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Robert Reich’s Religion Problem
National Review Online ^ | July 6, 2004 | Ramesh Ponnuru

Posted on 07/06/2004 5:18:34 PM PDT by buckeyesrule

Robert Reich’s Religion Problem

Witless rhetorical oppositions.

Liberals tend to take umbrage when it is suggested that they are hostile to religion, or to religious people, or to some subset thereof. They have nothing against evangelical Christians, they respond, so long as they do not seek to use the state to impose their faith on others. Some liberals go further, saying that they are religious progressives who advocate a bigger welfare state as an outgrowth of their religious values. (A number of my fellow contributors to the new Brookings Institution book One Electorate Under God? take this approach, including Paul Begala.) I take all these liberals at their word. I do not think that most liberals who passionately dislike the Christian Right are hostile to Christians; they have some political and moral disagreements with conservative Christians. On most of the issues in question, I am inclined to agree with or at least lean toward the views of contemporary Christian conservatives, but there is plenty to debate.

But the phenomenon of liberal religion-bashing isn't imaginary, either. Robert Reich's latest column in The American Prospect is a case in point. It starts out pressing the case for the contemporary liberal understanding of church-state separation and its history in America, and uses this understanding to criticize the Bush administration. (The article is headlined "Bush's God.") He says that "the problem" with "religious zealots" is that "they confuse politics with private morality."

Now I disagree with much of what he has to say, and consider it uncivil to describe advocates of prayer in public schools, a ban on abortions, and other policies Reich dislikes as "religious zealots." (I don't consider myself a religious zealot, although I support several of those policies, and support some of them zealously.) But none of this is especially outrageous or even noteworthy.

But then comes Reich's conclusion:

The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face. This goes well beyond the common denunciation of "fundamentalism" where that term is meant to describe an ideology that seeks the imposition of religious views on non-believers. (That's what Andrew Sullivan means when he uses the term.) It is a denunciation — as a graver threat than terrorists — of people who believe that the world to come is more important than this world, or that all human beings owe their allegiance to God.

Many millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other religious believers will reject Reich's witless rhetorical oppositions. One can believe in the political "primacy of the individual," the obligation of all people to answer to God, and the wrongness of any governmental attempt to make them answer to Him, all at the same time. But if our choice is between the primacy of individuals and the primacy of God — if, that is, we are to choose between individual human beings and God — then the vast majority of traditional religious believers would have to choose God. I certainly would. That would be the case for plenty of believers who are not sure what they think about abortion law, or want a higher minimum wage. All of us, for Reich, are the enemy.

I will not reciprocate the sentiment. Reich is not my enemy, although I certainly want most of what he stands for politically not to prevail. I don't think we have to have the battle he forecasts. I hope we don't. In fact, I pray we don't.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; Philosophy; Politics/Elections; US: Massachusetts; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: antichristian; atheisits; atheism; bigotry; bushhaters; christianbashing; christianity; christians; clintoncronies; clintonlegacy; evilliberals; rameshponnuru; religion; religiousintolerance; robertreich; selfcentered; socialism; socialists; waronterror; zionist
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Well Robert Reuch is so far to the left he could not even come close to getting the democratic nomination for governor in Massachusetts. Reich demonstrates one thing about democrats that is very telling. Even if (for the sake of argument) we were to say that we conservatives are "clinton-haters" our so called "hatred" was for him and just him. But the liberals hatred of Bush is not just for Bush but it extends to the people that vote for and support Bush. They truly hate conservative christians (as well as other religious conservatives whose lives have been transformed for the positive through faith in God). They've lived their entire lives in a moral abyss and they can not stand it when a christian like Bush whose live has clearly been transformed not through a government program but through his faith in Christ.
1 posted on 07/06/2004 5:18:35 PM PDT by buckeyesrule
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To: buckeyesrule

Reich is easy to understand. SWhen he wasa growing up, he prayed to God to make him tall. He isn't, therefore, God doesn't exist....and now li'l Robbie's getting even.


2 posted on 07/06/2004 5:21:18 PM PDT by ken5050 (We've looked for WMD in Iraq for LESS time than Hillary looked for the Rose Law firm billing records)
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To: buckeyesrule
*****The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma.******

Thats laughable. The secularist are all about conformity for the...what was the word Mrs Clinton used....oh yes...."the common good"....yep lots of individualism there! Whereas the christian faith that Reich's criticizing is about transforming individual lives more then they could ever do themselves.

