2005年07月12日

 

新党此次大陆行以“民族之旅”为旗帜,以构筑两岸中国人共同的民族认同为己任,以纪念抗日战争为主题。沿着苦难的历史记忆一路走来,党主席郁慕明挥笔写下了:“一段悲惨史,一片虔诚心,一股悲愤力,油然而生。”

但是,对于民族苦难的祭奠并不只是为了凭吊历史,新党带来的是对于共同历史的体认和感知,更是对于中华民族的认同。

台独势力的“去中国化”的努力,在“戒急用忍”政策阻滞两岸的经贸往来之外,更重要的是重新解读历史,通过对历史的重新阐释来构建所谓“台湾共同体”的新的意识和新的认同。而富有戏剧性的就在于,以李登辉为代表的台独分裂势力,在构建所谓台湾“新历史”的时候,对于日本军国主义的战争史和殖民史采取了与“中国”完全背道而驰的姿态:中日之间的“抗战史”,因为分裂势力想要自异于“中国”和“中华民族”而人为地被隔断和割裂,他们不断美化日本在台湾的殖民史,构造两岸在民族认同上的障碍,以此来为过度膨胀的台湾“本土意识”制造空间和资源。

国民党和亲民党作为台湾最重要的在野党,其大陆行的主要努力在于打破台湾当局在两岸经贸交流之间设置的壁垒和障碍;而这次“新党”作为在野的小党,在党主席郁慕明的率领下,从广州辗转南京和大连再到北京,带来了一片新的气象。

要打破去中国化对台湾社会的影响,不仅要加强两岸的经贸交流和人员往来,更需要重新恢复两岸之间的共识和认同。而对于历史的记忆则是构筑民族认同的最重要的途径,这就必须打破台独势力对历史的曲意诠释和割裂。历史为一个共同体提供了记忆、塑造了概念、诠释了过去,更重要的是,它也创造了未来。当台独分裂势力在千方百计地割断历史联系、打破民族认同的时刻,新党带着直面历史的勇气一路走来,为两岸关系的改善和突破创造了新的空间。

郁慕明在抗战纪念馆发表感言时引用了诗人洛夫悼念抗战英雄的诗句:

留下一封绝命书后,他们扬着脸走进历史;今天,你我在这片国土上面,我们看看过去的英雄们,扬着脸走进历史。

历史会在沉默中爆发,还是会在沉默中消亡?至少新党带来的新气象,让我们看到了两岸波潮涌动之后的新希望。

2005年07月03日

But whose law should prevail?

Jun 30th 2005
From The Economist print edition




Corbis
Corbis


The church-state divide may once again be about to dominate American politics. Prepare for a summer of deep discussions by reading this useful new guide



Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem—And What We Should Do About It
By Noah Feldman



Farrer, Straus & Giroux; 306 pages; $25

Buy it at

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

“CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” What could be simpler than the First Amendment? Quite a lot of things, it seems, judging by this week’s Supreme Court decision. It is fine to display the Ten Commandments on government land, but displaying them inside a courthouse violates the separation of church and state.

Such seemingly arbitrary distinctions are typical of the tortured church-state divide in America. The legality of Christmas cribs on government property can be reduced, crudely, to the “plastic reindeer rule”. A reindeerless crib endorses Christianity; one with them (and preferably a Santa as well) is all right.

More than ever, America seems to be a country “divided by God”, to borrow the title of Noah Feldman’s new book. Americans are split, not between believers and non-believers (virtually all of them are in the first camp), but between two groups who disagree about the role of religion in the public square: “legal secularists”, who want the law to make government Godless, and “values evangelicals”, who insist that religion is relevant to political life.

Zealots on both sides claim that the past supports their case. This book is an admirable attempt to provide a more even-handed history. It duly bashes both sides, though, interestingly, the secularists often emerge as the worse re-inventors.

Take, for instance, that first amendment. Far from wanting to keep God out of politics, as many liberals now claim, the basic aim of the founders was to keep politics out of religion (and to protect liberty of conscience). Thanksgiving Day was ushered in by George Washington in appropriately God-fearing tones in 1789; nine years later, his successor, John Adams, called for a day of fasting and prayer before God.

The first sign of secularism in American politics came in the late 19th century, largely to camouflage sectarian anti-Catholicism. Nobody objected to public schools teaching the Bible—indeed politicians would have been horrified by any school that did not—as long as it was the Protestant version. When Irish immigrants wanted to use their Catholic version, the Republicans came up with a series of crafty provisions to ban public money from helping teach popish nonsense.

Until the 1950s, America seemed pretty happy with faith being part of government life. “We are a religious people, whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being,” the Supreme Court said in 1952. Many school days began with a prayer, everybody said “Merry Christmas”. Yet a decade later, school prayer was deemed to be unconstitutional and the court was claiming that the constitution required government to act in a secular way.

Mr Feldman offers plenty of material for conservative Christians who have long maintained this was the moment when the court over-reached; but he also offers a more complex explanation than mere liberal hubris. The court was being asked all sorts of questions about the rights of minorities. It was also a time when many Americans started to pay more attention to the feelings of non-Christians in their midst, especially Jews. Perversely, America’s religiosity actually helped secularists; nobody felt religion was under threat.

The religious right tends to argue that it has all been downhill since then, while Mr Feldman insists the picture is more complicated. Secularism has advanced when it comes to public displays of religion (give or take the odd reindeer). But evangelicals, newly mobilised, have successfully defined themselves as a minority whose rights need to be protected. And they have pushed the courts into allowing more government money to support religious activities: the Supreme Court has sanctioned vouchers to be used at religious schools.

This awkward balance between the state financing of the sacred (good) and allowing displays of it (bad) owes much to Sandra Day O’Connor, the swing voter on religious issues—and one of the justices who may soon retire. Mr Feldman over-reaches himself a little at the end, when he enters the fray to suggest that Ms O’Connor has it the wrong way round: public displays should be more widely tolerated and public money more circumscribed. It would have been better to have let readers draw their own conclusions. But that is a small quibble about an elegant and fair primer on a contentious issue.