Thursday, June 03, 2004

Politics: Another faith-based endeavor

The New York Times reports President Bush is seeking support from religious congregations in his reelection bid:

In the message, dated early Tuesday afternoon, Luke Bernstein, coalitions coordinator for the Bush campaign in Pennsylvania, wrote: "The Bush-Cheney '04 national headquarters in Virginia has asked us to identify 1,600 `Friendly Congregations' in Pennsylvania where voters friendly to President Bush might gather on a regular basis."

In each targeted "place of worship," Mr. Bernstein continued, without mentioning a specific religion or denomination, "we'd like to identify a volunteer who can help distribute general information to other supporters." He explained: "We plan to undertake activities such as distributing general information/updates or voter registration materials in a place accessible to the congregation."
The article then goes on to cite critics of the President, saying his appeal to religious groups could endanger their tax-exempt status by engaging in electioneering. That objection is trivial; tax-exempt liberal groups have been electioneering for the left for years.

What bothers me more is that this is yet another indication that Bush’s core constituency is religious-based. The president has not made a secular argument for America that I find to be persuasive. He solicits support from religious groups because he knows they share his agenda and will continue to do so. No news there. Yet in the face of that, I still come across Objectivists who say they will support Bush this fall.

Why? I’d like to see the Objectivists who support Bush explain how Bush’s presidency serves us and how Bush’s continued reliance on faith-based arguments and his faith-based agenda serve our desire for a free, strong, secular America. If Objectivism is a method, why would we ever want to support a leader who time and time again rejects that method and its applications? It would be far better for Bush to know that he has lost our support, however small our numbers, then for us to continue to support him and pretend that all his failings as a leader do not exist. We do ourselves, nor the country we love any favors when we pander to the irrational.

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