3 posted on 07/06/2004 5:22:46 PM PDT by buckeyesrule
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To: buckeyesrule

You bet the Buckeyes Rule!!!!!

As for Mr. Reich....his name is very very close to the Third Reich and I dont know...hmmmm....name association?

:) Go Bucks!!!


4 posted on 07/06/2004 5:22:53 PM PDT by MikefromOhio (Kerry renames the US The People's Republic of America)
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To: ken5050
****Reich is easy to understand. When he wasa growing up, he prayed to God to make him tall. He isn't, therefore, God doesn't exist....and now li'l Robbie's getting even****

LOL!

5 posted on 07/06/2004 5:23:41 PM PDT by buckeyesrule
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To: buckeyesrule
Well Robert Reuch is so far to the left he could not even come close to getting the democratic nomination for governor in Massachusetts.

But his thinking is right in line with John & John. We use to think this was ratical, now it is mainstream Democratic thinking. The really sad thing is the rank and file Democrats don't seem to realize this.

6 posted on 07/06/2004 5:27:20 PM PDT by gilliam
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To: buckeyesrule
But the liberals hatred of Bush is not just for Bush but it extends to the people that vote for and support Bush.

That is the ultimate understatement.

7 posted on 07/06/2004 5:28:36 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: buckeyesrule
Apparently Mr. Reich is also religiously-challenged
8 posted on 07/06/2004 5:34:32 PM PDT by True Capitalist
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To: buckeyesrule

Everytime I see this man's name I always think of the breed of dog pictured on FR that this man favors. Tickles me.


9 posted on 07/06/2004 5:40:56 PM PDT by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: ken5050
And this kid slouched to try and lessen the difference...


10 posted on 07/06/2004 5:50:19 PM PDT by ErnBatavia (...proud to be a Brown Shirted digital First Responder)
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To: True Capitalist

In way, Robert "Reisha" may be closer to being correct than Ponnuru. We MAY need to fight the Godless socialists first, in order to defeat the Mohammedans. If so, may the Roundheads win! Again.


11 posted on 07/06/2004 5:56:24 PM PDT by Cincinnatus.45-70 (Accuracy counts, but caliber is important, too.)
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To: buckeyesrule

"Some liberals go further, saying that they are religious progressives who advocate a bigger welfare state as an outgrowth of their religious values"

Well if you look at Christianity from a political perspective it is predominantly socialist. It certainly does not have a capitalist bent to it.

And let's not forget it was the Christians who started introducing socialism into this country in the late 1800's


12 posted on 07/06/2004 6:00:29 PM PDT by Kerberos (Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies)
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To: Kerberos

Well if you look at Christianity from a political perspective it is predominantly socialist. It certainly does not have a capitalist bent to it.
And let's not forget it was the Christians who started introducing socialism into this country in the late 1800's

12 Kerberos

______________________________________


Well said bump..


[Don't forget they introduced both socialism AND prohibitionism into this countries politics in the late 1800's.]


13 posted on 07/06/2004 6:17:19 PM PDT by tpaine (The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being" -- Solzhenitsyn.)
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To: ken5050
Reich is easy to understand. SWhen he wasa growing up, he prayed to God to make him tall. He isn't, therefore, God doesn't exist....and now li'l Robbie's getting even.

Yup. He's like Rutger Hauer's android character Roy in Blade Runner. Roy seeks and finds his creator, Tyrell, to ask for more life, but when Tyrell says "We made you the best we could", Roy doesn't like the answer, so he kills his creator.

14 posted on 07/06/2004 6:34:06 PM PDT by Vision Thing (Kerry-Edwards: For men and women who vote under the influence of their own estrogen)
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To: Kerberos
I doubt Christ ever ran into the arms of the government, squealing for protection.

As for Christians being socialist, good luck brandishing that super-wide brush your using. Make sure you don't miss any spots, now, you hear?

15 posted on 07/06/2004 6:38:28 PM PDT by Vision Thing (Kerry-Edwards: For men and women who vote under the influence of their own estrogen)
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To: tpaine

"...the liberals hatred of Bush is not just for Bush but it extends to the people that vote for and support Bush. They truly hate conservative christians..." (program but through his faith in Christ

Exactly. President Bush is a symbol for them. It is you and I and our beliefs they hate. At its very root this Bush bashing is not political it is anti-Christian bigotry.


