The End of Democracy? (Cont.)


The editors of First Things have performed a great service in publishing the two symposia (November 1996 and January 1997) on the judicial usurpation of politics, even though their action has been misconstrued by some. If they are in any way to blame for the misunderstanding, it is perhaps in not having sufficiently distinguished the dual focus of the original symposium. On the one hand it was to investigate the judicial usurpation of matters normally decided by political debate. On the other it was to examine the judicial enactment of laws that are contrary to the natural law and hence, as Pope John Paul II stated so unequivocally in Evangelium Vitae , null and void.

If these two issues are not kept separate, any challenge to the American judiciary can easily appear to question the legitimacy of the American government itself. But to dispute the validity of certain laws is quite different from rejecting the authority of the body that passed them. Neither is rejecting the judiciary’s claim to be the whole of government equivalent to denying its right to be a part of the whole. What several of the symposiasts rightly point out is that the judicial part of the United States’ government is overextended both politically and morally, and therefore that resistance in some form, possibly including civil disobedience, is called for.

There will of course be those for whom such a thought is by definition excessive. At that point we will know that we have already crossed a certain threshold after which the conservatives of the earthly city and those of the heavenly city must go their separate ways.

Graeme Hunter

Department of Philosophy

University of Ottawa

Canada

Your recent reflections on the legitimacy of the American “regime” are of grave concern. Surely no one can survey without chagrin and even outrage a government that countenances infanticide and that denies majoritarian rule by twisting the Constitution into a shape unrecognizable to the Founders.

Yet outrage is no substitute for an effective political strategy. As Carl Henry has noted, no one in our country is forced to have an abortion. No one is precluded from worshiping in the church or temple of his choice. No one is prevented from exercising his right to vote and thereby helping to alter disturbing policies and remove their authors from office. The coercion and repression associated with totalitarian states is nowhere present, as disturbing as some judicial rulings, executive actions, and congressional legislation may be.

In other words, the game is not yet up. I attended the news conference in Senator Lott’s office the day the Senate failed to override the President’s veto of the ban on partial-birth abortions. While that day must be regarded as one of the most tragic in our nation’s history, I was heartened by the presence not only of the luminaries of the pro-family movement, but by the attendance of Senators Santorum, Coats, Nickles, and others. I was most moved by Senator Lott when he looked into the battery of cameras arrayed across the room, described partial-birth abortion as “murder,” and called on the Senate to end this barbaric practice. This display of political courage, coming from the leader of the United States Senate, could not have happened in a regime whose fundamental legitimacy is lost . . . .

In the darkest days of the Second World War, during which he fought a genuinely illegitimate regime, Dietrich Bonhoeffer could easily have despaired. Instead, in a letter to a friend written in 1944, Bonhoeffer said, “The only fight that is lost is that which we give up.” The Most High rules in the affairs of men, and may well allow circumstances which delegitimize political authority in the United States. Until that time, however, we should never consider our fight lost, nor grow weary in doing the good Scripture demands and our fraying culture so urgently needs.

Robert Schwarzwalder

Springfield, VA

. . . To overturn the usurpation of power by our presiding cultural commissars, Judge Robert Bork proposes to let Congress override U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

The crippling shortcoming in Bork’s strategy is that Congress itself is part of the problem. Fundamental reform is so uncharacteristic of Congress that even in the so-called revolution of ‘94, Congress could not muster the collective will to bring the issue of school prayer to a floor vote. The same supposedly “radical” Congress failed to get the requisite two-thirds for minimal constitutional reforms that Republicans had pledged”such as the watered-down version of term limits (twelve years for both the House and the Senate) or the balanced budget amendment. Never in history has Congress impeached a Supreme Court Justice. Nor has the post-World War II Congress exercised its authority under Article III, section 2 of the Constitution by removing federal court jurisdiction over even one of the cases that occasioned usurpation.

