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The growing backlash against religious conservatism
May 5, 2005 10:06 AM   Subscribe

George Will's column today (WaPo; reg. req'd) sounds a theme that's becoming common among "traditional" conservatives: A growing wariness of the Christian conservative movement. Andrew Sullivan has been discussing this at length (as has MeFi here), but more and more conservative commentators are beginning to allude to it, if only indirectly. And wasn't Laura Bush's comedy routine at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner specifically designed to distance the president from the movement?
posted by kgasmart (56 comments total)

 
Amen. Thoughtful post, although is George Will considered a conservative? I'm not familiar with him and he didn't come across as such.

If only the State of None was organized....
posted by melt away at 10:16 AM on May 5, 2005


You mean the religious right doesn't get its jollies masturbating horses?
posted by clevershark at 10:22 AM on May 5, 2005


wasn't Laura Bush's comedy routine at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner specifically designed to distance the president from the movement?

no, it really wasn't. it was the Bush family classic bait-and-switch -- they pretend they're this tolerant, centrist Eisenhower Republican clan, then, you know, they implement actual policy that is right out of the extreme Christian Right's playbook
posted by matteo at 10:23 AM on May 5, 2005


I think we on the left need to do what we can to exploit this breach, it can only help put a democrat in the White House if we work it right.
posted by jonmc at 10:28 AM on May 5, 2005


Funny how Will (one of that dying breed--a Rockefeller Republican) conveniently ignored that in the same TV appearance, Robertson called for only Christians and Jews to be judges--no Muslims or Hindus allowed in his book. And that his praise of Giuliani is against every single religious principle he's always spouting off about. They're really afraid since the Schiavo thing backlashed.

This is all calculated to show that the Republicans aren't in the pocket of the Religious Right--and it's a crock of shit. Watch Congress. Laura's appearance and words were designed to distance, but they didn't work either.
posted by amberglow at 10:30 AM on May 5, 2005


I'm in the process of reading Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas," where he consistently uses the term "backlash" to refer to the type of conservatism, primarily Christian conservatism, that now predominates in that state and others.

What we're seeing now is the backlash to the "backlash." About time, I'd say.
posted by kgasmart at 10:37 AM on May 5, 2005


Fundimentalism, like Pop, will eat itself.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:38 AM on May 5, 2005


American (US) culture sucks as a whole. It simply sways from one extreme to the other over the period of a couple of decades until the moderates can no longer stand it and swing things back in the other direction, where it is soon hijacked by opportunists who'll drive it as far as they can until it swings away once again.

Everything is normal here folks, back to work.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:48 AM on May 5, 2005


jsavimbi, when it swings our way tho, all Americans benefit-- Social Security, the New Deal, Head Start, Civil Rights, Labor Laws, Family Medical Leave Acts, etc. When it swings right (as it is now), only the rich benefit.
posted by amberglow at 10:51 AM on May 5, 2005


This is really a show of how confident the right has become. George Will prides himself on being a conservative intellectual. However. the Republicans PR system hates displays of intellectualism right now. Populism rules, to the point where I think the Presdient will shortly be photographed with a can of Skoal and a copy of the Enquirer on Air Force One. Naturally, behind the scenes, very smart, selfish Republicans are annotating their copies of The Prince but the public face of the Republican party likes NASCAR, Velveeta and Jesus.

But it took George Will years to say "Enough!" So what he's basically saying now is "we don't need you, Jesus freaks!" The encouraging thing about this is that George Will is notoriously short-sighted, and this may demonstrate an actual coming split in the Republican party. After all, George Will thought he could maintain his late 80's/early 90's relevance with 10 years of columns all themed "I Think Bill Clinton is an Awful Man."

are presently very caught up in being so populist that I think the President is
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:56 AM on May 5, 2005


Sometime soon (I hope, for the sake of good competition) the left will realize that they are being played like a drum. They need to walk away from this, and fast.

Nothing is more powerfully beneficial for Republicans than for elections to be configured as a referendum on traditional Christian values. Conservatives chattering about the potential of a "backlash" are, intentionally or not, laying out the bait that will doom Democratic efforts to regain power.

