Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Visit of Faith and Reason

A Visit of Faith and Reason
by Newt Gingrich (more by this author)
Posted 04/15/2008 ET
Updated 04/15/2008 ET


Benedict XVI's first visit to America as Pope this week is an exciting and joyous event for the nation's millions of Catholics. But his visit carries a message of hope and reconciliation for all Americans, regardless of faith.

The Pope is both a deeply faithful and a deeply learned man. He has been called "a voice of faith and a voice of reason in our time."

Balancing faith and reason can be a difficult task, even for a country like the United States, a nation Pope Benedict loves. One of the reasons the Pope is so fond of America is because we are, unlike Europe, "a nation which values the role of religious belief in ensuring a vibrant and ethically sound democratic order."

Benedict's Message: Embrace Both Faith and Reason
Pope Benedict teaches us that healthy, free societies must embrace both religious faith and secular reason.

At a time when radical secularists are calling for the abolition of faith and God in the American public square, the Pope's message is an important one to hear.

And at a time when religious extremism threatens the very existence of our civilization, Benedict is able to reach across different religions -- without minimizing their very real differences -- to begin a dialogue.

As Thomas Patrick Melady, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, has written, Pope Benedict will bring a message for peace in Iraq and elsewhere, but not one based on "some mostly utopian hope that man's capacity for evil will somehow end, but is instead rooted in a very realistic strategy that there exist nonviolent ways to change people's hearts."

A voice of faith and reason is indeed a voice that is needed in our time. We welcome Pope Benedict to America and wish him well in his travels.

The Real Obama Shows Up In San Francisco
If you go to the most expensive private school in Hawaii and then move on to Colombia University and Harvard Law School, you may not understand normal Americans -- that's the impression created by Senator Barack Obama's recent comments.

For Obama, it seems, the beliefs of normal Americans are so alien to his leftwing viewpoint that he has to seek some psychological explanation for what he thinks are weird ideas. They can't really believe in the right to bear arms. They can't really believe in traditional marriage. They can't really believe in their faith in God. They can't really want to enforce the law on immigration. And because ordinary Americans can't really believe these things, they must just be bitter and frustrated.

This is the closest Senator Obama has come to openly sharing his wife's view that "America is a mean country." Not since 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Mike Dukakis have we seen anyone so out of touch with normal Americans. It makes perfect sense that it was at a fundraiser in San Francisco that he would have shared the views he has so carefully kept hidden for the entire campaign.

Are We Headed for a Democratic Foreign Policy Re-Run?
One thing Senator Obama hasn't kept hidden from Americans is his willingness to meet -- without preconditions -- with some of the world's most dangerous tyrants.

Now along comes former President Jimmy Carter's planned meeting this week with the terrorist organization Hamas in Syria.

It's enough to raise the question: Are we headed for a season of Democratic foreign policy re-runs? Would a future Obama Administration replicate the Carter Administration's foreign policy of weakness?

Dems Should Disinvite Carter to Convention, Strip Him of Super-Delegate Status
President Carter isn't just an ordinary American citizen. As a former president, his actions have consequences for the United States abroad.

To show that he does not share President Carter's leftwing world view that regards the United States as a force for evil in the world, Senator Obama needs to do more than say, as he has, that he won't meet with Hamas because it does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

That excuse doesn't wash. The Iranian dictator, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom Obama has said he would meet with as president, not only doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist, he has called for wiping Israel off the face of the planet.

Senator Obama and the Democratic Party must do more to show Americans that they don't share the Carter foreign policy of weakness.

If President Carter goes to Damascus and meets with Hamas, he should be stripped of his super-delegate status and be disinvited from the Democratic National Convention this summer.

A time when America faces an existential threat from the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam is not a time for confusion in our foreign policy. Democrats should make it clear they don't share Jimmy Carter's view of the world -- and America's role in it.

You can watch me discussing Carter and Obama on Your World with Neal Cavuto here.

Don't Go to Beijing Mr. President
And speaking of foreign policy confusion, in the ongoing debate over whether President Bush should attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer, my advice is this: Don't go, Mr. President.

No sitting president has ever attended an Olympics held on foreign soil, and now is not the time to set a new precedent. There is no reason the United States should give the Chinese a gigantic propaganda victory, which is what a presidential visit would be.

By attending, the President will be saying, in essence, that the Chinese can kill Tibetans, slaughter monks, support repressive regimes, repress their own people and lie to the world and America will still show up and honor them.

Don't honor them Mr. President. Let the athletes go. You should stay home.

Alexander Leads on Real Change in Tax Policy in the Senate
Recall that a few weeks ago I reported to you Congressman Michael Burgess' leadership in the House in introducing an optional flat tax bill (HR 1040) that would save time and money for all Americans. Yesterday -- mere hours before our taxes were due in the mail - Senator Lamar Alexander announced he will introduce a similar bill in the Senate. You can read his press release here.
With so much of the conversation on the health of our economy amongst the political, new-media elite focusing on short-term fixes, it is encouraging to know that leaders like Congressman Burgess and Senator Alexander are advancing long-term solutions that will keep America prosperous for generations to come.

Counting Americans in the World that Fails? $14 Billion
The final item I want to talk to you about today could have been taken directly from the pages of my new book, Real Change. It is a perfect illustration of the incompetence and horrific taxpayer expense of government in the world that fails.

Last week, the Department of Commerce announced that it is scrapping its $1.3 billion effort to modernize the 2010 census using new technology. Instead, it will be returning to counting Americans the old-fashioned way: by hiring an additional 600,000 temporary employees to walk door-to-door. In this world that fails, American taxpayers will be forced to make up the cost of bureaucratic incompetence, estimated to be between $13-15 billion, or about $89 per household.

A 21st Century Census in the World That Works? Priceless
A better, cheaper and more efficient way to count Americans in 2010 would draw on expert systems used by companies like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Google, AOL, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon to get the job done.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur and current California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has noted that MySpace now has over 200 million active users. If MySpace were a country, it would be the 5th largest in the world. There were more text messages sent yesterday than there are people on the planet.

And for those Americans without computer access, companies like WalMart, Costco, Target, and even UPS and Fedex could assist in counting.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: There is a world that works. It's not a theory, it's all around us. Whether it's counting Americans or securing our borders, we need to rely on the entrepreneurial, high-tech spirit of the American economy, not outdated, expensive bureaucratic programs.

I have a feeling most of you agree. Now all we have to do is spread the word. Now all we have to do is make it happen, and it begins at the Solutions Lab at AmericanSolutions.com.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. -- Whatever Happened to the Separation of Madrassa and State? If you haven't yet seen it, check out this article about a publicly financed charter school in Minnesota that should have the usual radical secularists filing lawsuits but hasn't - because it's not promoting Christianity, it's promoting Islam.

P.P.S. -- Ambulance Chasing Goes High Tech: A new website that allows people to file and search for reasons to sue companies online is a one-stop shopping venue for trial lawyers. By just going to sueeasy.com, trial lawyers can collect clients for individual and class action lawsuits and reap millions of dollars, all while adding to the cost of living and working for the rest of us. If this isn't an incentive for fundamental tort reform, I don't know what is

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