GOP Needs a Broader Christian Coalition

Tonight I will be in New York City speaking about religion and politics at the New School for Social Research … Continued

Tonight I will be in New York City speaking about religion and politics at the New School for Social Research How I am delighted to return to my ancestral homeland! How I am looking forward to dialoging with my co-presenter, the ever so thoughtful scholar of faith and faithlessness in the public sphere, Professor Wilfred McClay! And, oh, how I dread being subjected to Amtrak’s patented Fall-of-Saigon boarding techniques at Union Station! This surfeit of emotions may, understandably, detract from the quality of the forthcoming post.

One point that I wish to explore later this evening concerns the dissimilarity between the 2004 and the 2008 presidential campaigns. This is not only a conceptual problem for the punditry, but something of an embarrassment. Many of us in the Faith and Values Industry assumed that the lessons learned in the previous election could be effortlessly applied to the present one. The working hypothesis was that in 2008 Evangelicals would again play a decisive role in crowning the president.

One mistake was not considering the possibility that the 2004 presidential campaign was the equivalent of a lunar, nay, a total solar eclipse. That race involved the concurrence of highly unusual electoral events and bodies: The first was that the GOP fielded a candidate with an almost preternatural appeal to Conservative Christians. The party coupled this with extraordinarily efficient outreach and tactics geared to those voters.

The second was that the Democrats fielded a candidate who scared the bejesus out of Evangelicals. They compounded the error by failing to develop any coherent strategies or initiatives that could stanch Kerry’s bleeding among them. Only in hindsight can we understand how the Yin/Yang of Bush/Kerry galvanized these Christians to a degree that will be nearly impossible to replicate in 2008.

This brings to mind another truism which pundits failed to observe back in those heady days of “God Gap” news items and headlines about the Democrats needing to “Get Religion”: Evangelicalism is a dynamic, even volatile, social movement. Although it could have been apparent to anyone familiar with Protestantism’s (rather admirable) proclivity to generate internal dissent, not many envisioned how fractured and tensile this lucrative quarter of the American electorate would become. This quarter of the electorate, after all, was comprised of not one but many distinct denominations. The possibilities for dissensus were immense.

That a generational conflict was brewing was understood by few. That the entrenched leadership–the vanguard of the “values voters”– was losing its ability to establish movement-wide discipline was not anticipated. That Evangelicals were an ideologically heterogeneous lot was not properly ascertained either–especially by many liberal commentators who viewed them as slightly less independent-minded than, let’s say, a grazing herd of wildebeest.

Which brings me to a final observation: Excessive entanglement with one religious constituency may be hazardous to your party’s health: I wonder if some in the GOP are starting to re-evaluate its nearly three-decade affiliation with the Religious Right (the Religious Right, for its part, is conducting its own internal review).

Don’t get me wrong. Pandering to religious voters is utterly sublime when the constituency in question unites, en masse, behind you (as Evangelicals did for Bush in 2004). But it is the opposite of utterly sublime when the constituency starts to fall apart. James Dobson’s recent threat to decamp from the GOP is, at the very least, a headache for party higher-ups. But if it actually came to fruition it would decimate the GOP’s chances in 2008.

And then there are the brand marketing issues. The heavy lifting for a Republican in the general election will consist of convincing swing voters, especially undecided Democrats, that the GOP is not an appendage of the Conservative Christian movement. Much in the way the Democrats were urged to speak to religious voters in 2004, a reverse scenario may ensue in 2008. Republicans will be suspected of harboring a theocratic will to power. They will be advised to reach out to those I have called the “secularly religious” and the pundits will write articles with titles like “Republicans Need to Speak to Voters about Separation of Church and State.”

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
November 1, 2007; 8:25 AM ET


Save & Share: 

 


 

<!–Twitter
 –>

 


 


 


 


 


 

Previous: The Atheist’s Dilemma: Live Right or Live Large? |

Next: In Praise of Jewish Atheism

<!–
Main Index –>

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Professeor Berlinerblau,I was intrigued by your use of the purported word “dissensus” in your essay.I’d never heard or read it before and it doesn’t appear in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, my favorite.Going on-line I found that Merriam-Webster (not my favorite dictionary) claims that “dissensus” is a word and that it entered the English language in 1962.”Dissensus” strikes me as a barbarous neologism, probably dreamed up by a bunch of bright college students living in their Animal House fraternity after a night of partying.I’d rather be found salivating in a dirty bookstore (if such still exist in the age of the internet) than be heard uttering ‘dis—sus”.I hope your vocabulary makes you feel up-to-date and “cool”.All best wishes to you.

