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RALPH REED, THE ADL, AND THE "FAMILY VALUES" PRESIDENT

by Mark Dankof for Christian News, the orthodox Lutheran weekly since 1962

 

Thanks to the usual tireless efforts of editor Herman Otten, Christian News readers are now well nigh aware of the full-page paid advertisement of the Anti-Defamation League in the May 2nd New York Times. The advertisement is entitled, "We People of Faith Stand Firmly With Israel," and is penned in its entirety by erstwhile Christian Coalition President Ralph Reed. Reed, described by the ad as one who ". . . served as a senior advisor to the Bush campaign," and presently as chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, has authored an article of incredible significance—both in what is said, as well as in what has been left unsaid.

For openers, Reed informs his national mass-media audience that "we people of faith" back Israel and the ideology of Zionism. This bit of chutzpah conveniently leaves out the people of faith comprised of orthodox Lutherans and Catholics, evangelical Reformed communions, and Eastern Orthodoxy, not to mention such orthodox Jewish fellowships as Neturei Karta, which reject the entire package of assumptions which attempt to Biblically legitimize the creation of modern Israel. Reed also neglects to inform his audience that the school of Biblical interpretation known as Dispensationalism, which undergirds the ideas in the ADL advertisement of May 2nd, has only been in existence since the "revelation" given to John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren in 1830 by Scottish "prophetess" Margaret MacDonald. It is a system of thought unknown to any Christian theologian of substance prior to that time, including Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin.

Mr. Reed also neglects to mention other inconvenient problems posed by Zionist ideology and the support of the Jewish state by much of the American Christian Right. He fails to discuss the Socialist ideology which undergirded most of the Ashkenazic Jews of the Labor Party who were essential to the formulation of what became Israel in 1948. The dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians of generationally held property (including many Christian Palestinians) is conveniently omitted from discussion as well, along with any reference to a multitude of Israeli espionage operations levied against the United States. These include the purloining of nuclear raw materials from an American plant in Pennsylvania for Israel’s nuclear bomb production facility at Dimona; the Pollard spy case; and the recently discovered Israeli "art student" network operating intelligence cells within this country. Mr. Reed also omits Israel’s illegal occupation of West Bank territories, and the recent violent deaths of three (3) witnesses scheduled to testify at the Belgian international court against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on compelling charges of war crimes stemming from the latter’s alleged involvement in the slaughter of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in southern Lebanon in 1982. How "people of faith" should deal with these issues and the questions raised by them is never addressed by Pat Robertson’s chief ex-PR consultant.

Which brings us to another interesting question. Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the ADL, has made a career out of caricaturing evangelical Christians as closet Nazis, anti-Semites, and racists, including Mr. Reed’s former employer, Mr. Robertson. What are we thus to make of this new and public alliance between Foxman and Reed? Has it finally dawned on Foxman, that for better or worse, his best non-Jewish allies in the fight for Israel’s security and public reputation in the United States are the card-carrying members of the Christian Right? And what is the quid pro quo for Mr. Reed in all of this, especially given his knowledge that on many issues of the day, including abortion, gay rights, pornography, and home schooling, the Jewish lobby and Foxman are the daunting opponents of Reed’s Christian Right constituency in all of these areas?

Perhaps the answers to the conundrum posed by the Reed/ADL alliance can best be understood by a retrospective look at the Georgian’s previously performed sleight-of-hand wizardry on behalf of George W. Bush in the Presidential election of 2000. The ADL is indeed correct that Mr. Reed was a "senior advisor to the Bush campaign." Conveniently omitted, however, was the report of Common Cause that during his campaign service to God and the Family Values President, Mr. Reed was drawing $10,000 a month as a paid "consultant" to the Enron Corporation. Reed denies the published reports, however, that the 10K a month from Enron was cooked up by Karl Rove and Mr. Bush as a way of utilizing Mr. Reed to bring his Christian Soldiers on-board with the Republican ticket—while keeping the official Bush campaign at arms length from the same Christian Right. This is potentially the doctrine of "plausible deniability" at its best---or worst.

But what did Ralph Reed’s work for George W. Bush actually achieve for the grass-roots minions of the Christian Right? In 2000, Mr. Reed and his ilk warned that the election of Al Gore would provide a field day for abortionists, radical feminists, militant homosexual activists, and other constituencies bent on destroying the "Judeo-Christian foundations of America." The election of Mr. Bush, the Christian Soldiers were assured, would stem the tide of said decadencies and restore the foundations of a shaky Republic.

What are the actual results? Based on numerous media reports now emanating from reliable sources across the ideological spectrum, Christian Right activists should actually check the Reed/Bush scorecard for fair evaluation of the actual record. If the truth be known, they’ve been royally had.

Take the nation’s leading homosexual newspaper, the Washington, D. C. based Washington Blade (www.washblade.com ) . According to Lou Chibbaro, Jr. in the April 12 Blade, Mr. Bush has decided to leave Bill Clinton’s State Department directive intact that assures benefits and spousal status for the "domestic partners of foreign service workers." The key paragraph is the concluding one in Mr. Chibbaro’s report:

Among those who benefitted from the directive was Michael Guest, the openly gay career diplomat whom Bush appointed last year as U. S. Ambassador to Romania. Guest’s domestic partner, who stood beside Guest at the gay ambassador’s swearing in ceremony in Washington, has joined Guest as a resident of the U. S. Embassy compound in Bucharest. The partner has accompanied Guest to official embassy functions, including a U. S. Marine Corps ball (author’s emphasis).

