Famous gay writer says religious right is 'really quite nice'

Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic and one of today's most prominent gay writers, attended Pat Robertson's 70th birthday party—and was shocked at how darn nice everybody was. "They seemed neither fanatics nor bigots," he writes in this week's New York Times Magazine. They had a sense of humor about themselves." More importantly, Sullivan writes, he was reminded that his cultural opponents are people—good people. "One of the deepest problems of politics in the culture war is the reflexive imputation of bad motives to the opposition and the demonization that inevitably follows. The corollary is believing that we ourselves are capable of nothing but good, and so failing to see where we also go wrong. … Similarly, there are many liberal critics of Robertson who haven't done a fraction of what he has done to help the poor or the sick or the disadvantaged. It doesn't make them wrong and him right, but it does add a context to the argument. If a man pleads good intentions, it's not unreasonable to ask him for the evidence. Robertson, to his credit, has it. That doesn't change the fact that he is still, in John McCain's words, an agent of intolerance. But it doesn't make him, in John McCain's other words, a force of evil." Sullivan concludes his article by noting that if both sides of the culture war have failed to see the other side as human beings—as seems to be the case—"it's time for a truce."

Falwell starts voter-registration drive in churches

"I don't think religious conservatives have lost any of their power," Jerry Falwell said in a news conference announcing a seven-month voter registration drive. "I think they've lost their enthusiasm." Instead ...

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