Faith, Conservatism, Moderation

A reader writes:

I have to thank you for showing me a rational conservatism. As a 24-year-old idealistic liberal, my only experience with conservatism has been today's bigoted, overspending, corrupt bunch of cronies. While I know there's a deep tradition behind it all - personified in the politicians of yesteryear who would today be considered wacko liberals - it is yet to be apparent to me. That conservatism seems to be dead, or at least in a long, deep slumber, and it is completely foreign to those of us just entering the political realm. We know only vitriol, from both sides. It leads one to apathy.

Second: your religion essay in last week's Time. I became an atheist early and have yet to really question it. As an atheist, seeing the incredible hypocrisy surrounding today's evangelicals can cause some serious feelings of disdain for the entire world of religion. But your essay reminds me of the moderate Christians, such as my own mother, who are courageous enough to question the dogma and realize that actions and inner spirituality are what matter to God. I am proud to share the responsibility of transforming this country with those individuals. A strong, guiding faith -- rather than a blind, unquestioning one -- is something I appreciate and even envy, and for those of you who can reconcile reason with religion, I say more power to you.

Anyone who reads my book will see, I hope, that my intent is not to criticize Christianity, but to redescribe it for people who have only known of it through the extremism of the religious right.