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Conservatives and Christians in power find liberal tactics appealing

October 16th 2005

Conservatives and Christians in power find liberal tactics appealing


Someone should let Christian conservatives know they are being cajoled into accepting a paradigm shift.

The "Religious Right" came into politics to restore constitutional limits to the federal government and encourage voters to exercise moral evaluations when choosing candidates for public office. They were motivated largely by the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that declared laws restricting abortion in 37 states to be an infringement on, what has been called, the constitutional penumbra right to privacy.

Roe provided a convenient target for the emerging political movement that criticized federal judges with a penchant for "legislating from the bench." Such judges were accused of being allies of liberal social engineers who could not achieve their agendas through elected legislatures. The Republican Party capitalized on such accusations to rally voters in support of their candidacies in ever increasing numbers that the party now seems to have a safe hold on legislative majorities in the nationís capital and throughout most of the state legislatures.

Since Republicans have ascended to the top of Americaís two tiered political system, their desires for restrained federal power have ebbed. Gone with the conservative principle of restrained federal power is the plea from Christian conservatives that federal courts return to their constitutional boundaries and leave legislation to elected representatives.

In Gonzales v. Oregon pro-life activists have been awarded an appeal to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate Oregonís law allowing medically assisted suicide. Oregon voters supported the current version of the law by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin in 1997. In November 2001, According to the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, "Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a directive stating that a doctor could lose his or her federal registration to prescribe controlled substances if the registration is used to prescribe federally controlled substances for assisted suicide." This directive was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Subsequently, a group of Oregon residents, including a doctor, a pharmacist, and several terminally ill patients, sued the United States Attorney General to challenge an interpretive ruling of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Matthew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, has filed a friend-of-the-court brief and recently told a reporter with Focus on the Family that, "Under the Controlled Substances Act, and that is under the federal government's jurisdiction, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can authorize new medications, restrict or withdraw medications for the purpose of healing or protecting life." Simply put pro-life activists are petitioning the court to allow bureaucratic regulations to take precedence over a state law that passed through a representative legislative system.

Admittedly those challenging Oregonís assisted suicide law have a more legitimate foundation than that used in Roe to negate all state laws restricting abortion. They are basing their challenge upon a written regulation from a federal bureaucracy that has been empowered to regulate the use of medicine. In Roe the petitioners were asking the court to create a right for a woman to abort a baby that had been born three years previously. Gonzales, however, has coalesced social and Christian conservatives to seek federal power to mediate a question of law which is left, by the US Constitution, to be decided by state and local governments. More importantly they are asking for federal bureaucrats to assert moral authority over ethical questions which have been traditionally left to trained medical professionals.


Debates over euthanasia are older than the Hippocratic Oath, which was penned more than 2500 years ago. The Oath has been behind the growth of the medical profession as a call to care and healing over that time. When the power of government becomes involved with directing how professional standards of care are to be applied results can be disastrous, as documented in the superb book, The Nazi Doctors, by Robert Jay Lifton.

Christian conservatives foolishly assume that the power of the American government will always enforce morally unimpeachable standards. This assumption is occluding the reality that Oregonís electoral response to physician assisted suicide indicates a population in need of teaching on the consequences of legally killing family, friends and neighbors. It also identifies a population of medical professionals who are in dire need of reinvestigating the moral standards that made their noble calling among the most necessary cornerstones for the survival of civilizations.

Instead, Christians and conservatives have abandoned principles that brought them together because they have found power to be a convenient tool for achieving social goals. Unless the Republican Party loses its grip on legislative majorities on every level of government it is quite unlikely that any Christian or conservative principle will ever receive consideration in the foreseeable future.


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By Bob Strodtbeck

Bob Strodtbeck has been writing editorial commentaries since 1993.  He has professional experiences in pharmaceuticals, radio, and education.  He has also served as a church elder in an Orlando congregation where he has made his home since

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Keywords and misspellings: Christian right rite christain conseravtive conservative 


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:47 PM