Indeed it was because Congress sat quiescent in 1954, loath to legislate against racial segregation, that a powerful and popular precedent for judicial intervention was established. If Congress had fulfilled its obligations to black citizens, rather than defaulting to the Court to intervene in Brown v. Board of Education , the trend toward usurpation since the early 1960s would have been much more difficult to foist upon the nation.

Usurpation by the Court, i.e., stealing political power, with tacit approval insofar as Congress remains passive, together with the loathsome policies that the new regime is imposing on the country, are engendering talk of rebellion and revolt. Taking up arms against an arrogant judicial regime might recall the Spirit of 1776; it might serve to release frustrations and show that, if not the land of the free, America is still the home of the brave; but in the end, I think, the federal government would crush such an uprising. On the other hand, the faint-hearted course would be to surrender our liberties without a fight, and to pray that God will give us masters like Augustus or Constantine instead of Caligula or Nero.

Surely the nobler, wiser, and more promising approach is to solicit Divine assistance in restoring the kind of nation that God has seen fit to bless in not-so-distant U.S. history. In other words, the prerequisite to preventing the permanent demise of democracy is to succeed where the originators of democracy, the ancient Greeks, failed”by moving quickly and concretely to clean up our collective morals. Rolling back the judicial usurpation will be a key ingredient of reform, but a lesser one compared to an ethical upgrade in accordance with what the Declaration of Independence calls “a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence.” . . .

Robert Struble, Jr.

Bremerton, WA

Two years ago the public will and the democratic process were thwarted by the cabal of the ACLU and the Hispanic left when California’s Proposition 187 was nullified by court order. Hundreds of thousands of illegals have continued to enter California and continue to reap the same government benefits as tax-paying citizens.

Now history repeats itself. The same lobbies again thwart the will of the people and the democratic process in halting implementation of Proposition 209 (the abolition of quotas and racial preferences) overwhelmingly endorsed by California voters. And again, this is done by judicial dictat. To add to the injury, the Clinton Administration, with crass political pandering, has committed the Justice Department to join in the legal challenge. In other words, the citizens’ government is being used against its very citizens.

These examples are even more vivid in their tyrannical ramifications than those, equally important, cited in First Things original essays. Moreover, they point to the failure of the system itself to respond to and to protect the rights and wishes of the majority. What checks and balances? Here we have the executive branch supporting the usurpation of freedom by the judiciary. A couple of the letters in the January issue fail to see the similarities with 1776. From the point of view of Californians what is going on is far worse than taxation without representation. This is injustice despite representation, tyranny disguised as the rule of law. It isn’t the open debate provoked by First Things ’ November issue that is fostering the alienation of the American public from their government, but the dictatorial, undemocratic acts of the government itself.

Ronald F. Maxwell

Los Angeles, CA

I have appreciated the articles on the judiciary. The decision in Roe v. Wade has resulted in the enactment of a rather bizarre law in Nebraska, which precipitated my resignation from the bench. This law, which defines abortion as termination of human life, nonetheless requires judges to authorize abortions in certain cases.

In 1991, the state legislature, in an attempt to put some reasonable controls on teenage abortions, passed a law known as the Parental Notification Abortion Law. Under that law, any teenager wishing to abort her unborn child and not wanting to notify a parent may file a petition in court. The judge holds an ex parte hearing to determine whether the teenager is mature and can give an informed consent. Since the only evidence offered is in behalf of the teenager, the court regularly finds the teenager mature and able to give the informed consent.

The judge then by law must (“shall”) authorize a physician to perform the abortion, which the law defines as “an act, procedure, device, or prescription administered to a woman known by the person so administering to be pregnant and administered with the intent and result of producing the premature expulsion, removal, or termination of the human life within the womb of the pregnant woman . . . ” (emphasis added).

In other words, judges are required to authorize one human being to put to death another, obviously innocent, human being.

Judge Joseph W. Moylan (ret.)

Omaha, NE

William Bennett’s January assessment reinforces Hadley Arkes’ November comments depicting a culture seemingly incapable of provocation or “justifiable outrage.” Too many are oblivious to Bennett’s obvious example of infanticide (partial-birth abortion).

