"However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise.
There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious
beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than
Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme
being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's
behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are
growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with
wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following
their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups
on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a
loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the
political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if
I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.'
Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to
claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even
more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every
religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my
vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today:
I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their
moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' "
by:
Barry Goldwater
(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona)
Source:
Congressional Record, September 16, 1981
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Reader comments about this quote:
I'm not what I consider to be conservative but this quote certainly increased my respect for this conservative Icon.
 -- Orville, Seattle     
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    There would be little room for a Barry Goldwater in today's Republican Party, much less for Abraham Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt. There is a significant difference between genuine conservativism and moral fascism. Barry Goldwater understood this; Tom Delay does not.
     -- Brian L. Hope, Houston, TX     
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    Barry Goldwater was a Republican and a conservative. Sadly, the fight he fought "every step of the way" - was LOST bigtime. Today's Republican Party is influenced more by Sun Myung Moon's movement than by anything Goldwater stood for. That makes sense because Moon has outspent Scaife the last 25 years making that happen. Goldwater is spinning around in his grave like Tarzan hanging onto a crock. quoting: The Arizona Republic, May. 31, 1998 , Conservative pioneer became an outcast. Goldwater had won support of abortion opponents in his 1980 U.S. Senate re-election campaign, but in his final term, he voted consistently to uphold the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. Later in life, he was honored by Planned Parenthood. * In 1981, Goldwater assailed the founder of the Moral Majority, the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Responding to Falwell's statement that all good Christians should be concerned about the Supreme Court nomination of Arizonan Sandra Day O'Connor, he said, ''I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.'' * In 1987, Goldwater, who had described then Gov. Evan Mecham as ''hardheaded,'' called on the Republican maverick to resign. * In 1989, Goldwater said the Republican Party had been taken over by a ''bunch of kooks,'' a reference to forces supporting TV evangelist Pat Robertson and Mecham. * In 1992, he endorsed Democrat Karan English for Congress over Republican Doug Wead. * In June 1993, Goldwater declared that the military should lift its ban on gays in the military. He also railed against discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace.
     -- Pearl, Cut and Shoot, Tx.     
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    Barry Goldwater would be considered a liberal today.
     -- Kent Wood, mancelona, mi     
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    True Republicans of Goldwater's kind are a rapidly dying breed. The party has been taken over by Christo-Fascist neo-cons. Today's Rebublican Party is a shameful disgrace to icons like him.
     -- Andy, Portland, OR     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas      
    Now that's what I'm talking about. Preach, brother!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  •  
    Ah, for the days when you could actually respect the views & beliefs, and find common ground with someone whom you disagree with on many other fronts.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Ironically, many liberal based neoconservative philosophies started with Barry Goldwater...
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    It seemed Goldwater spent more time reacting to antagonists than acting on Constitutional principles.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Goldwater was the first Presidential nominee I could vote for and I did. There was always something refreshing about him. Of course he did not get elected but years later he returned my favor towards him by being supportive of Willam J. Clinton. He is right about un-elected (and generally unelectable) and thus undemocratic preachers dictating to us.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  •  
    There were two trees in the Garden: 1) the tree of life, 2) the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Of the latter tree, God said, "You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die." Between the lines of this quote, a question Goldwater may be asking of political preachers causing his blood pressure to rise: "Against which tree is your ladder leaning?" Misquoting Tina Turner: "What's dictating morality got to do with it?"
     -- Ron, Decatur, GA     
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    For heavens sake just take the statement for what is EXCELLENT. Why do we always need to go back and say ah but he or she said this or that? Even Jesus, Mohammad, and Buddha said some stupid stuff. So cool it and just rate the quote.
     -- RobertSRQ     
  •  
    Andy, you hit the nail on the head - America is fast becoming a Theocracy and possibly the Taliban of the West.
     -- Anonymous     
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     -- Karen, Seattle      
    BG is what the republican party should be: Fiscally conservative but quit trying to legislate morality as the founders of the country advised. A true 'leader' is not someone who rolls for the religious masses nor provide the opiates. Barry Goldwater was a man that could stand up to his own people when he thought he was right. He was not a sheep. He loved America. I miss him now more than ever. The others are destroying America...Goldwater tried to save it.
