Wave goodbye to that fantasy of a more inclusive Republican Party.
George W. Bush and John McCain
have planted themselves on the
wrong side of the Confederate flag
issue. And last week, there was Mr.
Bush in Greenville, S.C., happily touting "our ideas, Republican ideas,
conservative ideas" at Bob Jones
University, which maintains its perverse rules against the mingling of
races and its disgusting hostility to
the Catholic religion.
Love is fine at B.J.U. as long as it
doesn't cross the color line. Mr.
Bush's brother and sister-in-law --
Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida,
and his Mexican-born wife, Columba
-- would have been condemned and
expelled from Bob Jones for having
dared to fall in love and marry.
The former head of the university,
Bob Jones Jr., engaged in an astonishing series of attacks on Catholics
in the 1980's, asserting that "all the
popes are demon-possessed" and
that Pope John Paul II was "the
greatest danger we face today."
"The papacy," he said, "is the
religion of Antichrist and is a satanic
On Tuesday I asked a spokesman
for the university, Jonathan Pait, if
the school had ever repudiated Mr.
Jones's statements, or backed off of
them in any way.
"I don't believe so," he said.
According to Mr. Pait, "There is a
disagreement about what the Bible
teaches between Catholicism and
Protestantism. And the university
takes a very strong stand that Protestantism is the correct interpretation of Scripture."
I asked about interracial dating.
"There is to be no interracial dating," he said. "That is the policy."
When I asked why the policy had
been established, he replied, "Because there is a held belief from way
back in the institution that that was
Bob Jones has black students, but
Mr. Pait said he didn't know how
many. He said the ban on interracial
dating did not imply that the school
loved any of its students less. "It
doesn't matter to us what The Washington Post or The New York Times
thinks," he said. "It's when I can look
my black or Oriental or Indian or
whatever color brother or sister in
Christ in the eyes and say, 'I love
you.' That's what matters."
Mr. Bush's campaign appearance
at Bob Jones reminded me of Ronald
Reagan's first major appearance in
the 1980 general election. Mr. Reagan chose to kick off his presidential
bid in Philadelphia, Miss., which just
happened to have been the place
where three civil rights workers --
Andrew Goodman, Michael
Schwerner and James Chaney --
were murdered in 1964.
During that appearance Mr. Reagan told his audience, "I believe in
Mr. Bush's entanglement in the
Confederate flag issue is not limited
to the controversy over the flag that
flies over the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. Mr. Bush has his own controversy back home. Complaints have
erupted over displays of the rebel
flag in public buildings in Texas,
including some public schools.
Defenders of the Confederate battle flag like to characterize it as a
cherished symbol of a benevolent
and oh-so-civilized Southern past,
rather than a banner representing
the twin abominations of slavery and
race hatred. They might want to take
a look at the Texas Ordinance of
Secession, dated Feb. 2, 1861.
The ordinance declares that Texas
was received into the Confederated
States "as a commonwealth holding,
maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery -- the
servitude of the African to the white
race within her limits -- a relation
that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white
race, and which her people intended
should exist in all future time."
The ordinance said Texas' "institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between
her and other slave-holding States of
For many years the Republican
Party has been a haven for reactionary, right-wing and racist elements
in the society. Many of its candidates
have pandered to those elements.
There is not much in the way of
change that can be perceived on the
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