Following the success of the Tea Party in the midterm elections, the religious right suddenly have more power than they've had in a very long time - and they are using it for all they're worth. Things that belonged on the far right fundamentalist lunatic fringe just a few years ago are becoming increasingly mainstream on the conservative side it seems. Case in point, the popularity of Michelle Bachman as a serious presidential candidate and of course this:
What was poison for a presidential candidate just last election is now the water of life and those who are unwilling to swear fealty to the new right wing, fundamentalist Christian dogma may just find themselves sidelined. The religious right are now the kingmakers and they demand doctrinal purity - no gays, no abortion, no taxes, no healthcare, no compromise. Therefore, all the moderate, more centrist conservatives are being flogged for their "progressive" views and so now the moderates have to fake allegiance to the fringe or risk losing support. This in turn leads the party ever further towards the far right and I think this will cost them. For instance look at the issue of gay marriage - fast becoming the Republican Albatross. The religious right wants none of that and are fighting it tooth and nail BUT public opinion is turning rapidly and the majority of Americans now favour it. While doctrinal purity may win you the Republican nomination it may very well cost you the election. Worse, in the history books of tomorrow they will stand alongside the villains who fought against women's suffrage and to keep racial segregation alive. Only time will tell I guess.
Now I could be reading it all completely wrong, I am half a world away after all. Just seems to me that this next election will determine the future direction of the Republicans - either they will do well and the Religious Right Wing Fringe will become more powerful than ever OR they will get spanked and moderates could wrestle back control. I for one hope that cooler heads will prevail.
But again, I know that no one likes a foreigner coming along, telling you your business and pretending that they understand things better than you do and I definitely don't want to be that guy. No one likes that guy! So I will rather just post the words of a great American, Robert Ingersoll. He wrote the following in 1879 but it's so appropriate that it may as well have been written last weekend:
"I would like also to liberate the politician. At present, the
successful office-seeker is a good deal like the center of the
earth; he weighs nothing himself but draws everything else to him.
There are so many societies, so many churches, so many isms, that
it is almost impossible for an independent man to succeed in a
political career. Candidates are forced to pretend that they are
Catholics with Protestant proclivities, or Christians with liberal
tendencies, or temperance men who now and then take a glass of
wine, or, that although not members of any church their wives are,
and that they subscribe liberally to all. The result of all this is
that we reward hypocrisy and elect men entirely destitute of real
principle; and this will never change until the people become grand
enough to allow each other to do their own thinking.
Our Government should be entirely and purely secular. The
religious views of a candidate should be kept entirely out of
sight. He should not be compelled to give his opinion as to the
inspiration of the Bible, the propriety of infant baptism, or the
immaculate conception. All these things are private and personal.
He should be allowed to settle such things for himself and should
he decide contrary to the law and will of God, let him settle the
matter with God. The people ought to be wise enough to select as
their officers men who know something of political affairs, who
comprehend the present greatness, and clearly perceive the future
grandeur of our country. If we were in a storm at sea, with deck
wave-washed and masts strained and bent with storm, and it was
necessary to reef the top sail, we certainly would not ask the
brave sailor who volunteered to go aloft, what his opinion was on
the five points of Calvinism. Our Government has nothing to do with
religion. It is neither Christian nor pagan; it is secular. But as
long as the people persist in voting for or against men on account
of their religious views, just so long will hypocrisy hold place
and power. Just so long will the candidates crawl in the dust --
hide their opinions, flatter those with whom they differ, pretend
to agree with those whom they despise; and just so long will honest
men be trampled under foot."
From "Some Mistakes of Moses" by Robert G. Ingersoll available for free online here. I cannot recommend it highly enough.