NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Reform party candidate Patrick Buchanan said the United States is seeing the rise of a ‘pagan elite’ in a moral revolution where non-Christians are imposing secular and atheistic values upon the nation.
Buchanan made his remarks during a recent interview with Baptist Press, the national, daily news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. Buchanan was interviewed by Will Hall, the SBC Executive Committee’s vice president for news services, at Café DuMonde in New Orleans.
“I think we are seeing the de-christianization of America and we are seeing the rise of a pagan elite,” Buchanan said. “This elite is imposing its secular and atheistic values upon the nation from above. It’s a revolution from above, it is not being asked for or requested or demanded by the American people.”
Buchanan reflected on a variety of issues including religious persecution and his personal faith in God.
Following, is a transcript of Buchanan’s comments:
BP: During the last several elections, evangelical Christians have raised various issues of faith and family. But, it seems that in this election, faith has become the enduring topic of conversation. Is the issue of faith important to the American people, or is it just a campaign issue with limited appeal?
PB: It’s both. It clearly is an issue of tremendous concern to the American people . . . the character of their culture, and their country, which they believe they are losing, the good and Godly country they grew up in. Some politicians take advantage of the issue at election time, and posture as friends of traditional value for several weeks. Then they forget about it for the next four years. But clearly, it is an issue of tremendous concern to the American people.
BP: What do you think are the key issues of faith that are on the minds of Americans right now?
PB: Well, first is the issue of life. There have been thirty-eight million abortions since Roe v. Wade. We also have a Supreme Court that says you cannot outlaw partial-birth abortions, a form of infanticide in America. I think the American people, especially people of faith, find this tremendously demoralizing. They think something has gone wrong in this country. It is a deep wound in the soul of America. Secondly is the rising tide of public, open homosexuality. We have in Vermont so-called civil unions. Homosexual marriages are being treated the same as traditional marriage. I think that’s a mark of decadence, and a mark of national decline. And I think the American people recognize it as such. There is a situation also where the courts are visibly dethroning our God. In Ohio a federal court has ordered the statement “With God all things are possible” sand-blasted off all public buildings. So I think we are seeing the de-christianization of America and we are seeing the rise of a pagan elite. This elite is imposing its secular and atheistic values upon the nation from above. It’s a revolution from above, it is not being asked for or requested or demanded by the American people.
BP: You recently received the endorsement of the pro-life party in New York. What would you do to lead this nation toward valuing human life, and toward creating a culture that would value the life of the unborn?
PB: Well, there is only so much even a president can do to affect the popular culture, which is deeply polluted in America . . . deeply secularized. It is a deeply individualistic, self-absorbed society we live in. The president of the United States can use his office to articulate values that honor the life of the unborn. He can do that well and he can do that often. But, he is not limited to influencing public opinion through his example and through his rhetoric. He can alter the Supreme Court, and at least overturn Roe v. Wade, and take this issue back to the states — where there are good people who will put restrictions on abortions in almost all fifty states. He can and should outlaw abortions in military hospitals. He can appear at right-to-life gatherings, and show himself to be a pro-life friend and ally. Fundamentally, he can establish himself as the vanguard of those who wage war against the culture of death in this country.
BP: Earlier you remarked about the influence of the homosexual agenda within our culture. A great many Christians believe that the family is the foundational unit of society and that God has ordained marriage as a covenant with God between one man and one woman. What can you do as president to support the traditional family and traditional marriage?
PB: The Clinton administration is marching very much in tune with the idea of homosexuality being the equivalent of traditional marriage. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton marched proudly up Fifth Avenue in a so-called ‘Gay Pride Parade’ celebrating the lifestyle that Baptists and other Christians believe to be deeply immoral and a manifestation of decadence in society. It was the first time in history that a first lady marched in such an event. I would put the presidency of the United States on the side of the traditional family and veto any legislation or any resolution, which would in any way suggest that homosexual couplings are somehow morally equal to traditional marriages. Traditional marriage is the bedrock of society. Marriage is the institution without which society is going to crumble.
