I have touched on this in the past, but due to recent election results and then an article at Delaware Online detailing a recent fund-raiser for Eric Bodenweiser that featured former three-time candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, I felt that I needed to address it once again.
While Mr. Bodenweiser may not be the only candidate out there who has been narrowing the message as I see it, he has been one of the most visible and out spoken candidates who seems in favor of making the conservative/Republican message ever more narrow.
What I mean by this is that many like Mr. Bodenweiser seem to feel that to win an election, and more importantly if elected, that the best course of action is to carry a message that will have appeal to a select group of people.
In Mr. Bodenweiser’s case it would seem from statements that he has made, that he wishes only to represent Christians if elected. Now it is common knowledge that Mr. Bodenweiser has campaigned as a Christian conservative. In the past I have stated that I am not exactly sure what this means, but I do worry that it will only alienate voters from the GOP and the conservative movement, who do not-self identify as such.
At his recent fund-raiser in Georgetown, Mr Bodenweiser put forth his views on how to best serve the people of the 19th Dist. and the state when he said, “In order to turn this nation around, we’re going to have to get the Bible back in our schools” , he went on to say, “When we win in November, it’s going to be because of all of us that hold to the principles and values that founded this great nation. That includes Christianity.”
Now before anyone accuses me of being anti Christian let me say that I believe that there is nothing in the Christian faith that can be seen as detrimental to society, but that is my personal belief and while I try to live as best I can to the teachings of Christ, I recognize that I will fail to be perfect. As will we all.
I also realize that this nation was founded by Christians and so it is clear that their faith led them and guided them and sustained them in their struggles for Liberty. However, this nation was not founded, “FOR”, Christians. It was founded for all men, of all faiths, and for all freedom loving people to live free or die.
This is why as a Christian, and a conservative I am concerned with candidates and officials who seem to feel the need to tie the two together in a way that would exclude other faiths from being conservative, or at least to infer that though they may be conservatives, people of other faiths cannot possibly be as good a conservative as a Christian conservative.
Let’s look at the statement of Mr. Bodenweiser, where he says he want to get the Bible back into our schools. What exactly does that mean and how exactly do we do that?
We must first accept the fact, that yes our Founding Fathers did intend for our government and our faith to be separate, anyone who says otherwise is a NARC (not a real conservative). Let us not forget that our public schools are paid for by people of all faiths, and yes even by some of no faith at all. So I would ask Mr. Bodenweiser just how he intends to interject the Christian Bible into our public school systems without establishing a state-run religion? (NARC)
Would he and those who feel as he does simply force Jewish and Muslim and atheist children to be subjected to teachings that their parents do not agree with, simply because they cannot afford to send their children to private schools? Or maybe we could create some special camps for them to be sent to?NARC
It is this narrow idea that if you are not a Christian, then you are not conservative enough to be included in decision-making, or even in life choices, that has led to the narrowing of the conservative message, and so also in that message being received by fewer and fewer people.
Mr. Bodenweiser is not alone in this view that Christians should be the only people in government. Obviously Ms. O’ Donnell shares enough of these views to show up as the headliner of a Bodenweiser fund-raiser and to contribute $600 to the campaign.
But in the same way that our public schools are made up of a broad spectrum of people of many faiths and views, so is our government, so in the same way that I feel we cannot exclude other faiths from our public schools, or force them to sit quietly while a contradictory belief system to that of their own is taught as the only belief, this goes against the very foundation of this nation’s most sacred tenets. Neither can we say that only this faith or that faith is worthy to be called conservative and to be elected. (NARC)
If we are to grow as a party, if we are to grow as a conservative movement, if we are to grow as a state and a nation, then the narrow message that Mr. Bodenweiser has put forth and which Ms. O’Donnell has endorsed, in my opinion is the wrong direction.
In my view conservatism has broad appeal across all lines, be they lines of faith, lines of economic standing, lines of class, or race, but the message must be as broad as that appeal and it must be articulated by people who understand this. If the message of conservatism is delivered in this narrow form that limits it to Christians only, then it will reach only Christians and not all of them will accept it and some will reject it as do I.
It is when we have NARCs out there telling the people that they must be this or that, before they can be conservatives, that we lose, it is when we tell people what conservatism really is, that we begin to bring more people into the party and the movement.
Personally I feel that candidates such as Mr. Bodenweiser and those who endorse them, such as Ms. O’ Donnell, are not only narrowing the message, but are limiting the number of people it will reach. I believe that when articulated properly, conservatism will grow and appeal to many people across all faiths.
I would remind all people to remember, we are all children of Abraham.