Monday, November 15, 2004

The Democrats' opening with the evangelicals

The Democrats should carefully consider the political implications of this evangelical's critique of Bush's foreign policy:
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Bush was even bolder, speaking of "our responsibility to history," namely, "to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil" (emphasis added). Even if, as sinners go, we are relatively good, to assert that we can actually rid the world of evil is superhuman—the very antithesis of humility. Perhaps we could forgive President Bush and his speechwriters for misspeaking in the heat of the moment, but he made a similar point in his 2002 West Point commencement address, where he promised to "lift this dark threat from our country and from the world." Why not simply identify and resist evil wherever it appears, recognizing that it is part and parcel of our fallen human condition? After all, in his prayer service remarks at the National Cathedral on September 14, 2001, he declared that in "every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom," which suggests that the struggle against evil is unending.
Accepting the limits of human capacity in this world is indeed a religious (and moral) insight -- one rejected only by the children of the Jacobins, of the Bolsheviks, and of the 1960s. It is also the foundation of a successful strategy to combat the enemies of human decency who struck us on 9-11.

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