Or peruse the April 26 Washington Blade report entitled, "Mary Cheney Joins ‘Gay-Straight’ GOP Group." This group, the Republican Unity Coalition (www.RepublicanUnity.com), now claims Gerald Ford and Alan Simpson as members of its advisory board. But most significantly, the Blade tells us that the Unity Coalition was the brainchild of :

Charles Francis, the openly gay public relations executive who founded the RUC at the time of Bush’s inauguration. . .Francis, a friend of President Bush and the Bush family from Texas, has said the RUC has formed a political action committee and planned to raise $1 million to give to gay-friendly Republican candidates in the 2002 congressional elections. . .the RUC has joined the Human Rights Campaign, a non-partisan gay political group, in holding a joint fund raiser for three Republican House candidates (author’s emphasis).

The Blade synopsis on the real Bush is also mirrored by the conservative Washington Times. In its April 22nd edition, George Archibald tells his readers that, "The Bush Administration has joined European delegates to an upcoming U. N. summit on children in moving to recognize families ‘in various forms,’ including unmarried cohabiting couples and homosexual partners."

Where then is Ralph Reed in all of this? He, like Bush, apparently isn’t talking. In like fashion, most of the other leading lights of the Christian Right who canvassed their troops for the President in 2000 aren’t talking either. Mr. Bush, after all, like the Republican Party hierarchy, has an unassailable record in paying his consultant fees on time and in full. Just like the ADL.

Then there’s the question of abortion and fetal tissue research. Clearly, in conjunction with the gay rights agenda, it serves as the most compelling hot-button issue for the Christian Right. Mr. Reed warned in 2000 that the failure to elect George W. Bush as President would be the final straw in a slippery-slope declension in America’s morals that would result in a final, national embrace of the "Culture of Death." Now, however, two years later, the Republican National Coalition for Life Fax Notes of April 2nd inform the faithful that Mr. Bush and his Administration are supporting a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant proposal to fund embryonic stem cell research. One can see the actual grant proposal on-line at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-02-054.html. The RNC for Life Fax Notes give the reader the story that Ralph Reed prefers they not read, or hear, about our Family Values President:

What is troubling is Bush’s own morally unacceptable position. He does not support experiments on human embryos, unless they were killed prior to October 10, 2001. What’s the difference when a developing baby is killed for his stem cells? He’s still very dead. The line has been crossed.

Now we have learned that the NIH has invited ‘applications for grants to develop, conduct, evaluate, and disseminate short-term courses on laboratory research techniques for human embryonic stem cell lines. The courses should include hands-on experience to improve the knowledge and skills of biomedical researchers to maintain, characterize, and utilize human embryonic stem cells in basic research studies and be made available to investigators in research areas of interest to all of the institutes and centers of the NIH.’

Why is the Bush administration using our tax dollars to build a cadre of researchers who will become experts at human embryonic stem cell research and share their knowledge with their colleagues? This doesn’t look like a project that has an end in sight. This looks just like what we said it was when the President announced his support of ‘limited’ research on stem cell lines taken from tiny humans who had already been killed–a beginning–an opening of the door to a world we hoped we would never see.

Which brings us full circle to the consideration of Mr. Reed and his alliance with Israel, the ADL, and the likes of Abraham Foxman. Can the Christian Right really trust Mr. Reed as a leader with the latter’s history of nefarious political alliances and his inability to deliver his promises to his basic constituency? Can Christian conservatives really be sure that American foreign policy should be rooted in the prophetic notions of John Nelson Darby and Cyrus Scofield? What really are the Christian’s obligations to dispossessed Palestinians? And is the Ralph Reed/Abraham Foxman line that Israel’s interest directly coincides with that of the American nation and the life of Christ a defensible one? Or is it merely the latest version of Establishment snake-oil being sold by Reed, the ADL, and The New York Times? And where will George W. Bush ultimately come down on this crucial piece of the puzzle in the elusive quest for world peace?

The fate of the known world may rest in the balance.


(Mark Dankof (med1chd2@concentric.net) is a correspondent and staff writer with Global News Net and an occasional correspondent with the orthodox Lutheran weekly, Christian News.  A graduate of Valparaiso University and Chicago's Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, he has pursued post-graduate theological study in recent years at Philadelphia's Westminster Theological Seminary. Formerly the 36th District Chairman of the Republican Party in King County/Seattle, and later an elected delegate to Texas State Republican Conventions in 1994 and 1996, he entered the United States Senate race in Delaware in 2000 as the nominated candidate of the Constitution Party against Democratic candidate Thomas Carper and incumbent William Roth.  His writings are frequently reposted in the Iranian Times, Sam Ghandchi's Iranscope, San Francisco and Palestine Indy Media, the London Morning Paper, Nile Media, and Table Talk, the official publication of the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod--USA.)


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