Tolerating the Intolerant
H.L. Mencken used to make fun of the Shakers, a sect whose members would literally shake in religious fervor. Today, he would roar laughing at those who go into spastic convulsions at the mere thought of Christians exercising their political rights. Bishop Sheen charitably said that no one really hates the Catholic faith, only the image presented of it by those who could not or would not understand it. This applies to the distorted image the Press presented of Dr. Steven Hotze ["The Kingdom and the Power," by Tim Fleck, October 3].
The Press quotes those he could not support as calling him a liar. Yet, to lie, by definition, means "to make an untrue statement with the intent to deceive." To impute dishonesty over an honest mistake (apologized for) or over a change of heart (after discernment) is itself deceptive. To backbite because of defeat shows sour grapes. Are Christians not permitted the freedom of association and, like others, to change their minds in their support of candidates?
Chesterton wrote that when men stop believing in God, the problem will not be that they will believe in nothing, but that they will believe in anything. One merely has to scan your advertisements to see he was right. Unfortunately for some, their religion is the latest fad. Those who believe in anything have ridiculed eternal truths. In the process they have created a public school system that cannot teach, a criminal justice system in which justice is the exception and a pop culture in which wrong is right. Dr. Hotze is selflessly committed to righting these wrongs.
Having met with Dr. Hotze, I find Frank Harmon's assessment correct. He is very likable, and he says what he means and he means what he says. Your attack on him is schizophrenic and does not make sense: he is too rigid, yet he compromises too much to gain influence? You accuse him of being heavy-handed, yet you exploit a family tragedy in your article for no reason. You may not realize it, but your attack says a lot more about the Press than it does Dr. Hotze.
When will journals like the Press stop merely asking for tolerance for those with whom they agree and start showing it for those with whom they disagree?
Editor's reply: Tim Fleck's story barely touched on Dr. Hotze's beliefs, and the Press certainly has no problem with anyone -- Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, commodity fetishist -- exercising his or her "political rights." However, the exercise of political rights always invites public scrutiny of the exerciser. As Fleck's story pointed out, Dr. Hotze has structured his political operation to avoid disclosure and scrutiny. We have no idea why that is, since Hotze did not agree to be interviewed, although when we ran into him recently at the courthouse (he, no doubt, was there ministering to some allergy-afflicted jurist), the doctor was carrying a copy of Fleck's article. Hey, we made the man.
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Archenemy of Heterosexuality?
I wish to commend you on your restraint in dealing with Dr. Steven Hotze. Considering the fact that he represents at least three of your major archenemies (heterosexuality, fetal rights and biblical scriptures), your mudslinging was uncharacteristically benign.
Dr. Hotze will probably survive the shame of heading PACs that accept contributions from moderate Republicans yet promote such fringe activities as the right-to-life campaigns.
I think where you really got the scoundrel was in revealing the fact that, at least once, he changed his course of action after praying about it and receiving guidance from God. Now, that's certainly weird enough to ruin any further political aspirations.