BP: You mentioned that in America we have attempted to excise God from public life. But it seems that it’s more of an attack on God than a simple removal of Him from the public square. What kind of relationship would a Buchanan-Foster administration seek with people of faith?
PB: I would consider people of faith to be friends of everything we believe in and allies in opposing everything the Clintons stand for and advanced. Fundamentally, Clinton and his administration are allies of the homosexual community or that part of the homosexual community that wants to alter the character of America. One key to reclaiming our culture in the United States is the Supreme Court. It has got to be reconstituted as a pro-life institution that is constitutionalist and conservative — respects America’s religious heritage — and also holds to the traditional views and values of this country. And at least will stop overturning laws passed through the state level that try to uphold the traditional values of America.
BP: Is that how you see your faith most impacting public policy — by reconstituting the federal courts and the Supreme Court?
PB: My faith impacts everything I believe and everything I do, so you cannot separate it from me. It is among the reasons I am pro-life, and there are other reasons I am pro-life as well. It is certainly my belief that western civilization is a creation of Christianity. I believe that it ought to be protected and preserved — it and its institutions are under steady, constant assault. Waging this cultural war for the soul of this country is one of the reasons why I ran for president.
BP: You mentioned your faith. I would describe myself as having a personal walk with Jesus Christ. How would you describe your faith?
PB: I am a believing, practicing, Roman Catholic who believes that God came into the world to redeem man of his sins . . . that He was first crucified, then raised from the dead and man was redeemed of his sins. We have an obligation in this life to try our best to do God’s Will — as we can understand it. We are obligated to create the kind of society that would most reflect His commandments and His Will. Even though we make mistakes along the way, I believe we have to do our best to move forward. We are all sinners, and we all make mistakes, and we all need forgiveness. But, we have to understand that there is a moral order ordained by God. The purpose of man is to try to conform his life to that moral order. I believe there are fundamentally two sorts of people. There are those who decide how they want to live, and then declare that’s the moral order. Then there are others who say there is an objective moral order, and that’s how I want to live. Hugh Heffner invented the Playboy philosophy to justify what he was doing. Others have said, “I did the wrong thing. But there’s a right way, and I’m trying to get back to it.”
BP: That leads me to reflect that unfortunately, in recent years there have been several people of faith in the public eye who have experienced very critical lapses in character — ultimately compromising their witness of God. How do you steel yourself against such failures of integrity and character?
PB: Well, secular society is always going to be on the lookout for people whose faith falls short, so they can hold them up as examples to make their point. Falsely, they accuse all people of faith of being fundamentally hypocrites. You should try your best to resist temptation as best you can, and keep at it everyday. But, people fail, and people fall. There’s no doubt that when it’s a leader or someone who’s a role model or example, that it’s particularly distressing, and hurtful, and damaging. But, you’ve got to keep on going. We were told by the Lord that that’s what’s going to happen.
BP: We are seeing greater and greater incidences of religious persecution around the world including India, Indonesia, China, Sudan, and even last year the killing of seven at the Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. What would a Buchanan administration do to stop this persecution of Christians?
PB: I would make it a major element of my foreign policy and how we deal with foreign nations. I do not recommend going to war all over the world to stop religious persecution. Otherwise, we would be at war continually until we collapsed. But, you cannot declare China a strategic partner or friend to this country when they are persecuting people for the same faith that most Americans profess. So, I think you treat as friends those who respect religious freedom. Those who don’t respect religious freedom, you keep at the distance of a long pole. You let the world know, and let them know, why it is that we cannot treat them as partners and allies in the things we believe in. That goes for China, Sudan, and these other countries — some who profess to be friends of this country.
BP: One last question. How would you like for others to pray for you during this campaign?
PB: Daily and hard. (Laughter)
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.sbcbaptistpress.org. Photo title: PAT BUCHANAN ON THE ISSUES.