Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Religious Voters Could Doom the Democrats

From Financial Times via PMSNBC:
Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee chairman, is famous for his loose lips and exuberant vocal chords, which may help explain the muted reaction to his recent warning about religious participation in public life. A few months ago, Mr Dean told the Christian Science Monitor that the "religious community" would have to decide "whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in politics".

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Voters on the religious right are unlikely to go quietly back to their pews. The rationale for civil participation by conservative, mostly evangelical Christians has little to do with that latest scare word, "theocracy", and every­thing to do with defending their ­prerogatives.

Remember, Roe v Wade did not create the modern religious right. Former president Jimmy Carter did when he refused to rein in an Internal Revenue Service that had decided to go after the tax exemptions of private Christian schools that were not in compliance with civil rights quotas. Evangelicals could live with legalised abortion and bedlam in the public schools by removing their children from the system. It must have grated that they were paying to subsidise education they did not agree with and then paying again for private education for their children to opt-out, but Caesar was dutifully rendered unto, until he threatened to hike the cost of tuition.

The same dynamic persists today. The Democratic party elites cheer when regulators force Catholic charities to fund things the church considers immoral. They vote to curtail the freedom of conscience of pro-life pharmacists. They filibuster judicial appointees who do not hold to the interpretation of Ted Kennedy, senator, of the constitution-as-rubber-stamp for liberal causes. Worse, they compare religious rightists to Muslim terrorists ("Christianists") and warn that we have entered a new Dark Age. Garry Wills, the popular historian, called the 2004 election the end of the Enlightenment on American soil, and meant it.

The good folks who make up the religious right may not love the Republican party, but they know a threat when they see one. The modern Democratic party is hostile to their very existence. An embarrassment for the Deanified Democrats in the November mid-term elections would be a victory not for theocracy, but for enlightened self-interest.


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(emphasis added)

1 Comments:

At 8/30/2006 4:38 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Excellent piece! Thanks for the link!

 

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