A Cal Thomas sampler

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In watching for Cal Thomas's column remembering Jerry Falwell, his erstwhile boss at the Moral Majority, I read through several of his recent columns and was reminded that I need to read him more often. Here's a sampling of a few recent columns.

On Tuesday, Thomas looked at Rudy Giuliani's problem with Republican voters on abortion and suggested one way forward for the former mayor:

If Giuliani really hates abortion, he will propose steps to reduce their number. If he wants to split the difference on this most contentious social issue — maintaining choice while reducing the number of abortions — he could favor "truth in labeling" legislation similar to a federal law that requires information on bottles, packages and cans. Sophisticated ultrasound machines have been shown to contribute to a sharp reduction in abortions for abortion-minded women. Such a proposal would allow him a rarity in politics: to have it both ways.

(He'd even have a model to follow: Oklahoma's informed consent legislation.)

Thomas is a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland, a connection he made through Ulster native Ed Dobson, Thomas's colleague at Moral Majority and his coauthor on Blinded by Might. In April, following the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, Thomas spoke to the Rev. Ian Paisley, the new First Minister of Northern Ireland, about the unprecedented power-sharing agreement between Paisley's hardline Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein, the political wing of the terrorist Irish Republican Army:

Thomas: You mentioned bitterness. For the last 30 years there has been a lot of that. More than 3,500 people have been killed. How long do you think it will take to heal the wounds? Can it occur quickly, or will it take many years?


Paisley:Oh, I think it will take many years because of the brave ones amongst us, and the shame of how the British government treated us by not dealing with terrorism the way they should have. There is a lot of bitterness. But what progress could we make by just sitting on the devastation and this sea of tears and just moaning and bemoaning our position? I think if we can get the people to move toward faith that will enable them to overcome (bitterness). It could be shorter, or it could be longer, depending on how things work out at the end of the day.

Thomas on Fred Thompson:

I have no idea whether Fred Thompson, former senator from Tennessee, will run for the Republican nomination for president, but he should....

Thompson conveys Middle American, common sense values. When he is asked a question, he doesn't sound as if he's giving a poll-tested pabulum answer. Agree or not, his statements spring from conviction.

Thomas goes on to quote approvingly from Thompson's interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Thomas remembers Kitty Carlisle Hart:

We met by accident at a newspaper editor's convention in St. Paul, Minn., in 1989. She was to be one side in a debate over federal funding for the arts. She was for it. Her opponent was against it. Except, her debating partner's plane was delayed, and so the host editor called me....

I was somewhere else in town and had to come back to the convention site. By the time I arrived, she had begun her presentation. It was worse than I had anticipated - not her presentation, but the obstacles I faced. There she was with her half granny glasses and a little lamp on the podium, reading her notes. I was supposed to attack this grandmother twice my age? I should rather commit suicide!

An inspiration came to me. When it was my turn to respond, I began by saying how much I admired her husband, the late Broadway director Moss Hart, and how when I read his autobiography "Act One" in the early '60s, it had deepened my appreciation for the theater. I had her eating out of my hand!

I also found this, in Jewish World Review's eight-year archive of Thomas's columns, an April 2000 column about Falwell's re-entry into the political sphere:

At a time when the Christian world is focusing on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and the meaning of those events, Rev. Jerry Falwell is again focusing on politics.

A decade ago, after disbanding the Moral Majority (for which I toiled for five years), Falwell announced he was going back to preaching. People who heard him said his preaching became more powerful when he returned to his first love. But he has again succumbed to the temptation of politics and its illusion of power. At a news conference last week in Washington and on his "People of Faith 2000'' Web page, Falwell announced a drive to register 10 million new voters in order to impose a moral code through government which most citizens, comfortable in their materialism, are not willing to impose on themselves.

The failure of Falwell's efforts to change culture through government was the subject of the aforementioned Blinded by Might, published in 1999. The book was wrongly reviled by James Dobson and others as a call for Christians to withdraw from political engagement. In fact, it was a call for Christians to be realistic about what could be accomplished in the political sphere, and to remember the distinction between what Augustine called the City of God and the City of Man.

Falwell's lasting legacy, Thomas says, will be Liberty University, principal among his efforts to engage and transform the culture by non-political means.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 17, 2007 6:14 PM.

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