  • Roy

    Correction: not “……the Democrats fielded a candidate who scared the bejesus out of Evangelicals.” Karl Rove and Dick Cheney scared the bejesus out of Evangelicals, using the bully pulpit both in Washington and in church to rally these mindless sheep against a common boogeyman. Kerry was just a convenient medium on which to project their politics of fear.

  • Stephen Fox

    I have been having thoughts similar to yours, though you have articulated them much better than I have been able to, to date.

  • Are you KIDDING?!

    Roy,Absolutely true!One of my favorite (in the “love to hate” sense) dirty tricks from that campaign was putting flyers on the widshield of cars in the parking lots of Evangelical churches showing two men kissing and a message along the lines of, “John Kerry will make this happen” (paraphrase).

  • rick

    I dare say some people can get so upset over the use of a word?

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Rick,I wasn’t upset by the use of a word.I was disturbed by a professor’s use of what appears to be a non-word.Language is important, and precision in thought and writing are vital.Sir Roger Casement was hanged in 1916 because of a court’s interpretation of the placement of a single comma in Henry VIII’s hundreds-of-years-old Treason Statute.Take care!

  • Tonio

    My view of the “broader Christian coalition” may seem narrow to some of you. As I see it, a small but influential minority of Biblical literalists is attempting to hijack not only the GOP but American government to push the nation toward theocracy. The assertions made by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are chilling. Obviously, many Republicans and most Christians oppose theocracy. My concern is that moderate Christians might be vulnerable to the demagoguery of theocrats such as James Dobson and Pat Robertson. And even if the demagogues don’t succeed, they give the mistaken impression that all Christians and all Republicans favor a return to mandatory prayer and creationism in public schools.

  • Ralph

    We should always welcome and support a balanced reporting shedding new lights on the debate over religion and politics.

  • Gaby

    “They will be advised to reach out to those I have called the “secularly religious” and the pundits will write articles with titles like “Republicans Need to Speak to Voters about Separation of Church and State.””Wow, what a novel idea. And here I thought that was already discussed and signed, sealed and delivered 200-plus years ago.

  • K

    I don’t know that the republicans will ever speak truth to the evangelical power base, it’s not in the nature of the politician to speak it nor is it in the nature of the evangelical to hear it.A politician will believe whatever it is that will get him elected. How’s this for a word: Amorphous. Politicians are shape-shifters, Mitt Romney is doing it right in front of us … where are the “flip-flopper” accusations we heard when the equally amorphous Kerry was running for president?It appears Hillary Clinton is attempting to master this as well.So the democrats are going to pretend they now care about the evangelicals, the republicans are going to pretend they still care about the evangelicals, the evangelicals are going to pretend they aren’t getting screwed by both sides and the remainder of us are going to pretend the evangelicals aren’t trying to screw us out of our liberty and freedom.Bah, I’m leaving the country.

  • Chris Everett

    I agree with Tonio’s analysis.It also seems to me that the religious right were seen by the republican party as low-hanging fruit that could be riled up by the spectre of godlessness, thereby leveraging their existing church infrastructure towards republican ends. It worked, and the religious right was willing to blindly follow the republicans anywhere, which is understandable since they are natural followers who resonate more with the idea of standing up for one of their own than dispassionately evaluating their actions. Faith, not reason.Fear mongering is tough to maintain, and although the republicans have done a yeoman’s job of it, the public has become somewhat desensitized. Religious conservatives are finally looking around, not really knowing why they are where they are, and they have become dissolutioned – not with themselves, of course, but with everyone else. They seem deflated and demoralized.Personally, I think they could easily be riled back up, maybe by an old standby like gay marriage, prayer in schools or flag burning, or maybe by something new like the “New Atheism!” The real change in the republican block is that traditional, fiscally responsible, non-neocon republicans see what a disaster the Bush administration has been, not because of anything having to do with religion, but out of sheer arrogance and imbicility. (Actually, I’m at a total loss to describe it – it’s beyond my comprehension.) These mainstream republicans need to repair the serious damage Bush has done to their party, which requires them to focus on the fundamentals, instead of pandering to the fundamentalists.

