A lifelong Catholic, Press believes the Republican Party hijacked religion in the 2004 election: “Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists… all out in the cold” since Conservative Christianity took over the Republican Party. Now Bill Press is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.
And the Liberals offered no resistance, standing by while Conservatives established the moral code of the country, the Jesus who stood up for the poor and suffering transformed into an advocate for the wealthy and powerful with an enthusiastic agenda for gays, guns and abortion. Press still feels the sting of the last presidential election, the division of red and blue states and the exclusivity of one party unpalatable to the country in general.
Unwilling to indulge in bitter complaint, Press challenges his fellow Democrats to take back their ownership of social issues and moral responsibility, tackling all the hot issues: the separation of Church and State, the death penalty, abortion and stem cell research, gays and lesbians, his spirited debate of current issues supported by quotes from politics and scripture.
Beginning with the 2004 election, Press is deeply outraged about the issues that have created a cultural divide in the red and blue states, quoting Robert Kennedy: “What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists, is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant.” In a country built on freedom of speech and religious worship, perhaps this is the cruelest cut of all, that the differences of faith cannot find common ground.
The mission is clearly articulated by spokespersons of the Right: “Our goal is a Christian nation… we are called by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We want plurality.” (Randall Terry, Operation Rescue). The author argues that Democrats also have a proud heritage of God-fearing and religious leaders, citing FDR’s prayer for the troops prior to the invasion of Normandy, the former president calling for the blessings of a compassionate and loving God.
Making an historical case for separation of Church and State, Press bolsters his argument with the words of Jefferson, Madison and Everson vs. The Board of Education. In an essay, Madison opines, “Strongly guarded… is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States.” Madison again argues in 1833, “In the papal system, government and religion are in a manner consolidated, and that is found to be the worst of government.”
Somewhat partisan (with this title), Press suggests valid points that can be discussed by rational people, although some topics will never lend themselves to compromise. Not much has changed in the divisions of the country, but the recent catastrophes put a different perspective on priorities, where human tragedy has been revealed on such an enormous scale that it dwarfs the one-upmanship of either party. Then again, we’re about to have hearings for the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.