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NEW BOOK REVEALS TRUTH ABOUT GOVERNOR BUSH, MARVIN OLASKY, AND “COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM”

by David A. Harris, National Jewish Democratic Council

WASHINGTON, DC: A new book by Marvin Olasky, a longtime advisor to Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush, clearly articulates the way Governor Bush and his advisor intend to tear down the wall separating church and state.

Governor Bush, in a glowing foreword to Compassionate Conservatism: What It Is, What It Does, and How It Can Transform America, says Olasky’s thesis is “an approach I share.” Mr. Olasky, called the “godfather of compassionate conservatism” by The New York Times (September 12, 1999), has advised Governor Bush since 1993 and chairs Bush’s policy subcommittee on religion.

Taken together, the book and Governor Bush’s warm endorsement lay to rest any doubt about the true relationship between the Republican presidential candidate and the extremist views of Mr. Olasky, as well as any lingering questions about the true aims of so-called “compassionate conservatism.”

“I wish we could send copies of this book to all Americans who still believe – all evidence to the contrary – that their religious freedom will be protected under a Bush administration,” Ira N. Forman, Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, noted today. “The book outlines, in no uncertain terms, that the goal of the ‘faith-based’ domestic agenda espoused by Governor Bush is indeed taxpayer-funded proselytization of the poor. When Governor Bush – in his forward – calls this book ‘a blueprint for government’ and ‘an approach I share,’ he does a better job than we could ever hope to do to of showing just how out of touch he is with the Jewish community and all Americans who treasure their religious liberty and the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

Compassionate Conservatism asserts in part that:

 The Constitution does not mandate a wall separating church and state;
 Government should fund religious social service programs that include proselytizing and worship as key components;
 We should reexamine a policy of “multiple establishment” of religion, in which different religions and denominations are directly funded by the federal government; and
 It is an “error” to judge federally-funded social service programs by the effectiveness of the services they provide, instead of judging them by religious “long-term ends.”

FROM THE BOOK GOVERNOR BUSH CALLS A “BLUEPRINT FOR GOVERNMENT” AND “AN APPROACH I SHARE”

-(Excerpts from Compassionate Conservatism: What It Is, What It Does, and How It Can Transform America, by Marvin Olasky)

- Olasky admits that “the wall of separation of church and state…would stop compassionate conservatism in its tracks if it were part of the Constitution. But it’s not. …There was nothing about stopping students from public prayer at football games or gagging counselors in antipoverty agencies” (Compassionate Conservatism, pp.106-7).

- Olasky writes that “for compassionate conservatism to take hold…Patrick Henry’s arguments will need to be reexamined” (p. 106). Olasky here refers to the 18th century patriot’s support of the “multiple establishment” of religion. He illustrates this concept by citing the “Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” which Henry offered in 1784. “The bill declared Christianity to be ‘the established Religion of this Commonwealth’ and proposed a property tax for support of Christian ministers, teachers, and alms distributors,” explains Olasky (p. 95).

- Olasky appears to suggest that government funding for Islam – as a non-Christian faith – may be tantamount to an unavoidable “corruption” of his plans to assist faith-based programs: “Christians may not be amused when tax credits or government grants go to an Islamic organization that convinced alcoholics and addicts to straighten up and fly right in order to please Allah. Liberals will not be pleased if a fundamentalist group similarly benefits. Just as there is corruption in some governmental departments, some corruption will emerge in some compassionate conservative programs. But our society will have to live with that and work to contain it, because without freedom for religion, our inner cities have no hope” (p. 193).

- Olasky approvingly cites the post-revolutionary constitution of New Hampshire to illustrate how the founding fathers approved of state support for religion (pp. 94-95). Yet he conveniently ignores the fact that as a result of such state support, New Hampshire did not allow non-Christians to hold public office for nearly 100 years.

- Decrying the absence of religion in public schools, Olasky asks, “In 1999, was there no connection between the Bible on the back burner and the fires in our schools?” (p. 178)

- Olasky outlines Governor Bush’s support for public funding of social service programs that include worship and proselytizing, overlooking the fact that due to the fungibility of funds, government assistance would free up other funds to pay for proselytizing efforts: “…Governor Bush took a position very different than that of Al Gore. He said that if an organization had a successful enough track record to receive taxpayers’ funds for some of its activities, he would want to provide those without demanding a ban on worship services and other direct proselytizing functions; those could be paid for by private funds” (p. 181).

- Olasky takes an expansive view of Senator John Ashcroft’s (R-MO) 1996 charitable choice provision of the welfare bill, again ignoring the fact that government funding of programs that include worship and proselytization will free-up other monies to fund such religious efforts, even if the government funds are not directly used towards those sectarian ends: “As originally reported in the press…the law meant that organizations engaged in ‘sectarian worship, instruction, or proselytization’ cannot be funded. In practice, this would mean that only those who say worship and evangelism are not central to their task could receive funding. If that’s all charitable choice is, very little will change…. [Senator Ashcroft and the other authors of the measure understand] that their measure allows worship, instruction, and proselytization to go on and even be intermingled with provision of government-funded social services, as long as those specific activities are privately funded…. [an organization] may receive funding to help with rent, utilities, meals, and such costs. Private funds can pay for counselors, Bible study materials, and so on” (p183-4).

- Olasky argues that it is an “error” to judge federally-funded social service programs by the effectiveness of the services they provide, instead of judging them by religious “long-term ends:” “Reporters who did spend time at faith-based organizations often made a different error: they tended to see churches and similar institutions as institutions or instruments to be measured by their effectiveness in delivering social services. And yet the primary concern of most churches, synagogues, and mosques is eternal destiny. In the course of helping to change deeper understandings, they also change lives here and now, but journalists (and government officials as well) need to remember first things. Reporters need to display sensitivity to long-term ends even as they examine effectiveness in changing the here and now. Covering compassionate conservatism in practice will be one of the hardest jobs reporters ever have, and one of the most important” (p. 197).

__________________________________________ OTHER STATEMENTS BY THE MAN GOVERNOR BUSH CALLS “COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM’S LEADING THINKER:”

 Olasky has said that “feminism has led to great sexual irresponsibility” and “increased poverty among women.”
 Olasky said that three Jewish pro-McCain journalists have “holes in their souls,” and they “have no understanding of G-d’s grace.”
 Olasky has written, “The Easter/Passover season is a particularly good time of year for Christians to talk with Jewish neighbors about the Jewishness of Jesus and the need for all of us to gain an exodus from sin through Christ.”

- “[Betty Friedan’s] answer was for women to join the work force. This they have done, with dire consequences for society as a whole. …Certainly, feminism has led to great sexual irresponsibility. We have aborted 38 million unborn children since Roe v. Wade. Those are victims of feminism. …Of course, feminism has lead to increased poverty among women. …G-d does not forbid women to be leaders in society, generally speaking, but when that occurs it’s usually because of the abdication of men …there is a certain shame attached to it. I would vote for a woman for the presidency, in some situations, but again, there is a certain shame attached. Why don’t you have a man who’s able to stop forward? G-d’s word says very plainly that an elder is to be a man; he is to be the husband of one wife” (“The Impact of Feminism: An Interview with World Magazine Editor Marvin Olasky,” Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Winter 1998).

- In February, Olasky singled out three prominent pro-McCain journalists by name, each of them Jewish, as having “holes in their souls” for not backing Bush’s candidacy. Olasky described one as having “faith only in Zeus-like strength” and another as “also a case study in running away from the Bible.” He said they “have no understanding of G-d’s grace” (The Austin American-Statesman, February 16, 2000).

