Tuesday, August 18, 2015

THe religious right is not leaving (and it's not religious)

Great article:
There is a miscalculation spreading among my liberal friends and some of my fellow commentators that the demographic decline of organized religion in America augurs the end of the religious right as a dominant political force. This is a massive miscalculation, because the religious right has nothing whatsoever to do with faith, dogma, Jesus, or the afterlife. Instead, large sections of American Christendom exist solely to support reductive conservative politics as a hedge against progress. They are tools used by cynical politicians and bloviating television pundits to transform rage and tribalism into viewers and a compliant voting public. There’s no reason to think those who benefit will abandon such a calculated and successful effort just because gay people can now (thankfully) get married. If anything, the rhetoric on “religious freedom” and attacks on issues like women’s health has only gotten more outlandish over time.
And this one is a keeper:
I could fill a dozen essays with examples of Bible verses that contradict the core ideas and statements of conservative candidates, politicians and talking heads, but it’s a waste of time. No matter what the politicians and pundits claim to believe, they are only using faith to exploit an angry and ignorant populace with a collective Bible literacy that wouldn’t fill a shot glass.
As the Republican base becomes both grayer and whiter, more homogenous and religious, fake Christianity will become an even more important wedge for conservatives to drive between people and their self-interest. We don’t care if a Republican politician throws grandma out of the nursing home or takes food stamps from poor people, so long as he weeps during Sunday service. ....

1 comment:

Marshall Scott said...

I think the other point is that this has little to do with actual participation in a congregation. While there are certainly congregations that follow the virulent preachers, they are not enough in themselves to sway anything. We need to remember that less than half of Americans claim association with any specific congregation (a consistent metric from the Gallup division for religious research), while somewhere around 80% believe in God/Higher Power/something beyond themselves. That's not just the "progressive" folks (I don't think it's a progressive position, but some do) who consider themselves "post-church" by a long shot. There are plenty of those "unaffiliated" folks who consider themselves conservative. Decline in affiliation, and so in some sense of connection and ongoing education in faith, would probably make matters worse, not better.