"confessions of a one-time religious right icon"
December 26, 2014 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Frank Schaeffer: "You can’t understand why the GOP was so successful in winning back both houses of Congress in 2014, and wrecking most of what Obama has tried to do, unless you understand what we did back then."
We were leaders participating in various meetings with Congressman Jack Kemp, Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr., when the unholy marriage between the Republican Party and the Evangelical Reconstructionist-infected “pro-life” community was gradually consummated. Dad and I — as did many other evangelical leaders like Jerry Falwell — met one on one or in groups with key members of the Republican leadership quite regularly to develop a “pro-life strategy” for rolling back Roe v. Wade...

And that strategy was simple: Republican leaders would affirm their anti-abortion commitment to evangelicals, and in turn we’d vote for them — by the tens of millions. Once Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency, “we” would reverse Roe, through a constitutional amendment and/or through the appointment of anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court or, if need be, through civil disobedience and even violence, though this was only hinted at at first. In 2016, the dream we had will become a reality unless America wakes up. The Republicans are poised to destroy women’s rights. They have a majority on the Court to back them up.

When evangelical and Republican leaders sat together, we discussed “the issue,” but we would soon move on to the practical particulars, such as “Will blue-collar Catholic voters join us now?” (They did.) Soon evangelical leaders were helping political leaders to send their message to the “pro-life community” that they — the Republican leaders — were on board.
*Frank Schaeffer's blog on Patheos
*the Daily Beast: Frank Schaeffer, the Atheist Who Believes in God

*Frank Schaeffer's pieces on Alternet:

How Christian Fundamentalism Helped Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%
"Evangelical fundamentalism helped empower the top 1 percent. Note I didn't say religion per se, but religious fundamentalism. Why? Because without the fundamentalists and their "values" issues, many in the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest; in other words, vote for Republicans who only serve billionaires."

The Christian Right is Aiming to Destroy All Things Public
"The Evangelical foot soldiers never realized that the logic of their “stand” against government had played into the hands of people who never cared about human lives beyond the fact that people could be sold products. By the twenty-first century, Ma and Pa No-name were still out in the rain holding an “Abortion is Murder!” sign in Peoria and/or standing in line all night in some godforsaken mall in Kansas City to buy a book by Sarah Palin and have it signed. But it was the denizens of the corner offices at Goldman Sachs, the News Corporation, Koch Industries, Exxon, and Halliburton who were laughing."

How Republicans and Their Big Business Allies Duped Tens of Millions of Evangelicals into Voting for a Corporate Agenda
The earnest, mostly Evangelical dupes have a point: by calling for a “return to our roots” (be they biblical and/or constitutional) they are actually maintaining a grand old American tradition: religious delusion as the basis for conquest... There are many threads in the anti-Obama tapestry but three are ignored at our peril: 1) The End Times fantasies of the Evangelicals; 2) The rise of so-called Reconstructionist theology and 3) the culture war launched over the legalization of abortion.

...What the Religious Right, including the Religious Right’s Roman Catholic and Protestant “intellectuals” (like my father) did, was contribute to a climate where the very legitimacy of our government, even any government, is up for grabs. Then the internet came along and Fox News came along and Rush Limbaugh, Michele Bachmann et al. came along and no fiction was too fantastical to be believed as fact. We passed into a high-tech stone age; myth, superstition and outright lies gained a new currency.
America's White Male Problem
"Simple palpable hatred drives these people to willful ignorance. The white males insisting on carrying guns (in a country where violent crime is way down!) are scared, not of muggers, but of the fact that their imaginary reality is coming unstuck. They're too smart to believe that Fox News spin on reality is reality. Most of these folks are too smart to believe in their evangelical theology either. I'll bet at heart many are atheists or at least doubters, well aware of the hypocrisies and inanities of evangelical Christianity. But they put on an act of upholding what they believe are the traditional standards we need to live by, which really boils down to little more than white resentment."

previously on MeFi:
*the most important evangelical you've never heard of
*"In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal. Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception."
*Christians in the hand of an angry god
posted by flex (66 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
 
Merry Christmas everyone!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:43 AM on December 26, 2014 [41 favorites]


It used to be that believing that there's a vast conspiracy to bring down the government by religious and corporate fanatics would get you a one-way ticket to the psych ward.