  • Cal

    The Evangelical vote presented America with their “perfect candidate” and his name is President George Bush. What does that say about their lack of judgement? Evangelical vote = George Bush. Nuff said!

  • Mortal

    I absolutely loved discovering the word “dissensus” in the professor’s posting. It fills perfectly the void of otherwise not having a one-word antonym to consensus. I will definitely be using it in the future.

  • Nonny

    Just the into is foolish; A “Secular” Bible. Christians are our own worst enemies. When God’s teachings become dificult and not popular in the world of the liberal media and loony Hollywood (two of the biggest influences on us mere humans), we cave and and begin to warp God’s very teachings. God was not wishy-washy when it came to the definition of sin, marriage, killing, procreation, adultry, disrespecting ones parents, etc. However, too many of us Christians fool ourselves into believing that if we say we love God and if we lead “good” lives, we are following His teachings and He would approve. Christians need not be “secular” (polar opposites), they need to be steadfast into standing up for God and His difficult teachings on morality and other important issues. When someone secular or non-Christian tells me (a practicing Christians who sins like everyone else, but who TRIES to Honor God) what I should be doing, I have to laugh….

  • Jim Carlson

    The comforting thing to take away from the waning power of the religious right is that no group can run the table forever in a pluralistic society.Amen.

  • Michael Bindner

    John Kerry also had oppossition from traditionalist Catholics. Of course, the War on Terror was the deciding factor for most voters, including values voters. Kerry was a lousy candidate, from the lack of campaign organization to not using the ketchup money to hit back hard at Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.

  • Chris Everett

    NONNY:You seem to have it backwards. Secular, non-Christian politics isn’t about telling people what to do, it’s about telling the government what it CANNOT do. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I get the sense that you’d be comfortable with a government that was an enforcer of religious stricture, so long as the religion were yours. Thankfully, this country was based on Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state – to ensure your freedom to submit to your god’s will on your own terms, and my freedom to do likewise (or not) on my own terms.

  • Jackie Rawlings

    Republican Christians have been tricked by Satan worshippers. As the White House uses God’s Name but does the work of Satan and the American Churches get money to go along with these crimes. Notice how many GOP officials are pervert, child molester and hiring prostitutes. All of the White House appointees have lied under oath and even Bush out right lies in your face. Israel is using the US to attack Middle Eastern countries to steal their land as Cheney wants to control their oil. Before Bush ran for the office of the President this GOP Group had made plans to invade many Middle Eastern countries yes Iran was to be attacked Labor Day 2002. Check out the London Times article and even Rumsfelts memos for this plan. Wesley Clark was told of the plan 4 years ago but not one news Media station has reported it. Cheney leaked the CIA covert agents name working in Iran for information. Now Iran/Russia/China have agent spies in the US and getting all the information. Iran is ready for the illegal attack and will as they said attack Israel. Israel has the Nukes the US illegally gave them but the Iran Supreme Leader has Russia/China to protect Iran with their Nukes. What international country will help or protect the United States the answer is NONE. All the countries that were once friends of the US will sit back and watch. Israel has never set one soldier to Iraq or Afghanistan to help the US and they never will. As Israel has put Jewish Americans in high positions to do the job they can’t/wont do. Israel has gotten Billions of taxpayers dollar and Nukes in return the US has got nothing. Lieberman and other Jewish Leaders got in the position to do just what their doing using the US to get what they want. God is watching and that’s why the plan isn’t working and will never work. The White House has asked Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter to help clean up the mess that Bush/Cheney have made with the Middle East. If these two ex Presidents don’t come and save the US you don’t want to know the outcome. The United States will be left alone with no friends and not even the United Nations will come to help.

  • jane

    The real issue in America with religion and politics is the decline of the mainline Protestant churches. These were the religious home of the leadership of this country from its inception until recently and provided the language of our national politics. The public manifestation was a Christianity that was faithful to the widely understood moral code of Western civilization, while also representing an educational tradition based on reason and dialogue. The governance of these churches was seen as reflecting their northern European roots in mostly democratic countries. As these mainline Protestant churches have become progressively more liberal, there has been defection by people who still want to observe traditional morality, often to the new Protestant churches on the evangelical side. These evangelical churches have a visibly emotive approach to public policy issues that frightens many in the public, as it departs from the familiar “reasoned” mainline Protestant demeanor. Yet, many people also fear the totally secular approach of the socially liberal left, which appears to completely de-link moral issues from public life or to reduce them to a level that is not even credible (i.e., no recognition of any rights of the unborn; no real restriction on media to spread vulgarity). When the left talks about moral issues, it tends to be less about personal morality than collective or abstract morality around war, redistribution of tax funds, or legal concerns. Success seems to come when there is a candidate who presents the image of a mainline Protestant while sharing the moral code that is now more likely to be maintained by evangelicals. While many evangelicals voted for George W. Bush because they perceived him as born-again, many others probably saw him as a comforting echo of his father’s old-style Episcopalianism.

