Friday, November 20, 2015

Kasich backs off new federal agency to promote Judeo-Christian ideas

via LJB by email

Jack Torry,

In a brief news conference following an appearance at a Christian university, Kasich dismissed published reports he wants a new federal agency to promote Western ideas as part of the ongoing struggle against the Islamic State.

Kasich image from article

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — One day after urging the creation of a federal agency to promote “core Judeo-Christian, Western values,” Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said on Wednesday he instead would upgrade the existing Voice of America to “engage in the war of ideas” against Islamic State.

Speaking after an appearance at a Christian university in Virginia Beach, Kasich said he does not think “you need a new agency. It’s really breathing life into something that’s kind of become dormant.” He added, “You don’t hear much about the Voice of America anymore.

“Once we defeat (Islamic State militants) with bullets, which we need to do, and need to do now, we then can engage in the battle of ideas so that these radical groups don’t crop up one after another,” Kasich said. “I think it’s entirely reasonable for us to begin to tell the world who we are, what we believe, because it’s really all about hope, science, education, progress and the future.”

Although Kasich aides insisted that his plan always was more of a consolidation of existing agencies as opposed to creating a new entity, Ohio’s governor modified the approach he outlined in a speech on Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington.

In that speech, Kasich said federal broadcasting agencies “have lost their focus on the case for Western values and ideals and effectively countering our opponents’ propaganda and disinformation."

Kasich said he would “consolidate them into a new agency that has a clear mandate to promote the core Judeo-Christian values that we and our friends and allies share,” such as human rights and freedom of speech. The message would “focus on four critical targets: the Middle East, China, Iran and Russia.”

Critics complained that Kasich wanted to increase the size of the federal government with a new agency and that he wanted the U.S. government to promote religious values.

“I don’t think we should be promoting Judeo-Christian values in the Arab world,” one of Kasich’s GOP rivals, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, told Real Clear Politics. “I think that was the Crusades.”

But Kasich said Wednesday, “We represent the Western ethic, Western values ... We’re talking fundamentally about freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the ability to gather to address our grievances, the equality of women.”

Kasich attempted this week to outline a more-aggressive strategy to defeat Islamic State after militants murdered 129 people in a terrorist attack in Paris on Friday. While he has repeatedly said that ground forces might have to be introduced as part of a larger international coalition, he has argued that the West also must devise ways to discourage young Muslims from joining terrorist groups.

Kasich, who filed papers to appear on Virginia’s Republican primary ballot next year, made a clear bid to try to win the backing of Christian conservatives by speaking at Regent University, founded by Christian evangelist Pat Robertson.

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