Those were the days...
posted by Thorzdad at 11:46 AM on December 26, 2014 [22 favorites]


... they are actually maintaining a grand old American tradition: religious delusion as the basis for conquest ...

IANAHistoryMajor, but I'm pretty sure this isn't just an American thing.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:08 PM on December 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'd be interested to see a study of how much overlap there is between the folks Schaeffer is talking about and the Tea Party slash Confederacy. Since the latter predates the former, and racism seems to be a core component of both, I'm wondering if it's largely the same crowd, having found a new cause to officially embrace.
posted by beerbudget at 12:14 PM on December 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


Since the latter predates the former, and racism seems to be a core component of both, I'm wondering if it's largely the same crowd, having found a new cause to officially embrace.

I live in the heart of the old confederacy and an surrounded by Republicans and right-wing evangelicals, and in my experience there is very much an overlap between the groups you describe.
posted by TedW at 12:18 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


He's good at building his brand as an author, at any rate.
posted by michaelh at 12:21 PM on December 26, 2014 [9 favorites]


The good news for Democrats in 2016 is that gas prices are low and the economy is improving. If that continues, it's going to placate a lot of undecided voters, who otherwise would be sympathetic to the idea that giving the GOP all the keys to power is the way that they can hope to improve their circumstances.
posted by thelonius at 12:25 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Don't do that, please. Either address an actual point from the content or move on. Yes, everyone here is probably a personliving in a raving hypercapitalist hellscape with deeply conflicted personal priorities. What do we gain from randomly pointing that out just now in the context of more specific claims and arguments to engage with?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Still preaching to a choir, just a different denomination.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2014 [9 favorites]


Ah hah! After sixteen years of Democrat presidents, the mass disillusionment of the evangelicals, gay marriage, health care, etc, our secret plan is coming to fruition!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:27 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


My previous was in reply to this (sorry for not clarifying):

He's good at building his brand as an author, at any rate.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:28 PM on December 26, 2014


Since the latter predates the former, and racism seems to be a core component of both, I'm wondering if it's largely the same crowd, having found a new cause to officially embrace.

With the huge caveat that my experience has been - the degree to which this is true appears to depend on whether the primary motivation for the person in question is actually about real, deeply felt religious conviction, or is in truth resentment stemming from their demographic implosion.

Everyone I knew before I turned 18 and left home is an Earth-is-6000-years-old brand of evangelical fundamentalist. Fully 50% of my Facebook feed consists of them, and their reactions to the Tea Party were pretty telling - the true believers, who really believe Jesus wants them to vote to save fetuses (despite the broken logic of that position) - never went in for that. The embittered ones with a libertarian streak who liked posting pictures of their hunting kills or their guns, the ones who embraced the pro-cop side of any cop-kills-innocent-person story... Tea Party by a landslide.

None of the families that produced missionaries who actually go out to third world countries to provide healthcare have produced a single Tea Party member. Which probably is about the clearest indicator possible.
posted by Ryvar at 12:28 PM on December 26, 2014 [21 favorites]


Either address an actual point from the content or move on.

I don't agree. The main point being made by the content of the first link here is: I, Frank Schaeffer, am personally responsible for much of the current state of things. Buy my book and learn more about it! To which it is entirely appropriate to say: humbug.
posted by Shmuel510 at 12:32 PM on December 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Huh, so there really was a vast right wing conspiracy.
posted by The Whelk at 12:41 PM on December 26, 2014 [23 favorites]


Well, there's definitely a lot of planning that goes on. I'm reminded of Monsieur Caution's links in the FPP about images and propaganda against women's suffrage.
posted by halifix at 12:49 PM on December 26, 2014


