Tuesday, May 28, 2002
What's scarier than Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin wrapped up into one? Well, if you're a liberal, Attorney General John Ashcroft is much, much scarier. I'm ashamed I didn't catch it earlier, but last week San Diego Union-Tribune columnist James Goldsborough takes his turn at liberals' favorite whipping boy.
In John Ashcroft, the nation not only has a man of God as attorney general, but God's messenger. Ashcroft is not only the most conservative A.G. of modern times, but the most fundamentalist.
Fundamentalists, as we learn daily from the Middle East and beyond, cause more problems than they solve. Fundamentalists believe they are the only righteous ones. Why should our fundamentalists be any different?
That's the latest libel from the left: conservative Christians, or "fundamentalists", are no different from Muslims who kill men, women and children in the name of God -- and are praised.
There are some who would call themselves Christians who murder -- abortion-clinic bombers mainly -- but when they do this, they are roundly condemned throughout the Christian community.
A couple of letter-writers made some excellent points about Goldsborough and his column:
Re: "A messenger of God tackles the Constitution" (Opinion, May 23):
Columnist James Goldsborough's attack on Attorney General John Ashcroft is a prime example of the press' latest futile attempt to associate evangelical Christianity with the fanatical Wahabe [sic] branch of Islam, which was primarily responsible for Sept. 11.
In describing Ashcroft, Goldsborough uses the word "fundamentalism" or "fundamentalist" four times in the first two paragraphs in an attempt to build a wordspeak bridge in the mind of the reader between Islamic fundamentalism found in Afghanistan and evangelical Christianity found in America.
Evangelical Christians do not send their sons into shopping malls to blow themselves up in an attempt to kill as many innocent people as they can; nor do they train young people how to commandeer civilian aircraft filled with innocent people in order to ram into tall buildings.
PATRICK MOODY, pastor Del Cerro Baptist Church
I couldn't have done a better job of revealing the fraud of liberalism than Goldsborough did with his column on Ashcroft. What about tolerance? Diversity? Guess they don't apply to a devout Christian like Ashcroft.
Comparing Ashcroft to the Taliban is ridiculous. About the only thing Ashcroft is guilty of is being a goody two-shoes.
I would suggest that the truly intolerant in this country are liberals like Goldsborough.
Goldsborough attacks the Justice Department's stand that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.
Yet two weeks ago, the Ashcroft Justice Department argued in briefs before the Supreme Court that the Second Amendment gives people the right to own guns. Period.
This extremist position, which attempts to reverse six decades of federal policy, pretends that the Second Amendment's clause about the need for a "well-regulated militia" simply doesn't exist. Ashcroft's position also flies in the face of broad-based U.S. public opinion supporting gun control.
So, it appears as though Ashcroft agrees with Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe -- a liberal.
After studying the issue, Tribe states that although the Second Amendment is "admittedly of uncertain scope" the framers did intend for citizens to "possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes."
Nelson Lund, in a May 2000 article [The article is not available for free online, but is quoted in the previous link] in the Weekly Standard makes a couple of points about the first portion of the Second Amendment:
If the framers of the Second Amendment had simply provided that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," even a lawyer would have trouble denying that it creates an individual right like the other "rights of the people" described in the Bill of Rights. But that's not what they did. Instead, they appended an explanatory introduction, so that the constitutional text says: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
The introductory phrase, however, does not change the meaning of the operative clause, and the Second Amendment means exactly what it would have meant had the preface been omitted. To see why that's so, and also why such an explanatory preface makes perfect sense, one needs to grasp two interrelated arguments. The first is based on the text of the Second Amendment and its relationship with other clauses in the Constitution. The second focuses on the immediate political problem that the preface was meant to address.
Let's start with the text of the Second Amendment. The operative clause protects a "right of the people," which is exactly the same terminology used in the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment. Those two provisions indubitably protect individual (not states') rights, and so does the Second Amendment.
What the introductory phrase tells us is that this individual right is protected, at least in part, because doing so will foster a well-regulated militia.
All of that aside, Goldsborough's comment that "Ashcroft's position also flies in the face of broad-based U.S. public opinion supporting gun control" reminds me of the story of the New York socialite that wondered how Ronald Reagan could have ever been elected president, because no one she knew voted for him.
Al Gore's strong support of gun control likely cost him his home state, Tennessee, in the 2000 election -- and therefore the presidency.
There's more, but it's really not worth my time. Goldsborough is safe in his own little world where people who think differently than he does are caricatured and vilified.
Goldsborough might actually benefit from meeting some of these "fundamentalist" Christians -- maybe he'll find out that we're not all bad.