Rational Sean sent me this excellent article from the "progressive" magazine Washington Monthly, entitled When Would Jesus Bolt? This lengthy and fascinating article is subtitled "Meet Randy Brinson, the advance guard of evangelicals leaving the GOP." It really points out how Republicanism is more interested in power than righteousness. The lead-off segment discusses how Republicans are opposing the Bible Literacy Bill, not because it is flawed (since the curriculum has the OK of evangelical heavyweights like Chuck Colson and Ted Haggard), but because it was sponsored by two Democrats! You see, to stay in office, the Republicans need to maintain the illusion that Dems are anti-religious.
Now of course, the Democratic platform, IMHO, is anti-religion in that it supports an extreme interpretation of separation of church and state. Not only that, pro-life Dems have long been unwelcome in the Democratic party.
Now, the author of the article, Amy Sullivan, is an interesting character – she’s a religious, some might even argue, Christian, progressive. With a degree from Harvard Divinity School, I’m sure she’s no slouch. Here’s some nice quotes from her article:
That’s why, insiders say, the word has gone forth from the Republican National Committee to defeat Democratic efforts to reclaim religion. Republicans who disregard the instructions and express support for Democratic efforts are swiftly disciplined. At the University of Alabama, the president of the College Republicans was forced to resign after she endorsed the Bible legislation. A few states away, a Missouri Republican who sponsored a Bible literacy bill came under criticism from conservatives for consulting with Brinson and subsequently denied to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter that he had ever even heard of Brinson. But as for Brinson himself, he’s already gone. “Oh, they’re ticked at me,” he says. “But it’s because they’re scared. This has the potential to break the Republican coalition.”
Those Democrats who had initially been wary about working with a conservative evangelical Republican from Alabama found Brinson convincing. They also realized that conservatives had done them an enormous favor. “Listening to him talk,” one of them told me, “I thought, these guys bitch-slapped him, and he’s willing to play ball.”
Evangelicals—particularly centrists—are increasingly answering, “No!” Rick Warren has recently started a campaign to end global poverty, reminding his followers that “Life is not about having more and getting more—it’s about serving God and serving others.”
The big question is, can Democrats seize on this opportunity, or will the extreme wing of their party, like the extreme conservative political machine on the right, reject any move towards the middle? Well, from the response I read at Pharyngula (Amy Sullivan’s Bad Advice), I’d say the Dems may be as stupid in rejecting faith as the Republicans who merely give lip service.
She’s got one note that she plays loudly over and over again: Democrats need to be more religious. Why? So we can get more religious people to vote for our candidates, and so we can steal the Republicans’ identification as the party of faith.
By golly, she’s right! If the Democrats led the way in abandoning the principle of separation of church and state, if we institutionalized the teaching of Christianity in our public schools, and if we out-preached and out-prayed the Republicans and put up bigger crosses ad bigger flags in our front yards than they do, we’d win!
If this is the Democratic response, perhaps I can sleep at night, believing that they won’t be electable. Again.