Yet it is troubling that Bennett speaks of “a procedure that is, for all intents and purposes, infanticide.” Does this imply that other abortion procedures fall under another category? Each Advent, Luke 1:41-45 reminds us of an infant leaping in the womb upon hearing Mary’s greeting, yet most of us do not recognize that the Bible uses the same word for unborn and born infants. Brephoe , the Greek word for “infant” in verse 41, applies to born infants in Luke 17:2; Hebrew Old Testament passages follow the same pattern . . . .

Steve Kipp

Colorado Springs, CO

In “To Reclaim Our Democratic Heritage” (January), the editors unbecomingly and unworthily refer to “the delusions of weekend revolutionaries” such as those of “angry men in army fatigues playing war games in the woods of Idaho.”

Slurs indeed come easily against the distant and the unfamiliar. That doesn’t excuse the offense.

It is demonstrably true that, on average, as compared with New Yorkers we Idahoans are better educated, more comfortable financially, more law-abiding, more traveled nationally and internationally, more conservative, more religiously observant, more optimistic (with good reason), more aware of the larger world, more participatory in public life, more at peace with our lives, less inclined to split infinitives, less insufferably pretentious, and less prone to take offense at first slings.

Stanley D. Crow

Boise, ID

The More the Merrier?


William McGurn (“Population and the Wealth of Nations,” December 1996) is worried that the Catholic Church’s position on the population issue looks “arbitrary and unintelligible.” On the one hand recent popes concede the problem of overpopulation and on the other hand rule out as immoral the “artificial” birth control that has played a major role in reducing population growth rates.

McGurn would remove the “unintelligibility” by having the Church come around to his view that population growth is not a problem. McGurn’s evidence is that Hong Kong’s population has increased greatly in recent decades and that its per-capita income has also increased. But most observers would probably doubt that Hong Kong’s population growth caused its economic growth, or, more fundamentally, that the experience of a city with complex economic interactions with China’s Guangdong Province (including imports of both food and water) provides relevant lessons for entire countries.

Even Hong Kong’s population growth is unusual in that it is due in large part to immigration, not to natural increase. A key fact is that potential parents in Hong Kong practice artificial contraception as assiduously as any place in the developing world. The total fertility rate in Hong Kong is only about 1.2 children per family. The other Asian countries McGurn suggests are evidence for the compatibility of rapid population growth and economic development (Korea and Taiwan) have also experienced declines in population growth rates due to widespread use of artificial contraception. These countries hardly serve as evidence that population growth promotes economic growth. Would these countries have experienced even more economic prosperity if their fertility rates had not fallen and if they had even larger populations than they have now? Do the governments and peoples of these economically successful countries have less insight into these matters than McGurn? . . .

Patrick Gormely

Department of Economics

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS

William McGurn replies:



Professor Gormley’s letter is a good one because it accurately reflects the logic behind the push for controlling population growth. I fear that as such it also reflects the misconceptions.

Let me treat the economic and theological issues separately. With regard to the former, I did not say that population growth “caused” Hong Kong’s economic growth. The “cause” of that economic success is the openness and liberality of the Hong Kong market, which allows people to develop their talents. This emphasis on freedom is important because in statist economies additional people ultimately do end up becoming net economic burdens. This is why Hong Kong and Taiwan prospered while China languished.

More broadly, Professor Gormley starts from the assumption he ought to prove or at least debate: that population growth retards development. This has become an article of faith in certain quarters, but proof seldom goes further than pointing to poor countries with large populations. A more specific point: Hong Kong today may have “complex interactions with China,” but that was not always the case. A UN-imposed embargo on China in the 1950s cut off the China market overnight”it was then Hong Kong’s largest”and it did not recover it until the late 1970s and early 1980s. Yet the economic growth rates following that cutoff were higher then than they are today. Why? Because Hong Kong is free and open.

My second broad point is that often the confusion over population reflects a failure to distinguish between the impact of additional children on an individual family and the impact on society. I believe families should make their own decisions about family size. But people should not be made to think that by having children they are making their nations poorer. Children in a family are economic burdens, because they are dependents. But to societies they become contributing adults.