Well, he was there wasn't he? Is the point that he wasn't, or is the point just that he'd like to make money, because I don't know many people you can't say that about, so it seems like an irrelevant, trivially true observation to me.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:51 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


What galls me is bringing Jesus into the fray.
posted by clavdivs at 12:51 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


So borrow his "keep listening to me" book from a (if you still have one!) public library. Or torrent and seed it. Reduce his gains from his multiplying capitalist value-extraction. Buy his book, and the grifter is still making money off of exploiting those who can least afford it.
posted by Dreidl at 12:53 PM on December 26, 2014


None of the families that produced missionaries who actually go out to third world countries to provide healthcare have produced a single Tea Party member. Which probably is about the clearest indicator possible.

Doesn't make a damn bit of difference at the polls if both groups are voting Republican, though, which they appear to be doing. Individual pieties and sincerities are worse than useless when your candidate is determined to protect the .01% and let the rest of the world burn.

I have folks like that in my Facebook too. Nice people, to a fault. Generous and caring. But they have been fooled by Save the Babeez talk into voting for people who support incredibly destructive programs, which ironically tend to increase the number of abortions and late-term abortions, thanks to their decision to treat birth control as an evil as well.

I mean, you probably know all this, but it feels important to not let nice folks off the hook when they vote for things that hurt so many, in response to a misleading campaign that tells them they're saving babies.
posted by emjaybee at 12:53 PM on December 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


Huh, so there really was a vast right wing conspiracy.

He's not even close to the only one in a position to know who says, yes, there really was.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:54 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


> Evangelical fundamentalism helped empower the top 1 percent.

I'm currently reading American Apocalypse, by Matthew Avery Sutton, and among other things it lays out how and why evangelical fundamentalists have been doing this for as long as there have been evangelical fundamentalists.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:57 PM on December 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, let's face it, as secret plans go not that much of it has been all that secret.
posted by Artw at 1:05 PM on December 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


It is strange to me how full politics is of weirdoes who dramatically switch sides and want to help us out after being fundamentalists, right-wing pamphleteers, etc.

As an alternative to the view that the Democratic Party leaders want to do all this populist stuff and is constantly getting blocked by fundamentalists, here is a thought provoking read about why the Democratic Party is the way it is.
posted by johngoren at 1:06 PM on December 26, 2014 [10 favorites]


What galls me is bringing Jesus into the fray.

What galls me is Jesus being portrayed as white.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on December 26, 2014 [9 favorites]


Huh, so there really was a vast right wing conspiracy.

Yup. Frederick Clarkson, in 1994:
The catalyst for the shift is Christian Reconstructionism--arguably the driving ideology of the Christian Right in the 1990s. ... Generally, Reconstructionism seeks to replace democracy with a theocratic elite that would govern by imposing their interpretation of "Biblical Law." Reconstructionism would eliminate not only democracy but many of its manifestations, such as labor unions, civil rights laws, and public schools. Women would be generally relegated to hearth and home. Insufficiently Christian men would be denied citizenship, perhaps executed. So severe is this theocracy that it would extend capital punishment beyond such crimes as kidnapping, rape, and murder to include, among other things, blasphemy, heresy, adultery, and homosexuality.
Schaeffer was there. I'm interested in reading about what he saw.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:18 PM on December 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Either address an actual point from the content or move on. .

He's saying a bunch of stuff that everyone on MeFi is thinking "yeah!" to, but he's doing fuck-all to attempt to undo all the shit he did. He needs to figure out how to engage with all the hateful fucks concerned voters with whom he originally connected. All this is apologetic wankery otherwise.
posted by disconnect at 2:10 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ah hah! After sixteen years of Democrat presidents, the mass disillusionment of the evangelicals, gay marriage, health care, etc, our secret plan is coming to fruition!

The scales could just as easily tip the other direction with a sufficiently populist figurehead. Didn't Palin and whichever old dude ran with her get 47% of the 2008 vote, basically? Weimar Germany was relatively socially and economically progressive, compared with what came in the two decades that followed. What happened then and there could easily happen here and now, even if no one wants to say the F-word about this same kind of conspiratorial collusion between religious, government and corporate powers.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:19 PM on December 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


What galls me is bringing Jesus into the fray.

