...The present war within the Christian fold is perhaps more threatening to the republic than any of the previous intramural disputes. Right-wing religious zealots, working in partnership with the secularists who have advised President Bush, are a threat to the most fundamental of American principles. The founders of our nation welcomed and planned for spirited debate over public policies, including the role of the judiciary. But as sons of the Enlightenment, they looked to found a republic in which the outcome of those debates would turn on reason and evidence, not on disputed religious dogma. They planned wisely for principles that are now under wide assault.I emphasized "enlightenment". (BTW, by "intramural" I'm sure he speaks in terms of religion, I hope he doesn't think we're facing the challenges of the 1830s. Or maybe he does ...)
All Americans, of whatever religious or non-religious persuasion, need to be on the alert to preserve those principles. The burden falls especially heavily on the mainstream Christians who are slowly awakening to the gravity of the challenge facing them. Too long tolerant of their brethren, too much given to forgiveness rather than to confrontation, they need to mount a spirited, nationwide response to what constitutes a dangerous distortion of Christian truths and a frightening threat to the republic they love.
To some extent Gaston oversimplifies -- as do all editorialists. The Catholic church is America is not particularly right-wing, but a significant segment is effectively aligning with the descendants of their historic enemies (not the first time such odd alliances have formed!). There's no mention of the Mormons, but they have an uneasy theological relationship with Catholics and Protestants alike.
Reading the full article, by the way, it seems Gaston divides Americans into secular and Christian. I'm sure he knows better, but it's a common pattern. Sigh.
Americans have, unfortunately, already made up their minds. The 2004 elections were hard fought, only someone in deep denial could have imagined that a vote for Bush was not a vote for right wing religious fundamentalism. Bush won a majority; our nation voted for the fundamentalists. It's a bit late for Bush voters to be having regrets. We who resist are a minority, we fight a rear-guard battle of delaying tactics hoping that the majority will change their mind in 2006 and 2008. If Frist is president in 2008 we will truly become a Christian theocratic state; after which the Catholic-fundamentalist Protestant alliance will disintegrate in a very ugly way.