16 posted on 07/06/2004 6:40:39 PM PDT by Jonah Johansen
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To: buckeyesrule
primacy of the individual Otherwise known as "I am my own god." Gee, what was that commandment again, Robert? What's that? Don't remember, do you? We're not surprised.
17 posted on 07/06/2004 7:03:04 PM PDT by combat_boots
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To: combat_boots

Let me also add that the notion of the West's characterization as the primacy of the individual is simplistic at best, as well as at worst. Western Civilization has a long history colored by the tension of the individual's thought and actions in relations to a higher authority, along with a varied and colorful Christian ethic toward family and work. At least that's my 2 cents on that part.


18 posted on 07/06/2004 7:10:06 PM PDT by combat_boots
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To: Kerberos
Let's not forget it was the Christians who started introducing socialism into this country in the late 1800's

Yes, the worldwide socialist movement grew out of Christian impulse to "immanentize the eschaton." See Dostoevsky, though, for sociological evidence that it was those who rejected Christianity (yet still acted on the Christian impulse) who were the worst perpetrators of that.

Anyway, what is the point relative to this article? I am guessing you have an Ayn Randian take on atheism, and you accept Reich's primacy of the individual.

19 posted on 07/06/2004 7:14:18 PM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: ErnBatavia
Why, he's no bigger than a good-sized turd!

(was that... uhhh... over the top? I can't tell anymore.)

(steely)
(with apologies to Jim Carrey)

20 posted on 07/06/2004 9:08:20 PM PDT by Steely Tom
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Reich makes the mistake even most Christians make, thinking of a dualism "between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma."

We have historical, eyewitness, independent sources internally and externally validating the truth claims of Christianity. It's easy, for anyone willing to study, to objectively find the errors in false claims, false religions.

But Christianity's claims have never been disproven. Jesus really rose, He really is God, therefore what He says is true. Being God, what He has to say about how to deal with people should be accurate, eh?! Precisely because Christianity is not just "faith", but "faith founded on facts", it provides a great way for dealing with people individually and governmentally.

Christianity teaches that BOTH now and the future are important. It is a false dichotomy Reich makes between those who value the here and now, vs those who hold the future life as more important. God is always to be served. And, we are always to love our neighbor. It's not either/or, but BOTH!


21 posted on 07/06/2004 10:37:23 PM PDT by gentlestrength
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To: buckeyesrule

Reich standing is still beneath contempt reclining.


22 posted on 07/06/2004 10:51:29 PM PDT by Old Professer (Interests in common are commonly abused.)
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To: Jonah Johansen
Exactly. President Bush is a symbol for them. It is you and I and our beliefs they hate. At its very root this Bush bashing is not political it is anti-Christian bigotry.

Yep, they had the exact same vitriol for President Reagan as well.

23 posted on 07/06/2004 11:12:55 PM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: buckeyesrule

The little fella reminds me of the guy Benny Hill used to pat on the head (rapidly).


24 posted on 07/06/2004 11:30:11 PM PDT by Finalapproach29er (" Permitting homosexuality didn't work out very well for the Roman Empire")
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To: Revelation 911; The Grammarian; SpookBrat; Alamo-Girl; P-Marlowe; betty boop; Dust in the Wind; ...
Absolutely sinister paragraph by Robert Reich, one of Clinton's old cronies, and a regular on different news talk shows.

But then comes Reich's conclusion:

The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face. This goes well beyond the common denunciation of "fundamentalism" where that term is meant to describe an ideology that seeks the imposition of religious views on non-believers. (That's what Andrew Sullivan means when he uses the term.) It is a denunciation — as a graver threat than terrorists — of people who believe that the world to come is more important than this world, or that all human beings owe their allegiance to God.

Reich has just said that the ultimate enemies are: those who believe in God.

Spread this wide. To TV, radio, print, churches, etc.

It is the MOST sinister comment EVER made for a former national level secretary.

25 posted on 07/07/2004 6:41:21 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: xzins
between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma.

Roughly translated Reich could've said "religion is the opiate of the masses"...

Make no mistake, this is a battle between good and evil. Reich, and the terrorists are on the same side.

26 posted on 07/07/2004 6:51:24 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (Botox/Breck '04 - "better" governing thru chemicals...)
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To: xzins

xzins,Here's a bump.


27 posted on 07/07/2004 6:52:32 AM PDT by fatima (My Granddaughter Karen is Home-WOOHOO We unite with all our troops and send our love-)
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To: xzins
But then comes Reich's conclusion:

Quotes are missing so I don't know which are Reich's words and which are interpretive. But one can see that Reich's attack is based on marginalizing and demonizing his opponents, a revered and often-used liberal tactic.