  • Chaotician

    While it is conceivable that evangelicals have more thinking capability than a herd of wildebeest; they have yet to demonstrate any such ability! Their apparent confusion is the lack of a consensus on a herd leader and competing fears on different sides of the herd! I have no doubt that at some point they will become startled and cause the herd to move and then the whole mess will stampede over yet one more cliff; ala der Bush!

  • Hank Whatever

    Good advice, sorta like be a Unitarian ? There is a history down in Texas of Mrs. Paine’s garage, religion and the invention of the helicopter which is pretty interesting. I find it a good study of emeshments of politics and religion and maybe belief in the super-natural.Mainly though, here as I sit in morbid reflection expecting the end of the world anytime soon in the near future. I have stopped dreaming about Islands in the Stream. And discounting for the moment effects of global warming or climate change, I wonder what lead that black tiger to the Snows of Kilimanjaro in the first place ?Bin Laden sure as hell did not bless me but I am in good company now and history marches on but for how long, I don’t know. In the meanwhile the bells continue to toll.

  • Tonio

    Some of you seem to use “evangelical” to refer to a very reactionary type of Christian. I had always understood that evangelical Christians could be found across the political spectrum. Perhaps a better term would be “fundamentalist” or even “Biblical literalist.” I’ve been reading about the split among American evangelicals over global warming. One camp argues that the movement should focus instead on abortion and homosexuality, and this camp seems to be mostly Biblical literalists and near-literalists.

  • rick

    Norrie- your response to my observation of your approval/disapproval of a word used by the professor sounds a little like back peddling- trying to think of up an excuse for an overreaction to the professor’s use of a word. Does that mean you think that the professor should be hanged? Cool out. However languague is important and the use of that language. I don’t remember seeing that word before either. You could look at it as wonderfull, I learned a new word today. Since I can’t remember the exact spelling right now I probably won’t use it. The use of big or unusual words is not really necessary as long as you get your point across. But I made no judgement about the professor because of his use of the word. Some things we don’t know, some thing’s we don’t care, and some things we don’t want to know. It would take a lot of time to question a persons motive for every word they used that was a little bit different so at least in this case I didn’t care to do so. But we probably all have our pet-peaves about college professors. They are a good target. But when reading the piece I guess I just assumed the word meant the opposite of consensus and did’t bother looking it up this time.

  • Joshua Udell

    Of Rest and Harvest Thursday, November 1, 2007Be encouraged people of God, for God disciplines those he loves! Be encouraged that God disciplines us for if he didn’t care there would be none of us as pure vessels to be used for God’s greatness! Be encouraged California as a state for what you are experiencing at this time is the refiner’s fire, and what will come out is something that you never thought you would see. Something that is golden and something that has become cleansed and purified by the refiner’s fire. Oh how we all should desire for God’s fire to consume the things that are making us impure. For we all are but a tent that will show off what is truly inside of us all. And unless purification takes place there will be a tent that withers in the winds.For God is purifying something that has the greatest potential in the world to influence the nations for him. And there must be a cleansing so that the vessel of California can be used to reach the intentions of God. For there will be riding’s of things that are not eternal, but what has been lost will come back to you even greater than it was before! And this is God’s promise to you that he is so hungry for California that he is invading what people would never have thought could take place. But this is the growing pains of California! For His house will be a light to the nations and you are the first choice in the United States to behold God’s glory!As far as you can voice your opinions is as far are your God is going to voice his thoughts toward you! This is nothing other than a salt invasion for your taste has so much potential that God’s armies are wiping out the stench of provocation and deliberation of the strongholds that have kept you away from the true use of your glory to the earth. God’s going to shake and then after the shaking’s take place the salt will come. God is going to consume and when that is over he is going to cause you to bloom in the proper season! For you are an instrument, and when his instrument realizes that they are going through the refiners fire they will begin to understand the unobtainable love God is going to do for this great influential state!And first will come the shock waves to wake the people up, and then the side effects of the aftershocks, and then will come the cure and that is nothing other than the spiritual manifestation of the faith that will move your nation back to the faith of the forefathers, a nation under God. You are his first pickings, the wild shoot with character and craziness to do unthinkable things. And God said, there is not other place on earth that wants to do so much to gain attention!So now God says, I want nothing other than to get the attention of California that I am releasing all sorts of earthly and heavenly appointments with this state that when it is all said and done, the smoke that you see will be from the alter of the house of God, for what comes from this purification process will cause the righteous in Hollywood to powerfully expose the Holy Word of God to the whole world. Believe it, says the Lord. For when the final cleansing happens it will affect the whole state and they will say, who else but God could do such a mighty thing. And God’s promise is that you will tear down the walls of disbelief because you will have the strength to accomplish, why? Because I will provide the tools necessary for you to start what the Jesus Movement didn’t finish, says the Lord!

