- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Maybe liberals have declared a temporary cease-fire in their attacks against the Iraq war during our assault on Fallujah, or maybe the internals of the exit polls are unnerving them, but they’re on the warpath on the “morals” issue.

Since the (admittedly dubious) exit polls showed moral issues were among the most important to voters and that the GOP effectively “owns” these issues, Democrats are all in a huff. What an injustice that the people just don’t get it: that liberals, who spend 90 percent of their time moralizing against conservatives and casting them as uncompassionate trolls, are the ones rightfully entitled to the morals mandate.

We’re supposed to ignore that liberals routinely take target practice on Christians, mocking them at will, painting them as intolerant bigots and, well, simpletons. Why shouldn’t liberals be able to deride Christians and, at the same time, decry the injustice of not winning their votes?

In my last column I noted liberals seem to think the appeal of moral issues, like so many others, has to do with candidates “talking the talk” and properly packaging the issues.

To the contrary, the voters can usually detect counterfeit peddlers of faith and morality. For candidates to resonate in this area they have to do more than talk. They must show they truly believe in what they’re selling. But it’s more than that. In the end, it ultimately turns on what they’re selling.

For presidential candidates to garner the conservative Christian vote — which is the block of voters we’re mostly talking about here — they can’t get too far just promoting any issue and wrapping it in the language of morality.

The Washington Times reports Rev. Robert Edgar, “general secretary of the liberal-leaning National Council of Churches,” said: “We need to work really hard at reclaiming some language. The religious right has successfully gotten out there shaping personal piety issues — civil unions, abortion — as almost the total content of ‘moral values.’ And yet you can’t read the Old Testament without knowing God was concerned about the environment, war and peace, poverty. God doesn’t want 45 million Americans without health care.”

See what I mean? The Left Reverend thinks it’s just a matter of reclaiming some language. Conservatives don’t claim same-sex “marriage” and abortion are the only moral issues. And I wish liberals would quit superciliously asserting only they care about the environment, war and peace, poverty and health care.

Conservatives just have a different approach to these issues. They abhor war but believe it is sometimes necessary and morally justified. They believe their approach to poverty is actually more compassionate because it is more effective. And it is largely liberals who reduced market forces in health care, which led to much of the escalation in cost. And liberal darling Bill Clinton, after feverishly campaigning to solve the problem of the 40 million uninsured, didn’t put a dent in it.

But there are larger issues, cogently articulated by an unknown e-mail correspondent, and my theologian friend, Frank Turek.

My correspondent argued, “Liberals cannot conceive of morals in the sense conservatives do, because this would require acknowledging a God who has set standards for thought and behavior, and then striving to meet those standards [which, of course, we can’t, thus our need for a Savior]. The god of the liberals is the state, which is why they must see morals in terms of how the state or the workplace treats the person, while allowing the next generation of workers to be aborted away.” (You have to admit this is true at least of secular liberals.)

Mr. Frank said, essentially, that Democrats can’t understand why they lost on moral issues when they are the champions of the downtrodden and of social justice. “Democrats don’t understand what the New Testament declares is the main purpose of government. According to Romans 13:4, governments are instituted by God to punish wrongdoers — to protect their citizens from evil. … Democrats have it exactly backward. They are more apt to want to ‘understand’ the terrorists, while they lobby the government to do what the church should be doing — helping the poor.”

Mr. Frank added, “Democrats will never be able to gain the moral high ground if they fail to take positions congruent with the ‘weightier matters of the law’ (Matt. 23:23). What could be weightier than protecting innocent life? The right to life is the right to all other rights. Yet it’s the Democrats who think social programs are weightier moral matters than the right to life.

“Again, they have it backward. … Until the Democrats correct their inverted moral hierarchy and put the right to life at the top, all their other pleas for social justice will ring hollow.”

Amen.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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