- Demonstrating his commitment towards converting Jews to Christianity, Olasky wrote in 1998, “The Easter/Passover season is a particularly good time of year for Christians to talk with Jewish neighbors about the Jewishness of Jesus and the need for all of us to gain an exodus from sin through Christ.” The same column goes on to recommend a book entitled “Christianity is Jewish” (April 11, 1998). Around the same time in 1999, Olasky used his column in World magazine – an evangelical Christian publication for which Olasky is the editor – to declare that “Christianity is Jewish” and to quote Benjamin Disraeli as saying in 1863, “The Jews owe everything to the church” (March 27, 1999).

- Olasky’s World magazine has repeatedly published other articles calling for the proselytization of Jews. A September 1999 article by R. Albert Mohler criticizes the hoopla over the recent Southern Baptist campaign described by The Washington Post as “a new aggressive campaign aimed at converting Jews to Christianity.” Mohler criticizes Abraham Joshua Heschel, Abraham Foxman, Rabbi James Rudin and “secularized” and atheist Jews for opposing Christian attempts to convert Jews. He argues for the “necessity of Jewish evangelism,” decries “pluralism,” and says of Jews, “we owe them the gospel.” Another article by Gene Edward Veith from March 2000 complains that reporters who are “all over Southern Baptists for their evangelism programs towards Jews” sadly “still don’t get it” (World, March 18, 2000).

- “Public schools have gotten worse; that’s exactly what we would expect when G-d is ignored, discipline erodes, and a lack of competition protects old-line monopolies….” (Olasky column, “Being All You Can Be,” World, February 22, 1997).

- Olasky praises Curt and Shelley Williams – the founders of a “Christ-based” program (Youth-Reach Houston) that Olasky himself describes as “intolerant” – and argues that Governor Bush sees them as part of the “solution:” “The Williamses understand that compassion means intensifying the full biblical message, not toning it down. Tolerance? [Their] newsletter shows that, to be kind to kids, it is vital to ‘speak out against the growing sinful plague of homosexuality…abortion, adultery, premarital sex, militant environmentalism, or any of the litany of liberal social issues.’ …[Bush] does seem to understand that intolerant poverty-fighting folks like Curt Williams…are the solution, not a problem as the PC police of the left contend” (World, February 20, 1999).

- “I mean, the real problem today is kids born to single moms and the single moms want to try to raise the kids and that’s – I mean, their intentions are very good, but it is such a hard task in that situation, it overwhelms a lot of them and they find out that when the child is two or three that they really can't handle it” (C-Span’s “Booknotes,” January 22, 1995).

- “If a nation accepts adultery as standard and embraces no-fault homosexuality, then Christians can predict family disintegration and the eventual onslaught of disease” (Turning Point: A Christian Worldview Declaration, Crossway, 1987, p. 147).

WITH A FRIEND LIKE THIS....

Revisiting Bush, Olasky, and "Compassionate Conservatism."

Marvin "Olasky believes that government anti-poverty programs are doomed to failure because many of the poor need spiritual nurturing to motivate them to change their situations. Bush apparently believes this too, which is why reporters have been scrutinizing Olasky's musings of late—to glean insight into Bush's intellectual makeup. (see below) The resulting furor over Olasky's more controversial positions culminated this spring in charges of unethical journalism by the esteemed New York Times columnist William Safire as well as accusations of anti-Semitism by other members of the national media. So what if someone writes "pig" on his [University of Texas] office door? Olasky has heard much worse....

"[Olasky hurls] harsh diatribes at anyone he feels is disobeying the inerrant Word of God. In the 1996 journalism textbook Telling the Truth, for instance, he makes the case that secular journalism has evicted religion from the premises. Christian journalists, he argues, need to invite God back into public debate by filtering all issues through the Bible's lens. "Now, as in the past, Christians under attack desperately need good magazines and newspapers, just as colonists under attack before the American Revolution needed Committees of Correspondence," he says.

