Barry Goldwater
vs.
the Religious Right
[  http://Great-Liberal-Insights.Org/Goldwater.html ]
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It's "the Godfather of Conservatism" who said :

  • "I am a conservative Republican, but I believe in democracy and the separation of church and state.  The conservative movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as they please as long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process."
    (in a 1994 Washington Post essay)
  • "The religious factions will go on imposing their will on others,"
  • "I don't have any respect for the Religious Right."
  • "Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass."
  • "A woman has a right to an abortion."

Goldwater was not always such a staunch separationist.  Early in his controversial political career he supported tax breaks for private school tuition and a school prayer amendment.  But the rise of the intolerant Religious Right caused him to rethink his views, a change that sparked admiration from Americans who disagreed with him on many other things. 
        When Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1981, some Religious Right leaders suspected she might be too moderate on abortion and other social concerns.  Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell told the news media that "every good Christian should be concerned."  Replied Goldwater, "Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass."

        That same year Senator Goldwater complained at length that :
        "There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' "
(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona) Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981

        The five-term U.S. senator from Arizona was equally unimpressed with TV preacher Pat Robertson.  When Robertson sought the GOP nomination for president in 1988, Goldwater wasn't about to say amen.  "I believe in separation of church and state," observed Goldwater.  "Now, he doesn't believe that . . .  I just don't think he should be running." 
        A few years later he told The Advocate, "I don't have any respect for the Religious Right.  There is no place in this country for practicing religion in politics.  That goes for Falwell, Robertson and all the rest of these political preachers.  They are a detriment to the country."
        While some Americans might find Goldwater's stand against all interaction between religion and politics too sweeping, many would agree with his strong commitment to individual freedom of conscience on issues as diverse as religion in schools, gay rights or abortion.  In 1994 he told The Los Angeles Times, "A lot of so-called conservatives don't know what the word means.  They think I've turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion.  That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right."
        Goldwater, an Episcopalian, had theological differences with greedy TV preachers.  "I look at these religious television shows," he said, "and they are raising big money on God.  One million, three million, five million – they brag about it.  I don't believe in that.  It's not a very religious thing to do."
        But Goldwater was also deeply worried about the Religious Right's long-term impact on his beloved GOP.  "If they succeed in establishing religion as a basic Republican Party tenet," he told U.S. News & World Report in 1994, "they could do us in."  In an interview with The Post that same year, Goldwater observed, "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it.  If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."
        But most importantly, Goldwater was deeply concerned about the Religious Right's relentless war on the Constitution and basic American freedoms.  In a Sept. 15, 1981 senate speech, Goldwater noted that Falwell's Moral Majority, anti-abortion groups and other Religious Right outfits were sometimes referred to in the press as the "New Right" and the "New Conservatism."  Responded Goldwater, "Well, I've spent quite a number of years carrying the flag of the 'Old Conservatism.'  And I can say with conviction that the religious issues of these groups have little or nothing to do with conservative or liberal politics.  The uncompromising position of these groups is a divisive element that could tear apart the very spirit of our representative system, if they gain sufficient strength."  Insisted Goldwater, "Being a conservative in America traditionally has meant that one holds a deep, abiding respect for the Constitution.  We conservatives believe sincerely in the integrity of the Constitution.  We treasure the freedoms that document protects. . .  "By maintaining the separation of church and state," he explained, "the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars . . .  Can any of us refute the wisdom of Madison and the other framers?  Can anyone look at the carnage in Iran, the bloodshed in Northem Ireland, or the bombs bursting in Lebanon and yet question the dangers of injecting religious issues into the affairs of state?"
        Goldwater concluded with a waming to the American people.  "The religious factions will go on imposing their will on others," { he said,} "unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy.  They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives. . .  We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now" { he insisted}.  "To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic."
from CHURCH & STATE July / August 1998

"In your heart, you know he's right."

Senator Goldwater was appalled by many who claimed to be "Conservative" followers of his. He planned to write a follow-up to his book, "Conscience of a Conservative", called "Conservatives without Conscience", along with his good friend, of Watergate fame, John Dean. Unfortunately, John Dean had to complete the book on his own after Goldwater passed away in 1998, and the book was published in July of 2006, and quickly became a best seller.


HBO movie "Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater"

"C. C. Goldwater was five when her grandfather, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater ran for President in 1964. In this biographical documentary, illuminated by interviews with major public figures and never-before-seen home movies and photos, CC looks back on the man, his morals, his missteps ... and his enduring legacy as 'Mr. Conservative.'

Conservatives divorcing Republicans :

How long will it take for the Conservative sheep, and for the "Christian evangelicals" in particular, to wake up to the fact that they've been had. There are signs that the sun is dawning, as several "leading lights" of the Conservative movement have seen the light and are now doing their best in order to share that light with their followers, who surely number in the millions.  There are so many that they deserve an entire page of their own.


" Low education and low intelligence," Goldwater once declared to the delight of his equally well-upholstered followers, "are the real causes of poverty."
        "One wonders what he, who did not last out more than one year of college, would have done if a family fortune and a family business did not await him back home."   I. F. Stone, Goldwater and His Tribe.

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