Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cal Thomas, Repent!

Conservative columnist Cal Thomas said at the recent C-PAC conference that Rachel Maddow’s parents should have used contraception, the implication being that the world would be better off if Rachel Maddow had not been born (see here). Many are criticizing Thomas’ tasteless remark, and some are even reading homophobia into it.

I have been at various places on the political spectrum—-right, left, and center. Through all of that time, I have had a lot of respect and admiration for Cal Thomas. Some of it’s nostalgia, as I remember reading his column in the Sunday morning newspaper when I was a child.

But I have also appreciated his willingness to critique his own side. Thomas wrote a book on virtue (The Death of Ethics in America) that criticized the unethical practices of institutions that many conservatives supported (i.e., big business). Thomas was a key figure in Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, and he later co-wrote a book with Ed Dobson that was critical of the religious right and that interviewed figures across the political spectrum (Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America?). When the Republicans in Congress during George W. Bush’s Presidency were seeking ways to cut the federal budget, Thomas suggested that they not start with programs for the poor, since there were many examples of government waste that they could target. And Thomas co-wrote a book with liberal Bob Beckel called Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America.

I hope that Cal Thomas will recognize that his remarks about Rachel Maddow were inappropriate and contradict the principles of Christianity to which he holds, and that he will sincerely apologize for what he said. Cal Thomas has done a lot of good in the past, and it would be nice if he could continue to do so.

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