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Born in the U.S.A.

EDITORIAL

Recently there was an earthquake on the religio-political Right as Lutheran pastor Richard John Neuhaus was unceremoniously ousted from the Rockford Institute — in particular, from his posi­tions as Director of the Center on Religion & Soci­ety, Editor of The Religion & Society Report, and Editor-in-Chief of This World. Neuhaus is such an able writer and illustrious figure that one cannot assume that his is the greater loss.

The trembler was partly a matter of money and personalities, and we have no desire to take sides in the spectacle — but insofar as it was also in part about ideas we think it worthy of comment.

The shifting of the tectonic plates can be un­derstood in terms of an underlying fault line sepa­rating neoconservatives like Neuhaus from old-guard conservatives such as those who control the Rockford Institute. In particular, it is said that the Neu­haus forces indicted the Rockford forces of anti-Semitism and immigrant-bashing (we have not seen the relevant documents, so cannot comment), and the Rockford forces, headquartered in the Midwest, have been uneasy with the conservative credentials of sophisticated, East Coast ex-leftists such as Neuhaus.

While the NOR has been critical of some of Neuhaus’s writings and has frequently been skepti­cal of the neoconservative worldview generally, we have never had any truck with anti-Semitism or anti-immigrant nativism, and so we could conceivably find ourselves sympathizing with the neoconserva­tive camp in this case. America is not a Christian nation and Jews are not intruders (and even if America were a Christian nation, anti-Semitism would have no place), and America has historically welcomed immigrants with open arms and should continue to.

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