True, as economies get wealthier birthrates decline. But the mistake of people like Professor Gormley is to infer from this the opposite: that lower birthrates mean wealthier economies. Asia is coming to this recognition belatedly, as its rapidly greying societies”the process in Japan and China is faster than anything in the West”require higher taxes today to pay for tomorrow’s burden. This helps explain why Singapore has gone from campaigns promoting “stop at two” to “have three or more.”

Finally, on theology. If the Pope is right that we should shun artificial birth control”and, more to the point, that children are a genuine good”I don’t see how it could be that larger families will have bad consequences for society. Morality is not an arbitrary list of do’s and don’ts: the more we do the right thing (such as telling the truth, not stealing, etc.) the better off our neighbors will be. A God who designed a world that punished society when people did the right thing wouldn’t be a God. He’d be a devil.

Evangelical Catholicity


As a Protestant who aspires to evangelical catholicity, and an editor of a magazine ( Touchstone ) with similar aspirations, I read James Nuechterlein’s “In Defense of Sectarian Catholicity” (January) empathetically”until I got to the end where he spoke of women’s ordination as something evangelical catholics like himself will “not retreat on.” Although the Lerentian canon-“what has been believed everywhere, in all times, by all Christians””is an intuitive and imprecise rule of catholic faith and unity, it is very hard to understand how someone who regards himself as catholic in any historically meaningful sense would insist upon the orthodoxy of a practice that has been accepted nowhere, at no time, and by nobody.

Except, that is, if one regards the sects and denominations by which women’s ordination has been advanced as “somebody.” In that case I would counsel a good Lutheran to have a close look at their theological and moral condition, and consider some of the other notable discoveries of the inclusive sort they are happening upon these days. It seems to me that a reasonable man, even if he found the logic behind the arguments for women’s ordination compelling, would find its source so profoundly suspect that a change of opinion and a subsequent retreat would be somewhat more than thinkable.

S. M. Hutchens, Chairman

Fellowship of St. James

Chicago, IL

An aside by James Nuechterlein conveys an oft-expressed view that has bothered me for some time: “To most of us in the West, Orthodoxy is not, for cultural reasons, a live option.” The retort, of course, is why not? Religion is certainly too important a matter to be circumscribed by culture, especially in the apparently narrow sense of the term that Mr. Nuechterlein employs. And what would have been the fate of Christianity among the West Europeans if they had uniformly turned away those Middle Eastern Jewish missionaries in their midst for cultural reasons?

Let’s face it. Eastern Orthodoxy is in our midst today and is receiving a steady stream of converts who are apparently concerned about theological truth. (I am Anglican, not Orthodox.) Of course, these conversions are facilitated by such things as an Orthodox Church in America which appears to be trying very hard to be nonethnic and an Antiochian Orthodox Church with a Western Rite subgrouping using Anglican or Roman liturgies. Such manifestations would seem to be going a long way toward removing the main obstacle to conversion of those with cultural “hang-ups,” (including James Nuechterlein?).

Wallace Spaulding

McLean, VA

While James Nuechterlein’s editorial comments are appreciated, three problems loom before anyone who might want to adopt his attitude toward being a sectarian catholic, the third being most decisive.

In order to believe in catholicism as conceived by most Lutheran evangelical catholics, one must believe in an invisible Church, as Martin Luther did . . . . The notion of an invisible Church is simply unpalatable in the twentieth century.

The second problem is that it is becoming increasingly obvious that those who march under the banner of evangelical catholicism do not all mean the same thing by it. The title is seemingly all that is in common for this mixture of theologians, pastors, and laity. For some it means liturgical worship, for others matters of ethics, and for still others matters of church structures, e.g., bishops. There is no binding theological glue save the certainty that what they all do not mean is Roman Catholicism . . . .

But the most severe irritant to a serene acceptance of James Nuechterlein’s worldview is that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) now pays for abortions, implicating all of us who are pastors or members in this church on the dark side of the greatest moral crisis of our time. The house is being called on this issue . . . .

