Thursday, October 25, 2007

the religious right *heart* pragmatism

Who Doesn’t Heart Huckabee? - New York Times

what i like about gail collins' piece is this part:
Huckabee’s problems say more about the leaders of the religious right than about him. They’re united mainly by their hatred of abortion and gay marriage, and a desire to win. (my emphasis)

winning isn't particularly christian. i mean, when you're supposed to be turning the other cheek and shaking the dust off your sandals, what's winning got to do with it? but collins puts her finger on a real ugly aspect of the christian right's involvement in politics: their growing pragmatism and willingness to compromise. to an evangelical fundamentalist, compromise is tantamount to cavorting (naked) with the devil. and if i was still a fundamentalist, i'd be worried about the growing corruption of my religious cohort.

collins' point about other aspects of his personality, aspects that may better conform to a more 'christian' image of charity, and how they are proving 'unwinnable' to leaders in the christian right is interesting. no, it's more than interesting; it's a great big spotlight on hyprocrisy.

take the romney thing. every good religious fundamentalist knows that there is NOTHING to bridge mormonism and evangelical christianity. there are more than enough doctrinal differences between the two faiths (if even a fundie will consider mormonism a 'faith' rather than a sect or cult) to make a mormon virtually unrecognizable to a baptist. the southern baptist convention is very clear they think mormonism is extant to the word of God on their apologetics site; walter martin's The Kingdom of the Cults, a classic in evangelical apologetics, is unequivocal in labeling mormonism outside of christian orthodoxy. (how do i know this? i had to read this for bible study when i was a teenager.)

yet fundamentalists who will battle for every scrap of scriptural ground like they're in a cage fight are suddenly finding it 'maybe okay' to entertain thoughts of romney. the doctrinal and exegetical purity that forms the foundation of their thinking on homosexuality, feminism, sex education, abortion, war and terrorism has suddenly become a wispy, trivial thing. you have to wonder at the sudden change in those Values Voters.

(fantastic articles here and here about romney's evangelical problem from my favorite religion/politics writer, amy goodman.)

the religious right, if they decide to throw their considerable weight behind romney, will have to find a way to reconcile their private doctrinal beliefs and their public thirst for victory. it won't be an easy reconciliation because getting in bed with a cultist is to commit apostasy. to get in bed with a cultist is to embrace a pragmatism that would sicken most church folk. politically, it would be the right thing to do but is the religious right willing to endanger their salvation to win an election?

hard to say. if they are, romney's their guy; if they decide that ideological purity is more important than winning, don't count out huckabee. what should the Dems do? since they, too, want to win, they shouldn't be afraid to make the mormon the Other, but they shouldn't ignore ignore the Other in their midst - hillary clinton - because the evangelicals certainly won't.

what should the GOP do? maybe they should pray. because they're screwed.

i'm enjoying the sight of the GOP suddenly realizing their religious friends are a whole 'nother animal. they're beginning to see that such an association comes with a price. hasn't that always been the way with matters of faith - a sacrifice is required of the truly faithful. if they had spent more time in bible study, perhaps they would know that.

it's also fascinating to see the the religious right, after years of winning with the help of power-thirsty republican politicians, discover that winning can be a hard drug to kick. the heady thrill of victory can induce lust in any puritanical breast and if a fundamentalist knows anything he knows the destruction of unbridled lust.

this for how some grassroots religious folk are looking at the huckabee run and what the internal religious gossip is. i wonder if Democratic strategists ever hang out on these things to see what the right is doing.]

[and i'll post about the Dems and reproductive issues tomorrow. it takes a while to collate all that info!]

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