MH: Well, I know Rick Warren very well. He was a seminary classmate of mine, and a dear friend. He is as pro-life as anybody I've ever met! He is as much for the traditon of marriage meaning one man and one woman as anybody. But, like me, Rick Warren believes that we also must address issues like hunger, poverty, and disease, and that to fail to do so is not really being pro-life! I can't say that I'm pro-life if I'm interested only in the child until he comes out of the birth canal. And then when he's starving to death or is wracked by a disease that we could have cured I say, "Hey, it's no longer my problem. Soon as he came out of the birth canal he's on his own." That's not being pro-life, so I would totally say that it's the Rick Warrens and Joel Hunters of the world that very much share my committment that bring pro-life is far more than just being anti-abortion.

CW: In your first eight chapters you describe a lot of the problems that we have as a society, or within the D.C. culture, or even as conservatives/Republicans/Christians. The remaining chapters then very much inspire and simplify, touching on everything from taxes to healthcare to volunteerism within a framework of what you call "vertical thinking" or "vertical politics." Can you elaborate a little bit on what you mean by this concept of verticality?

MH: In the chapter called "Let's Get Vertical" I point out that a lot of people in politics see everything in terms of left-right, liberal-conservative, democrat-republican - all on the horizontal plane. But the average American looks at life - and votes - vertically. They're not as concerned about where I am on the horizontal scale, they want to know: will I make the roads better? Will the schools get better? Will our borders get more secure? Will per capita income go up? And those are vertical issues; they don't really care whether a republican or a democrat gets it done. They just want to make sure that those things actually do get done.


CW:
One thing that was just a revelation to me in your book was the concept of the FairTax. That was so exciting. Is this something that you can truly forsee coming to fruition in our society?

MH: Oh, I really can. In fact, one of the things that I am very committed to, whether I ever run for an office again, is being a voice for the FairTax. I want to help people to understand it. I am convinced that if we could implement it, we could salvage our economy without a bunch of bailouts, and it would do so much to empower people economically - get them out of the hole and give them an opportunity to put food on their own family's table. I would hope that if people aren't really familiar with the FairTax, they would buy the book for that sole chapter. I think it will want to make them look more into the restructuring of our tax system, and I think they'd be on the phone or on the computer to their congressman saying, "Either get the FairTax or we'll fire you and get a congressman who will."

CW: You don't spend a whole lot of time in Do the Right Thing talking about the hot-button issue of gay marriage, though you do indicate in the FairTax chapter that one benefit would be that the FairTax is good for everyone, including homosexual couples. How so?

MH: When you're building a tax code based on sociological patterns, Congress always has the capacity to manipulate it. One of the arguments that many same-sex couples make is that the tax code favors married couples. In some cases it doesn't, but sometimes it does. My point is that if you have a consumption tax, you only pay taxes at point of consuming something.

Now, I'm an absolute unflinching traditional when it comes to marriage. I think it means only one thing: one man, one woman, relationships for life. And when we start re-defining it, we've stepped across a line. And I don't think we have the right or the power to say that marriage now means something different, something that it's never meant as long as we've had recorded human history, regardless of the religion or the culture. It troubles me when I hear people saying, "It doesn't matter what we call it." Well, it actually does matter what we call it, and I would argue that if we are going to allow same-sex marriage, then we also have to allow for multiple-spouse marriage - that a man could marry six or seven or 25 women if he wanted to, and a woman could marry multiple men. And people say, "No, no no, that's not what we're talking about," but once we've decided that you can define it to accommodate somebody's lifestyle, why would you accomodate same-sex couples and not a person who wants to have multiple wives? That seems to me even more arbitrary than what heterosexuals are accused of by wanting to keep marriage defined as a-man-and-a-woman relationship.