And, by the way, the alliance between business interests and Christian conservatives has never been stronger than it is now. There's no split coming, not anytime soon.
posted by MattD at 11:05 AM on May 5, 2005


"Swing," which we all use so frequently to refer to US politics (swing state, swing voters, etc.) is a poor choice of verb. I worked for Clinton's 2000 campaign, I voted for him twice, but the movement from Clinton to Bush isn't as huge as the word "swing " suggests. Clinton put through welfare reform, cut taxes, opposed the formalization of homosexual civil rights, opened the White House like a bordello to big business, and promoted a plethora of other policies that one would find hard to define as diametrically opposite to those of Bush Sr. and Jr..

From my progressive perch (or pit, depending on where you are standing) I don't see swings -- I see perturbations in what has been a fairly steady state for the past 25 years.
posted by Cassford at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2005


They need to walk away from this, and fast.
By walk away, do you mean not talk about what every media outlet and person in the country is talking about? Do you mean change the subject when the subject is decided by GOP talking points? Do you mean to not engage in the discourse of the day?

Pray tell, how do you walk away? It's not like we can talk about the ongoing deaths in Iraq, or the British memo proving Bush lied, or the continuing weak economy, or the millions without healthcare or the millions stuck in parttime jobs, or the ruinous budget or bankruptcy bill...
posted by amberglow at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2005


Tough nuts. You made your bed, Georgie. Enjoy lying down in it before the Dominion freaks tie you down and set the matress on fire.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2005


There's no split coming, not anytime soon.

I disagree with that entirely, I think we are seeing the beginning of a fissure that may take decades to develop, but one that is undeniable.

I personally know "traditional" conservatives who are nervous as hell the forces that they've unleashed. Make no mistake, they specifically sought to unleash them, specifically pandered to the nascent Christian conservative movement back in the '80s as a way of solidifying the base, and over the years it has worked; there is no more dedicated, dependable interest group than Christian conservatives: They have been the foot soldiers in the movement.

But now, cultural conservatives have come for their payment. And that puts the Republican Party in a rather precarious position: It either has to put up or shut up.

If it puts up, it risks alienating moderates and much of the rest of the country. If it shuts up, those most loyal of foot soldiers may not fight so tenaciously on the party’s behalf any longer.

So the party has tried to split the difference, making highly visible but ultimately symbolic gestures, as in the Terri Schiavo case. But even that turned out to be a disaster. So now the party is trying to give the impression that, heh heh, we're not like them - meanwhile, Dobson & Co. are leading a jihad against judges (I've got a copy of his April newsletter; you definitely need to read it if you haven't already).

This kind of rhetoric gives normal Americans the creeps. Which is why a swinging of the pendulum in the other direction is inevitable; Dobson & Co. aren't about to back down; they see this as their moment in time, their rhetoric is going to get even more overheated - thereby convincing normal Americans that these people definitely have a screw loose.

The key is whether the Democratic Party is capable of capitalizing on this. If not, someone else sure ought to be thinking about it.
posted by kgasmart at 11:25 AM on May 5, 2005


Sometime soon (I hope, for the sake of good competition)

a very dubious 5-4, followed by 51%-49%, man. I think the numbers say that competition is quite there already -- math is not exactly faith-based, see.

but it's very true that as of now the Big Business--Fundy Right front is very solid indeed. which is somehow ironic, since the alleged followers of the man who told his disciples to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics (Mark 6:7, in one of the oldest layers of tradition), it's somehow ironic that these people have become the faithful allies (and enablers, and ultimately the servants) of the rich and the warmongers.
blessed are the meek, indeed.

There's no split coming, not anytime soon.

just wait until your buddies in the SCOTUS reverse Roe, opening a bright new era of coat-hangers for American women. you just wait.
posted by matteo at 11:32 AM on May 5, 2005


What the Rockerfeller Republicans did a generation or two ago, when they sold their soul for political viability in the face of a vastly larger labor party, was and is very risky. They had an extremely simple political platform: don't rock the boat, and make sure the government does everything it can to help the rich stay rich and get richer. That is still, to this day, the prime directive of the Republican party. The trouble is, there are not enough rich people that support that to win elections. So the Republicans need a popular movement.

