Pat Robertson: President-elect
George W. Bush has made no secret of the fact he intends to solicit
the counsel of those in America's religious community. Soon after
winning the election he called more than a dozen religious leaders
to advise him on the role of faith in public policy. One of those
leaders is our next guest. Rabbi Daniel Lapin is head of a group
called Toward Tradition. He's also the author of a book called America's
Real War. It's a fascinating
account of what he feels is really important in this nation. Rabbi
Lapin, it's always a delight to have you back with us.
Rabbi Lapin: Thank you very much.
Robertson: You have given articulate
support of traditional values. What did you tell the president-elect
when you met with him?
Lapin: Well, for a start I said that
it was really very exciting and very significant that in a week
on which he spent Monday meeting with Capitol Hill leaders, and
Tuesday he spent at the White House with the president and the
vice president, that Wednesday he spent with a group of religious
leaders. And even with a robust ego, of which I am certainly guilty,
I couldn't persuade myself that what he really needed was our
input and our advice. I couldn't believe that. But I think he
wanted to send a message. I think he wanted to send a message
to America and say, eight years ago Bill Clinton made his first
priority appeasing the homosexual radical agenda. I intend making
my priority rolling back the epidemic of secularism that was unleashed
on this country eight years ago.
Robertson: What would you tell him
to do, if he was really asking your advice, what would you like
to see him accomplish?
Lapin: I would like to see him level
the playing field and eliminate the mood that's been inflicted
on America that the struggle in America is between an aggressive
dangerous Christian theocracy and a benign secularism that's good
for everybody. That isn't true. And I think George W. Bush, not
in any way that will make anyone uncomfortable, except perhaps
those who were desperately eager to see more secularism in America,
all he¡¯s going to do is say the struggle in America today
is between two competing faiths: the faith of the Judeo-Christian
traditions, and the faith of aggressive, fundamentalist secular
Robertson: As an Orthodox Jew, there
are many Jews who look with great suspicion on evangelical Christians.
You say just the opposite. Why?
Lapin: Because the struggle in America
today is not between blacks and whites, or rich and poor, or men
and women, or Jews and Christians. This is part of the myth that
has been imposed upon America by a secular liberal Democratic
Party designed to try and fracture America into many different
splinter groups. This is Marxism at its classic best. There is
a struggle in America today, but it isn't between Jews and Christians,
and not between rich and poor, or black and white, or men and
women. The struggle in America today is between those who see
a role for faith in America's future just as our founders did,
and those who want to vigorously eject faith from the public arena.
Robertson: And this is essentially the
heart of your book America¡¯s
Real War, which I recommend.
Is this still in print and still available?
Lapin: It sure is, yes. It's been
a great blessing to us.
Robertson: We're looking at John
Ashcroft who is an outspoken evangelical Christian, but he's a
man of extraordinary integrity and extraordinary ability who has
done many fantastic things in a lifetime of service, yet a coalition
of the secularists have gone after him with tooth and tong.
Lapin: Well, I'm personally grateful
to him because he was kind enough to give a very gracious jacket
endorsement on this very book. But quite apart from that, I think
it's important to recognize the hypocrisy implicit in the attacks
on him. They charge that he is going to bring his Christian faith
into his office. Well, think about it for a moment. What is politics
other than the practical application of our most deeply held values?
And when the secular left brings its most deeply held values into
the political arena, that's called okay.
Lapin: But if Senator Ashcroft were
to do that, springing from deep and profound Christian belief,
somehow this is sinister and ominous. As an Orthodox Jew, I find
secularism sinister and I find Christianity benign.
Robertson: I must say, you're from
the Orthodox tradition, but as Jay Sekulow, who himself is Jewish,
said invariably on the other side of the table in religious liberties
cases, the American Jewish Congress or one of the Jewish organizations
are continuously fighting for secularism in America. You know,
those in your commune are leading the charge, or are they your
Lapin: This is the point. The struggle
in America is today between those who see a legitimate role for
God and those who want to vigorously eject him from the village
square. There are Jews on both sides of that debate and there
are Gentiles on both sides of that debate. There's no question
about it. And I think it's important to identify the fact, and
Jay is certainly correct, that when you find Jews allying themselves
with the American Civil Liberties Union and trying to perpetrate
yet one more secular outrage on America, those are Jews who have
long ago renounced the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and embraced
a new faith, the faith of fundamentalist, secular liberalism.
Robertson: The Orthodox Jewish community
doesn¡¯t share that point of view. You want to do everything
you can to rebuild a vibrant faith in America.
Lapin: Because I know that this country,
America is a country that has provided the most tranquil and prosperous
haven for Jews in the last 2,000 years and I know that that's
not in spite of America being a Christian nation, but it's precisely
because America is a Christian nation.
Robertson: We appreciate your incredible
insights. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a deep thinker and a man
who has put down some marvelous thoughts in this book, America¡¯s
Real War . You need to get this book and read it because
it outlines in graphic detail the battle that is on, a cultural
war, if I can use that term. It's always a delight to have you
with us. God bless you.
Lapin: Thank you very much.
Robertson: Thank you.