The Continued Decline of the Religious Right

Christian conservatives in the Republican Party have at times in the past felt that their hard work for the GOP has gone unrewarded. They work their little hearts out during the campaign to get Republicans elected, and then once those Republicans take office, they're given little but table scraps. Sure, the Mexico City policy will get reinstated, they'll get some money funneled to churches, and some other small items here and there, but the big pieces of their agenda languish. Abortion is still legal, gay people continue to walk amongst us, and prayer has not been returned to public schools. And every four years, a bunch of Republican presidential candidates tell them, "Elect me, and I'll fix all this."

But this year, those candidates have barely bothered. The economy has dominated the debate, and opposition to government in any and all its forms has pushed the culture war to the side. Last year, the head of the American Enterprise Institute (the right's No. 2 think tank) wrote a silly but conservative-zeitgeist-capturing book arguing that economic disagreements are the new culture war. So if you're a Christian conservative, you might be feeling a little neglected. Enter Rick Perry:

You'll seldom see a more pure distillation of the religious right's persecution complex than this ad. "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian," Perry says, as though Christians are an oppressed minority and he's displaying his courage by saying he is one. "But you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I'll end Obama's war on religion." It goes on from there.

You may not have noticed "Obama's war on religion," and you might be puzzled by the assertion that "our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas." But that's because you're an elitist liberal, and you've closed your eyes to the way the government brings its heavy boot down on the neck of Christians.

One has to understand that as ridiculous as these claims sound, the voters Perry is pleading with absolutely believe them to be true. And this is the most direct attempt by any of the candidates to go after those votes, to say to Christian conservatives, "I will be your sectarian candidate." You hate gays? I'm your man. You want America to be more Christian? Come on board.

But it is obviously not going to work, and not just because Perry has been such a desperately poor candidate. Circumstances have conspired to make the religious right -- as a distinct political entity that can be mobilized in unison during the primary -- essentially irrelevant. Four years ago, Mike Huckabee was able to ride evangelical support to victory in the Iowa caucus. But today, Newt Gingrich -- converted Catholic, thrice-married, admitted adulterer -- is way out in front among Iowa evangelicals, pretty much matching his support with Republicans as a whole. And there doesn't look to be anything Rick Perry can do about it.

Comments

"our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas."

Perry may not be a good candidate, but can you openly celebrate Christmas in schools, which the founding fathers allowed? Christians don't hate gays. The founding fathers punished them and did not give them rights because their Sin brings judgment from God:
"As nations can not [sic] be rewarded or punished in the next world they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes & effects[,] providence punishes national sins, by national calamities."
--The Father of the Bill of Rights. The Constitutional Convention. Robert A. Rutland, ed., The Papers of George Mason (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970), p.966.

This is a silly article. All the Republican presidential candidates are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. People of faith have been enormously blessed by legal rules passed under Republicans that ensure Christians/people of faith are not at a disadvantage legally. The liberal Supreme court of the 60s has been rebuked by strict constructionist judges, again, appointed by Republicans. President Obama is set to lose and Ginsburg may very well be replaced with a conservative. . . reversing Roe v. Wade and securing the courts conservative direction for a generation. Every time Republicans win state elections marriage amendments are voted on by the public. . . and win. I could go on and on. Religious freedom around the world has been spotlighted by Republican policy makers.

The author is confusing his own bias perceptions with reality. Those who go to church or synagogue regularly vote Republican. The religious right has a seat at the table in all policy decisions. 2012 could very well be the year Republicans, with the help of the religious right, finally have the power to totally transform Washington. The author believes the religious right is a bunch of puritanical idiots who want the pope as president. Little does he know that we are politically savvy enough to vote for people like Newt. We don't want a preacher as president. . . we already have a pastor. We want someone who will radically change Washington and restore freedom to the people.

In November of 2012 Republicans could control the presidency, 60 votes in the senate, and huge majorities in the house. The author of this article believes the religious righ influence is diminishing

"Those who go to . . . synagogue regularly vote Republican."

No, but maybe we would if evangelical Republicans stopped trying to get prayer back in school as a way to convert our children.

because Rick Perry is desperate. In reality, the liberal media is about to be replaced by conservative sources of news. They, not the religious right, are truly losing influence.

If only the Religious Right would decline into irrelevancy.

It's bad enough that evangelicals believe in an invisible sky fairy who hates foreskins and reads their minds telepathically. The fact that they see fit to impose their insanity on the rest of us is an abomination and about as counter-freedom as you can get.

They are free to believe their crazy nonsense all they want. Celebrate Christmas any way they please. Mount bloody Jesus Porn On A Stick on the bedroom walls of their children. Have as many Traditional Marriages as they like.

But the second they try to make people who don't agree with them toe the Invisible Sky-fairy line, well, Houston, we have a problem. I'm not falling for your superstitious claptrap. You religious nuts can't tell me how to behave.

Keep it to yourself, and we'll laugh and move on. Throw it in our faces, and we'll push back. Evangelicals have been shoving it in our faces for too long. The pushback is intensifying.

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