That's when they sold their soul: they made an uneasy alliances with religious fundamentalists. But that has always had the potential to blow up in their faces. Republicans pay lip service to the Religious fundamentalist; they make little effort to do anything serious for them, and the things they do do are on the fringe. But we now have an entire generation of people, given political viability by folks like Will, that believe separation of church and state is a bad thing (they say that directly). We have elected, national level and prominent Republicans giving sermons (SERMONS!) about who should be allowed to be a judge, and what judges should be allowed to do (as if the Constitution and American legal reasoning of the past 2 centuries did not exist). We have millions of Americans completely comfortable with the idea of a religious test for office. And the idea of only giving the Religious fundamentalists lip service has completely broken down at the state level in some (most?) red states, and it's starting to cause major problems.

That's fundamentally un-American, and in the long run it will be bad for business. But fundamentally dishonest folks like Will have a problem: they can't maintain power without the religious fundamentalists. But they don't like the Frankenstein the have created in the form of FotF and DeLay etc.

They are in a bind, but a bind entirely of their own making. They don't have any easy way out, so whatever grumbling you hear from Will is empty.
posted by teece at 11:40 AM on May 5, 2005


And wasn't Laura Bush's comedy routine at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner specifically designed to distance the president from the movement?

With the Bushes, even horse-cock jokes are subtle political menouvering...
posted by delmoi at 11:49 AM on May 5, 2005


I personally know "traditional" conservatives who are nervous as hell the forces that they've unleashed.

That's me. I used to be a libertarian conservative, and cut my political teeth on George Will and Bill Buckley. I was a campus Republican during the Reagan era, when Republicans treated social conservatives and fundamentalists the way Democrats treat blacks--through 'em a bone now and then, but don't actually do shit for them. I would laugh when lefty friends tried to tell me that the religious right controlled the Republican party, because I knew it wasn't true. All the young Republicans I knew were what P.J. O'Rourke called "Pants-Down Republicans"--liberal on social issues, conservative on fiscal ones, and in favor of a strong but cautious foreign policy.

So I voted for W in 2000 because he promised to be a socially moderate, fiscally conservative president. (Hard to remember know, but that was the campaign.) And I have watched in horror what he has done to the party and to conservatism as well as to the nation and the world.

Don't imagine that the split in the conservative ranks is some kind of Rove-ian smoke screen, it is real. I'm not really a conservative of any kind anymore, but I know plenty, and most of them are painfully uncomfortable with the embrace of the fundamentalists. The interest and speculation around a (constitutionally impossible) Schwarzenegger presidential run has everything to do with widespread disgust with the religious right among conservatives. If an attractive standard-bearer arises, the Republican Civil War could start tomorrow.
posted by LarryC at 11:52 AM on May 5, 2005


they can't maintain power without the religious fundamentalists. But they don't like the Frankenstein the have created in the form of FotF and DeLay

That's absolutely the crux of the problem. In order for economic conservatives to gain and hold onto power, they needed populism. They got it.

But another aspect of this is the fact that certain religious fundamentalist "litmus tests" indeed do exist in a lot of red-state communites - mine, for instance, where you can't run as a Republican for county commissioner unless you get the backing of an organization dedicated to preserving "Christian traditions in our nation." What that's produced, however, is candidates who may think the "proper" thoughts on issues like abortion and gay marriage - but are simply not capable enough to govern the community. So you get controversy and waffling on the issues, potentially disastrous economic maneuvers, etc.

It's called reaping what you sow.
posted by kgasmart at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2005


the way Democrats treat blacks--through 'em a bone now and then, but don't actually do shit for them.

well, this is quite a big motherfuckin' dinosaur "bone", to follow your metaphor.
unless you're under the impression that LBJ was a Whig or something
posted by matteo at 11:57 AM on May 5, 2005


See David Brooks in today's NYT for a remarkably similar slant... Interesting how they almost seem co-ordinated, like warships turning slowly in formation...
posted by ubi at 11:59 AM on May 5, 2005


seem coordinated? hah!
posted by amberglow at 12:04 PM on May 5, 2005


All this talk of moral issues and such plays well with the voters when they perceive the economy to being doing OK. A little blip and the voters quickly forget about everything else. While things are not as good as during the Clinton era, we are still doing pretty well economically. The South is probably lost to Democrats forever, but Midwestern states will remain in play. This election was about firing up the base, which the Republicans did far better than the Democrats. The next one may not be about the same thing. Without all the gay marriage brouhaha going on, I doubt moral issues would have mattered much to the swing voters anyway.
posted by caddis at 12:07 PM on May 5, 2005


As a dem., I actually enjoy reading Will and Krauthammer, the latter for entertainment's sake, the former because he seems to be one of the few conservative writers willing to criticize his own party. Dem pundits seem to be able to do only this.
posted by bardic at 12:09 PM on May 5, 2005


The South is probably lost to Democrats forever,

LBJ said that in the 60's when he signed civil rights legislation.