28 posted on 07/07/2004 6:58:34 AM PDT by AndrewC (I am a Bertrand Russell agnostic, even an atheist.</sarcasm>)
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To: Corin Stormhands; xzins
Roughly translated Reich could've said "religion is the opiate of the masses"...

It's worse than that. What he is saying is that "belief in God is the root of all evil."

29 posted on 07/07/2004 6:58:49 AM PDT by P-Marlowe
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To: xzins

It is a truly chilling opinion piece by Reich...


30 posted on 07/07/2004 6:59:21 AM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry has been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security)
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To: xzins; PhilDragoo; risk; sport

.

NEVER FORGET


When student REICH was at Oxford University with CLINTON he stated that his group of Rhodes Scholars were so upwardly purposeful that...

...they were ABOVE Fighting Terrorism on behalf of the Freedom of Others in Vietnam.

REICH hasn't changed for our new World War against Terrorism on behalf of the Freedom of Others...

...even though it's now our own Freedom that's at
stake here at home.







BUSH's 21st Century =

The Freedom Century


REICH's 21st Century =

The Anti-Freedom Century







The Enemy is now Within...
and always has been.


NEVER FORGET

.


31 posted on 07/07/2004 7:07:01 AM PDT by ALOHA RONNIE (Vet-Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.LZXRAY.com)
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To: gentlestrength

.


Praise GOD that...


LOVE is the Only Reality and that...


GOD is LOVE.


.


32 posted on 07/07/2004 7:09:18 AM PDT by ALOHA RONNIE (Vet-Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.LZXRAY.com)
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To: AndrewC

Andrew, I checked on the quotes problem. In the original National Review piece it is offset in a "blockquote" as I have done. The poster of this thread just did a "copy/paste" and did not include the "blockquote."

So...it is a quote.

And sinister.


33 posted on 07/07/2004 7:09:42 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: Kerberos
"Well if you look at Christianity from a political perspective it is predominantly socialist. It certainly does not have a capitalist bent to it."

Oh we don't have an axe to grind, do we?

34 posted on 07/07/2004 7:09:57 AM PDT by Sam's Army (Reject Materialism)
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To: Kerberos
And let's not forget it was the Christians who started introducing socialism into this country in the late 1800's

It was theologians that pushed evolution, before it was accepted by the mainstream scientific community, ...so what does that prove?

It was also the pilgrims that tried the commune approach, which almost wiped them out. They then switched to private ownership, and became very successful. This lesson was not lost on our founding fathers, which were also Christians. Seems to me that you are painting with too broad a brush.

35 posted on 07/07/2004 7:12:52 AM PDT by D Rider
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To: xzins

Thanks for the ping.

Many think this, RR was 'brave' enough to publicly state it. Others just live it and seek to implement policy in support of these views.


36 posted on 07/07/2004 7:15:38 AM PDT by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: xzins

"It is the MOST sinister comment EVER made for a former national level secretary."

Bump!


37 posted on 07/07/2004 7:23:52 AM PDT by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: no one in particular

I think we might be reading too much into Reich's statement.

The only religion the uses terrorism as a core belief, that wants to roll back civilization 700-1000 years does not worship the God of Abraham, the God of primary glory and truth.

It worships a moon god, the god of reflected glory and lies.

That, and a rock that "fell from Heaven like lightning"...


38 posted on 07/07/2004 7:28:47 AM PDT by null and void (Flush twice. It's a long way to Washington...)
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To: null and void

Although, now that the caffine is kicking in, maybe not...


39 posted on 07/07/2004 7:33:17 AM PDT by null and void (Flush twice. It's a long way to Washington...)
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To: Sonny M

"But the liberals hatred of Bush is not just for Bush but it extends to the people that vote for and support Bush. "

...and, (OF COURSE) that hatred is really a hatred of God and Jesus, to whom GWB gives all credit due....


40 posted on 07/07/2004 7:36:30 AM PDT by Al Simmons (GWB - A Strong Leader in a Turbulent Time)
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To: windchime

If we allow only those who don't believe in a God to rule and prevent those who do believe in God from ruling, then we get a toxic mixture. That mixture has already been seen in practice in several countries. One of those countries tried to exterminate his people. But since he approves of the toxic mixture, it seems reasonable to assume that he approves of the results as well. An amoral monster. Good thing there is only 3/4 of one of him.


41 posted on 07/07/2004 7:40:18 AM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: buckeyesrule
“I will not reciprocate the sentiment. Reich is not my enemy, although I certainly want most of what he stands for politically not to prevail. I don't think we have to have the battle he forecasts. I hope we don't. In fact, I pray we don't.”

