There is a common misconception among conservatives that only Republicans believe in God. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) demonstrated this meme the other day (while proposing an armed anti-immigrant crusade in Mexico) by saying that Latinos will vote Republican because they believe in God.
This is kind of funny really, because just the day before, on July 7, Gohmert, who, let’s face it, seems to be unhinged at the best of times, told Newsmax that all this immigration is an Obama plot to keep Republicans out of office:
In the end, they have said that they want to turn Texas blue, they want to turn America blue. And if you bring in hundreds of thousands or millions of people and give them the ability to vote and tell them — as Quico Canseco said, he had illegals in his district that were told, ‘If you want to keep getting the benefits, you have to vote, and President Obama’s lawyers are not going to allow them to ask for an ID, so go vote or you’re going to lose the benefits you’re getting now.’ That drives people to vote and it will ensure that Republicans don’t ever get elected again.
That’s right. Because like black people, Latinos just “want stuff.” That’s as deep as Republican thinking gets on minority issues.
And they wonder why they keep losing elections.
But back to God. This is silly, of course. Many liberals believe in God. God isn’t at the center of the American government thanks to our secular Constitution and the Founding Fathers made it clear he should not be. And Democrats, like the Constitution, don’t require a belief in God. Any god. As a Democrat you are free, in Jeffersonian terms, to believe in no god or twenty gods” and still be an American.
But there is a fly in Gohmert’s buttermilk: it’s called the fact-based world, the shared reality conservatives spend so much time denying.
Gohmert expects Latinos to be Christians, and therefore to identify with the Republican Party, which, by the way, doesn’t want them here in the first place and reviles them whichever side of the border they are on.
To take a couple of examples, Louie Gohmert wants Obama to “do what Woodrow Wilson did” and invade Mexico, but another conservative, Frank Gaffney, wants to cut off foreign aid to Latin America in order to put an end to all this immigration by putting pressure at the source:
Barack Obama visits Texas today, but not its border areas. He’s not interested in evidence that his policies have encouraged an ongoing invasion by tens of thousands of illegal child and other aliens. The President just wants Congress to give him nearly $4 billion to “manage” the resulting crisis. Unfortunately, he would spend much of it in ways that will encourage more such invaders to come here. For example, lots of this emergency funding would go to provide housing, food, transportation and lawyers for the illegal aliens. These would be inducements for further invasion. Congress should just say “No” to such spending and ensure that the countries enabling the invasion – namely, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico – are not eligible for our foreign aid until they stop it, and repatriate the invaders.
The precise mechanism of “repatriation” is not, of course, explained, as it lies within the realm of facts rather than of fantasy.
And then there is the “Madison Project” – a brainchild of the Cuban anarchist Ted Cruz – which is telling angry white folks that “illegal immigration” is one of those things making conservatives feel like “strangers in our own country.”
“Own” may be the operative word here, in that conservatives think they own the country, a country composed of immigrants, a country to which Cruz is not even native. Heck, not too long ago, he held Canadian citizenship. I’m telling you folks, I like South Park, but it’s time to stop blaming Canada for Bryan Adams.
Here’s where the wheels come off the Republican cart: NPR asked last month, “As More Latinos Drop Religion, Should GOP Be Extra Worried?”
Gohmert has made assumptions that have no basis in that shared reality we spoke of. According to NPR,
The number of Hispanic American “nones” — those who say they have no particular religion or are atheist or agnostic — is growing at a clip that would make GOP operatives green with envy. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos and Religion, 18 percent of Hispanics are not affiliated with any religion.
NPR even does the math for Gohmert: “Put differently, almost 1 in 5 Hispanics now says he has no religious affiliation, more than the approximately 1 in 6 who identifies as Republican (many of whom are Cuban-Americans).”
So not only are Latinos not automatically Christians, there are more of them who don’t believe in God than there are who self-identify as Republicans.
Now over time I think they will eventually realize that those in favor of hard work, faith in God and belief in democracy will eventually start voting Republican, but in the meantime I’m not sure there’s a country left by the time they realize that.
But it’s not going to get any better. It’s going to get worse, for as NPR points out, “the ranks of the Hispanic nones are growing quickly — nearly doubling from 10 percent in 2010, with the most pronounced jump occurring among younger Latinos. A whopping 31 percent of those ages 18-29 say they are religiously unaffiliated, about two-thirds the number of those who say they are Catholic (45 percent).”
The consequences do not bear thinking on for the already demographically-challenged Republican Party, which may be why Gohmert doesn’t think about them:
The trend also means that the number of Hispanic nones has now surpassed Hispanics who say they are born-again or evangelical Protestants (16 percent), which could have some significant political consequences, particularly for Republicans.
So here you have a demographic that is not only despised by Republicans – except as a source of cheap labor – but that doesn’t meet the minimum criteria for being Republican: being white and Christian. What’s in it for Latinos?
Making Gohmert’s belief that Latinos will vote Republican as likely as the Keystone XL pipeline producing jobs in more than the double-digits.*
* A State Department report says, “Once the proposed Project enters service, operations would require approximately 50 total employees in the United States: 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors.”
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.