A Letter to Christian Conservatives and the
Presented by Dr. Robert Eubank
The Raleigh Tavern Philosophical Society
January 31, 2008
The nation is in the midst of a very important electoral season and orthodox Christians have more at stake in the Republican nomination process than we ever have before. The family values pro-life party is in danger of nominating a man, who by his lifestyle and beliefs, is neither pro-family or pro-life. Thus, I hope in this nomination battle our primary purpose will be to defeat Rudolph Giuliani whoever your particular candidate happens to be. For instance, in whatever state you live as the race comes down to the wire you may consider rallying behind the candidate who has the best chance of beating Giuliani. (However, if you are honor bound to a candidate you should surely stick with him to the end.) Still, this letter does not concern the battle for the nomination, but assumes Giuliani as the eventual nominee, and focuses on what should be done if we are faced with a presidential contest between Giuliani and Mrs. Clinton or Barack Obama. It is time now to think seriously about this possibility and to absolutely commit ourselves to finding a supporting third party candidate if such a scenario develops. This paper intends to make the case that no serious Christian or pro-lifer should consider voting for Rudy Giuliani whatever the circumstances. The party boys are already trying to use the fear tactic of “Horrible Hillary” to get us to do just that. This paper addresses why you should not do it, but instead vote for a third party candidate or write in someone.
The first reason you should not support Giuliani is because it will change the Republican Party forever. Since 1980, the Republican Party has had a pro-life/pro-family platform and candidates that have rightly earned the accolade as the “family values” party. Not that we have received much in return, but the party has usually invoked the proper images and we are held to be an important part of the Republican Party coalition. Catholic social philosopher, Hadley Arkes, has argued in a recent article in First Things (December 2007) that “the nomination and election of Rudy Giuliani would mark the end of the Republican Party as the pro-life party in our politics.” If we help deliver the vote for Giuliani regardless of the abortion and moral decency issues we will have sent a message to the Republican Party leadership that we are theirs anyway. There will thus no longer be a need to appeal to our issues because we will still merrily follow along. As Arkes states it, the message is “The Republican Party can win when the pro-life issue is thrust from the center to the periphery of the party concerns. Even the pro-life voters [. . .] will give primacy to other concerns.” (Arkes, ibid). That will be what we will have done if we vote for Giuliani. Make no mistake about it, Giuliani cannot win without us, but he does not seem too concerned about it. Maybe he understands us better than we understand ourselves. Just mention Mrs. Clinton and we will behave like Pavlov’s dogs. Will a large third party vote make Mrs. Clinton President? Probably so, but, friends, please listen. It is better to have Hillary Clinton as President both philosophically and strategically than a liberal Republican like Giuliani. If we elect Giuliani, we will have a poisoned party and, as you will see if you read further, a very personally flawed president. If we elect Giuliani, we will also certainly stop the forward march of the pro-life movement politically. However, if Giuliani is defeated it will galvanize us like never before. We will maintain our image as the “family values” party. We can come back and to do battle for the good and the true with our character intact and with much more chance of influence than if Giuliani is elected. If Giuliani is elected, the Republican Party will probably suffer large losses in the 2010 mid-term elections. But, if Mrs. Clinton (or Obama) wins, she will be a very nice target. With her and Ms. Pelosi as the Democratic leaders, we could very well be in a good position. Rush Limbaugh will have a field day. Furthermore, in 2010 we should then register large victories in the House and Senate races, much like we did after Bill Clinton’s first two years when the Republican Party took over the House for the first time in 40 years. I have heard no one lamenting lately what a tragedy it was Father Bush lost the presidency to Clinton in 1992. It turned out to be a godsend for us.
“Ah, but the judges,” you might say. Why do you think when we have serious conservatives nominate judges like Sandra Day O’Connor and David H. Souter that Giuliani, a liberal Republican, will nominate conservatives? You might argue that, “He said he would appoint strict constructionist justices!” Did you know that right after he made that claim he also said that it would be okay for a strict constructionist judge to uphold Roe v. Wade if he argued from the position of precedent? “In other words,” as E. J. Dionne writes in his column of May 15, 2007, “Giuliani would take any position as long as he could paste the stale and meaningless phrase ‘strict constructionist’ over it.” You might say, “Well, he spoke approvingly of Roberts and Alito.” Duh? What else is he going to say? Any other judgment would be political suicide. I imagine we will see a lot of New York lawyers appointed to the judiciary if Giuliani is President. Don’t you?