What the author senses is the lefts targeting of conservatives under the guise of 'separation of church and state'.

I have also seen the lefts frustration of losing the presidency in 2000. They have no respect for conservative politicians and are now slashing at anything valued by conservatives in general... traditional family, pro-life, religion, the private sector and even the military.

Should we be surprised? No... this is not surprising behavior for American socialists and the Democrat party is now full of them. Kerry and Edwards are already eying wealthier Americans to be the beasts of burden in the lefts 'Great Society II: The Destruction of Capitalism.'

42 posted on 07/07/2004 7:48:55 AM PDT by johnny7 (“This is no motley of Japs!” -Col. 'Red Mike' Edson. Guadalcanal 1942)
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To: xzins

Jeepers... Thanks for the ping!


43 posted on 07/07/2004 7:49:18 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: xzins
Sounds like Reich and the magician Penn Jillette are on the same pathetic, anti-Christian wavelength (from an interview with Jillette):

People tend to use the word faith as if it’s a good thing and it often is. If you’re talking about it in terms of loyalty and in terms of your friends, then it’s a beautiful thing. If you’re talking about it in terms of optimism and of being happy about life and things will turn out okay, then, it’s also okay. If you’re talking about it in terms of Allah taking care of me in the next life for being a martyr and, therefore, I will fly the planes into the Twin Towers, I don’t know how you can justify that as a good thing.

There is no difference between Mel Gibson’s faith and the terrorist’s faith. We have no evidence that there was a historic Jesus, we have no evidence that he died for our sins. We have no evidence, that we can agree on, for any of that. If you look at the distribution of religion, it tends to be geographical and not intellectual, which is a another discussion.

44 posted on 07/07/2004 7:55:22 AM PDT by mountaineer
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To: xzins; Corin Stormhands
"Reich has just said that the ultimate enemies are: those who believe in God."

"Reich, and the terrorists are on the same side."

I am, as usual, in complete agreement with you gentlemen on this, but how is this 'news?'

We've known this for over a decade, have we not?

45 posted on 07/07/2004 8:14:38 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (There are thousands of men of higher moral character than Hanoi John Kerry waiting on Death Row)
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To: xzins
Ping on #44 - a glimpse of how Christians and Jews and the freedom of religion would be esteemed under consecutive Democratic Socialist rule with the likes of a John-John or John-Hillary or J-FK anything government:

_______________________________

"Reich has just said that the ultimate enemies are: those who believe in God."


46 posted on 07/07/2004 8:15:38 AM PDT by Happy2BMe (Ronald Reagan to Islamic Terrorism: YOU CAN RUN - BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE!)
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To: Salem; dennisw; SJackson; MeekOneGOP; Smartass; potlatch; JohnHuang2
Ping on #44 - a glimpse of how Christians and Jews and the freedom of religion would be esteemed under consecutive Democratic Socialist rule with the likes of a John-John or John-Hillary or J-FK anything government:

_______________________________

"Reich has just said that the ultimate enemies are: those who believe in God."


47 posted on 07/07/2004 8:16:44 AM PDT by Happy2BMe (Ronald Reagan to Islamic Terrorism: YOU CAN RUN - BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE!)
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To: editor-surveyor; xzins
We've known this for over a decade, have we not?

Indeed, but we need to keep repeating it for the sheeple.

48 posted on 07/07/2004 8:19:43 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (Botox/Breck '04 - "better" governing thru chemicals...)
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To: ken5050
LOL!!  !
49 posted on 07/07/2004 8:30:23 AM PDT by Salem (FREE REPUBLIC - Fighting to win within the Arena of the War of Ideas! So get in the fight!)
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To: Happy2BMe; SJackson; yonif; Simcha7; American in Israel; spectacularbid2003; Binyamin; ...
Good ... gosh. Thanks for the ping, Happy.

Hey, all you "religious" folks. Make sure you get 'a loadda' this. A full on Taliban cleric of the religion of Secular Humanism.






If you'd like to be on or off this
Christian Supporters of Israel ping list,
please FR mail me. ~
  -  -
MikeFromFR ~
There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had
spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass. (Joshua 21:45)

Letter To The President In Support Of Israel ~
'Final Solution,' Phase 2 ~
Warnings ~

50 posted on 07/07/2004 8:39:59 AM PDT by Salem (FREE REPUBLIC - Fighting to win within the Arena of the War of Ideas! So get in the fight!)
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