The New Republic
Washington, DC 20036
In your September 22 issue, in ruminating on several GOP politicians who are thinking of running for President, you suggest there may soon be a trial balloon on a "Farrakhan-Wanniski ticket." I've discussed this with Min. Farrakhan, as both he and I have been urged from time to time to throw our hats into the presidential ring. We can assure you we will always resist the pressures, as we are spiritual leaders and religious theologians. We should properly remain outside the realm of elective politics.
As the High Keeper of the Supply-Side flame, I have always turned aside offers of elective or appointed public office. When President Reagan was elected in 1980, I advised those who were recruiting a team for his administration that I was a theologian and could not function in a position where I would be required to compromise. I represent dogma that I believe can not be compromised, which government must do to function. Look at the trouble a few Buddhist nuns got into, just by making campaign contributions!
Similarly, my friend and "brother-in-Christ" Louis Farrakhan (which is how he inscribed a gift of the Holy Qu'ran to me last July), is viewed incorrectly by the national press as a political man, when he is in fact a religious leader. Only if you listen to his words as if he were a politician is it possible to think of him as an anti-Semitic bigot, which he is not and which he insists he is not.
If you hear him as a religious leader, you may understand that he believes profoundly that the laws, statutes and commandments of God came to Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad through divine intervention. Judaism is his Father. Christianity is his Mother. He is Islam. As a religious leader, he has for almost 40 years spoken out against those Christians, Jews and Muslims who twist and defile scripture for political ends.
He has condemned Hitler for the Holocaust. He has disparaged the Pope of the 1930s for blessing the guns of Mussolini prior to the invasion of Abyssinia (although expressing admiration of Pope John Paul II). He has been harsh in his criticisms of Muslims who commit evil acts while hiding behind their faith, including those who now wage terrorist "holy war" against the innocent people of Israel by urging their young men to commit suicide in public markets. He is harsh as well in his criticism of those Israeli holy men who goad their political leaders into provoking the Islamic world to acts of terrorism.
He has been the spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam for almost a quarter century, and enjoys pointing out that not one of his followers have ever been convicted of a violent crime or even accused of desecrating a place of worship. When two years ago he called for a million black men to march to Washington at their own expense, for the sole purpose of apologizing for their sins against their wives, their families and their communities, they came and did as he asked.
Now at the age of 64, with a prostate cancer in remission, he is traveling the United States, making more than 80 speeches in less than 60 days, to call for a day of atonement on October 16, the second anniversary of the Million Man March. He travels with Khadija, his wife of 44 years, and several of his devoted children.
In the several days I've spent with them since last December when we met, and the scores of hours I've spent talking to him, and the hundred hours I've spent reviewing audio- and videotapes of speeches he has given over the years, I can find only a missionary and his wife. He admits feeling hatred for others when he was much younger, but there is now no trace of it in him.
There is only frustration and occasional anger, and the hope that somehow the leaders of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths can come together in the year 2000 to end the Century of Caesar and War and begin a Century of God and Peace. There are more important things to be doing than running for President.