     -- Val, Buffalo     
  •  
    In this instance Sen Goldwater is "spot on". The 1964 Republican nominee for president was the premier spokesman for his party int=heriting the mantle from Sen Dirksen & Pres Eisenhower. While he was viewed as extreme in that election many of his observations and statements today may be considered emphatically correct. Today's Republican party would do well to heed his words and reject out of hand the extremist views of its far-right and evangelical members.
     -- dragonswizardz     
  •  
    Wake up. The Republican Party is being taken over by liberals. John Kennedy would be considered a right wing nut job today by our press. We need to go back to Barry Goldwater. He was in no way then or now a liberal. The Republican Party is heading for disaster because of it's flirting with the idea of a leftward slide. I have never read so much ignorance on this subject before. Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan are the Ideals of traditional Republicans. Stray from that and the party will soon be no more.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    Barry Goldwater was a blessing to our nation, and a True Conservative... unlike those who claim to be "true conservatives" today.
     -- Lil, Arizona     
  •  
    I'm not conservative and Mr. Goldwater's views on Vietnam (he coined the phrase "bomb 'em back to the stone age") notwithstanding, he was a conservative that understood conservation. He was moderate. This quote shows this. I have told friends several times recently that it would be nice to have, oh, say, Goldwater back now. In many ways, McCain is probably his karmic legacy.
     -- Lary, San Leandro, CA     
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    Religion is like a gun, it's dangerous in the hands of the wrong people.
     -- mardal, winchester in     
  •  
    There is no such thing as God, Allah, or any suprime being. If you want to believe in something that has to be you and be compassionate with you and ohters.
     -- Ivan, Jackson Heights, NY     
  •  
    It is time we put a constitutional end to all religions that en doctrine that their religion is better than others.Any religion that spreads hate against another faith should be banned which include even the catholic church and Islam among others
     -- Kaushik, far away     
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    The republican party should follow it's own party platform, read it ! Make America just again
     -- scott, Scanfia Mn     
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    although i am not a republican, i can truly appreciate what the republican party was meant to be about. mr. goldwater was a prime example of a true republican. nowhere in american government is there a place for fanaticism, religious dogma, and evangelizing on a national scale; there never has been. a growing number of those who call themselves "republican" or "conservative" today are merely zealots attempting to clip the wings of the beautiful freedom this country once stood for, all in the name of blind faith in a god that may or may not exist. such shaky ground is nowhere to base arguments against the personal freedom of so many.
     -- ren, uniontown, pa     
  •  
    Excellent. I couldn't count how many times I have reposted it on boards. Barry was a conservative Republican. Today's theocratic wingnuts running the party are fascists, not conservatives.
     -- David, Broward County     
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    Shows how much the meaning the Republican party has shifted in the past fifty years. So many people today misunderstand the meaning of conservative.
     -- Kyla, Cumming, GA     
  •  
     -- Anonymous      
    Goldwater might have been a good leader with the exception of his wretched stance on civil rights. He was deliberately blind to the fact that without changes in federal laws black people would remain hopelessly oppressed in many states. After all, the ability to work, hold a job, or function in many capacities ceases when one can not use a restroom or a water fountain or even order a meal while traveling.
     -- Jim, Stuart,Fl.     
  •  
     -- Anonymous      
    Today, due to the collapse of our schools, Separation of Church and State has nearly dissolved. The Supreme Court is now the College of Cardinals.
     -- Rozmarija Grauds, Pennsylvania     
  •  
    In later life he modified and reversed his states-rights constitutional position on civil rights legislation. He supported rights for not only for African Americans but also for gay and lesbian citizens.
     -- Anonymous     
  •  
    The American political bird has moved so far to the right, the left wing is where the right wing used to be.
     -- Old Uncle Dave, Mendocino County, CA     
  •  
    Nice quote. We need a leader with his own cajones (not someone else's). Barry had his. Unfortunately, big money has gotten too big with its fingers in everything. Big banks and the Federal Reserve are the hidden core evil. They steal the nations wealth and use it to buy our leadership. We're doomed. Unless, of course, We the People wake up and shake up our cajones.
     -- genuine patriot, Austin     
  •  
     -- Anonymous      
    Republicans have become liberals and liberals have become socialists. The cry for an end to religions heard across the land due to their corruption by the doctrines of power seeking men will result in conservatives (liberals) becoming socialists and liberals (socialists) becoming communists. God save America.