Schaeffer has some great things to say on this topic:
Jesus certainly was not a “Bible believer,” as we use that term in the post Billy Graham era of American fundamentalist religiosity that’s used as a trade-marked product to sell religion. Jesus didn’t take the Jewish scriptures at face value. In fundamentalist terms, Jesus was a rule-breaking relativist who wasn’t even “saved,” according to evangelical standards. Evangelicals insist that you have to believe very specific interpretations of the Bible to be saved. Jesus didn’t. He undercut the scriptures.
posted by No Robots at 2:32 PM on December 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


He's saying a bunch of stuff that everyone on MeFi is thinking "yeah!" to, but he's doing fuck-all to attempt to undo all the shit he did

Well, MeFites are not the only ones who are going to be exposed to this book...
posted by stoneandstar at 2:33 PM on December 26, 2014


Previously 2004 also search for Dominionism. It all happened as you were watching.
posted by adamvasco at 2:43 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Ma and Pa No-name were still out in the rain holding an “Abortion is Murder!” sign in Peoria"

In point of fact, no. That doesn't play here because it alienates families and voters. First, it's a union stronghold and a majority democrat town. Second, there are two protestors and their signs say, "Pregnant? Need help?" "Call [some 800 number]". I pass them almost every day. They mostly do not protest when it rains. Third, our evangelical Christians around here are either black Baptists who vote democrat or a minor local offshoot of Mennonites who are quite conservative, but don't fit the majority evangelical mold.

I can tell you what they don't like, though, and that is being painted as backwards ignoramuses by the chattering classes for having the temerity to live in the flat part of the country. I really wish national democrats would make a little more effort to actually KNOW their constituencies in the middle of the country, what drives and animates and irritates them, or that, at the very least, Peoria sent a Democrat (Bustos) to Congress. Lazy, lazy thinking from someone who makes assumptions to fit his narrative and doesn't bother to find out whether those assumptions are true.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:45 PM on December 26, 2014 [34 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee, the article on Al From & the DLC that johngoren linked to in his comment explains why national Democrats can't be bothered to care what their constituencies in the middle of the country are thinking.
posted by KingEdRa at 3:06 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, let's face it, as secret plans go not that much of it has been all that secret.

It's secret from the people who've been duped by it in the same way the reality of any scam is secret from the people being scammed, even if it's totally apparent to people looking from the outside.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:17 PM on December 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Saulgoodman, Schaeffer is the actual content. There isn't much to say about his writing other than that he inherited an exploitable name and uses it to be the nation's premiere Former Evangelical Republican author. It's a good story he tells, but not much more than that.
posted by michaelh at 3:30 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


If there's one thing I admire about the 1%, it's how they tell the religious types to suck it when they ramrod legislation that helps tycoons only.
posted by Renoroc at 3:33 PM on December 26, 2014


He spends a lot of time plugging his books, that's for sure.
posted by disclaimer at 3:38 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Calling this a "conspiracy" is a sloppy and unhelpful way of saying "political organizing by people whose views I disagree with."
posted by twsf at 3:39 PM on December 26, 2014 [9 favorites]


As a woman who may well completely lose the right to control her body because the right uses "abortion" as a scare word and bargaining chip, I am fine with calling it a conspiracy. 2 years ago, the Republicans in Georgia tried to use the legislature to remove my right to abortion from my (state employee) health insurance. When that failed, Gov. Deal did it by executive order. Guess who got re-elected this year?

