The End is Near for the Extremist Wing of the Republican Party

pat-robertson

 

The end is near for the Christian right. No, they are not about to be beamed up into heaven , rewarded for their piousness, on a glorious ride symbolizing the rapture of the church. Instead, they are about to wither and die as a political movement in the United States, victims of their own hatred and hubris. Yes, for over three decades, theocrats rode an unholy alliance with the modern Republican Party to unprecedented heights of power. Ronald Reagan, two George Bushes, and hundreds upon hundreds of Republican Senators and Congressmen were their willing enablers.

Big business Republicans, neo-conservatives, and libertarian economists alike embraced Christian fundamentalists as they exploited bigotry and fear to push free market economics and expansionist foreign policies, while giving lip service to school prayer, ending abortion, and preserving traditional marriage from the onslaught of the “homosexual agenda”. Karl Rove exploited Christian right bigotry by pushing anti-gay ballot measures in 2004 that would herd evangelical conservatives to the polls to cast their votes for George W. Bush. That was a decade ago, when the Christian right’s influence in American politics was unmistakable and their grip on the GOP iron tight.

However, in the last ten years the Christian right’s power has been steadily eroding. Oblivious to their waning influence, conservative Christian groups have soldiered on without any apparent awareness of their impending demise. Perhaps they still do, but yesterday was a watershed moment. The Christian right tried to flex its muscle in Arizona by passing a bill that would codify into law the right for Christian-owned businesses to exercise their “religious liberty” to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Many other red states introduced similar measures, though Arizona’s was the first to pass such a bill through both chambers of the legislature.

The Christian right miscalculated badly and failed to anticipate the backlash that would follow. Chamber of Commerce chapters and major corporations based in Arizona balked at the measure, citing the potential for lost tourism revenue and lawsuits. GOP politicians piled on. Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain joined the opposition. Florida Governor Rick Scott and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney also rose in opposition. Politicians who had long embraced Christian right extremism for politically expedient reasons more than on principal, were now turning on the fundamentalists at the eleventh hour.

Then on Thursday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who like most GOP politicians had long courted Christian extremists, sealed their fate with her veto pen. In that moment, the lipstick wore off the Judas kiss that the Republican Party leadership made with Christian extremists years ago. The Christian right long wielded disproportionate influence in the halls of Congress, with the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson seducing GOP politicians with promises of fealty and winning them over to socially reactionary policies. Ronald Reagan enthusiastically brought the “moral majority” into his winning coalition, and since 1980 GOP politicians have relied upon evangelical right-wingers to help propel them to victory. Though they were never a true majority, the bible thumpers on the right were able to bully timid Republican politicians to press their agenda in exchange for contributions and votes.

However, now that bigotry is no longer a recipe for electoral success, the toxic embrace between pro-business Republicans and moralizing troglodytes has been pulled apart. As a political force, the Christian right is unraveling at warp speed. Even the Bible Belt is unbuckling at a rate that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Sure Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh still pollute America’s political discourse with their jeremiads against unseemly gays and promiscuous single women, but their taunts fall mostly on deaf ears outside the shrinking realm of “true believers” who nourish their hateful minds with unhealthy doses of talk radio and FOX News.

With the tactical brilliance of General George Custer’s Army at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Christian right has hastened their own defeat through arrogance and miscalculations that could only be made by people who truly believe they are called by God, and who have no concept of the earthly consequences they are about to face. They are making their last stand in the great American culture war, and they are losing badly. Not only is America becoming more secular and more tolerant, but even mainstream Christianity is distancing itself from the far right. Even bulwarks of traditionalism, like the Mormon and Roman Catholic church hierarchies are moving away from prejudice and dogmatism.

Increasingly defensive, the Christian right has gone from opposing late-term abortions and lobbying for school prayer to more dubious crusades. They have moved the goal posts so far to the right that right-wing Christians are now arguing for trans-vaginal ultrasounds, banning contraception and granting businesses the right to discriminate against lesbians and gays. With unending persecution complexes, they view themselves under attack, lamenting phony assaults on Christianity and a war on Christmas that does not exist. Yet it is they who are launching the attacks by picketing funerals, referring to rape as a gift from God, and blaming homosexuals for terrorist attacks and deadly tornadoes. Twisters, those “acts of God” that raise havoc on “traditional values” strongholds like Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas, while leaving San Francisco, Portland and Seattle unscathed.

