CNN Suddenly Seems to Notice Republican Reliance on Religious Right

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Bobby Jindal Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images.
Bobby Jindal
Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

CNN is reporting that the GOP moves early to court conservative Christians. We are told that, “The first votes of the 2016 campaign won’t be cast for another year but there’s already a race well underway: The Christian primary.”

Republicans are actively courting white evangelical and born again Christian voters, knowing they will be crucial in early-voting states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Leave it to the mainstream media to mangle the truth about the unholy marriage of the GOP and the Religious Right. This is not accurate news. It’s not even really news at all, and hasn’t been for decades. Because these days, the GOP and the Religious Right are the same thing.

After all, it was a year-and-a-half-ago that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the Republican Party was their party, that the GOP was, in fact, a religion.

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Priebus reassured his audience, however, that the GOP is “a party that embraces marriage,” and that he “is a chairman that understands that there’s only one sovereign God and that we ultimately aren’t dependent on what happens in politics, that what ultimately matters in our lives is that we’re salt and light in the world and that we’re honoring God in the things that we do every day.”

Even then, this was just stating plainly what was by then an already established fact.

This was the inevitable outcome of a process that began with Goldwater’s defeat in 1964. As The New York Times observed in their September 28, 1996 issue, “Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign brought many evangelicals into active politicking.”

His defeat triggered the recognition by former Goldwater strategist Paul Weyrich that there was the vast, untapped potential of religious conservatives who could vote in the Republican cause. It was then that religious conservatives got a toe-hold in the GOP that they never relinquished.

The process continued in the late 1970s with the formation by Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority. Falwell’s message to his Christian soldiers was to “get them saved, get them Baptized, and get them registered.”

Paul Weyrich said, “We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context.” Once you start spreading the gospel in a political context, you have hopelessly blurred the lines between politics and religion. Which was, of course, the intent all along.

Speaking in Dallas on August 21, 1980, with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelicals in attendance, Ronald Reagan told a crowd of 15,000 Christian conservatives, “I endorse you.”

The timing of Goldwater’s now famous warning about the Religious Right is not coincidence, saying in a speech to the U.S. Senate on 16 September 1981,

I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’

Yet CNN wants to pretend this is a new development. Where has the mainstream media been while all this is taking place?

It was busy mainstreaming extremism. The mainstream media did not seem to notice any of this until 2012, and even then, Rachel Maddow had to out the MSMs downplay of Rick Perry’s extremist supporters, telling America that contrary to everything they were being told, Rick Perry was anything but a “mainstream” candidate.

Religious extremists, including David Barton, even wrote the 2012 Republican Platform, seemingly without the mainstream media noticing.

Religious Right insider Frank Schaeffer, self-described “former Republican religious right-wing activist,” explains how the two became one:

The 1970s Evangelical anti-abortion movement that Dad (Evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer), C. Everett Koop (who would be Ronald Reagan’s surgeon general) and I helped create seduced the Republican Party. We turned it into an extremist far-right party that is fundamentally anti-American. There would have been no Tea Party without the foundation we built.

And they are the same. As Schaeffer puts it, “The difference between now and then is that back then we were religious fanatics knocking on the doors of normal political leaders. Today the fanatics are the political leaders.”

Anyone who has any doubt of this need only look at our recent slew of Republican candidates, including Colorado’s Gordon Klingenschmitt and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis (another one of those the MSM considers “mainstream”) and Iowa’s Joni Ernst. The MSM ignored all her extremist rhetoric as well. The Religious Right rode a tide to victory in the 2014 midterms on MSM complicity.

Rick Perry has been joined by Bobby Jindal, and Jindal is now the one holding the prayer fast, and busily downplaying the extremism at its heart, and claiming his prayer fast is “not a political event, it’s a religious event.” Never mind that Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis of the group behind the event, the AFA, is very political, saying that the First Amendment (that’s politics, not religion, by the way) applies only to Christians.

We’ve gotten to the point where Bryan Fischer can say that he wants the Religious Right to choose the Republican candidate for president. It’s not clear what’s holding them back more: the fact that they’ve done their job too well and sprout a veritable plethora of candidates each presidential election cycle, fracturing their vote, or the Republican establishment.

But even then, Mitt Romney only got as far as he did by trying to sound more like Rick Santorum and less like Goldwater. The mainstream media took more notice of Romney’s numerous gaffes than his kowtowing to religious extremists by embracing their stance on same-sex marriage, abortion, and contraception.