     -- Anon     
  •  
    I was too young to vote for Barry in 1964 (fourteen) but have always considered my self to be a Goldwater Republican. The religious nuts have stolen my party and I want it back.
     -- Llama Lee, Roseville, California     
  •  
    I agree that it is not for the select radicals (even if they are right!) to foist their views on anyone else, least of all a elected official, servant of the general public. Yet I also think it foolhardy in the extreme to think we could have this exceptional government system with all the benefits of liberty that are unique to America without the faith-based principles that our founders held to. There is room enough for debate on the specific issues, but let's not forget and discard the very principles by which we have the right to debate.
     -- virginia     
  •  
    While I am fiercely Independent, I agree with Llama Lee. As an Arizonan, who tends to be socially liberal & fiscally conservative, I think that Goldwater was a great humanitarian and wise person. He had the courage to stand up for his beliefs, even if I don't always agree with them, although if it did cost him an election. No selling out to the Religious Right, as the current GOP has done. He is a TRUE CONSERVATIVE, for separation of church & state, as our Founding Fathers intended.
     -- Diane Snyder, Peoria     
  •  
    Sorry, I'm late- good Robert and Andy
     -- RBESRQ     
  •  
    Barry Goldwater is so misrepresented. He was a true conservative. I wish he was still alive today. He was one of the few true- conservatives who stood up to the neo- conservatives like Pat Robertson.
     -- Tim C, Tempe     
  •  
     -- anonymous      
    Barry is still my hero, since I was a teenager. I was an active committed Republican in the 70s, but since the religious right took over the GOP, they get nothing from me but my vote. The only thing they have going for them is that they are less fascist than Obama & the Dems.
     -- Goldwater fan, Fla     
  •  
    Barry Goldwater, quotes about Belief: There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? Barry was a conservative and I agreed with him back then. Since then I got saved and I have found the answer to his question. Barry was thinking inside a set of parameters that did not allow him to ask the question truthfully. It is not a multiple choice. If "they" are quoting Jesus, "they" are not the source of the statement, and therefore not "dictating" anything. It is Jesus who has the authority and right as GOD to say such a thing. No legitimate question that Jesus said this. According to His statement, He is right and everyone else is wrong. We get to accept it or reject it. See.......no "dictating" at all, don't you feel less pressure already?? John 14:6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. [NLT]
     -- Joe, Kalamazoo, MI     
  •  
     -- DC, New York      
    Goldwater was the last conservative true to his ideals.... He would rather loose than compromise his beliefs..... Regan took his beliefs and tossed them out the window to get a victory for the Republicans all the while stating that he was a Goldwater conservative....NOT he was in bed with the religious right, in which this Goldwater warns about..... but to quote the does a man gain if he conquers the world and loses his soul... the republicans are lost in the wilderness now... and it won't be Sarah Palin that will pull them out.... WWWFBD ..... What would W. F. Buckley Do with this party... the intellectuals are all gone....
     -- Terri, washington     
  •  
    There's a very good and just reason that Barry Goldwater was never elected president.
     -- Rob Purdie, Palm Bay, FL     
  •  
    Glenn Beck is a descendant of the Goldwater philosophy
     -- charlie, tarrytown ny     
  •  
    Is really hysterical how some of the folks think the modern-neo-Conservatives are somehow "Liberal" compared to their past. The historical fact is that the so-called Conservatives are Reactionaries, whilst the so-called leftist Liberals are at best Moderates. Moderates are Conservatives and are still essentially inept at Governing on a Federal level. Libertarian Socialism is the only system which CAN work when there are hundreds of millions of citizens involved.
     -- Bains, Cleveland     
  •  
    Morality is not dictated by preachers but preachers preach what is in the Bible. If Goldwater had ever read the Bible he would have agreed with the preachers that preach morality.
     -- Norm, Columbus OH     
  •  
    It's a shame that Goldwater lost the election to that crook, LBJ.
     -- Jim K, Austin     
  •  
    I'm with you Barry.....
     -- Robert Edwards, Somewhere in Europe     
  •  
    Calm down Barry. If you were a Marxist you would get the same crap from fellow Marxists. A few people that have a burr under their saddle can make themselves seem like they are a majority. Most people can appreciate an honest committed man in spite of the fact that they may not agree with every position he takes.
     -- warren, olathe     
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