"Such a siege mentality, however, leads Olasky to espouse views that come back to haunt him. Take this passage from Telling the Truth: "Biblical objectivity means supporting the establishment and improvement of Bible-based education and criticizing government schools, in the understanding that turning education over to 'professionals' who have no regard for God is an abdication of biblical parental responsibility." When I read Olasky this quote and suggest that it sounds like he's against public education—which would certainly come as a surprise to Bush, whose twin daughters graduated in May from a public high school in Austin—he frowns and asks to see my notes. Looking perplexed, he consults his own copy of the book to check my accuracy and then frowns again. "Every teacher has a worldview," he explains. "It's not accurate to say [that public schools are neutral]. For Christians, every subject should be viewed through Scripture. If you don't, you're promoting a worldview that is not biblical."...

"Then there is Olasky's take on the poor.... Dope dealers, alcoholics, thieves, and illegitimate children populate the book, as well as many modern-day saints doing selfless work in tough, urban settings. But Compassionate Conservativism seems to focus on the poor in need of rehabilitation from destructive behavior. Although the problems of law-abiding, working poor people are not addressed, Olasky says he did not intend to "dump on" the poor. "There's no shame in being poor," he insists, acknowledging that health problems, spousal abandonment, and layoffs—things outside a person's control—often lead to poverty. Still, he continues, many people lack "a work understanding" that religious values could fill. "Faith in Christ gets a whole set of attitudes," he says.

"During our interview, Olasky admits that, on occasion, his words go too far....And yet Olasky acknowledges that "bold and courageous" reporting—devoid of shades of gray—could destroy church outreach to the poor." [Note: As an example of this point, in his NYT column William Safire called Olasky's writing and editing against McCain and in favor of Bush during the South Carolina Primary "religio-political sleaze in action." --Politex] --Patricia Kilday Hart, July 2000.

BUSH PLAYS THE JESUS CARD AGAIN...AND AGAIN.

Supreme Court Rules Against Bush School Prayer Appeal, 6-3 "The Supreme Court has ruled that public school districts cannot let students say prayers over public address systems at high school football games. In a 6-3 decision, the justices ruled that student-led, student-initiated public prayer before football games violates the separation of church and state, and is not private speech protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution." (ABC)

"Last summer, Bush joined officials from seven other states in filing a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the voluntary, student-led prayers. In the brief, Bush wrote that the Constitution requires school officials, not students, to be neutral toward religion, meaning students should be allowed to “determine what message if any to deliver.” Today, Bush said he was disappointed by the court’s ruling. “I thought voluntary student-led prayer in extracurricular activities was right and important and the Supreme Court thought otherwise, and I’m disappointed in the outcome,” Bush said." (Jackie Shaner)

The three justices who voted in Bush's favor to weaken the separation between church and state were Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist. Either Gore or Bush will most likely select three new justices during the next presidential tenure. Bush has said he will select people like Justices Scalia and Thomas, who will remain on the bench, while Gore has said he would use the deceased, far less conservative Marshall as his model. (Politex)

Bush Theocratic "Gurus" Arrive in London to Advise British Conservatives. "Marvin Olasky [,the father of Bush's "compassionate conservatism" who has been quoted as saying that women should be content with non-leadership roles,] ... flew to London yesterday, along with Don Willet, Mr Bush's special projects director, to make a presentation... [to] Conservatives on involving churches, synagogues and mosques in state social programmes....By pledging freedom and support for Christian-based drug addiction centres and other faith-based welfare projects, [Conservative leader] Mr Hague wants to bridge the divide he believes exists between state and religious welfare provision. He intends to do this by adopting ideas pioneered by Mr Bush, bringing forward to the 21st century concepts from the 19th century Victorian era when religion and social welfare were inextricably linked and the State's role minimal." --The Times, 6/20

Religions Broadcaster Attacks Mac Official "In a recorded message phoned to Michigan voters, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson attacks an official in John McCain's campaign as "a vicious bigot who wrote that conservative Christians in politics are anti-abortion zealots, homophobes and would-be censors."...Todd Harris, a McCain spokesman, did not allege any involvement by Bush's campaign, but said: "This is exactly the kind of politics that we had hoped we left behind in South Carolina. "Pat Robertson and (former Christian Coalition director) Ralph Reed hand delivered Governor Bush's victory to him in South Carolina," Harris said. "The people of Michigan have an opportunity to repudiate these kinds of negative smears."..."We are not making any Pat Robertson calls," said Bush campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker. "Our campaign doesn't know anything about it." AP, 2/21/00


