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John Ashcroft on Principles & Values

Former Attorney General; Former Republican Senator (MO)


It's against my religion to impose my religion on others

Former attorney general John Ashcroft--a deeply devout Christian--used to say something I agree with wholeheartedly: "It's against my religion to impose my religion on others." What our culture does when it translates religious values into secular terms and applies them to useful ends isn't about brainwashing or trying to convert anyone--quite the opposite. It's a way of conferring a rich moral heritage while respecting everyone's religious freedom.

All the great religions call on us to follow the Golden Rule: to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. Call me biased, but one of the best ways America follows this faith in a secular way is in the treatment we give to individuals with special needs. Without so much as mentioning religion, we strive to treat these most vulnerable members of our society the way we ourselves would like to be treated.

Source: America by Heart, by Sarah Palin, p.240-241 , Nov 23, 2010

Ashcroft: Songwriter & member of The Singing Senators

Although he doesn’t dance, Ashcroft, as many fans of latenight television know, does sing. As a senator, he held down the baritone section of the Singing Senators, a foursome that broke up, like the Beatles, when Ashcroft went off to do a solo project and member Jim Jeffords decided he liked a different sort of music. Ashcroft’s cornball patriotic tune “Let the Eagle Soar” became an internet hit and then aired repeatedly on the The Late Show with David Letterman, until finally the AG himself turned up to sing it:
Let the mighty eagle soar
Soar with healing in her wings,
As the land beneath her sings:
Only God, no other kings.
John Ashcroft has a very pleasant singing voice.
Source: Fanatics and Fools, by Arianna Huffington, p. 61 , Apr 14, 2004

1999: Americans have no king but Jesus

On May 8, 1999, John Ashcroft, the future attorney general, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bob Jones University. In a short speech of thanks, Ashcroft mentioned that during the American Revolution, correspondence from the colonies to George III included the statement "We have no king but Jesus." He went on to make comparisons between a "culture that has no king but Caesar, no standard but the civil authority, and a culture that has no king but Jesus, no standard but the eternal authority."

The 3-minute speech caused a firestorm of controversy. Critics accused Ashcroft of advocating a theocracy and trouncing the 1st Amendment.

Source: The Faith of George W. Bush, by Stephen Mansfield, p.154-155 , Apr 12, 2004

Clarke: illusion of security over civil liberties

What Ashcroft and others did in the case of Jose Padilla, and in proposing to amend the Patriot Act to allow for actions without judicial review, was to fundamentally shake the confidence of many Americans in the government’s ability to safeguard our rights. Despite the ‘Global War on Terrorism’ and despite (or because of) the ‘War on Iraq’ we are also still highly vulnerable to terrorism.
Source: Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, p.257 & 262 , Mar 23, 2004

Common-sense conservative

John Ashcroft characterized himself [at his confirmation hearing] as a “common sense conservative” willing to compromise with political foes. Ashcroft recalled that when he led the National Association of State Attorneys General, “I understood I had to sacrifice some of my advocacy roles.” Ashcroft said he would follow that practice as attorney general.

Ashcroft assured his former colleagues on Tuesday that he could push his personal beliefs aside and enforce laws as they are written by Congress and interpreted by the Supreme Court even though he may disagree with them. “My primary personal belief is that the law is supreme, that I don’t place myself above the law, that I shouldn’t place myself above the law,” he said. “So it would violate my beliefs to do it.” If his religious faith ever were to come in conflict with his enforcement of the law, “then I would have to resign,” he said.

Source: By Libby Quaid, Associated Press in Washington Post , Jan 17, 2001

Law is supreme, above his personal beliefs

Sen. Leahy questioned Ashcroft’s opposition to Bill Lann Lee as head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division and Clinton’s nomination of Surgeon General David Satcher. While Ashcroft gave Lee high marks professionally, he said at the time that Lee’s beliefs “limit his capacity to have the balanced view of making judgments that will be necessary for the person who runs the division.” In other words, Leahy said, Ashcroft had the same questions for Lee and Satcher that Democrats now have for Ashcroft: Will he be able to enforce laws with which he disagrees?

Ashcroft characterized his differences with Lee and Satcher as policy issues. He said he voted against Lee because of “serious concerns about his willingness to enforce” the Supreme Court’s decision limiting preferences for minority companies in awarding government contracts. Satcher, Ashcroft said, had backed AIDS studies in Africa that withheld treatment from some pregnant women with HIV to test the effect of a new approach.

Source: By Libby Quaid, Associated Press in Washington Post , Jan 17, 2001

Brother Wes died young in traffic accident

The first pounding strains that exploded my father's heart came at [my brother] Wes's death. My dad, who passed away three years later, ultimately died of a broken heart. He could manage the pain, but he couldn't escape it.

A wealthy Asian man is said to have commissioned a work of art. "I want the art to represent good fortune," he said. The artist came back with a calligraphy, very beautifully done, with three large and terse statements:

Grandfather Dies
Father Dies
Son Dies

The man who commissioned the work admired its beauty but protested, "This is depressing! How can this possibly represent good fortune? Everyone dies!" The artist smiled and said, "The good fortune is in the sequence."

At the time of my brother's death, Dad's reaction revealed to me how deeply our earthly fathers live in us. I knew he loved us, but that's not the same as witnessing the debilitating anguish that collapses a grown man. Wes was gone; the natural order was broken.

Source: Lessons From a Father to His Son, by John Ashcroft p.112-115 , May 5, 1998

Clinton should fully disclose about Monica & resign if true

Although at this point the allegations involving President Clinton [in the Lewinsky affair] remain to be substantiated, due to their seriousness and the central role of the Presidency in this country, the President should deal with these charges fully, honestly, and immediately. This President is skilled at telling us what did not happen and what is not true. The American people, however, deserve a full and immediate accounting of what did happen. The President must tell us the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

If the allegations are true, then the President has disgraced himself and his office, and should resign. The President must enjoy the presumption of innocence. Americans are skeptical, however, because of the poor track record of President Clinton and the low ethical standards of his Administration. The instant credibility accorded the Clinton allegations is a measure of how deeply compromised this President is in his ability to command the trust of the nation.

Source: Constituent E-mail , Mar 23, 1998

Religious affiliation: Assembly of God.

Ashcroft : religious affiliation:

The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).

What’s an adherent?

The most common definition used in broad compilations of statistical data is somebody who claims to belong to or worship in a religion. This is the self-identification method of determining who is an adherent of what religion, and it is the method used in most national surveys and polls.

Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.

Source: Adherents.com web site 00-ADH9 on Nov 7, 2000

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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014