The Whackos Didn't Go Away
They just lost this time.
After eight years of unprecedented access to the White House and (until 2006) in the halls of Congress, Religious Right organizations are about to lose a lot of clout with much of official Washington and could see their influence at the national level diminished.
But it’s unlikely any of these organizations will close down. Rather, they will organize to defeat individual-freedom initiatives put forward by President Barack Obama, and they will place more emphasis on state and local governments as a way to press their agenda forward.
Obama’s victory is a serious blow to the Religious Right.
These efforts had the effect of rallying the GOP’s evangelical base but did little to persuade other voters. The National Election Pool’s exit poll found that white evangelical Protestants voted for McCain over Obama 73-26 figures comparable to the presidential races of 2000 (when 68 percent of white evangelicals voted for George W. Bush) and 2004 (when Bush captured 78 percent of the white evangelical vote). It does not appear that the much-discussed effort by some Democratic strategists to woo white evangelicals was successful. (And should therefore be abandoned. Ruthlessly crush them, don't "court" them. TB3)
When discussing the Religious Right’s impact on the outcome, there is one other factor to be considered: Polling data taken before the election showed a majority of Americans were wary of McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. A majority of respondents said they did not believe Palin was ready to be president. Palin, an evangelical Christian, was put on the ticket in part to appease the Religious Right. While that segment of the electorate was wildly enthusiastic about her, most others were not. In this instance, McCain’s attempt to placate the Religious Right may have backfired.
Religious Right organizations are not happy that the McCain/Palin ticket failed to carry the day. At the Family Research Council’s “Values Voter Summit” in September, there was great excitement over the selection of Palin. Many attendees sported stickers reading “Palin Power” and “I Love Sarah.” Polls at that time showed the race to be very close, and these organizations were looking forward to having one of their own in the White House.
That won’t be happening. But Obama’s electoral landslide does not mean the Religious Right is dead or even seriously wounded. The Religious Right has been part of the American political landscape for more than 30 years and is not likely to fade away simply because of a bad election cycle.
It’s important to remember that several of the Religious Right’s favored candidates won their races, and, more importantly, the referenda results on same-sex marriage shows that this issue remains a potent one for the Religious Right to exploit. With power changing hands in Washington, these groups will shift tactics, not shut their doors.
In short, it is probably too early to declare the culture wars over just yet.
This is a no-win situation. If things get worse under 2 or 4 years of Democratic rule the GOP (and therefore the craziest, most paranoid of the fundamentalists) will be more successful. If things get better, "the secular progressive left" will relax, and the GOP (and therefore the craziest, most paranoid of the fundamentalists) will be more successful.
On gay marriage, in particular, whatta was right. Banning gay marriage has popular support, even though we all know that it takes more than a simple majority to overturn the constitution (the 14th amendment). The answer, eliminating marriage as a legal concept and replacing it (in terms of the law) with civil union (leaving churches to decide for themselves who they will and won't "marry") is not only years away but being pushed off further by the gay community, itself. If we could, instead, push this solution through quickly it would help disarm the most destructive force in American politics, the paranoid freaks of the religious right.
They will, of course, oppose this solution. They're not interested in anyone's rights. They want to seize power and, as crazy as this sounds, initiate the return of Christ by theocratic rule.
The American left still doesn't fully understand how the American religious right has used used politicized religion to power the American political right and by recent indications the problem is getting worse.
If over 80% of the country is religious -- how does the left propose to get ANYTHING they want without working with religious folks.
I'm hoping Obama has a nice speech in the works addressing the gay marriage war -- because it's getting ugly and threatening to destroy the little unity we just managed to get.
But I disagree that slamming right wing evangelicals is akin to slamming all religions.
What's needed is for actual Christians to speak out against them, but that doesn't happen often enough. What's needed is for Democrats to speak out against specific things that the hard-core extremist RW religions do (in the name of God) that's easily seen as un-American, but that almost never happens.
Subjugation of the Constitution to either the will of the majority or the Bible is intolerable, to me.
I assume that you know that "over 80% of the country is religious" is misleading. What percentage of them are "seven mountains" religious extremists who are trying to replace America with "Christ's 1000 year reign"? How many are Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Wiccans, or American Indian spiritualists?
We wouldn't tolerate Aztecs insisting on their "right" to conduct human sacrifice as part of their "religion". We shouldn't tolerate "christians" who's STATED GOAL is the overthrow of the US Constitution, either.
Honestly, we should put them on trial them for treason.
As a recovering Catholic, don't get me started on the RC church.
Martin Luther knew what he was doing when he nailed his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg.
We liberals tend NOT to be very specific when we speak -- maybe subconsciously thinking the context adequately qualifies what we say -- I guess. Unfortunately -- we forget that sometimes context gets lost when talking about hot issues and forget that people hear what they think we mean -- not necessarily what we think we're telling them.
The listener can't testify to the speaker's intention -- so if the speaker hopes to successfully get a message through -- he needs to make sure the message is as clear as he can make it.
Right now -- Obama happens to be under attack over that very thing. Now -- most of us knew what he meant when he talked about excluding lobbyists. Most of us knew he was talking about the unethical variety -- not everybody who lobbys for causes. That's who we're all talking about when we complain about them -- the harmful lobbyists. At least -- that's what I thought. I certainly don't expect congress or our president to ignore or ban people advocating on behalf of genuine issues affecting disabled people -- or education needs -- etc.
But -- he didn't qualify the remarks about lobbyists when he first spoke -- and those initial words keep creeping up in attacks. Which -- I take it he decided the people he intended the message for knew what he meant -- and figured the ones who didn't would just accuse him of lying and trying to cover -- making the effort a waste of time. Choose your battles -- and all that.
There are times when I mean to, but I'm not the President. I'm a backwater blogger with minimal readership.
I believe VERY strongly in the separation of church and state, and there are plenty of "moderate" religious kooks who want to impose their morality on me.
I'll win that battle any way I can, even by lying, because I have no intention of handing a theocracy off to my kids and grand-kids.
But it's central to who I am that I hold people who think their religion belongs in my government in the highest contempt, on a par with spies, assassins, and terrorists.
I'm not lying about that.
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