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Mortal,”I absolutely loved discovering the word “dissensus” in the professor’s posting. It fills perfectly the void of otherwise not having a one-word antonym to consensus. I will definitely be using it in the future.”The problem with using the supposed word “dissensus” is that it will interrupt the flow of what you are trying to communicate.If “dissensus” is spoken, the audience will immediately think or say “What?!” and will wonder what you’re talking about. Some will mishear it as “consensus”, thereby reversing your intended meaning. Confusion will reign among the hearers and your meaning will be lost.If “dissensus” is written, many readers will eventually figure out that it’s intended as an antonym of “consensus”. But while they’re trying to figure it out, their thought processes will be disrupted and slowed down, and the writer’s expression of thoughts on the page interrupted.Better to stick with conventional English and be understood, than to try to be cute and come across as baffling.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Rick,Actually, I didn’t overreact to “dissensus” – you underreacted to it.You should have recognized it as barbarous usage by an academic stretching/overreaching to achieve some effect that I can only characterize as “cute”.”Dissensus” simply doesn’t work as a part of trying to communicate effectively to people. See my recent post to Mortal above, as to what happens when you do use it, and why it doesn’t work.I’m not interested in Professor Berlinerblau’s motives, as you seem to suggest. I’m interested in why he doesn’t write well, and tried to show him how he could have written a better sentence.Best wishes to you.

  • Michael Harley

    The fact of the matter, which is as plain as the nose on your face, dear writer, is that the vast majority of Americans now are convinced, and “rightfully” so, that the GOP is nothing more than the political wing, an appendage at best, of a radical fringe that cause itself the Christian Right. The arrangemnet is all too similair to that of the Irish Republican Army once being the militant wing of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland. Those of us who left the Republican Party in 1990′s, and our numbers have swelled the ranks of “independants”, cannot return to a political organization that has been kidnapped by Christian Right interests, to the exclusion of all other interests. The dream that somehow this radical fringe of 10-15% of the eligible voting public can control the party and rule the nation is what we see in Iran, and what we saw in the form of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Why don’t you just be honest and say you want to replace the Constitution of The United States of America with some version of the Bible you are reading at your hot and hip church of month. In your America, there is no place for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, agnostics, Buddhists, and probably non-chrasmatic Roman Catholics. Please form your own party, live in your apocolyptic fantasy land, and leave the rest of us in Peace. Remember Peace? It’s what Jesus of Nazareth spoke of, day in, day out, up until the moment he died on the cross.

  • BGone

    It will be a Republican that uses

  • chuck the truck

    Let me get this straight. Rudy can not win because only one percent of Prolifers voted for him .A vote for Rudy is a vote for Hillary. They are both : proabortion, progay,antigun,antifamily ,and they are on the wrong side of the fence .All Evangelicals are bigots and will not unite behind a prolifer. Remember Carter a Dem. Today Romney is leading in the South Carolina polls .Mitt’s perfect storm of the first 3 states is forming on the horizon. Esoterical the nature in us all is asking why.Not believing is a faith in itself.All faith base thoughts can not be proven. I guess we will see if the ununitable will follow a true leader or devide and fall apart . “Evangelicals for Mitt ” .Mitt changed to prolife [ no flop],and he is for marriage between a man and a woman [no flip ] Of course sheep will be led.

  • Tom Boyer

    This is very good insight. However, the religious shifts going on might be even greater than Jacques contemplates here.If my experience is at all typical (and I find that it usually is, for better or worse), there are large numbers of more or less devout Christians undergoing a real crisis of faith right now brought on by the Christian-Republican fiasco in Washington. As Chris Hitchens points out in his haunting book, if the devout behave so abominably, what does that say about the value of religion as a pillar of decency and morality?It’s bad enough that odious people like Dr. Dobson have so much influence on our national government. But the theological implications are troubling too. Presumably Dr. Dobson has a little strategy session with Jesus every morning before breakfast. So either he is hearing what his venal brain wants to hear (the whole potential pitfall of prayer) or Jesus is a supernatural font of venality, in which case we had better start donating to the Republican party or hope Judgment Day is a ways off.The whole PRJ (personal relationship with Jesus) thing is this pillar of Evangelical Christianity, but the more we see what it leads to when practiced by the powerful, it is such a hazardous thing. We Christians managed to elect a president who talks to Jesus every morning instead of listening to people. That’s probably the ultimate example of how harmful PRJ can be — it may be the reason for this calamitous war and the budget deficits that will cripple our country for generations. But if PRJ leads to bad behavior by our president, mustn’t it also be bad for ordinary people? Christianity as I read it is a religion that is designed NOT to have power over others — and the misuse of PRJ illustrates why that is such an important safeguard. Yet, tens of millions of people who purport to be Christians seem to be in support of a one-party authoritarian movement — whether you blame the religion or the practitioners or the preachers, something is way off here. Christiantity is a beautiful religion, but when its most devout people lead our country into such perilous places, maybe it’s better to just not have religion for a while until we regain our moral compass as a society.

  • rick

    Paradise bound- I didn’t know I was in the presence of the sanctimonious. Excuse me. Mortal seems to be some kind of attempt to show superiority. Whatever turns you on. Wrong guy I guess. Or an attempt to remind me of my own mortality which seems a rather morbid thing to do even though I may be a lot closer to mortality than you. But I will deal with that on my own, thank you. I don’t need anyone to help me along unless you feel lucky.

  • Gerrie

    News Flash to Michael Bindner: RE: Kerry’s inertia regarding the Swift Boat ads: there wasn’t enough money or ketchup to swamp & sink their message simply because it was true.

  • Kevin4567

    This is a second post in the last couple of days by this author but once again I find his views on politics and religion are typically superficial and parochial. Not much improvement over his previous post.Lets just take one example. In observing difference between presidential elections 2004 and what it portends to be in 2008, he makes the point that “Many of us in the Faith and Values Industry assumed that the lessons learned in the previous election could be effortlessly applied to the present one. The working hypothesis was that in 2008 Evangelicals would again play a decisive role in crowning the president.” The author of the post seems to be distraught over this observation.First, the GOP did not win the election fairly or legitimately both in 2000 and 2004. The election was stolen by the GOP by outright fraud both times. Suppose that one excepts his hypothesis that Bush won the presidency because evangelical christians came out in droves to vote for him. Considering what has happened to the country since then, only someone very naive and simple minded who puts party politics ahead of national interests would want to repeat what happened in 2004.

  • Anonymous

    I have read the posts and I have a question.As a NON Christian where do I stand? I hear about your God and your beliefs…but this is a nation filled with religions. This is not a Christian nation..it is a nation of laws for all people, with a constitution that protects the minority. So tell me…where in the Constitution does it say that there are any But’s or’s or maybe’s when talking about rights? This is one nation. Why should a Christian feel they have rights and privledges that others do not have?The GOP has proven to be liers and hypocrites and the Christian Right has stuck by them…only because the Christian right has proven to be liers and hypocrites. Birds of a feather…They can dig their own holes they have already feathered their own nests.I am tired of my nation being turned into a fiefdom for the bigoted, greedy, hard hearted and ego driven that call themselves Evangelicals.terra

  • Terra Gazelle

    Gerrie,People like you got us Bush and war and deaths. Listening to lies and not following up with research can only hurt democracy. Kerry was innocent of what he was accused of. terra

  • Dissensus

    Just inane prattle.