The battle will continue, maybe for years, maybe even decades. However, America has already rendered its judgement. Same sex marriages are now legal in 17 states and on the verge of becoming legal in several more. Millennial voters overwhelmingly support marriage equality. The Christian right can do nothing more but dig their heels in and fight a lost cause. No doubt with self-righteous fervor they will continue to fight to the bitter end, enduring one humiliating defeat after another in the years ahead, as America moves further and further away from the Christian right’s outdated prejudices. There will be no sound of trumpets to announce the end of days for the Christian right as a viable political movement, but the end is coming. In fact, it may already be here.

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14 Replies to “The End is Near for the Extremist Wing of the Republican Party”

  1. Watch it. As they lose the power to gain even the deceitfully gained consent of a disinformed public, they will increasingly look to measures outside the law, not stopping at violent usurpation, if they can get the support for that. I believe that last October was their Beer Hall Putsch. Watch out. Hitler didn’t give up either.

  2. The Tea Party continues to purge itself of politicians just the slightest bit rational. The demographics are shifting to the blue every year as the base ages. The GOP cannot count on Angry Old White People for support for much longer.

  3. I agree, they still should be feared. Sometimes people who are already mentally on the fence, so to speak, will become more hysterical and irrational when they are frustrated or worse, frightened. The anti-abortion people are a good example. After several years of setbacks in the courts a few of them started shooting doctors and clinic workers.

  4. I would really prefer if the word “Christian” in all of those examples (“Christian Right”, etc.) was in quotation marks. Because those radical right people, cloaking themselves in religiosity are not Christians. They’re bigots. Nothing more and nothing less.

  5. If only I could believe this to be true but unfortunately I don’t see this happening. What I see is a more radical right wing, who may be small in number but more dedicated to their cause then ever before. They are aided by right wing talkers forever using the fear factor of war on religion, war on christmas, the gays are destroying our culture,science is the work of the devil, our schools are being taken over by fascists , etc.etc.etc. . This is eroding trust in our government and trust in the more moderate religions that have long been the back bone of society. They seem blinded by their fanatical zeal but what truly frightens me is that these people are being “used” by others with a much more dangerous agenda.

  6. The religious right that reagan and falwell ushered in gave a huge boost to the GOP but america is progressing and maturing, the religious right like the tea party is destroying the GOP! my prediction?, The religious right will only be somewhat relevant in the some very rural parts of the south, and like the neo confederates/GOP will eventualy die all together. PRAISE GOD

  7. At some point, there will be an extremist act of violence that will be the watershed moment where sane Americans will kick them back under their rocks never to be seen publically again. The rhetoric has been too strong and some unhinged whacko or group of whackos will act out their hatred and bigotry. The dominionists had better hope for that second coming, because life will be a living hell when the pendulum swings against them.

  8. amen to that. but I would not even give them quotation marks. they should be Christian with a small c as opposed to the real Christians who actually read the bible and keep it in context. there are a great many of us out here who never fell for the false prophets.

  9. Personally, I think if they could have gotten away with the “turn the gay away” bill in AZ, they would have…but what stopped it wasn’t a “coming to Jesus moment”, it was a threat to what they really worship…money.

  10. Once again, I urge everybody to read the 1980s book called “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It is terrifying for women, at least.

  11. Every reign of terror has its end. We’re watching ours. Lies can no longer stand, except with small groups. Isolated, cut off from everything. North Korea hermitage.

    Capitalism is cannibalizing itself. And Marx’s Manifesto scores another bulls eye.

    They just can’t keep a secret. Good for us, bad for them. Our kids are wired together by computers. In instant, constant communication with others. Corruption and cultism require silence. They’re not going to get it from the cyborg generation.

  12. Jeff Sessions just made an announcement that the Republican Party should disconnect itself from Wall Street. The narrative has changed thanks in part to Jesus, but moreover to doublethink. It is also a lover’s spat. Locked in a codependent relationship The evangelical Christian right being the Scarlet O’Haras they are, and the hedge fund managers playing Rhett Butler by not giving a damn. They will kiss and make up at some point but it will be on Wall Streets terms next time. After all, evangelists do love money.
    However for the moment, it is that Wall Street has always pandered to liberals and we never liked those people much anyway.
    Reality is a problem in that they have no other demographic options for which to apply Reaganomics.
    Aside from pathetic, it is a most serious display of the practice of Orwellian psychology, in the light of day, by GOP command and control of its foot soldiers. The current GOP crisis is solely due to the use of elaborate tactics, but no strategy

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