Since first arriving in Moscow, to start school at the University of Idaho in 1961, I have always been proud to say I live here. The cultural, religious, ethnic, and racial mixture of our residents has made life here both interesting and pleasurable. Vera White's INK column (March 30) disturbed me. She identified Mike Hoffman (A mystery solved) as "Christ Church member Mike Hoffman."Nothing more clearly demonstrates what small-minded, ignorant, intolerant bigots the coterie of Moscow liberals are than their crusade against Christ Church. Even liberal columnists like Tom Henderson and Jim Fisher of the Lewiston Tribune rail against this bigotry. It makes no one take them (or their causes) seriously.
In this diversified community I was shocked. Would you refer to city supervisor Gary Riedner as Catholic Church member Gary Riedner, or City Councilwoman Linda Pall as Jewish? I hope this reference was not malicious. I, for one, would appreciate her being more sensitive to others regardless of their religious differences, in her future commentary.
Rick Beebe, Moscow
What concerns me most, however, is when I see such religious bigotry among conservatives.
We conservatives believe in tradtional American values: hard work, individual liberty, self-reliance, free enterprise, patriotism, and faith in God. That faith in God is not limited to theology. There are Jewish conservatives, Catholic conservatives, Protestant conservatives, etc.
A recent Gallup poll on presidential candidate preferences brought forward some troubling issues.
Conservatives are widely accused by liberals as being racists. Yet the Gallup poll found that 92% of conservatives would vote for a black presidential candidate versus 95% of liberals, a statistical tie. So much for that old saw.
However, 75% of liberals would vote for a Mormon candidate versus just 66% of conservatives. Overall, 72% of Americans would vote for a Mormon candidate and 24% would not.
Compare that with 67% of liberals who would vote for an atheist, while only 29% of conservatives would vote for an atheist.
Proof that some prejudices die harder than others is that overall, Americans have grown vastly more supportive over the last 70 years of virtually every type of non-traditional presidential candidate (Jewish, black, Catholic, or a woman) except for a Mormon.
Some of this disparity, no doubt, comes from the unease that some Evangelicals, who comprise a sizable portion of conservatives, have about Mormonism. As an Evangelical, I admit LDS beliefs are somewhat of a mystery to me.
Prominent conservative blogger and talk show host Hugh Hewitt has stated that Evangelicals should not withhold votes for a candidate based purely on theological disagreement. He fears that if Christians attack someone like Mitt Romney for his faith, it won't be long before secular liberals attack Christians on similar grounds. In fact, that is what we are seeing in Moscow now.
We, as conservatives, must not step into that cesspool. One of my favorite movies is "Gettysburg," based on the Michael Shaara book "The Killer Angels." There is a great line in the movie that goes:
Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one a time.I will judge Mitt Romney by his policies, his words, and his actions, not his church membership. To do otherwise would be to engage in the petty snobbery and elitism that the PARDners do with Wal-Mart.
Ronald Reagan focused on what united us when he spoke of America as the "shining city on a hill." Let us not dishonor his legacy by focusing on what divides us, as the leftists do.