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To the editor:
The short article "Pluralist views" (Reporter, September 26, 2002, p. 13) gives us background information about the two forthcoming Beatty Lectures in connection with the Pluralism, Religion and Public Policy Conference. We are told the lectures will be given "by very different speakers on similar topics". Professor D. Farrow, conference co-chair is quoted as saying: "They come from very different places on the political spectrum." Just how different?
Speaker no. 1 (Professor W. Galston, Director, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Maryland): "Galston, noted Democrat, was deputy assistant to President Clinton for domestic policy..."
OK, a moderate right-winger. (Everybody agrees that President Clinton was a very moderate right-winger by comparison with his predecessor and successor). Whom does Professor Farrow propose as someone "very different on the political spectrum"? We would expect some fiery "liberation theologian" from South America or at least a mild "Christian socialist". Let us see:
Speaker no. 2 (R.J. Neuhaus, President of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, New York): "Neuhaus... was on the radical left when young, Farrow says, and is now a leading neo-conservative in New York City..."
There is a saying that if you are not a leftist at 20 you have no heart, but if you are still a leftist at 40 you have no brains. Obviously Mr. Neuhaus has lacked neither heart nor brains. All at the appropriate age.
So here we are: We have a moderate right-winger and an extremist, born-again right-winger. Where is the difference? Where is the pluralism?
What kind of religion are they going to preach to us? A religion that condones, even justifies war and capitalism?
Jan W. Weryho
Islamic Studies Cataloguing Librarian (retired)