We should also consider Giuliani’s experience with the Conservative and Liberal Parties in New York State. The Conservative Party would not endorse Giuliani in his proposed 2000 senate race because he would not even oppose the horrible procedure of partial-birth abortion. The Liberal Party early in his mayoral race endorsed him because he agreed with their views “on affirmative action, gay rights, gun control, school prayer, and tuition tax credits.” (Kate Beirne, National Review, August 7, 2006). But let us let Giuliani speak for himself. In 1992, he said Nelson Rockefeller represented “a tradition in the Republican Party I’ve worked hard to rekindle-the Rockefeller, Javits, Lefkowitz tradition.” (Beirne, ibid).
Moreover, we have not even dealt with some of the most damning evidence yet. Commentator Michael Barone in a column of December 21, 2007, wrote, “Giuliani is at odds with most Republicans on some cultural issues. But more damaging to him is his own personal life, which has been messier than that of any Republican President.” Rudy was dating and escorting his present wife around New York while he was married to his previous wife without her even knowing it. And how did he inform her? He called a press conference where he told his (then) wife publicly that he wanted a separation because he was in love with his mistress, Judith Nathan. For a month, the New York tabloids “chronicled the scandalous personal life of Rudy Giuliani” (Beirne, op cit). What is more, prior to his affair with Ms. Nathan, he had an affair with one of his female aides. All of New York knew this, but it did not seem to care. We, I think, do care. As to a race between Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani for sleaze of the year, it would be a close call. Make no mistake about dear ole Rudy, he is a shameful scumbag. No wonder he is estranged from his children.
But, there’s more. What city’s Gay Pride parade competed with San Francisco as being the most vulgar? You guessed it--New York. And, who regularly marches in these New York parades pumping his arms proudly? Rudy Giuliani, who else? As Howard Kurtz wrote in the Washington Post, “this is a guy who is pro-choice on abortion, pro-gay rights, and moved in with a [male] gay couple after a messy breakup with his wife that came as he was dating another woman.” He is not, of course, claiming that Giuliani is gay. He is only pointing out that this seems a queer pair to stay with for anyone who claims to be in the mainstream of the Republican Party.
Let us look again now at what the abortion issue is all about. We have been taught since 1973 that the right to have an abortion performed is an affirmation of a woman’s right to privacy. For some of us the invasion of the womb in the name of privacy is the ultimate euphemism covering up not only an invasion of two privacies but death of a fellow human being. It represents the ultimate routing of the sacred by the profane. If you really think it is a matter of privacy or choice, then why, as young Jewish author Wendy Shalit relates, do over 30% of women obtain an abortion at a husband’s or boyfriend’s insistence, not theirs?
Tom Lovell, a colleague, and I once attended a Phi Theta Kappa honor society presentation on “Mental Health and Happiness” in which the gentle Dr. Ron Waldbillig, a brain scientist most of his life, ended his talk with a phrase from Psalm 139, “Thou didst form my inward parts; thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.” “Now there,” he said smilingly, “was a real brain surgeon at work.” When followed by the next verse, Psalm 139:14, this passage is probably the primary reason believing or observant Christians and Jews both feel the sacredness and aliveness of the unborn child. Psalm 139:14 states, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knows well!” Nearly all of us, however, need compelling, concrete evidence to support our view. And ultrasound and sonogram now provide that evidence.
The experience of New York’s Dr. Bernard Nathanson is helpful here and enlightening. One night Dr. Nathanson, who by the early 1980’s had presided over more abortions (60,000) than anyone in the world, heard screams. He began to think for the first time about what he had been doing at his clinic. Ultrasound had allowed him to see the “who” of the “it” within. He also knew from practice the basic methods of aborting what he considered as only a “fetus.” The saline instillation method is primarily used in the latter stages of “fetal” development, the salt scalding the life out of whomever or whatever is there. This often results in what has become known as the candy apple red baby. The suction method, used in the less fully developed “cases,” literally, though fairly quickly, tears the fetal child limb from lib. Dr. Nathanson could hardly turn away, and once he began hearing the silent screams of “the ones who had not been consulted,” he stopped. Dr. Nathanson had progressed from seeing a mere fetus to seeing an unborn child in all his or her wholeness. (Dr. Nathanson was an atheist at the time but later became a “mere Christian” [per C. S. Lewis’ usage] and then a Catholic.)
The fetus, you see, is a Latin term meaning “young one.” The problem is that to those not fluent in Latin it is mere technical jargon, the use of which robs the young ones of their humanity. (After all, in ordinary discourse, we do not refer to human beings at other stages of life by technical Latin names.) In using the term “fetus,” we miss the humanity of “the thing within” …the unborn child. The womb is going about its wondrous work, and the very young person within is moving around in those marvelous fluids designated to bring us all, you and me and whomever, into fullness. These babes are not yet “full,” but dear friend, they are as wholly human as you and I, just a little bit younger and in an earlier stage. And some would have you believe this unborn child is merely a “part” of another person? This small one is neither an imposter nor an invader, but a most proper fulfillment of our existence.
