Quick to categorize?

To the Editor:

Given that I am presumably one of those “reactionary Christian crazies” to which Roger Low referred (“Bush’s red is tangled up in God,” 2/10), I was inclined to read his column somewhat critically. As I suspected, it provided yet another example of people’s penchant for myopic, simplistic analyses of their opponents. President Bush is well-known for this with his rhetoric about evil, with his habit of seeing everything in black and white. Unfortunately, the habit is also prevalent among supposedly tolerant and open-minded educated liberals.

I found Low’s image of Bush as an “evangelical toady” laughable. For one thing, Bush has publicly made comments about faith that would be considered heretical by most evangelical creeds. Furthermore, many members of the Christian right have voiced strong criticisms of Bush’s presidency, as Low might have noted had he read the literature produced by the Christian right. Nor should the Christian right and evangelicalism be equated, as a sizable bloc of evangelicals are politically left. Many others are left on some issues and right on others. I have numerous pacifist evangelical friends who voted for Bush in the last election because they felt that the Democrats did an even worse job representing them. I also have pro-life feminist friends who voted for Bush. The fact that the majority of evangelicals do vote Republican more reflects the fact that neither party actually represents them and that they deem the Republicans a lesser evil than that Bush is their toady.

Just as there are more colors than black and white, there are also more options than conservative/liberal, secular/Christian and so on. One result of the countless combinations of values is that there will be strange bedfellows. Recognizing that people’s values often defy simple categorization would foster constructive debate.



Sydney Penner ’05

Feb. 10, 2005

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