It's funny because a lot of southerners claim that the north is secretly more racist than the south.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2005


kgasmart, thank you for that April Dobson newsletter. I have never stuck my head in the fundamentalist echo chamber before and it sure is scary.
As a Canadian I am sure glad we don't have 'founding fathers' who can be resurrected to support anyone and their dogs' position. Thomas Jefferson supporting the merging of church and state? Hmmm.
Also, caught this interesting quote from Judge Scalia: "the Constitution is not a living organism, for Pete's sake. It's a legal document. And like all legal documents, it says some things and it doesn't say other things." Very populist of him. I picture him in line after George for the Pabst / NASCAR photo shoot, except he's sitting on a enormous heap of decomposing duck carcasses, cradling Dick Cheney's shotgun in his lap.
posted by anthill at 12:17 PM on May 5, 2005


when it swings our way tho, all Americans benefit-- Social Security, the New Deal, Head Start, Civil Rights, Labor Laws, Family Medical Leave Acts, etc.

That's fucking rich.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:22 PM on May 5, 2005


Actually anthill, the thing that's really funny (or loathsome)about Dobson's desire to "defend" the Constitution is that he explicitly wants to change the Constitution by amending it so it says exactly what he wants it to say on gay marriage, which it now does not do.

In other words, you must interpret the Constitution as written.

Once we finish re-writing it.
posted by kgasmart at 12:31 PM on May 5, 2005


That's fucking rich.

Really, Kwantsar? Do tell us of the legislation and actions that benefit ALL Americans done by Republicans in power. I'll wait.
posted by amberglow at 12:47 PM on May 5, 2005


matteo, to claim that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was solely a Democratic party initiative is foolish.

The bill was practically forced through the Democrat-run Congress by then Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen. And Republicans voted for it overwhelmingly, unlike Democrats, who voted in favor, but not to the same degree.

68% of Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, in contrast to 81% of Senate Republicans who voted in favor of it.

63% of House Democrats voted in favor of the bill, in contrast to 80% of House Republicans who voted in favor of it.

And while we're at it, amberglow, please note that past swings to the right have ensured freedom from slavery, women's suffrage, and the end of America's involvement in the Vietnam War.

The Republican party itself was the result of a popular swing to the right over the question of whether new states in our union would be free states. A group of moralists, at that time referred to as "abolitionists" created the Republican party to fight for free states.

I'm not bringing these issues up to make a case for the current leadership of the Republican party. I recognize that these events occurred in the past, and both parties have changed. My point is that some people consider themselves Republicans in a broader sense, one that proves true of Republicans throughout history more often than not. There are Republicans that support gay marriage as a conservative issue from a de jure standpoint. There are Republicans whose strict constructionist views spur them to oppose school prayer, or support the right-to-die position in the Schiavo case. They are no less Republicans than pro-life Democrats are Democrats.

So let me ask this: If there were to be a split in the Republican party, who do you think would leave? Who would say that they are not Republicans, yet their opposition within the party are? If I'm a pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage Republican, will I leave to start or join another party that is more aligned with my beliefs?

Nope. I feel that my beliefs are more Republican than the beliefs of the Fundamentalists. I'm a conservative, and I believe that religious progressives are still progressives, still reckless, and still make for intrusive government. What makes anyone think that I'll leave, when they are the hijackers? It's imaginable that there may one day be such a terrible rift in the Republican party that we will no longer be able to agree on our core values, interpret them differently, and still work towards common ground. But for now, I'm staying put, and I'm continuing to argue for a point of view that is Republican, through and though.
posted by rush at 12:51 PM on May 5, 2005


Any chance the meme "Christian Conservatives" is an illusion of the Left? Where's the proof that most Conservatives are Christian/religious?