(The Rev.) Jeffrey C. Silleck

Reformation Lutheran Church

Eastlake, OH

I want to express my profound gratitude for the colloquy between editors Neuhaus and Nuechterlein about their respective Catholic and Lutheran traditions. It reflects to a large extent my own religious struggle. I was raised a Lutheran (the old American Lutheran Church), but left that tradition in my early adulthood to embrace evangelical Protestantism. I underwent a “born again” experience in graduate school, and for many years saw in evangelicalism the only true Christianity.

Maturity, reflection, and good reading (such as First Things ) have broadened my horizons to an “ecumenical orthodoxy” embracing the faithful of all three great Christian traditions: Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant. Indeed I now find myself troubled by the distinctly nonhistorical stance of much of evangelicalism, and therefore drawn to the arguments of the editors about their two great confessional faiths.

For me, Lutheranism in its historic form is the noble faith of Martin Luther, the Augsburg Confession, and all that the early Reformation represents. I am troubled, however, by what Lutheranism has become today: weak on abortion and evasive in its approach to homosexuality. Thus Roman Catholicism is attractive today for its principled stands on the historic faith and traditional morality. I hesitate only to the extent that the Reformation doctrinal struggles have yet to be fully resolved. Here evangelicalism is attractive, both historically (to the extent that it has a history) and presently, but often this new Christian shoot displays its lack of maturity, prudence, and perspective.

To stay or to go? I am grateful for the irenic discourse of Father Neuhaus and Mr. Nuechterlein on these subjects.

William Reichert

Palos Verdes, CA

James Nuechterlein replies:


S.M. Hutchens suggests that even if one finds “the logic behind the arguments for women’s ordination compelling,” that logic should be resisted because its source is “so profoundly suspect.” I mean no disrespect, but that argument reminds me of the claim certain right-wingers used to make to the effect that free public education was a bad idea because Karl Marx had supported it in The Communist Manifesto . I support women’s ordination because I have found none of the arguments against it theologically persuasive. In any case, I see the issue as one of arguable church practice, not dogmatic necessity.

Wallace Spaulding takes me to task for my (literally) parenthetical remark that, for most of us in the West, Orthodoxy is not a live option. I was making a sociocultural observation, not a theological judgment. Until very recently, Orthodoxy has been seen as the expression of Eastern, not Western, Christianity. That may well now be changing, as Mr. Spaulding suggests. But even though I hope I have no lingering “cultural hang-ups” on the subject, I suspect that Orthodoxy will remain unavailable to many evangelical catholics for reasons similar to those that separate them from Rome.

Jeffrey C. Silleck finds three problems with evangelical catholicity. First, he says, it requires belief in an “invisible Church.” Not at all. It requires rather the belief, as I noted in my article, that the quite visible Church has more than one valid historical manifestation. Pastor Silleck further notes that people who regard themselves as evangelical catholics do not all mean precisely the same thing when they use the term. True enough, but so what? Christians of all persuasions have differed among themselves from the first century onwards. Evangelical catholics are hardly distinctive on that score. Finally, I agree that current ELCA practice on abortion is an abomination. I note only that the church’s official position on the issue”while not as forthright as it should be”nonetheless opposes abortion on demand. Its doctrine, in other words, is better than its practice.

I thank William Reichert (along with the many others who have written to me personally) for his generous comments.

More Catholic, Less catholic?


I hope that First Things is not in the process of becoming less catholic in its appeal to evangelical conservatives among its readership by becoming more assertively Catholic. “The realization grows” on Richard John Neuhaus “that orthodoxy and catholicity can be underwritten only by Orthodoxy and Catholicism” (Public Square, January). One supposes that this is more than a rhetorically elegant argument by capitalization”for presumably Orthodoxy is not granted total claim to orthodoxy, nor Catholicism laying total claim to catholicity. This suggests that even within this privileged pairing of Catholicism and Orthodoxy something of division, even of sectarianism, is inescapable.

