With the recent triumphalism of the religious right and the Specter inquisition, the Moose harkens back to a February day four years ago.
One of the genuine honors of the Moose's existence was his participation in John McCain's insurgent campaign of 2000. And in one of the great moments of that campaign, or in any other of recent memory, McCain courageously ventured to Pat Robertson's back yard in Virginia Beach and delivered an extraordinary speech decrying the intolerance of some of the leaders of the religious right. That most eloquent statement is well worth reading today.
Consider this excerpt -
I recognize and celebrate that our country is founded upon Judeo-Christian values. And I have pledged my life to defend America and all her values, the values that have made us the noblest experiment in history.
But political intolerance by any political party is neither a Judeo-Christian nor an American value. The political tactics of division and slander are not our values.
They are corrupting influences on religion and politics and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country.
It has been the Moose's experience that there are many good and decent people in the religious conservative community. He is sympathetic to many of their views and commitments. However, some of their leaders have embraced a narrow, partisan and dogmatic political agenda in an intolerant fashion that is truly unbecoming of people who claim to walk in the path of the Lord.
There should clearly be space in the public square for people of faith. But do those people of the book have to leave their grace and forgiveness behind when they enter that square? The Moose saw much good when he worked with the religious right. But, he also witnessed a streak of intolerance that does not befit men and women of the Lord. Now, as during Robertson's and Reed's despicable South Carolina primary effort of four years ago, there is a temporal meanness and hubris that infects their politics.