James Dobson, in a farewell speech to the Focus on the Family staff, said:
“We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles.”
Whether Dobson is capable of "humanly speaking" is questionable. The man who adamantly opposed the right of women to control their own bodies, of families to make their own end-of-life decisions, of patients to benefit from stem cell research, of gays to enjoy equal rights, and of Harry Potter fans to enjoy their books, is no fan of human rights.
Perhaps the one positive aspect of George Bush's presidency is an unintended consequence: a liberal victory (albeit incomplete) in the culture wars. [more ...]
Leading evangelicals have admitted that their association with George W. Bush has not only hurt the cause of social conservatives but contributed to the failure of the key objectives of their 30-year struggle. ... [E]vangelicals have won only minor victories in limiting the availability of abortion. Meanwhile the number of states permitting civil partnerships between homosexuals is rising, and the campaign to restore prayer to schools after 40 years - a decision that helped create the Moral Majority - has got nowhere.
Unsurprisingly, religious right leaders are unwilling to admit that their intolerance of any values, attributes, and political positions that differ from their own lacks appeal to an increasingly diverse majority of Americans.
In the southern Bible belt, many like the Rev Joe Morecraft, head of a small Presbyterian church near Atlanta, judge that the Christian movement failed not because its views were unpalatable for moderates and liberals, but because “it was not Christian enough”.
President Bush was too liberal? One wonders what a "Christian nation" of the sort envisioned by Morecraft would be like.
Morecraft nonetheless has a fine idea:
A deserter from the Republican Party, he said Christians had been corrupted by politics and needed to return to the basics of local social work and preaching the gospel, rather than devoting their “energies to getting a few people elected”.
Exactly. Preach to the choir and end your efforts to impose the extremist dictates of your religion on the rest of us. If the Republican Party is too liberal for you, leave it.
That doesn't mean one disengages from political life, but it might mean that the church shouldn't be a branch of the Republican Party. It might mean trading fame and fortune (green rooms and fundraisers) for humility and charity.
Without the cash and the votes that the Christian right supplies, the GOP will return to its roots -- representing the ultra-wealthy and the multi-national corporations they worship.
Of course, the threat remains that a new, home schooled generation of Christian conservatives -- convinced that stem cell research and gay rights are the product of "radical liberalism" -- will revitalize the battle. Let's hope it takes another generation for that to happen -- and that the next generation of liberals will be braced for the fight.
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