Me thinks me smells more American Left BS.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:55 PM on May 5, 2005


It's funny because a lot of southerners claim that the north is secretly more racist than the south.

some of them may still be mad at the "outside agitators" who ruined their pleasant "Southern way of life" (.pdf file)

____

to claim that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was solely a Democratic party initiative is foolish.


indeed. that's why I never said that. so many decent Northern centrist Republicans (you know, "centrist" Republicans, they're like pandas now) supported desegregation. what I said is that it was LBJ, a Democrat, who rammed the Civil Rights Act down the Dixiecrats' throats. the Southern Democrats voted against it, then they (and their racist voters) effectively left the party. the South paid the Democrats back by moving en masse to the GOP, where they still happily reside. Trent Lott and all that. LBJ got rid of the many Dixiecrats who poisoned his party's soul. better to lose a few elections and do the moral thing than to sell one's soul to the racists in exchange for a solid voting bloc like a certain party (not the Democrats) did.

would Nixon have passed the Civil Rights Act like LBJ did, had he been elected in 1960? bah. Goldwater? he would have killed the bill. sorry about that. saying that the Democratic party has been throwing bones at blacks is, simply, incorrect. maybe it was written in good faith, but it is untrue. the Civil Rights Act is LBJ's domestic legacy. LBJ's. a Democrat.
posted by matteo at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2005


Where's the proof that most Conservatives are Christian/religious?


I think the point is that the ones that are Christian hardliners are exercising more and more control over the GOP.
posted by caddis at 1:01 PM on May 5, 2005


So let me ask this: If there were to be a split in the Republican party, who do you think would leave?

It's less a matter of anyone leaving than it is about money, work, and crossover votes.

Frankly, if the Republicans piss off the religious right, to the extent that the religious right doesn't work as hard as it has in the past to get out the vote, distribute voting guides, etc. - what happens then?

The Republican Party has only barely won the last 2 presidential election with the religious right going absolutely balls-to-the-wall all-out each time. If they let up at all, the party's chances diminish.

On the flip side is the degree to which "traditional" conservatives support the party financially. You, personally, may continue to send your check in. But I have personally spoken to those who have said they won't.

And there already is a crossover vote; in the "old money" suburbs of my community last November, Bush barely won - despite the fact that Republicans have a tremendous numerical superiority. Very few, if any, are actually changing their registrations.

But given the choice between a moderate Democratic Party and a party they think is too firmly in the hands of wild-eyed jihadis, they'll go with the moderates and figure they've got a better chance of talking fiscal sense into the Democrats than they do of talking any sense whatsoever into the religious right.
posted by kgasmart at 1:01 PM on May 5, 2005


amberglow: I didn't claim that the Republican actions benefit ALL Americans. Stabilize your knee for just a minute, please, and notice that I didn't copy and paste your entire comment.

Your contention that your favorite social programs benefit "all Americans" is just utterly insane. Unlike you, I don't live in a Goddamn fairy tale. Benefits have costs.

TANSTAAFL.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:04 PM on May 5, 2005


rush, you realize that by doing so, you're endorsing those views? that your own views are not represented at all anywhere in the Republican Party--either in the White House or Congress? In fact, that the views you hold are considered anathema? That the party runs against your conservative views on everything from deficits and fiscal policy to preemptive invasions abroad to social engineering and mandating morality?

I think it'll be the Religious Right that leaves since they're not being satisfied, and you guys will pick up the pieces.
posted by amberglow at 1:04 PM on May 5, 2005


amberglow, how am I endorsing those views? If I fight for something in a primary, and then I get defeated by Fundamentalists that turn out in record numbers, does that mean I support their views? Because I've lost a few battles means that I support all of the views of people who won them? I don't follow.

Btw, Kwantsar, TANSTAAFL indeed. I'll drink to that.
posted by rush at 1:16 PM on May 5, 2005


Kwantsar, the social benefit of benefits to our entire society outweigh any costs they incur. Insane is when presidents only act for the rich or for their biggest contributors, and ignore the rest of the populace. A fairy tale is what eliminating the estate tax is. A fairy tale is cutting taxes for the rich--All about benefiting princes and princesses.

rush, by voting Republican you endorse the views they hold. All of us do that when we vote.
posted by amberglow at 1:17 PM on May 5, 2005


TANSTAAFL.

indeedy:
The House easily approved another $82 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan on Thursday, a measure that includes sweeping immigration reforms and boosts the total spent on fighting terrorism since 2001 to beyond $300 billion.
that's one costly big Bechtel/Halliburton four-star meal, if you ask me*. and you're stuck with the bill, Kwantsar. start saving up!