But unlike James Nuechterlein, I feel no need to justify my own position in terms of “sectarian catholicity””or for that matter “heterodox orthodoxy” (if that is the corresponding phrase). Instead, I want to assert that Roman Catholicism carries within itself its own sectarian principle, in the qualification “Roman.” Jerusalem Catholicism I would gladly live with, or Galilean or Nazarene Catholicism, but why “Roman,” rather than another topographical label from some other significant staging-post in the growth to universality of the catholic Church? . . .

If there has to be individual primacy in the coming Great Church, a less sectarian model would allow for its circulation-to Jerusalem, Alexandria, Constantinople, Canterbury, Wittenberg, Geneva, and why not Iona and Edinburgh and Oxford (for Methodism, not Anglo-Catholicism)? Then Catholicism might be more catholic, and fewer sectarian skeletons would rattle in Roman cupboards.

D. F. Wright

Senior Lecturer

Department of Ecclesiastical History

University of Edinburgh

Scotland

Islam and Freedom


In his view of Islam and Democracy , Joshua Muravchik implies that “freedom” and “democracy” are synonymous, and goes on to cite statistics showing that Africa’s nations are more democratic and free than are those of the Islamic world. But are those persons living in the African “democracies” really free in any meaningful sense? Russell Kirk reminds us that the ends of the state are to secure order, justice, and freedom, and that of these order has primacy, for only when order is established can there be freedom and justice. Most of the African democracies have failed miserably in achieving societal order; to live in a chaotic and anarchic world”even one with frequent elections”is not to enjoy freedom.

In the zeal to bring “freedom” to Islamic countries it ought to be remembered that democracy is no gain if it means the abolition of those traditions, customs, and institutions that bring order to society. For then, “democracy” brings only more tyranny. Reform in the Islamic world must be gradual and prudent.

Jeremy M. Beer

Austin, TX

Joshua Muravchik replies:


I thank Anthony Dennis for his kind words. Jeremy Beer’s letter is very airy. What exactly does it mean to be free in a “meaningful sense” as opposed to just being free? What are the thresholds of chaos and anarchy below which one can “enjoy freedom”? Which of the small number of African democracies has “failed miserably” and how? His warning that democracy, by destroying tradition, breeds tyranny is highly abstract. One can imagine a few places in the contemporary Islamic world where this warning is germane, but most of the dictatorships there are far from traditional. They are the products of anticolonial or postcolonial upheavals.

In Defense of Rock


After reading Father Neuhaus’ diatribe against rock music (Public Square, January), I must protest. Piggy-backed by hyperbolic quotes from two avowed rock music haters, Allan Bloom and Richard Brook hiser, Fr. Neuhaus errs dramatically. First, he mischaracterizes as monolithic a sonically varied and culturally diverse musical style. His next fallacy is that “the music requires no talent.” Such a proposition is not shared by virtually any musician who has experimented with the form.

It is with the article’s second thrust, though, that the worst offense is committed. Quoted approvingly are Brookhiser’s canards that the music “aims downward in class” and is nothing more than “the rhythms of bumpkins.” If the IQs of the listeners of a musical form can condemn it, might not there be a few mentally deficient Mozart fans out there? If so, what does that mean about classical music? Much, under this proposition . . . .

As for its use in church liturgies, I too prefer Bach to rock. But this does not mean rock music has no place in religion or worship. Rock music can be a terrific tool in religious education. I start each of the confirmation classes I teach by playing the catechists a taped song-one with overtly Christ-centered lyrics. The song is always by a non-“religious” rock group (playing a gospel song or one from a “religious rock group” would defeat the purpose). I do this to show the kids that even their heroes often end up “publicly” addressing faith issues or expressing Christian views. The kids should feel comfortable doing the same.

Certainly rock, like all of secular society, is full of sinners. But then, Christ did not come to heal the healthy, did He?

