More Important than Tax Cuts & Healcare

by Kelly Boggs

While I appreciate the tax relief I have realized under President Bush, and I appreciate that Senator Kerry wants to give me everything I cannot afford under my present healthcare plan, neither of these issues is critical for me.

If we do not aggressively confront Islamic terrorists now, they will only grow more resolute in their hatred and more sophisticated in their methods. And with the recent killing of innocent Nepalese and Turks, and the catastrophic take-over of a school just outside Chechnya, it is clear that Muslim terrorists hate anyone who does not embrace their view of the world.

While I believe we are safer than we were prior to 9/11, we are far from safe. There is much that still remains to be done on the domestic front in the war against the terrorists.

Also, the next president likely will be presented with the task of making at least two appointments, perhaps even three, to the Supreme Court. Justice John Paul Stephens is 84 years old and Justice William Rehnquist will be 81 in October. Justice Sandra Day O'Conner is 74 and has had a bout with cancer.

Supreme Court decisions in recent years have been at best schizophrenic, because the majority currently sitting on the Supreme Court believe the Constitution is a "living document" to be interpreted in the light of current cultural and/or political trends.

I believe the founders intended the Constitution to be an anchor that would keep the nation stable in the midst of the ebb and flow of popular culture. If the people of the United States believe change is warranted, the amendment process is in place to bring it about. However, the people, not judges, should determine if and when the change should occur.

The next president should state in no uncertain terms whether he will appoint judges with a history of interpreting the Constitution as to its original intent, or appoint justices with a record of viewing it as a document that is in flux.

The economy tends to run in cycles. However, the war against terrorists and selection of Supreme Court justices will affect our lives for years to come and in more ways than we can imagine.

So to the candidates I say, don't try to buy my vote by appealing to my pocketbook. Tell me, will you do everything necessary, even domestically, to deal with the threat of terrorists? Will you stop the Supreme Court's schizophrenia by appointing justices who will interpret the Constitution according to its original intent?

Kelly Boggs' is pastor of the Portland-area Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore. He writes a periodic column, including this one, for Baptist Press

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