I know some people really, honestly think that abortion is evil. But I also know that the politicians who exploit those people for their own gain do not give a fuck about abortion. And as Schaeffer points out, that was basically the founding principle of his father's empire which ushered in the Reagan administration. That sounds like a conspiracy to me.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:51 PM on December 26, 2014 [19 favorites]


The reason I think "conspiracy" is unhelpful is its literal meaning and general sense - 'illegal' - which encourages folks on the opposite side to have the attitude that some authority could be called in to make it stop. Better and more effective and more realistic is to work hard to out-organize and out-communicate the folks whose views we abhor.
posted by twsf at 4:03 PM on December 26, 2014 [4 favorites]




What galls me is Jesus being portrayed as white.
posted by Brandon Blatcher

Iconysterical!
posted by clavdivs at 4:22 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


"In fundamentalist terms, Jesus was a rule-breaking relativist who wasn’t even “saved,”

Doe no, should ask his cousin that.
posted by clavdivs at 4:26 PM on December 26, 2014


> If there's one thing I admire about the 1%, it's how they tell the religious types to suck it when they ramrod legislation that helps tycoons only.

No, they convince them that their interests align so that they'll support legislation that only helps tycoons and actually makes their own lives measurably worse.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:41 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


In trade, it's called "The Secret of the Sevens"
posted by clavdivs at 4:57 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know, the word conspiracy existed before it had a special legal meaning, and all it meant in those days was people plotting together in secret. You suppose people were so strict about how it could be used back when it was a Middle English word?
posted by saulgoodman at 5:29 PM on December 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


A bunch of people & groups organizing a Dominionist restructuring of democratic society behind the scenes, where the common denominator is religion, is not what I think of when I hear "political organizing by people whose views I disagree with." I think conspiracy is a pretty good word, although the connotation of illegality is an interesting distraction given their desire to ignore civil law in favour of biblical law.
posted by sneebler at 7:04 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would be more interested in knowing about what Schaeffer thought he was doing, in the best faith case, when he was immersed in right-wing evangelical culture, than I am in hearing him play the hits for the audience he's currently writing at.
posted by batfish at 7:07 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Conceal. Middle English concelen, from Anglo-French conceler, from Latin concelare, from com- + celare to hide — more at hell
First Use: 14th century

"You know, the word conspiracy existed before it had a special legal meaning, and all it meant in those days was people plotting together in secret. You suppose people were so strict about how it could be used back when it was a Middle English word?"
posted by saulgoodman

Not sure what you mean. I believe English as it were, then- was banned at the French court. I need to google that but I will stand by recollection for the moment.It was not considered the diplomatic language of choice.
So what matter the wyrd "conceal" if the language as a whole was considered suspect.
posted by clavdivs at 7:59 PM on December 26, 2014


Ok, sure clavdivs. Whatever you say.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:01 PM on December 26, 2014


Or what sneebler and baitfish said, those are good questions/observations.
posted by clavdivs at 8:03 PM on December 26, 2014


Well, MeFites are not the only ones who are going to be exposed to this book...

ha! yeah, like any people who follow the religious right are interested in the truth. This information has been out there for decades available to anyone interested. This movement is all about getting Stepford politicians elected with money given to them by willfully ignorant parishioners led by greedy opportunistic ministers. None of them will read this book.
posted by any major dude at 8:04 PM on December 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


You know, surely if he had as much influence as he claims, then if he really regrets what he did then he can exert that same influence to change things for the better again in atonement.

If he doesn't, then either he doesn't have the power he claims, or he doesn't regret.

Fuck him in either case.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:56 PM on December 26, 2014


Interesting. I never read a bio on Billy Grahmn. I know he's big not like someone like van impe, who is fairly popular in that set. With the voice of Chuck Olman...I never realized how almost apolitical he was. I don't think he was mentioned in dispatches concerning the text the OP linked.
Interesting though. Ford was a mason and an Eagle Scout. He hired Rumsfeld Cheney inc. gave 41 some work. Kept henwee on staff and pardoned the arch criminal of the American presidency in modern times.
He was on the warren commission yet almost everyone recalled the mild manner Michigan congressmen as " a nice guy"
So was jerry ford the architect of the last 50+ years?
posted by clavdivs at 10:00 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Vote for results instead of issues. It could be that you can't actually get results by voting. You might have to buy results.
posted by vicx at 10:11 PM on December 26, 2014


So was jerry ford the architect of the last 50+ years?

