Sunday, April 6, 2008

Charlton Heston Dies at 84

Although best known for his roles as Ben-Hur and Moses, Heston was a
World War II Army veteran, he visited troops fighting during the Vietnam War and was a strong supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1981, Heston was named co-chairman of then-President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities. Charlton has served on the National Council on the Arts and was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild a record six times.

Furthermore, he has held the office of chairman and president of the American Film Institute and served four terms as president of the National Rifle Association of America. He has authored five books.
In 2003, Heston received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush.

Heston saw McCarthyism and racial segregation as helping the cause of Communism worldwide, and opposed both.[citation needed] He also opposed the Vietnam War and voted for Richard Nixon in 1972.[13]
By the 1980s, Heston opposed affirmative action, supported gun rights and changed his political affiliation from Democratic to Republican.[14] He campaigned for Republicans and Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.[15]

Heston resigned from Actors Equity, claiming the union's refusal to allow a white actor to play a Eurasian role in "Miss Saigon" was "obscenely racist."[citation needed] He said CNN's telecasts from Baghdad were "sowing doubts" about the allied effort in the 1990-91 Gulf War[citation needed].

At a Time Warner stockholders meeting, he castigated the company for releasing an Ice-T album which included the song "Cop Killer", which depicted the killing of police offiers.[16]
In 1996, Heston attended the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative movement organizations. There he posed for a group photo with former White Citizens Council organizer and founder of the Council of Conservative Citizens, Gordon Lee Baum, and former Republican Senator George Allen (VA), which was published in the Summer 1996 issue of the CCC's newsletter, the Citizens Informer. [17]

Heston was the President and spokesman of the NRA from 1998 until his resignation in 2003. At the 2000 NRA convention, he raised a hand-made Brooks flintlock rifle over his head and declared that presidential candidate Al Gore would take away his Second Amendment rights "from my cold, dead hands."[citation needed] In announcing his resignation in 2003, he again raised a rifle over his head, repeating the five famous words of his 2000 speech[citation needed]. He was an honorary life member.[18][19]

In the 2002 documentary film Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore interviewed Heston in his home, asking him about an April, 1999 NRA meeting held in Denver, Colorado, shortly after the Columbine high school massacre. Moore criticized Heston for the perceived thoughtlessness in the timing and location of the meeting. Heston, on-camera, excused himself and walked out on the interview. Moore was later criticized for his perceived ambush of the actor.

According to his autobiography In the Arena, Heston recognized the right of freedom of speech exercised by others. In a 1997 speech, he deplored a culture war he said was being conducted by a generation of media, educators, entertainers, and politicians against:

"...the God fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle- class Protestant-or even worse, evangelical Christian, Midwestern or Southern- or even worse, rural, apparently straight-or even worse, admitted heterosexuals, gun-owning-or even worse, NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff-or even worse, male working stiff-because, not only don’t you count, you are a down-right obstacle to social progress. Your voice deserves a lower decibel level, your opinion is less enlightened, your media access is insignificant, and frankly, mister, you need to wake up, wise up, and learn a little something from your new-America and until you do, would you mind shutting up?"[22]

In an address to students at Harvard Law School entitled Winning the Cultural War, Heston expressed his disdain for political correctness, stating "If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys - subjects bound to the British crown."[23] He stated "Political correctness is tyranny with manners".[24] He went on to say that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride.

Heston opposed abortion and gave the introduction to a 1987 pro-life documentary by Bernard Nathanson called Eclipse of Reason which focuses on late-term abortions. Heston served on the Advisory Board of Accuracy in Media (AIM), a conservative media watchdog group founded by the late Reed Irvine.[25]

Charlton Heston was a true conservative American hero.
Brave and willing to stand up for the values and institutions that have made our country great. He is an example to be emulated and he will be missed. He now rests in His Saviors' loving arms, healed and healthy.

No comments: