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Old 11-03-2003, 05:43 PM   #1
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The Rise of the Religious Right in the GOP

http://www.4religious-right.info/

A small excerpt:

Quote:
"Christianization of the Republican Party," an article from the The Christian Statesman, claims, "Once dismissed as a small regional movement, Christian conservatives have become a staple of politics nearly everywhere." "Christian conservatives now hold a majority of seats in 36% of all Republican Party state committees (or 18 of 50 states), plus large minorities in 81% of the rest, double their strength from a decade before."

The article explains, "the twin surges of Christians into GOP ranks in the early 1980s and early 1990s have begun to bear fruit, as nave, idealistic recruits have transformed into savvy operatives and leaders, building organizations, winning leadership positions, fighting onto platform committees, and electing many of their own to public office. "
Check out the site and critique it.

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Old 11-03-2003, 06:41 PM   #2
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These people run my state, Alabama. It's practically a Third World Country sort of place, and there's no hope of improving. We have the worst schools in the U.S. We have practically the worst everything in the U.S. Do these people care? No. They cynically manipulate religious sentiment for their own political gain, and that's all. This situation disgusts me. It's hopeless. They don't consider me a Christian since I don't subscribe to their right-wing political views.
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Old 11-03-2003, 09:26 PM   #3
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All is not lost verte76. I see alot of young people who are not falling for this sentiment. It doesn't mean they are not spiritual people it's just that the see through the mess religion has made of this state. It's going to be awhile yet, but the tide will change in Alabama. Some of these young people really want change and they are getting their formal education and becoming established. Wages will have to change as well, so many of the ones who have left will come back as well. I know this is a very optimistic view, but just maybe it will happen in my lifetime.
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Old 11-03-2003, 10:31 PM   #4
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it's not all that bad , verte76 , i never had a place called home : europe transit US transit europe transit US , it's fun ,
be a buddist or something , peace

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Old 11-04-2003, 10:44 AM   #5
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I hope you're right sue4u2. I'm not naturally an optimist. I get frustrated because we've elected so many dunderheads. Today is run-off day in our mayoral election, which I've been calling the election from hell because I really don't like the candidates. But if we got rid of Bull Connor--and we did, he got dumped out on his ass-- we can probably do something about the present lot of state politicos.
Just for the record, folks, I do *not* blame Christianity for these problems. I'm a practicing Catholic. There is a particular kind of politician who has a very rigid, legalistic approach to Christianity that I have trouble with.
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Old 11-04-2003, 02:46 PM   #6
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To quote everyone's favorite president, "There you go again."

Far from being a scholarly work, the web site is just preaching to the growing choir of society that wants to hate conservative Christians.

Let's take a look at some of the "information" this site provides as "evidence" that the religious right is trying to "take over" America.

First, it talks about top leaders being Christians. If you can ignore the fact that the majority of elected officials, and every president that has held office, are/were Christians, then this might be frightening information for some.

Second, take a look at the "approval rating" chart. Again, if you can ignore the fact that there are scores of organizations that rate politicians based on the organization's ideology, and that Republicans score high for a number of these organizations, you again might think the Religious Right is taking over the country.

The site claims there is a "March to Theocracy" and supports its thesis with a number of random, out-of-context quotes from Pat Robertson. Other quotes are used, not for a discussion of theology, but as an attempt to manufacture something that is not there.

The kicker appears as the site tries to define the Religious Right. The statement, "[they] do not view mainline Christians as true Christians" is nothing but inflammatory rhetoric.

If you are looking for hate, you certainly find it in the authors of this web site.
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Old 11-04-2003, 02:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
I'm a practicing Catholic. There is a particular kind of politician who has a very rigid, legalistic approach to Christianity that I have trouble with.
I appreciate you sharing this. It was my impression that Protestants thought Catholics have a "rigid, legalistic approach to Christianity". It is interesting to see it both ways.
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:09 PM   #8
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I actually agree in part, nbcrusader, which is why I posted this site. I wanted to see how people would react.

To probe a bit beyond the surface of this site, however, is whether there is or should be a distinction between extremist Christians (the "Religious Right" I see) and conservative evangelical Christians (the "Religious Right," I'm guessing, you see).

What is troubling to me, I think, is that all the distinctions have been tossed aside. A "good conservative" in the GOP these days is more of an extremist Christian conservative and less of a "Barry Goldwater" conservative, who is more interested in fiscal conservatism and not interested in the social conservatism. In fact, I would venture to say that fiscal conservatism isn't even in the equation anymore; both the current and last two Republican presidents didn't give a damn about balancing budgets. There is certainly a lot of lip-service to traditional fiscal conservatism, just to suck in some Libertarian types, but the practice is clearly not there.

My concern, really, is not about the average individual, as much as I am concerned about the leaders of conservative Christian organizations. These people are the furthest from reasoned and moderate most of the time, and the only reason that they have a fraction of the power that they do have is because of their success at monopolizing the definition of "Christian." No longer is it about believing in Christ. No, to be a "Christian," you have all these Pharisee-like rituals to follow. A "Christian" votes Republican, is anti-"pro-choice," is rampantly homophobic, anti-feminist, anti-liberal, anti-secular, etc.

