The Opinion Journal provides a quote from a John F. Sugg interview with Jimmy Carter for Creative Loafing Atlanta:

Carter fittingly used a parable to illustrate how he’d like to see the political/religious debate unfold.

“I was teaching a Sunday school class two weeks ago,” he recalls. “A girl, she was about 16 years old from Panama City [Fla.], asked me about the differences between Democrats and Republicans.

“I asked her, ‘Are you for peace, or do you want more war?’ Then I asked her, ‘Do you favor government helping the rich, or should it seek to help the poorest members of society? Do you want to preserve the environment, or do you want to destroy it? Do you believe this nation should engage in torture, or should we condemn it? Do you think each child today should start life responsible for $28,000 in [federal government] debt, or do you think we should be fiscally responsible?’

“I told her that if she answered all of those questions, that she believed in peace, aiding the poor and weak, saving the environment, opposing torture . . . then I told her, ‘You should be a Democrat.’ “

From a very thin film on the surface this sounds very good. A little bit deeper inspection raises questions. Issues of serious disagreement have been phrased in a way to demean and dehumanize. Consider the assertions.

Peace or War – It is a sick person who wants war but it is also a sick person who will stand by and watch terrorism, genocide, and the suppression of freedoms. The real question is not loving peace or war but rather the price you are willing to pay for it and how you define it.

Rich envy – again, it would be sick person who would want to abuse the poor and unfortunate. Instead, a proper question should be on what is the best way to help. This is the ‘give them a fish or teach them to fish’ issue.

Environmental protection is also something we all desire. The question is about the proper role of man’s stewardship, how much the poor should suffer for environmental idealism, and the effective costs and risks analysis.

Fiscal responsibility is another of the same ilk. No one wants to leave a debt for their children. The question could be how to leave a best legacy but the real issue raised is that of intellectual integrity in obfuscation of cash debt versus growth and capital.

But what really takes the cake is the hubris of it all. What kind of sick mind would subscribe to the sort of viewpoint that this former president is espousing in a Sunday School? What does it say about the person who is convinced that nearly half of his fellow citizens favor war over peace, favor outright environmental destruction, and have no concern about fiscal responsibility? This is not a disagreement. This is racism. It is bigotry. It is ugly.

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