understand the irony.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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