* as you see, the AP writer generously considers the money spent in Iraq as "fighting terrorism", other may consider it "stirring up even more shit". liberal media alert!
posted by matteo at 1:19 PM on May 5, 2005


It's fairly obvious that the "Democrats" are dinosaurs. Actually, political parties are dinosaurs. Most people are socially "moderate." And even amonst those who are not, there are very few who will veto a candidate because he doesn't support their view (abortion, prayer, whatever).

The "religious right" polemic is just those left of center flailing around as they drown.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:21 PM on May 5, 2005


It's funny that the same "What's the Matter with Kansas" misunderstanding of heartland Republicans might end up leading the left also to misunderstand urban/suburban Republicans.

The kind of Republicans who are so committed to secularism or abortion rights as to allow it to trump their conservative sympathies are fading fast, at least in terms of electoral significance. They've been replaced Giulianis and Schwarzeneggers -- people who may have personally liberal views on social questions, but who regard them as unimportant related to matters like taxes and crime.

Some of Bush's most impressive gains last year weren't in the South or Midwest, but in New York, New Jersey, and California, where he cut the Democratic margin by several percentage points -- in other words, while Kerry was picking up all of the Nader voters, Bush was picking up an even greater share of the Gore voters.

Underlying this is a truly critical change in the Republican Party -- it's embrace of, and embrace by, Catholics. Country Club WASP bias against Italians, Irish, Polish is basically a memory. Evangelicals have entirely set aside their political emnity towards Catholics and have gone a remarkable way towards easing their theological emnity, as well.

All of this, of course, focuses us on what will be the truly decisive political battle of the next 20 years -- not a struggle over the gin-soaked sympathies of the last few Rockerfeller Republicans, but the battle for the allegiance of increasingly prosperous and assimilated Latinos. If the Democrats can keep their edge among Latinos and unchurched whites, than demographics will eventually hand them over a solid majority. If, on the other hand, the Republicans can utilize Catholicism and populism as a bridge to a significant minority of Latino votes, than they can keep their present superiority.
posted by MattD at 1:24 PM on May 5, 2005


Paris, read this, darling (from Lawrence, KS). And realize that the religious right is very real, and you're not on their approved list.

MattD, It's not gains among all Catholics, but observant Catholics (a shrinking minority). Giuliani (and Schwarzenegger but he's not even eligible) can never succeed nationally because the primary voter is still a religious right morals voter. That's how you guys have set it up, and that's how it is. They're your most reliable voting bloc.
posted by amberglow at 1:31 PM on May 5, 2005


Most people are socially "moderate." And even amonst those who are not, there are very few who will veto a candidate because he doesn't support their view (abortion, prayer, whatever).

Hahahahahahahahaha.

Come live in my community for a few years, Paris.

Tell me, who are the cultural conservatives going to support in a 2008 primary - Frist or McCain?

Which one has greater across-the-board electability?

Not that the Democrats have their shit together to the point where they can offer a viable alternative. But this is the hole the Republican Party is digging for itself.

My most fervent hope is that you keep insisting that the hole does not exist - all the while, continuing to dig.
posted by kgasmart at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2005


amberglow, I will consider your view some more, but I think we just have to agree to disagree about whether, by voting as a Republican on a majority of issues, or voting in Republican primaries, I am implicitly endorsing all views held by all Republicans.
posted by rush at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2005


amberglow, I may have mentioned this before in another thread, but I recently went to Catholic funeral mass. I hadn't been a church in a while and noticed that the service felt a lot more like an evangelical protestant meeting than I remembered it being even 5 years ago. Just one example: during "The Lord's Prayer" many of the parishoners lifted their hands to the ceiling. This kind of charismatic Catjolicism was a tiny movement when I left the church in my teens. It was the majority of people at mass that day. I nearly fell out of the pew.

Perhaps that is what we are seeing -- the people left in the church after the reign of JPII and the sex scandals are the hard core "fundamentalists" who are closer to Pat Robertson than John Kennedy.
posted by Cassford at 1:48 PM on May 5, 2005


This kind of charismatic Catjolicism was a tiny movement when I left the church in my teens. It was the majority of people at mass that day. I nearly fell out of the pew.

