Republican Rod Dreher writing at USA Today, GOP’s path to victory still goes through God – ‘To scapegoat religious conservatives? for the recent Republican Party’s? implosion is preposterous.”
Times change. Today, the greatest threats to conservative interests come not from the Soviet Union or high taxes, but from too much individual freedom. Look around you: Americans have been poor stewards of our economic liberty, owing to cultural values that celebrate unfettered materialism. Our families and communities have fragmented, in part because we have embraced an ethic of extreme individualism. Climate change and a peak in oil production threaten our future because we have been irresponsible caretakers of the natural world and its resources. At best, the religious right stood ineffectively against these trends. At worst, we preached them, mistaking consumerism for conservatism.
“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.” -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782. Tom would probably not be pleased that the crusade to make the American citizenry into hollow, unthinking uniform husks continues in full throated self righteousness. “Americans” have been poor stewards? A few paragraphs before Dreher brags about how Mr. Clear Skies Initiative carried the right-wing Christian vote – and watch your step – Dreher makes one huge leap in logic concluding its all because “we” taught/preached too much individualism. I don’t remember seeing or reading much from Rightie Christians – as compared to more moderate Christians and other Americans of faith – when Bush decided to sell the pumped up threat from Iraq like it was a moon light madness sale. They didn’t raise any moral objections to torture and illegal renditions, nor did the well organized Christian Conservatives march on Washington to protest Bush’s use of signing statements to reign as an imperial president – beyond the bounds of Congressional legislation. Dreher is not outrageous as much as absurd. he seems mentally disconnected from the reality of the last thirty years – the party that with the two terms of George Bush got the soft fascism, the trampling of individual rights and freedoms that had always yearned for. While Dreher claims he and the Dobsons and Falwells and Robertsons are not to blame for anything – blame freedom; freedom is cowering from those liberty crushing Democrats according to a Republican at Margaret and Helen’s blog who left these burned crumbs of thought,
“You and your cronies are obviously uneducated sheep and think that the constitution is something that to take lightly, well I don’t. If you are not part of the solution than you are part of the problem. At least those people that you bashed are trying to educate people and protect your rights. They do, whether you like or not, have the people of this great country at heart. Not so much can be said for you. You are the one that needs to sit down and shut up! Reep what you sow!” (emphasis mine)
Jabbering contradictory nonsense from someone that has apparently lived in a mental cave the last eight years – his is the movement of individual freedom, who feels threatened by two spit fire senior Democrats. While Dreher has redeclared the religious Right’s war on freedom in order to save the party of freedom the first guy feels, and deeply at that, he represents. These two have a lot more in common then one might think – their Republican party is never at any time responsible for any of the bad stuff. Welcome to the circular firing squad as the witless camp and the clueless camp try and figure it all out.
I don’t think that Christianity is to blame – there are many good Americans of many faiths who lead good lives and want what is best for America. The liberals hate Christians bit is as false as it is tiresome. Almost as tiresome as the Republican claim to own GOD. In commenting on Dreher’s column the sympathetic Poligazette writes, The Republicans Base
Democrats like the idea because it helps them win elections. Fiscally conservative Republicans wish the religious right didn’t have so much say in the Republican party. And many liberals reject Christianity and resent its influence in the country.
That’s a lot of opposition. The marginalizing of Christian voters may happen in the course of time if the decades-old trend of it’s-all-about-me social philosophy continues to erode traditional national beliefs away.
Poli doesn’t write the marginalizing of right-wing Christians, he just writes Christian. Talk about marginalizing. Republicans own God, they own Christianity – extremist dogma and politics thus become inseparable. There is no acknowledgment whatsoever that one can be a Christian of any denomination and simultaneously reject the rabid Conservatism that fights against social progress and economic justice. Republicans like these haven’t made God their personal savior, they’ve reinvented him in their image.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802