Benjamin J. Eicher

Rapid City, SD

Population Policy in China


Please permit me to offer a critique of Richard John Neuhaus’ brief statement in the Public Square (January): “The shameless behavior . . . of the Clinton Administration in not letting massive human rights violations interfere with making a buck has reached new heights.” Father Neuhaus quotes a news story concerning a vice president of an American pharmaceutical company that has involved itself, with permission of the Clinton Administration, in contraceptive research to assist China’s program of population control: “[The vice president expressed] his hope that the contraceptive [Depo-Provera] provides a new choice for the Chinese women.” Fr. Neuhaus remarks that “It may not exactly be choice, but some [Chinese] women may prefer [the U.S. company’s contraceptive injection] to being forced to undergo an abortion for violating China’s law against more than one child per couple.”

There is a human-rights context for the information you provide that is quite different from the ideological interpretation you present.

In June 1981, I traveled in China for eighteen days with fifteen or so obstetricians and gynecologists and their companions. We visited maternity wards in hospitals in several cities and met with physicians and public officials. Both Chinese physicians and those from my group presented lectures. China’s one-child-per-family policy was a major theme in each series of lectures. In addition, I took the opportunity to quiz our translators and tour guides about the purpose and the anticipated consequences of the one-child policy . . . .

Demographic and economic experts in China apparently argued persuasively that a population exceeding one billion would offer severe obstacles to the modernization of the Chinese system, that a long-term plan to reduce the population to its size at the beginning of the Maoist period”about 600 million”would be preferable . . . .

Resort to abortion, administered as early after pregnancy as possible, was decided upon as the most humane, economical, and effective means of preventing a disastrous population explosion. Indeed, through U.S. eyes and hearts, the Chinese program may seem cruel, a denial of rights of women (and men too). But if we place the program in the context of a demographically threatened China, it takes on dramatically different meaning . . . .

Is it not proper to suggest that an editor and a magazine that profess Christian values give humble and compassionate consideration to the proposition that China’s one-child-per-family policy, and the pharmaceutical research you consider repugnant, may be at least as human-rights oriented as the alternative position you seem to be promoting?

Leonard D. Cain

Portland, OR

RJN replies:


I don’t know about humble and compassionate, but I have certainly given careful consideration to China’s population policies. The killing of innocent unborn children, the assault on parental responsibility for families, and the violent abuse of women are antithetical to any policy that can meaningfully be called “human-rights oriented.” As Amartya Sen of Harvard and other scholars have pointed out, “over-population” is a term that defies clear definition. The last people on earth to be trusted on these questions are those responsible for a regime that killed more than thirty million of its own people in a government-contrived famine, and still today imprisons many thousands in slave labor camps, among its other monstrous crimes.

On White Teutonic Racism


The December 1996 Public Square comment by Father Neuhaus made a big stink that the burnings of black churches in the South last winter didn’t really happen but were drummed up by the National Council of Churches to parlay “white guilt” into big money . . . .

When will Fr. Neuhaus wake up and smell the kerosene? The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant bigotry notorious in America since 1630 is based on a deep strain of racism in the Nordic Teutonic peoples, factions of whom have held themselves to be a Master Race since at least 3000 b.c. , when they commenced condemning white Slavs into slavery in the “civilized Mediterranean”; continued through the Calvinist Pre-Destinationist Heresy and the notorious Anglo-American “man-stealing” of black Africans to slavery in the U.S. South; proceeded to Hitlerite Teutonic Racism; and continue today as the Anglo-Aryan militia fanatics who apparently are burning black (and now white Catholic) churches.

Even Harold O. J. Brown, the notorious Protestant Aryan at Religion and Society Report , isn’t taken in by Fr. Neuhaus’ pollyanna attitude. In the December issue of that review, Brown opines that”to paraphrase him”even if “sola Scriptura” and “sola fide” and “sola Christus” were found out to be false and the Protestants sought to go back to unity with Rome, there would still be the quintessential Calvinist doctrine of “election for some, damnation for others,” which is just the modern ideology for ages-old white teutonic racism.

Any reply, Fr. Neuhaus?

Tom Kuna-Jacob

Quincy, IL

RJN replies:


I wouldn’t know where to begin.