Candidate Christ and George W. Bush

Bush Plays the Jesus Card. "As H. L. Mencken pointed out, religion 'is used as a club and a cloak by both politicians and moralists, all of them lusting for power and most of them palpable frauds.' George W. Bush scored some debate points [in Iowa] by supporting the holy trinity of ethanol, Jesus and soft money. (Didn't Jesus throw those soft-money changers out of the temple?)
When the Republican candidates were asked to name their favorite political philosophers, Mr. Bush replied: 'Christ, because he changed my heart.' Pressed to elaborate, the Texas governor again showed his inability to go deep.
His mouth curled down into that famous smirky look. 'Well, if they don't know, it's going to be hard to explain,' he said. 'When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the Savior, it changes your heart. It changes your life. And that's what happened to me.' Translation: You're either in the Christ club or out of it, on the J.C. team or off. This is the same exclusionary attitude, so offensive to those with different beliefs, that he showed in 1993 when he said that you must believe in Jesus Christ to enter heaven. (Mr. Bush has since conceded that only 'God decides who goes to heaven, not George W. Bush.')....
This is the era of niche marketing, and Jesus is a niche. Why not use the son of God to help the son of Bush appeal to voters? W. is checking Jesus' numbers, and Jesus is polling well in Iowa. Christ, the new wedge issue. When you take something deeply personal and parade it for political gain, you are guilty either of cynicism or exhibitionism." --Maureen Dowd

Candidate Christ "and a large crowd of reverent volunteers, all of them broke, were trudging along behind the candidate on the cold highway outside Red Bud, Ill., far from the Iowa caucuses. "If we ever get there, we could win the thing easy," the campaign manager said. "He has very good name recognition. Way bigger than Lincoln." He waved an arm in exuberance. "They can't even steal an election from him by voting dead names. Our candidate will come right in with his Lazarus move. He'll have a million at any poll by nightfall. They may come in shaking a lot of dust off them, but they'll be voters. Candidate Christ, he said, merely by his presence could demolish these temporal politicians who use his name like it was a commercial product. In particular, candidate Bush. "How can he say he carries me, Jesus Christ, in his heart," candidate Christ asked, "when at the same time he stands by while people are put to death?" He spoke in a soft voice that carried for a million miles. The candidate continued, "How can he love Christ and take part in capital punishment? I say to you there have been 112 people put to death so far, while he maintains that I reside in his heart. Did not a woman beg for her life and he refused her? I say to you there will be chastisement for using the name of Christ in vain. My position is to listen to the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to death." --Jimmy Breslin

"Does Bush think that Jesus smiled down upon him as he allowed these 112 executions to take place? Does Bush believe in the Biblical line "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord" or does he not? Does Bush accept only part of the message of Jesus while in his own wisdom feels free to ignore the rest? What does he accept and what does he reject? Is Bush a Christian who believes that Jesus preached a philosophy of love and forgiveness? Or does he believe that in spite of what Jesus said and did, the Christian God must be a punishing Old Testament deity, with Bush merely serving as another exterminating angel?...

"Such questions....are not irrelevant when Bush the Candidate makes his religion a major entry in his biography and a reason for some Americans to elect him president.... "On matters of life and death, Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago used to speak about the "seamless web." It was an argument for moral coherence. If you opposed abortion, he said, you must also oppose capital punishment and most wars. Life itself was sacred, said Bernardin; only God could bring it to an end, not someone as flawed as a man. That was a coherent and humane philosophy, whether you were religious or not. Bush, like so many other politicians, wants it both ways: to trumpet his Christian beliefs, while maintaining the freedom to kill human beings." --Pete Hamill

