Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Fox/Twitter Debate: Republicans Loudly "Boo" the Golden Rule

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Ron PaulRepublicans in the South Caorlina Fox/Twitter Presidential debate loudly booed the Golden Rule in the context of foreign policy January 16.

The occasion for booing was a comment by Texas Congressman Ron Paul about respecting the sovereignty of other nations when it comes to bombings:

My point is that if another country does to us what we do to others, we are not going to like it very much. I would say that we maybe ought to consider the Golden Rule in foreign policy. Don't do to other nations what we don't want them to do to us. We endlessly bomb these countries, and then we wonder why they get upset with us?

Rep. Paul's remarks set off some of the loudest "boos" of the evening from the Republican audience, as well as mockery from his Republican opponents.

The Golden Rule is a key part of Christianity and all other major world religions. In Christianity, Christ commands the Golden Rule twice, in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. In Matthew 7:12, Christ says, "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."

The controversy which resulted in the massive booing of the Golden Rule originated with a misleading accusation by Fox News anchor and moderator Brett Baier:

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In a recent interview, Congressman Paul, with a Des Moines radio station, you said you were against the operation that killed Osama bin Ladin. You said the U.S. operation that took out the terrorist responsible for killing 3,000 people on American soil, quote, "showed no respect for the rule of law, international law." So, to be clear, you believe international law should have constrained us from tracking down and killing the man responsible for the most brazen attack on the U.S. since Pearl Harbor.

Rep. Paul responded that Baier was mistaken about his assertion: "Obviously, no, and that's why I did not say that. After 9/11, I voted for the authority to go after him." Paul clarified that he believed that Pakistan would have turned over bin Ladin to the United States alive if the Obama administration had requested him. "KSM, his colleague, was in Pakistan. And we communicated with the government of Pakistan and they turned him over. And what I suggested there was, if we have no respect for the sovereignty of another nation, it will lead to the disruption of that nation.... Why can’t we work with the government?"

Paul followed with his Golden Rule statement, suggesting we wouldn't want other countries such as China coming to the United States in search of criminals and dissidents and bombing us. He also suggested that the United States follow its own constitutional requirement to give a trial by jury whenever possible: "Think about Saddam Hussein. We captured him, the government tried him and he got hung. What's so terrible about this? What's this whole idea that you can't capture people? Just think, Adolph Eichmann was captured. He was given a trial. What's wrong with capturing people? Why don't we try to get some information from him?"

But Rep. Paul's Republican opponents pounced on his advocacy of the Golden Rule as a sign of foreign policy "weakness."

"He's not a Chinese dissident. The analogy that Congressman Paul used was utterly irrational," Newt Gingrich responded to Paul, suggesting that trials and honoring the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are unnecessary. "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America's enemies. Kill them."

"Speaker Gingrich is right," Mitt Romney agreed. "Of course, you take out our enemies, wherever they are. These people declared war on us. They've killed Americans. We go anywhere they are and we kill them. And the right thing for Osama bin Ladin was the bullet in the head he received. That's the right course for people that are killing American citizens."

Texas Governor Rick Perry continued the mockery, saying to Baier (about Paul), "I was just thinking that the noise you were looking for was a gong."

With Republicans so resoundingly booing the Golden Rule, one has to wonder: Whatever happened to the religious right part of the Republican Party?


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