Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where is today's Barry Goldwater?

"However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' "

Barry Goldwater - 1909 - 1998, Senator R - Arizona
Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981


Anonymous said...

what should we do when a person wants to dictate their moral convictions in the name of any 'ism?

"and from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?"

It makes it hard to believe that conservatives think him to be particularly intelligent. From where does any system presume to do this under any situation?

All I see is virulent relativism, not a virtue.


SirRobert said...

All I see is virulent relativism, not a virtue.

I see your point.

My fascination with this quote had to do with how differently this Republican dealt with religious matters than those of today.

I am under no delusion that the the Republicans (or Democrats for that matter) who utter God and/or Jesus in every 6th sentence that escapes their lips are doing so for anything other than pandering to an evangelical block of voters.

While I am more than convinced that you root your political views in sound biblical theology. This is NOT the case for most of those who would claim a Christian or biblical base for the politics they espouse. You have shown me that most don't have the slightest inkling of what it means to be Christian. That majority is far more driven by their hatred and fear of differences and change.


Chris said...

Obviously Goldwater was reacting to the excesses of some our nation's religious as well as those politicians that love to play the religious card. His remarks are in keeping with a time honored American political tradition.

Gotta love Barry for speaking his mind and flipping the bird to the spin doctors. It didn't always help him win elections or curry favor with the press. But it sure is refreshing.

Ed said...

Barry Goldwater was my first "political" hero. He wasn't afraid to make fun of myself, and he said exactly what he thought, the political consequences be dammed.

"I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."

"You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight."

Of course he also said, "I think any man in business would be foolish to fool around with his secretary. If it's somebody else's secretary, fine."

I have to wonder if a straight shooter like Goldwater could get elected dog catcher in today's political climate.

I give credit to the Christian right-wing when they are able to gain political power. The Atheist/Skeptical community needs emulate that kind of passion, and I think it is beginning to. It will be an uphill battle of course.

It also appears to me that scientist can be just as self-rightous, dogmatic and pig-headed as any religious fanatic.

Ed said...

Someday I will learn to actually read what I post. :)

"He wasn't afraid to make fun of myself" s/b "He wasn't afraid to make fun of himself"

Of course I have learned to make fun of myself because so much of what I write is a source of amusement to others. :)