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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Plunging Hellwards

Sorry for the failure to post earlier today, but I was attending a funeral in Georgia for an aunt who died after a long illness. It was a thoroughly Southern Baptist event, with hymns I suddenly found myself remembering from early childhood (e.g., Marching to Zion), and also offered a reminder that most conservative white evangelical Protestant Americans are kind, decent, well-adjusted people who (whatever their voting habits) don’t really reflect the angry views of some of their self-appointed political leaders.
And it’s as good a time as any to note that said leaders are especially angry and anxious these days. George W. Bush has let them down by turning out to be a completely incompetent president. Their flocks are restive, threatening the long-term deal they cut with the GOP. And when they look at W.’s potential successors, they get very, very nervous.
Just during the last week, a weird campaign has emerged to hold Mitt Romney accountable as a long-time member of the Marriott Corporation board for the hotel chain’s practice of offering pay-for-porn to its guests. And on a different front, a casual comment by gay conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan about Fred Thompson’s “colorful and wide-ranging sex life” spawned hysterial conservative claims that Sullivan was suggesting that Fred was gay.
As the David Vitter saga illustrated, there are in fact plenty of time-honored ways of having a “colorful and wide-ranging sex life” without being gay. And as both the Romney and Thompson problems reflect, the Christian Right leadership’s anxiety is not limited to gays and lesbians or abortion: their more or less consistent position is that our whole culture, especially with respect to sexuality, is plunging hellwards.
So when they look at the men who are in the best position to take over the GOP’s side of the contract with the Christian Right, they see the thrice-married Guiliani, the Mormon porn-peddler Romney, and the reputed Tennessee Stud Thompson, all reflecting to some degree the degeneracy of the broader culture.
And that’s only the stuff they know about. It’s got to make them crazy.

2 comments on “Plunging Hellwards

  1. Joe Edward on

    I agree with Steve’s comments. I know from experience that, while I am not especially a liberal, I am not what they could loosely call a conservative, and therefore not one of them. They seem to be able to make that judgment about me in about 5 minutes. I can feel the sharp eyes watching me. I do not make the correct coded responses that they all seem to know. I don’t know the correct responses even though I grew up in a very fundamentalist church. Now there are politically oriented coded responses that must be passed. I don’t make it. They will be polite and easy-going to your face for a short while, but once you’ve shown your colors, then the shading starts: how far out are you, how far out am I willing to go. When they find out that I am not willing to play their authority game, then, I’m out.
    The Christian Right are deadly serious about their agenda. I’m not that sure about how they stand with the GOP any more, though I think they still have their eyes on the levers of power. I think W & Cheney has taken them into uncharted waters, but the authoritarianism is not the brand they wanted.
    Make no mistake about it, the game is one of authority. Power might be a side element, but if they have the authority to make you respond, you can be saved again, and you will submit to a particular personal power as directed by their representative of God.
    Thank you. It was a good entry with some excellent points.

  2. steve duncan on

    “….also offered a reminder that most conservative white evangelical Protestant Americans are kind, decent, well-adjusted people who (whatever their voting habits) don’t really reflect the angry views of some of their self-appointed political leaders.”
    You’re being far too generous as to “everyday, commonfolk” religious conservatives in the U.S. Yes, at a funeral or picnic or wedding interacting with them may seem a pleasant if not innocuous event. Smiles, handshakes, “Howya doing?” get traded. Even more in-depth discussions about life might not see you getting consigned to hell for being the degenerate “you don’t belong to the right religion (or no religion)” person you are. However, these same people fervently want leaders ensconced in office pledging to enact laws enforcing a moral code in line with their conservative beliefs. Homosexual marriage is to be banned. Even homosexual relations are to be banned or criminalized. Abortion is to be outlawed. Prayer (Christian prayer) is to be allowed if not outright encouraged in public schools. The federal and state governments are to pay for or subsidize private, religiously leaning schools. Many believe God says the enviroment, plants and animals are there to be plundered for the pleasure and needs of humans and therefore laws restricting or preserving them are contrary to God’s will. Jews and other non-Christians are going to hell. This tenet is sacrosanct. No Jesus, no afterlife. No, amend that, you get some sort of afterlife. It’s just one wherein you twist and writhe in the fires of Hell or linger about in some sort of nothingness forever regretting rejecting Billy Graham. No, I wouldn’t mistake a few hours of interplay with a crowd of cordial, devout Christians as indicative of their willingness to allow everyone to just be left alone. Over Cokes and chips you are silently being judged. And given absolute control of the levers of power you will bend to their vision of morality and execution of public policy controlling it.


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