The Common Good
September 2004

One-Sided Views?

by Rev. Stephen W. Rankin | September 2004


I’ve been "checking in" with Sojourners off and on for a number of years. I appreciate and strongly support your commitment to Christian discipleship in every aspect of life.

Still, I’m puzzled by the space given to your latest article on the Religious Right ("The Right Stuff," by David Batstone and Mark Wexler, July 2004). One thing that seems not ever to enter your frame of reference is the possibility that, instead of the movement’s just being more savvy and mature, they may actually have a few things right. When analyzing their influence, you consistently attribute it to something other than good ideas—i.e. their being in bed with Republican leaders whose policies consistently cater to the wealthy.

I live in a rural plains state and have spent virtually all my life with people who deal on a relatively small scale—small-business owners, small- to medium-sized farmers. Often when I hear of Republican policies "favoring the rich," I listen to these local folks who talk about how those same policies help them stay afloat with their narrow margins; how government "red tape" (i.e. Democratic policies) frequently chokes and inhibits their ability to make a decent living. Maybe some of the Right’s policies do favor the rich, but they must favor not only the rich.

I completely agree with a publication taking a position rather than upholding some bland, not to mention naive (or cynical?), position of "neutrality." I’m just puzzled by the seeming unwillingness ever to acknowledge that a political adversary might have some good ideas. It might be done in a more sophisticated and nuanced way, but it smells like arrogance.

Rev. Stephen W. Rankin

Winfield, Kansas

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