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A lesson for the religious right

IT IS unfortunate that in his attempt to address the important issue of cultural and religious divides in this country, Bernard Moon ("A lesson for the liberal elite," op ed, Nov. 30) adds to the mythical stereotypes clouding this conversation and misdirects his concern. Using one quote attributed to Andy Rooney and unnamed editorialists writing about bigoted Christian rednecks, Moon concocts a conspiracy of anti-Christian sentiment among an anonymous liberal elite.

In doing so, he blithely ignores the fact that this country is currently governed by right-wing economic and political elites and that the intelligentsia who have the most influence over policy today are also of the right. Liberal elites is a shibboleth used by those actually in power to deride any attempt to critique the status quo.

But Moon's confusion goes deeper than that. If there is a widespread conviction among those who voted against George W. Bush that his version of Christianity is one that threatens the separation of church and state, demonizes gays and lesbians, and undermines the use of science, it's because those are the policies and ideas that Bush, Karl Rove, and their comrades on the Christian right have been promulgating.

It is Bush who denies the scientific validity of global warming, it is his administration that has sought to substitute moralistic platitudes for proven methods in fighting global AIDS, it is Bush and the Republican leadership, with the support of both evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church, who have sought to impose their religious understandings of family and sexuality on the rest of the country. These are not the imaginings of some liberal elite.

I, like Bernard Moon, am a religious person, although of the Jewish persuasion. Like Moon, I do not believe that religious understanding is beholden to any one particular political movement, and I know that one can believe in God, find moral guidance in the Bible, and be a rational -- even liberal -- person. Those folks on the right who have co-opted the language of religion to support their own particular worldview are the ones who need Moon's lesson, not the rest of us.

RABBI TOBA SPITZER
Lexington
 

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