We must take Reince Priebus at his word: The Republican Party is a religion, or at least a religion with its own political party. And if the mainstream media continues to ignore this fact, American voters must not, at their peril.

34 Replies to “CNN Suddenly Seems to Notice Republican Reliance on Religious Right”

  1. If Republicans are courting “Christians” with the values of Pat Robertson, Democrats should do exactly the opposite – court Christians with the values of Jesus Christ.

  2. This will go on until it reaches the “Or else” state. Be like us or else. Believe what we believe or else. By then it will be too late for America. No vote will change it. Nothing will change it. We will be at war with the world, a world that doesnt want to be forced into religious rule.

    Its coming. Its not hard to tell. The war on xmas farce, pushing religion in government and outright constant lying will bring people to think they are under attack.

    Vote GOP or else. Its coming

  3. Of all the separate extremist groups on the Right (gun freaks, corporatists, science deniers, eco-destroyers, et alia), the religious zealots raise my hackles the highest – there has been much more evil done in this world in the name of god than any good that has ever come of it, and we seem to be heading in the wrong direction. My daughter and her husband (both PhD’s) are seriously considering moving their family to New Zealand to escape the madness. I’ll stay and fight.

  4. CNN seems to pick a topic of the week and beat it till it’s completely dead. You would think only one thing is happening at any one time with them.

  5. Nazichristians are Americas religious right extremists. They only acknowledge Christians that believe only “real” Christians look just like me, talk like me, are American and white.

  6. Notice that the god they are forcing on us is a white male? That’s Euro-Jesus.

    The dogma of the natural superiority of the pink-skin male.

    At least they have latched unto it as an issue. A day late and a dollar short.

    but if the RWM is starting to notice, the euro-Jesus machine is really falling apart.

  7. CNN is the most credible, and accurate news source we have left. Having said that, this “revelation” is way behind the times. Anyone with half a brain knows how strongly the religious right wing nut jobs support was to “Shrub’s” admin so there is NOTHING new here. Just continuing delusion.

  8. All networks pander to the christianist trash, just consider all the finger pointing fools they highlight for only farting without shitting their pants. fux, nbc, abc, cbs, espn, all these fookin trash use their efforts to proselytize you and your children. They do this for one reason, to gain power for the fookin right wing. the right wing and those who support them like these networks are part of the effort to steal democracy for theocracy. The final act will be the theft of the presidency in 2016, if you wait to act til then you are fooked.

  9. ok, I’ll try again. Notice every sports event on tv where ceiling pointing religious morons who manage to pass gas without messing their pants like they usually do are highlighted by espn, fux, nbc, cbs, abc and others who are busy stuffing christianist crap down your and your children’s throats. What they are doing is proselytizing, preparing us for the theocracy that will follow. You’ll really begin to notice after the presidency is stolen by the right again, just like 2000. Democracy and freedom will be over, aided by the stupid at these networks.

  10. why are you censoring my comments? I’m forced to watch all the christianist proselytizing just to watch a football game, why do you censor my righteous response. Are you infected by the christianist nonsense too?

  11. Occasionally, the spam screen sends real comments to the trashcan without human intervention. I just got here, but I’ll check.

  12. I remember the days when CNN would have been the first news organization to figure it out…not today, though :(
    And, yes: one of the 15 defining characteristics of Fascism is the intertwining of religion and government.

  13. I don’t know Jimbo, I’m seeing where you have posted on thing twice and then asking why your stuff hasn’t posted, twice.

  14. The way the churches are so involved with politics, shows that they are now a political entity. We need to be collecting taxes from them. They don’t deserve to be tax-exempt. They are as political as any other political entity.

    .

  15. Don’t believe your Daughter and Husband will escape the madness in New Zealand. From what I know it’s as bad there as here. Maybe worse.

  16. I respect Jimbo’s right to be atheistic. He should respect others’ rights to believe in God. If he were respectful, one might take his comments seriously instead of wishing he would just STFU!

  17. They can preach and profess their superior “Christianity” all they wish, because First Amendment, and all that. But, NONE of them who bleat Christianity are in the slightest Christian. None of them espouse any REAL Christian principles, and none of them live real Christian lives. I don’t care if they spend all their time in churches. If they don’t believe in feeding the hungry, or taking care of their elders, or housing the homeless, and believe drug testing poor people at the poor people’s own expense to their own profit, and tossing aside homeless and hungry Veterans, then they are anything BUT Christian. I believe there are some atheists, some muslims, some jews, who are more Christian than any dirtbag republican who claims Christianity but wants to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and Obamacare. Can we do better? Of course, just not the CINO’s.

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