Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Must conservatives believe in God?

Following up to my previous post, a new discussion on conservative blogs wrestles with the tendency to make conservatism as defined by Republicanism, explicitly religious.

The secularist conservatives, who are the major bulwark against conservative theocracy, naturally disagree:
There are many people like us: people who cherish limited government, fiscal restraint, personal liberty, free enterprise, self-support, patriotic defense of the homeland and its borders, love of the Constitution, respect for established ways of doing things, pride in Western Civilization, etc., and yet who cannot swallow stories about the Sky Father and the Afterlife, miraculous births and revivifications. What does the one set of things have to do with the other?
Kathleen Parker writing in the Post sees it as a battle to reclaim the Republican brand.
...the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.
As Andrew Sullivan writes,
I don't see how Republicanism, as it is now constructed, can tolerate atheists in its midst. The principles of today's Christianist GOP are theological before they are political.
I guess this is the flipside of the canard that Democrats are not people of faith (which most of you lot easily disprove, if only the media paid attention). However I think it does mean that the culture wars are going to get worse before they get better, partly because of the death-grip that fundamentalist Christianists and their allies have on the Republican party, and partly because they are emboldened by their success in attacking my civil rights.


David said...

This will be a hard-fought battle. The religious nutters won't give up their death grip on the GOP easily.

While I'd like to see a moderately conservative, centrist Republican party in our political mix, I'm thinking that it's more likely they'll devolve into sort of a fringe group for the Limbaugh/Hannity black helicopter crowd + the aforementioned religious wingnuts.

As for the slightly right-of-center types, who knows ? A Centrist party ? Join the Dems while their fringe heads off to the Greens ? Hold their noses and vote Republican ? ::shrug::

JCF said...

Anyone been following post-election Mike Huckabee?

I don't EVER want to hear about how "he's the conservative Republican who's nice" or any Bullsh*t like that.

The man is VILE.

On "The View" last week, he kept drawing False Moral Equivalencies ad nauseum, such that ANYTHING conservative Christians were doing to LGBTs was OK, because "Christians were suffering discrimination too" [This is after saying that gay rights were NOT like the Civil Rights Movement, because black people got beat-up whereas...??? Exsqueeze me! This was the same week as Transgender Day of Remembrance, where TG people commemorate our most recent dead. :-( ]

Then today, he was pimping his book on NPR. He interrupted a self-described "Goldwater Republican" caller (who had distinguished an 8 month fetus that everyone would protect, from a first trimester "collection of cells, without consciousness") to virtually SHOUT that it was "an irrefutable FACT" that a "23 chromosome full DNA schedule at conception" (or somesuch---he was full-on RANTING) was a baby w/ full Constitutional rights. Not even addressing the Goldwater guy's point about consciousness, when the caller tried to get a word in after Huckabee's rant, Huckabee shouted again "Don't interrupt me!"

Total and Complete SCUM, is what Mike Huckabee is.

Made in the Image of God, and God have mercy upon him---I'm having trouble right now doing same. :-(

[Part of me really WANTS Huck to run against Obama in '12, so the Prez can "tell your ma, tell your pa" kick his BIGOTED ass back to Arkansas (What I Say!)---and part of me is (still!) just enough paranoid about the American electorate, to think they might buy his brand of bigotry (esp. if the economy hasn't fully recovered by then) :-0]

David said...

Oh yeah, Huckabee is sho' nuff scary. I don't buy the "nice" bit for one instant.

If the likes of Huckabee / Palin / Brownback come up as the winners in the GOP, that'll be a big signal that the party is heading for the fringe and leaving moderate/centrist "Eisenhower Republicans" out in the cold.

Anonymous said...

Oh David, you don't think they are there already?


David said...

More than halfway, IT - which is sad.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to know what will be left after the Republican circular firing squad. Suffice it to say, Huckabee, in taking the hectoring tone as described above, isn't doing himself any favors - those audio clips will be available in any future election. His poor performance this primary makes a comeback unlikely.

Approximately 20-25% of the voting age population is classified as "conservative evangelical", and of those, half are full-on dominionists willing to do anything for political power. The other half is recruitable for political causes, but can be alienated by specific candidates in the general "anti-abortion, anti-gay" cultural conservative group.

Shrill candidates with cultural conservative talking points can bring the nutcases and the dominionists out to the polls, but aren't likely to win outside very conservative states like AR. Point in case, Palin. She offended more people than she attracted, IMO.

The secularist conservatives used to be the "standard" type of conservatives, who regarded religion as a private matter, necessary to acknowledge as a Good Thing (or actually attend church), but not relevant to policy-making* (* except for promotion overseas as a bulwark against communism). Many of the secularist conservatives were small business owners or relatives of owners, and others were in high-paying white collar jobs in larger businesses.These business oriented individuals typically didn't care about "morality" per se, and they were called "Rockefeller Republicans" or "country club Republicans" when the Dixiecrats switched to the R. party in 1964, and brought religiosity (and bigotry) with them.


Paul M said...

Right wing Christianists will be a major force in the Republican party for some time, if only because they are a major source of votes, money and volunteers. Politics is not a spectator sport, and organizations that can turn out armies of volunteers are always going to have a lot of influence. If secular conservatives want their party back, they are going to have to fight for it. In the mean time, the Republican Party may spend a long time out of power in Washington.

Anonymous said...

Paul M is right. The Christian right had a pre-existing organizational scheme, was experienced at running events (managing a political rally uses the same skills as managing a revival), and had pre-existing and increasingly sophisticated media with wide outreach. These assets are hard to replace.