  • EthanQ

    There is a far greater reason than those posited by the lede post, and it is the irony of our times:If Jesus were alive today, he’d be a Jewish liberal Democrat.All you need do is compare the positions of His statements with the positions of the parties.

  • Reasonable…..

    Really- he’d be a liberal democrat- the guy that said to the prostitute- go and sin no more?Jesus would not involve himself in politics and he did not do so when he could have when he was alive on earth. He said- help the poor, and give to them- NOT – have the government do so.Jesus would be apolitical as he would be disgusted by BOTH parties, as they both only care about POWER and MONEY.

  • A Hermit

    Two thoughts;First, it wasn’t Kerry who scared the religious right, it was the lies told about Kerry by Karl Rove’s smear machine.Second, on this thought: “Much in the way the Democrats were urged to speak to religious voters in 2004, a reverse scenario may ensue in 2008. Republicans will be suspected of harboring a theocratic will to power. They will be advised to reach out to those I have called the “secularly religious” and the pundits will write articles with titles like “Republicans Need to Speak to Voters about Separation of Church and State.””I think you give the pundits far too much credit. In spite of all that’s happened they can’t seem to break free of the “Republicans = strong and sincere, Democrats = weak and phony” narrative they’ve been cleaving to for the last couple of decades. I really can’t see that pack of inbred courtiers that calls itself the press corps learning any new tricks.Thankfully the voters seem to be waking up…RegardsA Hermit

  • Are you KIDDING?!

    “Really- he’d be a liberal democrat- the guy that said to the prostitute- go and sin no more?”That’s right…Democrat…Jesus was not naive, and KNEW the adultress would actually sin agin. He did not intrude on her free well afterward. He did not spy on her, and he did not demand that the Pharisees enact legislation to deny her basic rights offered to non-adulterers.Democrat!”He said- help the poor, and give to them- NOT – have the government do so.”You are 100% correct! However, the GOP and the Fundies have insisted that this is a CHRISTIAN nation, founded on CHRISTIAN priciples.If Christ IS the government, and he said “help the poor”…One quote NOT attibuted to Christ, though I’m sure he’d agree, is “You can’t have your cake, and eat it too”.Christ would not be too wise to appreciate common wisdom, and yes, he’d be a Democrat.”Jesus would be apolitical…” Jesus also said, “Render unto Caesar…”. In the case of our nation, THE PEOPLE are Caesar. In rendering unto “Caesar” in this nation, one has to participate in government “by the people, and for the people”.Yes, Jesus would be a Democrat…or at least independent.

  • Tonio

    What’s the point about debating what political position Jesus would take? Theoretically, anyone can make any sort of claim of endorsement.Back-cover blurb from Harlan Ellison’s book Slippage:”When I told Houghton Mifflin that Jesus Christ had given me a quote to help promote Slippage, boy, did they go ballistic! It was a great quote, a real ‘money quote’. Jesus said, ‘I love Ellison’s writing. I’d have a Second Coming, or even slouch toward Bethlehem, just to read this new collection!’”

  • Michael Melius

    Is this the article called “Coalition of the God-willing?” That’s what the link on the Post’s home page calls it, but when one clicks that link, one gets this article called “The God Vote”. This is happening more and more often on the Post and other web sites. It’s very frustrating. It wastes my time. Trust me, one thing modern readers will not tolerate is wasting our time.

  • sundayschild55

    What ever happened to seperation of church and state in this country? Why are various religous groups allowed to advance into the public arena to either support a candidate or oppose a candidate without regard to the seperation of church and state, but there are questions brought foreward concerning the denomination to which a candidate may belong? Frankly, I am irritated with the “christian” right or left or whatever and the leaders of said groups participating in the discousion of which candidates the members of the “christians” should support. I am dismayed that these religous groups and organizations are encouraged and allowed to give monetary support to the chosen candidate. The way I see things playing out its laughable to say that the government of the U.S. does not endorse any particular religous view because watching the news for just one week should convince any open minded individual that our government endorses the view point of the “christian right” and actively supports those groups in return. What difference does it make what faith a candidate belongs to just so that person represents the best interest of the people of the U.S.? When I say the people I mean ALL citizens of whatevery faith or creed and colour. Any question of faith presented to a candidate should promptly but politely be put aside unanswered. That is my view on the subject.