I think most of you readers can readily identify with what I’ve just written. And if you do you should have no trouble not voting for Rudy Giuliani either in the primary or in the general election. If you hedge, it is probably for the same reason the party regulars think they can hold on to our votes anyhow--pro-life, personal life, and family values positions will have become secondary to us. The perception that Giuliani could lead a good war on terror may have become more salient.
Hopefully, all the information I have provided will have influenced you, but you may be still on the fence. While Giuliani was certainly in the right place and right time during 9/11 and did a good job of putting New York back together, is there really anything that indicates he would better lead the war on terror as some of our other candidates? (The New York firefighters and policemen certainly didn’t think he did a good job.)
Please let me use this illustration. We know after even minutes on this side of the womb a baby is doted over and anyone who wished that child ill would be considered a villain. However, just a day or two on the other side of the womb the same infant can legally be destroyed. Does that not strike you as a little incongruous? Terrorist perhaps? Every year there are over a million successful terrorist attacks on innocent victims right here in the good ole U.S.A. That abortion doctor who lives down the corner from you is also a terrorist. Please do not vote for a man who things it is fine that such terrorism can continue if it is just okay with the mother.
What really is at issue here is us. It is we who are on the firing line, so to speak. Are we just tools to harvest the vote for the Republican Party or do we really care about those babies and about making our issues count? If we help make Giuliani President after declaring abortion is murder, who is going to take us seriously anymore? And, who can blame them?
The truth is we have become too comfortable in our relationship with the Republican Party. As columnist E. J. Dionne (May 15, 2007) put it, “Republicans in power have done remarkably little to line up to their promises to anti-abortion voters.” We owe nothing to the Republican Party, but they owe a lot of elections to us. In the 2004 election, it was the 400,000 more evangelical voters that Carl Rose found and the pro-life Catholics in Ohio who won that election. Twenty-two percent of the voters in the nation claimed they considered moral values the primary issue in the campaign, and 80% of those voted for Bush. But, are we willing to call that debt in?
Speaking for evangelicals, we have too long been satisfied with a place at the table or a speech or two at one of our universities (which is, of course, mutually beneficial). I have yet to hear any Republican leader proclaim “we really do intend to end abortion in our lifetime” or “we are committed to stopping gay marriage in this country.” Well, what are we Christians going to do about it? Dionne says this election will test the seriousness of pro-life voters, and he is right. We have to put up or shut up and agree to be treated as those who are expected to go along to get along. And these are not peripheral issues we are talking about. The socio-cultural moral value issues are the foundation issues of our nation and civilization. So, what kind of people are we? What kind of people do we support?
In the last election, Catholic Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (Denver) “said of Catholics who voted for a pro-choice candidate: ‘If you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil? Now if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes [to both questions.]’” (Dionne, op cit). How many of you pro-lifers, especially Catholics, applauded his stance at the time? You must know what that implies for you if you vote for either Mrs. Clinton or Rudy Giuliani? Dionne has publicly in print made us pro-lifers the issue. If we do not treat pro-abortion Catholic Rudy Giuliani as we treated pro-abortion Catholic John Kerry, it will prove us, he says, to be the hypocrites we may be. We will seem to be more Republican first than committed pro-lifers.
Archbishop Chaput went on to say the Republican Party was “the natural ally of the church on cultural issues.” (Dionne, op cit). But is that really true? Giuliani has made it clear he is not with us. If we give our support to him regardless of this fact, then we only put the lie to ourselves. For myself, I hope the Archbishop is right. This election will, one way or the other, prove or disprove our bona fides.
I have outlined here for you the case against voting for Rudolph Giuliani for President by either serious Christians and/or pro-lifers. We are faced with the fact that a vote for a third party candidate will likely make Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama President. And, I hope I have convinced you that is better than putting your personal character on the line by voting for Giuliani. He is the worst evil.
This is a battle for the soul of the Republican Party. Even with the platform in our hands and a likely pro-life Vice President nominee, Giuliani will stain us like we have never been stained before, collectively and personally. Whatever you do, do not pull that lever for Giuliani. Not many months from now you are liable not to like yourself very much for it. And remember my political arguments. It is better to be a firm unified family values party fighting Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Pelosi than a morally corrupted party in power. We need to put ourselves back together again after the last eight years and establish ourselves as the party that deserves to govern. I assure you we are not perceived that way now. We are perceived as a party that has misgoverned or not governed at all. We need to have the Clintons to fight again and establish strong solid congressional majorities. Then, and only then, are we ready to elect a deserving Republican President.
In the meantime, we need to work to control all precinct, district, and state conventions as well as the platform. And, it is our leaders’ job to find us as strong a third party candidate as they can for us to vote for if Rudolph Giuliani gets the nomination. With that done, we should have no problem not pushing the Giuliani button.