More of a template. He was the first of a litany of "controllable" presidents. In the 90's Newt Gingrich expanded the template to Congress and now we have a majority electorate that is fully beholden to the short-sighted whims of corporate oligarchs.
posted by any major dude at 11:26 PM on December 26, 2014


surely if he had as much influence as he claims, then if he really regrets what he did then he can exert that same influence to change things for the better ...Fuck him in either case.

I don't understand this. Frank Schaeffer turned Greek Orthodox many years ago. He does not claim currently to have so much influence among evangelicals (though some of the evangelicals I know still follow his life/writings with interest). His memoirs recount his years assisting his father at the time of the rise of the religious right; Francis Schaeffer was undoubtedly hugely influential back then.

But regardless of the actual level of Frank Schaeffer's influence...he's an author. He's written lots of books, fiction and non-fiction, on this subject of the intersection of religion and public life, in which he's been blisteringly critical of the right (and pretty frank about what it's like, being inside it). What should he be doing, instead, to atone for the actions of his younger self?
posted by torticat at 11:29 PM on December 26, 2014


Eyebrows McGee: "I can tell you what they don't like, though, and that is being painted as backwards ignoramuses by the chattering classes for having the temerity to live in the flat part of the country. I really wish national democrats would make a little more effort to actually KNOW their constituencies in the middle of the country, what drives and animates and irritates them"

There's usually someone in any given political debate who brings out the observation that "not everyone in the midwest is like that." As a native Texan, I'm very used to being the subject of a brazenly-wrong-for-me stereotype but I'm also quite aware that those same "beliefs" have true roots. The people in and from the flat part of the country are not looked at with disdain because of where we live; it's because we vote stupidly as a large group. Great, Peoria sends a Democrat to Congress. So does Dallas. But then, when we're in a larger group, we do things like send Ted Cruz to the Senate or send Scott Walker back to the governor's mansion, or vote in favor of bans on same-sex marriage. It's why my parents tell me, with sincerity, that the government needs to keep its hands off Medicare.

I've never subscribed to the theory that I need to be pandered to or understood in order to have an effective representative. If that was the case, my adult years being "represented" by some of the biggest chumps in Congress would have been truly lost from a governance perspective. Instead, I treat the folks who my fellows voted in as mechanisms to accomplish the things I need at a micro level. I still vote in my economic and social interests; I don't have to be liked by my representatives in order to be represented by them.
posted by fireoyster at 11:55 PM on December 26, 2014 [7 favorites]


"There's usually someone in any given political debate who brings out the observation that "not everyone in the midwest is like that."

Yes, because he SPECIFICALLY NAMECHECKS Peoria as being a hotbed of anti-abortion activism full of republican-voting evangelicals while offering a diagnosis of what went wrong for democrats and how to reverse it. If one of your TWO specific examples is completely and laughably incorrect - as in, you couldn't even take five seconds to look at an electoral map and see you were talking about one of the most solidly democrat areas in Illinois - then possibly your arguments and prescriptions are undermined by your total lack of knowledge of the situation on the ground.

It's not as if there aren't thousands of right-leaning cities and towns he could have chosen as accurate examples of his points. He just DOES NOT KNOW OF ANY and PICKS ONE THAT ACTUALLY ILLUSTRATES THE OPPOSITE POINT. You don't think that calls his analysis into question just a little bit?

Why not Wheaton, home of the prominent evangelical college and anchor of the Illinois Republican stronghold in DuPage? (Although even Wheaton voted Obama the last two presidential cycles, but he's a hometown boy.) That would be an OBVIOUS example for evangelical activism driving electoral results. Apparently he's not aware of it, or else he doesn't care about accuracy, just rhetoric (which I'm sure is the case, since Peoria's typically chosen because it's a traditional symbol of averageness).

