Buckley’s advice to Christian activists

Christianity Today online has dusted off an interview with the recently-deceased William F. Buckley from 1995, featuring his advice to Christian activists. The interview shows his own Christian faith, as well as points like these:

What frightens people most about the Religious Right is the rhetoric that is sometimes used. There ought to be some thought given, for example, as to how you formulate your antihomosexual position: it should be more pastoral than vitriolic….

If, at the end of a broadcast by Pat Robertson, fewer people are disposed to Christianity than were before he came on (I’m not saying that is the case), then that would be awful if that were so….

Whatever you want to say about the anti-abortionists, you have got to at least say this: Theirs is the most disinterested act of humanitarian concern since the Emancipation Proclamation. They are not talking about protecting their own child, they are talking about protecting children….

Thomas Aquinas once was asked, “If the public view was that a famine was imminent, would you be justified in charging injurious prices for your grain, knowing that a relief wagon of grain was coming?” Thomas said yes, you would, but it would be wrong. A Christian would not do that.Certain things which the market authorizes simply in terms of law are unchristian and ought not to be done.

The big issue today has to do with the fidelity of marriages. The tendency now to leave your wife because you have an infatuation with a younger woman of tenderer flesh is an enormous temptation. It’s carnal, and it’s also easy to justify with all the solipsistic reasoning that we hear today. That is about the gravest offense that a human being can commit, to throw away a wife.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • Carl Vehse

    There ought to be some thought given, for example, as to how you formulate your antihomosexual position: it should be more pastoral than vitriolic….

    This is from a man who, after Gore Vidal told him in 1968, “As far as I am concerned, the only crypto Nazi I can think of is yourself”, responded with, “Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto Nazi, or I’ll sock you in your ___damn face and you’ll stay plastered.”

    Seventeen years later Buckley, referring back to the incident, noted, “We both acted irresponsibly. I’m not a Nazi, but he is, I suppose, a fag.”

  • Carl Vehse

    There ought to be some thought given, for example, as to how you formulate your antihomosexual position: it should be more pastoral than vitriolic….

    This is from a man who, after Gore Vidal told him in 1968, “As far as I am concerned, the only crypto Nazi I can think of is yourself”, responded with, “Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto Nazi, or I’ll sock you in your ___damn face and you’ll stay plastered.”

    Seventeen years later Buckley, referring back to the incident, noted, “We both acted irresponsibly. I’m not a Nazi, but he is, I suppose, a fag.”

  • http://bestronginthegrace.blogspot.com Theresa K.

    Link isn’t complete, fyi.

    Carl, my best advice ALWAYS stems from my worst mistakes. Sounds like Buckley freely admitted that he blew it.

    Anyone else notice that these supposed trackbacks are pretty suspicious-looking?

  • http://bestronginthegrace.blogspot.com Theresa K.

    Link isn’t complete, fyi.

    Carl, my best advice ALWAYS stems from my worst mistakes. Sounds like Buckley freely admitted that he blew it.

    Anyone else notice that these supposed trackbacks are pretty suspicious-looking?

  • Ken

    Sir, that stray link title in the post needs fixing. When I first read it I thought poor Prince Harry was a goner.

  • Ken

    Sir, that stray link title in the post needs fixing. When I first read it I thought poor Prince Harry was a goner.

  • fw

    #2 carl

    Temperance in language is a fine and christian virtue to cultivate.

    At the risk of sounding prudish, I would hope a seeking young person confused about his or her sexuality would not find his worst fears about christians confirmed here by any of us and our choice of words, however witty they may seem.

    I am hoping in fact for the exact opposite.

  • fw

    #2 carl

    Temperance in language is a fine and christian virtue to cultivate.

    At the risk of sounding prudish, I would hope a seeking young person confused about his or her sexuality would not find his worst fears about christians confirmed here by any of us and our choice of words, however witty they may seem.

    I am hoping in fact for the exact opposite.

  • allen
  • allen
  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Thank you for alerting me to the link problem and its solution.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Thank you for alerting me to the link problem and its solution.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Dr. Veith,

    You’ve been holding out on us!

    Why didn’t you reveal these mad skills to us before?

    http://tinyurl.com/33gprt

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Dr. Veith,

    You’ve been holding out on us!

    Why didn’t you reveal these mad skills to us before?

    http://tinyurl.com/33gprt

  • Rose

    “Throw away a wife” caught my eye. Barack Obama’s father simply added more wives. He was already married to an African woman when he married Barack’s mother. Ironically, it was Mitt Romney who had to answer questions about polygamy. Linda Chavez had a good article last year about the possible effect of abandonment on Obama:
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/LindaChavez/2007/02/16/barack_obama_and_the_breakdown_in_family

  • Rose

    “Throw away a wife” caught my eye. Barack Obama’s father simply added more wives. He was already married to an African woman when he married Barack’s mother. Ironically, it was Mitt Romney who had to answer questions about polygamy. Linda Chavez had a good article last year about the possible effect of abandonment on Obama:
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/LindaChavez/2007/02/16/barack_obama_and_the_breakdown_in_family

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Oh, yeah, Pr. Lehmann. I’m a big break dancer. The thing is, Paul McCain, in that picture used for the jibjab actually does that rapper look!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Oh, yeah, Pr. Lehmann. I’m a big break dancer. The thing is, Paul McCain, in that picture used for the jibjab actually does that rapper look!

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Yes, I admit that McCain seems to be pulling it off a bit better than you and Stiegemeyer.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Yes, I admit that McCain seems to be pulling it off a bit better than you and Stiegemeyer.


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