Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc.
DATE: Tuesday, July 12, 1994 TAG: 9407120007
SECTION: FRONT PAGE: A14 EDITION: FINAL
LENGTH: Short : 48 lines
Columnist Tony Snow (``Challenging America,'' op-ed page, June 16)
obviously has not read the Anti-Defamation League's recent publication on the
religious right. Without challenging a single point of fact in the report, he
equates the league's research with the anti-Semitic forgery, ``The Protocols
of the Elders of Zion,'' and the hate-mongering historical revisionism of
``The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.''
He contends that the ADL's analysis focuses on such issues as ``welfare
reform, affirmative action, race relations, federal spending, term limits. . .
If Mr. Snow had read the report, he would have found that we state, ``Like
anyone else, evangelical Christians have the right to organize, to run for
office, to lobby, to boycott, to demonstrate, to attempt to implement their
views. More than that, a healthy democracy encourages and depends on their
doing so. . . .'' He would have read, similarly, ``much of what this movement
says it wants is right: Most of us value strong families, better schools, a
government that upholds its commitment to religious liberty.'' ADL, like most
Americans, shares with the religious right a concern about the moral crisis in
our country and the need to renew religious values.
There is much work to be done to renew a sense of morality in our society.
But the religious right's solutions will only divide America further by
excluding other religious and moral perspectives from the public domain. As
such, they would weaken religion - by limiting religious freedom - in the name
of strengthening it.
Mr. Snow unwittingly tumbles on this paradox when comparing the religious
right with Martin Luther King Jr.'s campaign for civil rights. This comparison
is illuminating for the differences it raises, not the similarities.
Dr. King, as Mr. Snow states, ``constructed a moral challenge to an
out-of-touch establishment.'' He was able to do this precisely because he
valued the separation of church and state. The religious right errs, in
contrast, by attempting to do away with that wall of separation; by attempting
to impose its own religious character on the state.
The policies and rhetoric of the religious right too often undermine two of
America's most fundamental traditional values: tolerance and pluralism. It is
for this reason that ADL has published its report.
MARC A. SCHEWEL, chairman
Virginia Advisory Board
Norfolk, June 21, 1994