Yeah, the charismatics are moving in with a vengeance. My mom teaches at a Catholic school, and I remember he going on about how amazing this visiting charismatic laying-on-of-hands guy was. I remember think "Isn't that a protestant thing?"
posted by jonmc at 1:54 PM on May 5, 2005


"...how amazing this visiting charismatic laying-on-of-hands guy was. I remember think 'Isn't that a protestant thing?'" - jonmc

Technically, I think that's a Christian thing.

I kid, I kid.
posted by rush at 1:59 PM on May 5, 2005


rush, by voting for them nationally, you are endorsing them and the views they espoused during that campaign and their platform, just as i do when i vote for Democrats.

maybe, Cassford, and maybe that's why they're so amenable to Republican inroads in a way they weren't before.
posted by amberglow at 2:00 PM on May 5, 2005


One other oddity, and this may be just a quirk of my New English town: the environmentalists in town, people on the conservation commission and very anti-development, are almost all Catholics and they vote Republican. I still feel that the Dems are closer to the correct position on the environment than the GOP and if they could somehow harness that, it could trun some votes away from the Reoublicans. Heck, conservation is, by definition, conservative.
posted by Cassford at 2:07 PM on May 5, 2005


Cassford, I agree that environmentalism is inherently conservative, but the Democratic party's approach to it is not. The Democratic party's approach to environmental issues is inherently progressive. Proposed solutions are rarely evaluated for their unintended consequences, nor weighed against the capabilities of the society. The prevailing viewpoint on the left seems to be that any solution is better than where we are right now, and until the solutions either involve more carrot and less stick, or speak to the undeniability of the strategy as opposed to the effects of inaction, then Democrats will have a hard time winning over classical conservatives.
posted by rush at 2:20 PM on May 5, 2005


this is the kind of discriminatory, shitty law-- "policy based on bigotry" --you get when the religious right is calling the shots--... "The part I find most offensive -- and a little frightening -- is that it isn't based on good science," Cathcart said. "There's a steadily increasing trend of heterosexual transmission of HIV, and yet the FDA still has this notion that you protect people by putting gay men out of the pool." ...
posted by amberglow at 2:27 PM on May 5, 2005


ParisParamus writes " Any chance the meme 'Christian Conservatives' is an illusion of the Left?"

Wow... that's rich. Have you finally joined the ranks of the Coulter/Hannity/O'Reilly reality deniers PP?
posted by clevershark at 2:34 PM on May 5, 2005


finally?
posted by mek at 3:20 PM on May 5, 2005


by voting as a Republican on a majority of issues, or voting in Republican primaries, I am implicitly endorsing all views held by all Republicans.
posted by rush at 1:47 PM PST on May 5 [!]


Yes you are. Voting party ticket ensures you will be partialy responsible for the entire party line. Good or bad.

The Democratic party's approach to environmental issues is inherently progressive. Proposed solutions are rarely evaluated for their unintended consequences, nor weighed against the capabilities of the society.
By Rush


If you mean by paving more (already decimated) logging roads into wilderness areas, with all the "use it up now, and Fuck later" position of environmental rules, then you've been spot on!
posted by Balisong at 4:40 PM on May 5, 2005


Cassford and jonmc - I went back home for Christmas and was informed that the holding-hands-and-raising-them deal is now part of the official liturgy, in that diocese at least. One of the largest youth groups ["Life Teen", which had just arrived at my high school by the time I graduated] had what, to me, felt like a very Protestant, evangelical feel. After they arrived, there was a sudden shift in emphasis in religion class - where we'd been reading stuff by a lot of theologians, lots of jesuits and such - to emphasizing your personal connection to Jesus. Not to mention hymns being replaced by truly shitty 'Christian rock' songs or drek like Awesome God. I think you're right - the moderate-to-liberal Catholics that the Chruch hasn't driven away with its conservative stance on gender/sex issues exert very little influence over even local parishes. Ratzinger's condemnations of 'relativism' and the creeping evangelicism of today's Chruch [perhaps a result of the Church's need to compete with evangelical missions in the Third World?] may push many of the rest away, leaving only the rabidly culturally conservative and fundamentalist sorts. Of course, I've never seen polls measuring the political leanings of lapsed Catholics, so perhaps I'm wrong, and many people have actually gone rightward.
posted by ubersturm at 5:17 PM on May 5, 2005


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