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It's easy to think of militant anti-abortionists as merely bigoted and unkind, but they're innovative too.

They're pushing now to put a religious, anti-abortion monument inside the state Capitol, transforming the building into a temple for their own beliefs. Any Arkansans not sharing those beliefs could move out of state. On that point, if no other, the antis would allow freedom of choice.

A group of them have asked Secretary of State Charlie Daniels for permission to install a statue of Jesus holding a baby while talking to a woman. Daniels has referred the request to a committee. Hopefully, it will oppose the mingling of church and state. This is not Iraq.

According to spokesmen, the monument would help parents cope with grief caused by abortion, miscarriage or fetal or infant death. It would also, though the spokesmen don't stress this, castigate women who've had abortions, and discourage others from doing so. That is, it would discourage women from exercising a constitutional right to govern their own bodies, and encourage them to accept second-class citizenship docilely. An offensive proposal at any time, this is especially so while Little Rock is commemorating the integration of Central High School. What if those nine students had settled for being second-class citizens? History would have been different; the world would be worse.

The real stuff

There are pundits inside Arkansas and out unwilling to confess — understandably so — that they're yellow-dog Republicans. They prefer to call themselves “libertarian,” even as they support a prolonged war in Iraq. But no true libertarian wants his country waging unnecessary wars, with all the pointless loss of American blood, treasure and liberty that entails. The Libertarian Party makes the point:“Rather than positively respond to the people of our republic, President Bush continues to see no fault in his decision to invade a nation that posed no risk to the United States and held no direct responsibility for the attacks of September 11, 2001. Instead, in order to justify an indefinite occupation, our Commander in Chief has reverted back to the same misleading, fear-mongering tactics that allowed for the military invasion of Iraq. … The Libertarian Party recognizes that the invasion and occupation of sovereign nations is not the moral, appropriate or most effective way to bring liberty to the oppressed people of the world.”

When Bill Clinton was running against the first Bush, and Ann Richards spoke up for Clinton, she said she wanted America to hear what a real Texan sounds like. Now we know what a real libertarian sounds like.

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