Oh, those Christians. Specifically, those right-wing Republican Christians. Rather than joining hands around their hard-fought-for public manger scene in a show of seasonal brotherly love, it seems they are now about to eat each other alive, according to FireDogLake. The cause? Mitt Romney and his apparent need to pander to those all-importand “evangelical” voters. Suddenly, his doing so is cause for alarm in the punditocracy.
Four short years ago, the party was openly courting those people, and even crediting them with its success in
stealing winning the election. And we were up to our eyeballs in “news” stories, and plaudits from the pundits, proclaiming them to be the grand influence in US politics.
My, how things change. All of a sudden, those evangelicals are poison to the party they so faithfully carried water for. And the pundits can’t trip over their tongues fast enough, trying to disclaim them even as the candidates are still doing the old song-and-dance for them.
First, there was Reagan’s old speechwriter, Peggy Noonan. During the nineties, she couldn’t hate on us non-godcrazy folks hard enough. As a self-appointed, dolphin-mythologizing guardian angel, she made saving children from their communist parents her mission, when she wasn’t busy bashing anything with a D after its name just because it wasn’t “godly” enough. (By “godly”, read anti-abortion, unwilling to negotiate with Cuba, and ready to blame the sinful gays but not Saint Reagan for the AIDS crisis.) Her ilk would have been only too happy to make America a right-wing theocratic one-party state, with all once-public services provided by private corporations (if not church-run charities that provide a lecture on sin along with the grub). So of course, she appeared to have no problem at all with the fundamentalists. They were soul-brethren. Even though she believes in eating the Body and Blood of Christ, while they believe in wallowing in it.
Now she has finally woken up out of her decades-old coma, at least briefly. And feebly tried to repudiate what she has long been making common cause with.
“My feeling is we’ve bowed too far to the idiots. This is true in politics, journalism, and just about everything else.”
And you’ve only just NOW figured that out, Peggers? Incredible. How old are you again? And what did it take to bring about this epiphany? A man who believes in angels with unintentionally funny names like Moroni, and who refuses to admit that atheists too can be Americans? Incredible!
Then there’s Charles Krauthammer, who has also gone sour on the loyal shock-troopers. Probably because he just now realized that if they keep jerking the country further in the direction they want it to go, it won’t be just the atheists who are in trouble, but also the Jews. Even one who’d make his argument like this:
Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a spirited debate on the place of religion in politics. But the candidates are confusing two arguments.
The first, which conservatives are winning, is defending the legitimacy of religion in the public square. The second, which conservatives are bound to lose, is proclaiming the privileged status of religion in political life.
A certain kind of liberal argues that having a religious underpinning for any public policy is disqualifying because it is an imposition of religion on others. Thus, if your opposition to embryonic stem cell research comes from a religious belief in the ensoulment of life at conception, you’re somehow violating the separation of church and state by making other people bend to your religion.
This is absurd. Abolitionism, civil rights, temperance, opposition to the death penalty — a host of policies, even political movements, have been rooted for many people in religious teaching or interpretation. It’s ridiculous to say that therefore abolitionism, civil rights, etc., constitute an imposition of religion on others.
Isn’t that meshugah? Krauthammer is using LIBERAL religious beliefs and a few social justice movements which attracted religious liberals, to try to advance the idea that the far-from-liberal Religious Reich has the right to shove its beliefs under our noses whether we want ’em there or not. And this in the middle of an article ATTACKING the Religious Reich for doing just that, only a tad more forcefully than Krauty would like (because it’s making the entire Republican Party look like it’s rife with religiofascist nutbags–which it is).
You know you’re about to lose, and lose badly, when you have to attack the very extremists who were once the only thing standing between your party being elected, or not–in order to save your party from being walloped in next year’s election.
Meanwhile, Krauty’s fellow TownHall-er, Maggie Gallagher, tries to strike her own blow for sweet reasonableness, and fails just as dismally:
The reason God is on our coins and in our Pledge is not that He is practically necessary to democratic liberty, but rather that He is the philosophical foundation of it. Our rights come from a sphere outside the reach of the state. Government may or may not recognize our rights, but it can never repeal them.
Mind you, Maggie took Mitt Romney’s god-talk as a springboard to pile onto someone other than the fundies. In her case, the bugbear comes completely out of left field. It’s atheist-rights campaigner Michael Newdow, who quite reasonably thinks god-talk has no place on the coin of the realm or in the Pledge of Allegiance (which, as currently constituted, conflates God with flag-worship, Nazi-style). Newdow makes the solid case that the god-talk was tacked on later, not as a recognition of the religious underpinnings of the US’s national morality (if indeed there is such a bird), but as a concession to the burgeoning power of the Religious Reich. Why, Newdow asks, should we be genuflecting to them just because they are so many and so loud? If it’s a free country, shouldn’t people be free to disbelieve–and by that token, free from the constant public, state-backed pressure to believe, believe, believe? Why does the state take on the duty of foisting a belief in God on people? Don’t the churches do that enough already? Too much, in fact?
And leave it to Maggie to forget not only that, but also the fact that the Founding Fathers were mainly Deists–who believed that God basically stepped out of the picture after painting it, leaving the Universe to its own devices. Kind of hard to build a “philosophical foundation” on that–which is why so many Repugs, even the non-fundies, prefer to believe that Thomas Jefferson propounded the church-state separation because the church needed protecting from the state, rather than the other way ’round (which was in fact the case, as a founding father of the state would be the first to tell you.) No, Maggie seems to think that God gave us our democratic freedoms (“Here you go, here’s a parcel of liberties for you, and you, and you. Don’t let the government get its mitts on that, my child.”)
Which is pretty wacky when you consider how many anti-freedoms get perpetrated in the name of God. Especially in the United States.