  • Rich Rosenthal

    Yes,

  • Anonymous

    Norrie – People seem to be reaching a consensus about how arrogant and nit-picking your posts make you sound. Furthermore- for one so hot to complain about the writing abilities of the OP, you don’t come across as a great a writer yourself. But hey, the Internet gives everyone the chance to become the next William Safire, right? Enjoy your ego.

  • Reasonable not hateful

    That ‘s rich, Rich. How do YOU know who and what evangelicals are? Do you know that many if not most evangelicals give to the poor? that they volunteer to help those in need? That they give to charities ways more than the secular crowd? There are “Pharisees” in every segment of society- included the secular crowd that likes to point fingers and attempt to have government solve all our ills when it is evident that government is inept to do so. Have you sat down with a evangelical first hand to discuss their world view and what they do and don’t do? I doubt it.I see that you consider many ” the dumber majority” that tells me you have a elitist attitude. par for the course.I have listened to Dobson on occasion and he strikes me as someone that has a true heart with compassion for people- do you know that first hand or are you just spouting secular talking points? Have you tuned in to his program to listen to his points on leading a Christ like life? I doubt it.Jesus pro alcohol? The wine back then did not have the alcohol content it does now.Where did you get that from? How do you really think he would think about abortion? Or marriage? He would be favor of government run health care huh? where did you get that from? From YOUR interpretation of his quotes in the gospels?And he knew the prostitute would sin? No, he knew that was the lifestyle of that person, but perhaps he was telling her- hmmmm….. that sinning is not what you should be doing? Jesus would not be part of ANY party… and if you think that he would, you are fooling yourself.

  • Rob

    Norrie, All words were once invented; we did not look in the dictionary to design the English language. Instead, the dictionaries were designed using the language as a reference. Creating and using new words is how the language developed; otherwise, we would be speaking a long extinct language right now.

  • Tonio

    “I have listened to Dobson on occasion and he strikes me as someone that has a true heart with compassion for people”Reasonable, I have never met Dobson but I did read part of “Love for a Lifetime.” He had some good points about marriage, until he went on a two-page rant about how God deliberately create women as inferior to men and that women should obey their husbands because that’s God’s plan. Horse puckey. If Dobson had any true compassion for women, he would abandon such hateful beliefs.

  • Reasonable not hateful

    Tonio- please quote the page number of Love for a lifetime . I suspect you are putting your spin on what he actually said. I want to see it in print myself and in the context of the particular paragraph

  • Brian

    So, …………… … I assume that there’s a program director and professor of Arabic Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University ?

  • Jochen Heyland

    Hmmm….

  • Gaby

    “Hmmm….Jochen, I beg to differ….it CAN mean Berliner Drunk, but it can also mean “Berliner Blue”, or “Berliner, I don’t want to go to work today”.

  • Brian

    Mr Berlinerblau used the word dissensus while

  • mak

    I agree with Rob.English is continually evolving, which is why it has been so successful. English has almost 3 times as many words as most other languages, allowing subtle differences in definitions that give rise to greater precision in language. There is no Académie française for English rooting out words like `royal’, `algebra’, `schlep’, or `pundit.’ In fact, Shakespeare invented many words in the same vein as dissensus, such as `premeditated’ and `dislocate.’ His audiences would have been able to understand the meanings of these words because they are composed of components with understood meaning, similar to `dissensus.’ Changes to English have always been adopted after becoming conventional for a long enough period of time. For example `Com’ in Old English became `comb’ in Middle English, which is now the accepted correct spelling. Given that `dissensus’ has been around for nearly half a century, I think its use is acceptable.Mike

Read More Articles

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_186566975
Hey Bart Ehrman, I’m Obsessed with Jesus, Too — But You’ve Got Him All Wrong

Why the debate over Jesus’ divinity matters.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

shutterstock_186090179
How Passover Makes the Impossible Possible

When we place ourselves within the story, we can imagine new realities.

This Passover, We’re Standing at an Unparted Red Sea

We need to ask ourselves: What will be the future of the State of Israel — and what will it require of us?

pews
Just As I Am

My childhood conversion to Christianity was only the first of many.

shutterstock_127731035 (1)
Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

2337221655_c1671d2e5e_b
Mysterious Tremors

People like me who have mystical experiences may be encountering some unknown Other. What can we learn about what that Other is?

bible
Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.

csl_wall_paper
What C.S. Lewis’ Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy

Why “welcome and wanted” is a biblical response to gay and lesbian couples in evangelical churches.