October 18, 2012

The GOP’s Secularism Problem

Several people have posted about the recent polling showing a decline in religious identification.  This post highlights the problem for the GOP, but it also, of course, poses a problem for the American church.

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.

As Sessions notes in the above link, many of the studies suggest that the disaffection with the church began during the Bush years, when the conservative church so closely aligned themselves with the Republican party.  Of course, we have not seen much separation since then--not over torture, not over attacks on the poor or women.

But as Fred Clark notes, the problem may be, in part, the fact that racism and hatred are not deal breakers for the conservative church.  As long as you oppose abortion and gays, you can do just about anything.  In fact, thinking about this recent campaign, many of the most racist Republican moments came in an appeal to evangelical voters.  And how did evangelicals respond?

Remember all the principled evangelical push-back against those efforts? No? Me neither, because that never happened. Here are some things you never heard during the GOP primaries: “Newt Gingrich drew criticism from evangelical voters for his racially charged attacks on ‘welfare queens.’” Or “Michele Bachmann lost evangelical support due to her comments about immigrants.” Or “Ron Paul’s newsletters flirting with white supremacists alienated the GOP’s evangelical bloc.” Or “Mitt Romney’s use of ‘illegal’ as a noun angers evangelical voters.”
That right there is a big part of why I have lost respect for the conservative evangelical church.  They said nothing about torture, and they have been lured by racism, not repelled by it.


Bob said...

Maybe this is slightly off topic, but here goes...

I have to wonder why the hell it was fair to put Obama on trial becuase of what his pastor said, but its not OK to discuss Romney's whole nutty religion. I think it's fair game.

In fact let's put every politician's religion on the table. Go ahead and tell everyone you think the world is 6,000 years old, or that dinosaurs didn't exist, or some other crazy nonsense. I want to know if Romney believes we all decended from people on the planet Kobol. Heck as President maybe he will have NASA use the Hubble to find it.

I say put it all on the table beucase I want to know what crazy ass super natural belief is driving your decisions.

Bob said...

Sorry "Kobol", was from Battlestar Galactica (whose creator is mormon). Mormonism believes in Kolob.

Streak said...

Hell, I just thought it was talking about Kodos. From the Simpsons.

leighton said...

Aren't kodos the Tauren mounts in World of Warcraft? Too many fictions in one thread, I'm confused now!

Smitty said...

Too many fictions in one thread

Ba-dum-bum. Thank you. He'll be here all week.

steves said...

Loved BSG. One of the best shows in recent years.

Who said it wasn't ok to discuss a politician's religion. I remember people talking about Mormonism and magic underwear back in the primaries. To some, it was an issue, but to most people, they just don't care (unless you are a Muslim).

I fall into the "I don't care" group. I don't care if Romney is a Mormon or that Obama's pastor is kind of a dick. The only thing I would want to know is how their religion would influence policy and how they ran things.

I know that torture is an important issue for you and I applaud your consistency, but I just don't see this as a major issue in this election. If we are being honest, it isn't a major issue for either party. Our country may not be directly torturing, but we are engaging in de facto torture, and if you believe Glenn Greenwald, doing it even more now than we did during the Bush years.

Ron Paul enjoys the support of Libertarians and some tea partiers, but I don't think that Evangelicals were ever a big fan of him.

Streak said...

in this context, torture was more about the Christian base of the Republican party. and as I recently realized, it is symptomatic of the tribalism more than anything else. Had Clinton started torturing (not rendition, which i know he did, but the actual torturing), I think it is possible that the same evangelical base would have seen that as further proof of Clinton's immorality. but when Bush did it, it was ok, because he was one of them. On of my friends from the old days actually came really close to defending it that way. Even worse, he defended it as ok because sometimes God has you do things you woudln't normally do to further his plan. Or some such shit.

I am with Bob in that I would like to know more about how Mitt's Mormonism drives his philosophy. But ultimately, I suspect Mitt is through and through capitalist more than anything else. Actually, that isn't even true. He is thru and thru money.

Bob said...

I would say that Mitt's mormonism is off the table because Democrats are not willing to attack it as Republicans (and H. Clinton) were/are willing to attack Obama's pastor. And the MSM would likely run the other way if a Dem brought up Mitt's mormonism.