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January 26, 2005

Mr. Rauch's Miracle Brush - Tars with one hand, whitewashes with the other.

"On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the
political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the
outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican
platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes
over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because
activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight,
literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a hero's welcome at the
Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage
fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for
the social peace than the other way around." Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic

When you cut to the chase, it seems Mr. Rauch thinks that religious conservatives bomb abortion clinics and Leftist radicals turned to violence in the Sixties and early Seventies because it was the only way they could be heard. Consequently, the only way to keep social peace is to embrace the madness on both sides of the cultural spectrum.

I'd be very interested to know how many religious conservatives Mr. Rauch has in his circle of friends. Few, I would wager, for if religious conservatives are as he states here, I'm sure he runs screaming whenever he thinks he sees one. (Come to think of it, so would I.) I wish I could persuade him to sit in with my Sunday School class for a couple of Sundays, maybe attend one of our class socials. A member for some years, I have yet to hear any instruction on manufacturing explosive devices or the effective placement of the same. There have been no trips to the range to hone sniper skills. Instead, we talk about ourselves, our families, our jobs, our co-workers, and study how the Bible is relevant in our lives every day. We ask each other to pray for those about whom we are concerned. Mr. Rauch might hear about class plans to donate money to purchase gifts for an Indianapolis pastor's family with six children our class has taken under our wing. Perhaps he'd hear about opportunities to sing in the choir, work in childcare, assist in the media ministry, or attend Bible studies. Oh well, maybe my church is a rare exception. No, wait, the last four churches I attended were the same way. Hmmm. Maybe it isnt an exception after all.

Mr. Rauch's comments show either the egregious willful ignorance of religious conservatism usually exhibited by the Left, or a carelessness of expression of which a writer with his credentials should not be guilty. If religious conservatives were prone to bomb abortion clinics because they were marginalized in the political process, the Clinton years would have been a veritable firestorm. Why is Mr. Rauch so wrong? He is wrong simply because he wants to be. Either he has not taken the time to get to know any religious conservatives, and/or he accepts the distorted caricature of conservative persons of faith as truth without corroboration, and/or he has been careless.

Mr. Rauch has also seems to have accepted the Left's justifying interpretation of the "glorious struggle" of the Sixties and early Seventies. Objective observation reveals most radicals of the era were one of two things, communist/socialists masquerading as "progressives", or immature children, regardless of their age, throwing tantrums because they couldn't have their way and have it now, and they wanted to stick it to their parents. It wasn't because they were marginalized. It was because they were impatient.

I bought the relevant issue of the Atlantic Monthly last evening, and in context with the rest of the article. I think Mr. Rauch was careless. I hope we see some sense of accountability from him which has been so lacking in recent instances of media malfeasance.

Hugh Hewitt had Mr. Rauch on his show last evening, and guess what? Mr. Rauch was responsive to the point of allowing his entire article to be included on Hugh's blog and penning a response.
Integrity in media. What a concept!!

Kudos to Jonathan Rauch for being a responsible journalist. At least in hindsight.