But if you are offering electoral prescriptions on how to avoid a republicanopalypse, I think it's fair to point out that your lazy stereotyping of flyover country has led you into absurdly incorrect examples, when many correct ones are available, which perhaps means democrats should think twice before subscribing to your ideas and talk to their state-level parties who know their own voters for electoral strategies.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:01 AM on December 27, 2014 [7 favorites]


Once Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency, 'we' would reverse Roe

In 2003 the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and President Bush's approval rating was around 60%. If they were going to reverse Roe, why didn't they do it then? They need it to string along the believers and beat up Democrats.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:29 AM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


The right figured out that they didn't need to overturn Roe. Instead, in bits and pieces in state legislatures, through "safety" regulations that are complete bullshit they've closed clinics and made abortion inaccessible (either literally or financially) for the majority of women all over the country. In places where they haven't done that, they've required vaginal ultrasounds and lectures from doctors that are complete lies, maximizing the slut shaming to rile their base. It's turned out to be a lot more fun and effective for them.

Meanwhile, centrist Democrats hold Roe over women's heads, threatening that if we don't support their mediocre candidates, with whom we agree on little, it too will be taken from us. But Roe hardly matters anymore to the real lives of most women who can't actually access abortion when it's needed. In that way, the right has succeeded beyond the dreams of the Schaeffers.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:36 AM on December 27, 2014 [9 favorites]


surely if he had as much influence as he claims, then if he really regrets what he did then he can exert that same influence to change things for the better ...Fuck him in either case.

It's worth noting that his prior success as a fundamentalist barn-stormer was built on a) writing popular books, b) supported by mass-movement building speaking tours, followed by c) working with political leaders to affect political change.

My bet is that he's trying to set things right, in exactly the way he knows how: Selling books and (hopefully) building a movement.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:40 AM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


If one of your TWO specific examples is completely and laughably incorrect

I don't know, I'm not sure it's fair to accuse Schaeffer of poor research when "Peoria" has stood in for "Everyman, Middle America" for at least the past half-century (which I realize you acknowledged, Eyebrows). I mean, I grew up in Asheville, NC, which is blue in the middle of a vast sea of red, so I understand how it would piss off a resident to be characterized that way... but don't you think it's more a figure of speech than a recommendation for specific political strategy?

I agree with you generally though about lazy stereotyping about people in "flyover country." And "Ma and Pa No-Name" is a pretty nasty, dismissive description.
posted by torticat at 12:03 PM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


clavdivs: What galls me is bringing Jesus into the fray.

Heh. Jesus *is* the fray.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 3:03 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fraysus
posted by telstar at 9:34 PM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, I would imagine his cloak was frayed.
Like a bullshit argument about religious fundentalism without the religion.
Because it's about the verve, baby.
posted by clavdivs at 3:39 PM on December 28, 2014


Oh hey, I'm glad you agree saulgoodman. History is tricky like that.
posted by clavdivs at 3:58 PM on December 28, 2014




It's worth noting that his prior success as a fundamentalist barn-stormer was built on a) writing popular books, b) supported by mass-movement building speaking tours, followed by c) working with political leaders to affect political change.

My bet is that he's trying to set things right, in exactly the way he knows how: Selling books and (hopefully) building a movement.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:


I found some old notes from holocaust seminar concerning primary sources. I found this fragment typed:

'No lasting economic enslavement without/ 'political domination'
Political struggle
First.....Guardians of the oppressed'

-Hitler, NS 26/49

It is of minor note because it was written from his hand in his limitless notebook. I'm thonking 1923. Don't remember the book probably a fascimile. I do remember my teacher ruling out the source as it is mere fragments, like a recipe. Not a good source even as direct as that because what does it prove. What was hitler referring ( in this case, 'allied' sanctions)
But the hindsight implications are chilling because it mirrors your statement and many examples can fit though. The tea party , Edgar Cayce, the Rolling Stones. No. Because the were not fundementalists. Hitler is a close example of how someone high jacks religion and literally makes it his own.
posted by clavdivs at 11:41 PM on December 28, 2014


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