I think that's where verte76's "rigid, legalistic approach to Christianity" comment comes from.

Melon
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


First, it talks about top leaders being Christians. If you can ignore the fact that the majority of elected officials, and every president that has held office, are/were Christians, then this might be frightening information for some.

I agree with some of what you are saying, but I think you're missing a big portion of what these people are saying. It's true every president has been Christian. Almost all protestant, in fact I think only one Catholic, could be wrong...

But never have we had a president and rarely seen a time like this where there's a huge push from within the government to destroy the separation of Church and State.
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:52 PM   #10
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I'm with Melon on this. It's th extremists we have to worry about, the ones who define Christianity in the samllest terms possible to create a me vs you dymanic they can feed on. My Dad is a conservative evangelical but he hates Bush. Me I'm pretty socially conservative at least on the "moral issues" but I'll fight these xenophobic (not just in terms of foriegners, they hate and fear anyone who holds a different opinion) monsters till the day I dies despite a few shared statements of belief. And they even kill thier own goals. I can't remember who but the surgeon general at the time when abortion rights were being first debated proposed limited right to abortion as a compremise. Women's rights groups were willing to accept it but the hard right absolutely refused and lost big because whle limited abortion would fly no abortion would not and so we now have the completely uncontrolled system we have now where women aren't given proper councilin gor even information on this choice and the system allows multimple abortions to go on. Had they given a little a whole lot of abortions might no have happened and there might be a lot more control on the practice than there is now. You know who told me this story?My intensely anti-abortion father who has nothing but contempt for the hard religious right in the States. Just my little personal story detailing how conservative evangelicals do not always agree with the religious right. Sorry I just hate to see the beliefs so dear to my heart twisted like this.
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Old 11-04-2003, 04:10 PM   #11
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BonoVoxSupastar,


"But never have we had a president and rarely seen a time like this where there's a huge push from within the government to destroy the separation of Church and State."

The President is not destroying the seperation of Church and State rather he is insuring that people of a wide number of faiths do not have their religious freedoms trampled, and that there is a clear difference between what is religion and simply national tradition or culture.
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Old 11-04-2003, 04:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


I appreciate you sharing this. It was my impression that Protestants thought Catholics have a "rigid, legalistic approach to Christianity". It is interesting to see it both ways.
Nbc, I'm not talking about 99.9% of the conservative Protestants here in Alabama. They are people of faith, not just legalism. I'm reserving my criticism for the people who are constantly moaning about "liberals" as consistently evil and making stupid generalizations about "liberal plots" and claim that these people are trying to destroy the country. In my mind this is nothing but hate. Some these alleged "liberals" are pretty conservative people who are scientists at the local university.
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Old 11-04-2003, 04:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
My concern, really, is not about the average individual, as much as I am concerned about the leaders of conservative Christian organizations. These people are the furthest from reasoned and moderate most of the time, and the only reason that they have a fraction of the power that they do have is because of their success at monopolizing the definition of "Christian." No longer is it about believing in Christ. No, to be a "Christian," you have all these Pharisee-like rituals to follow. A "Christian" votes Republican, is anti-"pro-choice," is rampantly homophobic, anti-feminist, anti-liberal, anti-secular, etc.

I think that's where verte76's "rigid, legalistic approach to Christianity" comment comes from.

Melon
Absolutely. You end up wondering just where the heck Christ is in this equation. Awhile back there was an evangelist who was only half-joking when he complained that he couldn't find Christ's position on some political issue. The essence of Christianity is Jesus Christ, not Pat Robertson's position on these issues.
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Old 11-04-2003, 04:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
My concern, really, is not about the average individual, as much as I am concerned about the leaders of conservative Christian organizations. These people are the furthest from reasoned and moderate most of the time, and the only reason that they have a fraction of the power that they do have is because of their success at monopolizing the definition of "Christian." No longer is it about believing in Christ. No, to be a "Christian," you have all these Pharisee-like rituals to follow. A "Christian" votes Republican, is anti-"pro-choice," is rampantly homophobic, anti-feminist, anti-liberal, anti-secular, etc.
I agree with a lot of what you are saying here. The topic of "what makes a Christian" would make for an interesting discussion, but I think we both boil it down to a fairly simple statement.

As for the Religious Right's influence in American politics, I see a welcome decline in some sectors (Falwell & Company don't have nearly the influence and presence they did durnig the 80's). I see the election of a socially moderate Republican in California. Even the approval of the partial birth abortion ban was immediately followed by Bush's statement that "America is not ready for a total abortion ban" - a statement to the Christian right (who insist on making this THE issue) to back off.

This is no way invalidates your points, but it shows part of the ebb and flow of the group's influence. Also, as you have pointed our elsewhere, the inability of Christians to act in unity prevents any one faction from gaining complete control.
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Old 11-04-2003, 04:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
Absolutely. You end up wondering just where the heck Christ is in this equation. Awhile back there was an evangelist who was only half-joking when he complained that he couldn't find Christ's position on some political issue. The essence of Christianity is Jesus Christ, not Pat Robertson's position on these issues.
I agree - the question then becomes, "how do you define Jesus Christ?"
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