Bush Plays the Jesus Card. "As H. L. Mencken pointed out, religion 'is used as a club and a cloak by both politicians and moralists, all of them lusting for power and most of them palpable frauds.' George W. Bush finally scored some debate points on Monday night by supporting the holy trinity of ethanol, Jesus and soft money. (Didn't Jesus throw those soft-money changers out of the temple?)
When the Republican candidates were asked to name their favorite political philosophers, Mr. Bush replied: 'Christ, because he changed my heart.' Pressed to elaborate, the Texas governor again showed his inability to go deep. To borrow a Dorothy Parker quip, he ran the gamut from A to B. Just as in the last debate, when he was asked to expound on a biography of Dean Acheson, he gave the impression that he thought coughing up an impressive name was quite enough.
His mouth curled down into that famous smirky look. 'Well, if they don't know, it's going to be hard to explain,' he said. 'When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the Savior, it changes your heart. It changes your life. And that's what happened to me.' Translation: You're either in the Christ club or out of it, on the J.C. team or off. This is the same exclusionary attitude, so offensive to those with different beliefs, that he showed in 1993 when he said that you must believe in Jesus Christ to enter heaven. (Mr. Bush has since conceded that only 'God decides who goes to heaven, not George W. Bush.')....
This is the era of niche marketing, and Jesus is a niche. Why not use the son of God to help the son of Bush appeal to voters? W. is checking Jesus' numbers, and Jesus is polling well in Iowa. Christ, the new wedge issue. When you take something deeply personal and parade it for political gain, you are guilty either of cynicism or exhibitionism." --Maureen Dowd


Bush Religious News

WP: BUSH BACKS OFF CHRIST QUESTION. 12/16/99
SAFIRE: BUSH INJECTION OF RELIGION "DISMAYING." 12/16/99
THOMAS: PUNDITS REACT TO BUSH "GOD TALK." 12/16/99
DOWD: BUSH PLAYS THE JESUS CARD. 12/15/99
AP: BRADLEY THINKS HIS RELIGION IS "AN EXTREMELY PRIVATE MATTER."
NYT: RELIGIOUS FEAR "HEAVY- HANDED" CHRISTIANITY IN WHITE HOUSE.
WT: IOWA THEOCRATS THINK BUSH DID WELL IN DEBATE. 12/15/99
AAS: BUSH DEFENDS JESUS STATEMENT. 12/15/99
CT: BUSH CONTENT IN CHRISTIAN COALITION'S EMBRACE. 10/2/99
WP: BUSH STRESSES ABORTION RECORD TO CHRISTIAN COALITION. 10/2/99
REUTERS: PROTECT ALL FETUSES--BUSH. 10/2/99
DMN: "LET'S GET IN POWER, THEN MAKE POLICY" --CHRISTIAN BUSH BACKER.
NYT: CAMPAIGN REFORM WOULD GUT CHRISTIAN COALITION--ROBERTSON.
BG: PAT NO SHOWS, OTHER PAT HITS BACK. 10/2/99
AR: DAD'S ADVISER ON THEOCRATS WORKING FOR JUNIOR. 9/19/99
NYT: SUPREME COURT MAY TAKE UP BUSH PRAYER APPEAL. 9/19/99

Bush Jewish News
WP: BUSH DISAPPOINTS HISPANICS, JEWS OVER PAT. 9/28/99
JTA: JEWISH OFFICIALS CRITICAL OF BUSH RE PAT. 9/28/99
COHEN: IN GOP YOU CAN INSULT JEWS, NOT WWII ROLE. 9/28/99
FLAKE: PAT USES "ISRAELI LOBBY" AS CODE FOR JEWS. 9/27/99
NYT: JEWISH ADL HEAD SAYS BUSH "PUT POLITICS OVER PRINCIPLES. 9/25/99
AP: BUSH SAYS HE NEEDS PAT AND HIS VOTES FOR WH2K. 9/25/99
AAS: JEWS LOSE IN DUBYA'S WORLD. 9/15/99


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