Marvin Olasky

 That's clearly not the liberal stereotype of Christians or of the politician most prominently identified as a conservative Christian. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, for example, is blasting away at President Bush (and, by extension, his co-religionists) because, "The president has this strange notion that his belief in God means detailed and perfect knowledge of everything that God wants." Since nothing in Bush speeches indicates he thinks that way, I suspect that Dowd is taking the way a few arrogant Christians talk and broad-brushing all, including the president.

 But even in The New York Times, as at Princeton, reality gained a foothold on Oct. 22. Charles J. Chaput, the archbishop of Denver, noted in a guest op-ed page column that lawmaking inevitably involves a battle of beliefs: "If we say that we 'ought' to do something, we are making a moral judgment. When our legislators turn that judgment into law, somebody's ought becomes a ?must' for the whole of society. This is not inherently dangerous; it's how pluralism works."

 He continued: "Democracy depends on people of conviction expressing their views, confidently and without embarrassment. This give-and-take is an American tradition, and religious believers play a vital role in it. We don't serve our country -- in fact we weaken it intellectually -- if we downplay our principles or fail to speak forcefully out of some misguided sense of good manners."

 That says it well. Christians, like others, should compete democratically. Sen. Kerry regularly notes that faith without works is dead, but what about belief without advocacy?

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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