Religion Baiting: Seducing The Evangelical Right,
©2007 Debra Rae
to some, French secularist Alexis de Tocqueville prioritized religion as the
Jimmy Carter (thirty-ninth President of the
can forget the likeness of Bill Clinton in his Sunday-morning best as he
convincingly cradled a well-worn Bible stuffed with what appeared to be church
bulletins and sermon notes? The buy-one-get-one-free “first couple” was
intimately acquainted with evangelicalism in the mix of party politicking.
Thereafter, front-runners of “hanging-chad” fame, Al Gore and George W. Bush both bound their political agendas to religious sentiment. The former, however, squeezed Christianity into a pan-religious mold. In Earth in the Balance, Gore acknowledged New Age awareness of a “constant and holy spiritual presence in all people, life, things.” No doubt the religious heritage of Gaia-Mother Earth inspired his academy award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.
so, from 1990 to 2001, the number of religion-free Americans doubled—this,
revealed by The American Religious
Identification Survey. Conducted by the
matter. White evangelical Protestants simply don’t go away. In fact, they
represent about a quarter of the electorate and, therefore, attract Democratic
strategists who recognize religion as the “first of
Arlen Specter (R-PA) has recommended that the GOP become “a lot more
progressive and a lot less ideological.” Along these lines, the ongoing
faith-driven political tug-of-war compelled Representative James Clyburn (D-SC)
to establish a “faith working group,” encouraging lawmakers “to sprinkle
generic references to God and religion into their speeches” (NY
2004, the religious liberals’ impassioned appeal to people of faith has
narrowed the so-called “God-gap” in American politics (WA
Post). It was then that secularist liberals attempted to use activist/
author Pastor Jim Wallis to seduce evangelical Christians into voting for
presidential candidate, John Kerry. With this in view, Mara Vanderslice served
as director of religious outreach for the Senator.
he’s quick to criticize President Bush’s brand of religious language, Wallis
is embraced as a “darling of secularist liberals.” No longer can the GOP use
abortion as what Wallis terms “a political football.” Raised in a
this pastor’s view, poverty, the environment, and preemptive wars are
“religious issues” to be dealt with by political candidates (New
York Times op-ed). Accordingly, at a closed session in January 2005,
Democratic Senators met with Wallis to figure out how they could use
“red-letter” religious language to pull evangelical voters away from the
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NM) freely admits that Wallis works closely
with leadership to lure religious voters to the Democratic Party. Together, they
train liberals to speak and act like religious Americans (Traditional
Values Special Report, Rev. Louis P. Sheldon).
for example, the Black congressman, Harold Ford Jr. of
summary, religion baiting of the Right to the Left involves every tactic from
mobilizing faith groups to coaching candidates and staging imagery that
manufactures religious appeal.
Politics” and the National Council of Churches
where in the Bible does God identify with the GOP! Be sure, the allied religious
right attracts attention from both political parties.
Bush staffer, Republican David Kuo alleges that, for political gain,
even the Bush White House manipulated the Christian right (Tempting
Faith, An Inside Story of Political Seduction).
of the leftist Sojourners magazine (and organization), self-proclaimed progressive
evangelical Pastor Wallis teaches a course at
edible, it is. A 2006 Newsweek poll revealed that forty-two percent credit Democrats for
doing a better job protecting moral values; Republicans drew only thirty-six
percent. A reason might well be the ever-broadening definition for moral values.
Religious ethic today expands beyond basic tenants of Christology to health care
and renewable energy. The latter are advanced by Democrat Jon Tester,
politics” come with baggage. Spawned by the social gospel of the 1890s, Dr.
Harry F. Ward of Union Theological Seminary set up
nearly fifty religious groups, along with a wide array of Christian
denominations, the NCC is one of four major organizations that comprise the
National Religious Partnership for the Environment in sponsoring the fifth
annual gathering of social justice advocates (09-12 March 2007).
justice evangelicals lobby for non-proliferation, world peace, and conflict
resolution for families. They defend racial justice (if not equality), building
interfaith relations with Muslims (reciprocity optional), international law
(trumping our US Constitution), and
justice for God’s creation (warranting human apology—even worship).
God’s so-called politics are a far cry from Bible fundamentalism.
Council of Churches
“soft” international law likewise calls for respect of “truth and
wisdom” found outside evangelical Bible tradition. The WCC slogan is “
so, the prophet Amos asked a compelling question: “How can two walk together
except they be agreed?” The answer: By appearances, maybe; otherwise, no
can do! Scripture warns further that the leaven of false doctrine “leavens
the whole loaf.”
unifying various branches of today’s diverse religious community, the WCC
promotes what Christian author Dave Hunt calls “a religiously pluralistic
international community,” not unlike that achieved under
leavened doctrine, the World Council of Churches collaborates with the World
Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), forefront association poised to
realize President Carter’s “world-order politics”—which, by the way, is
parented as love child on both sides of the aisle.
that senior President Bush likewise referenced a new, one-world order. Clearly,
today’s fast-emerging global community knows no partisan—or even
national—boundaries. Constitutional sovereignty is deemed unfeasible, even
passé. In its place, democratic, trans-federal global governance purportedly
better serves “the good of all.”
Club of Rome’s constitution serves as a sort of “mother board” for the new
and ostensibly improved world order. Founded by Italian industrialist Aurelio
Peccei, the Club of Rome is a spiritually-driven spin-off from the Council on
another group challenges the religious right’s hold on moral issues specific
to corruption, the war in
numbers dismiss as irrelevant (even “childish”) God’s having “no respect
of persons.” You see, selective tolerance that marbles “diversity” favors liberal-
over fundamental- values. Call for “community” favors the Global Village
over “one [indivisible] nation under God”; and so-called egalitarianism
favors minority races, gender, and sexual orientation over their majority
mind that gender and racial affirmative action, mandated quotas and set-asides
fail to eliminate, but rather reverse discrimination. Forget feminist activist Ellen Willis’
startling confession that “the objective of every feminist reform, from legal
abortion to child-care programs” is—not to humanize women—but rather to
“undermine traditional Family values” (the
Nation, 1981 article). Ours is a burgeoning brave, new world in which
“women are people, too.”
longer does “father know best,” especially when it comes to the heavenly
Father. As once observed by George Orwell, “When manipulators of mass opinion
proclaim a hate campaign [say, against gays], people of faith find it hard to
resist.” Even within the faith community, proponents of gay marriage
apparently fancy themselves to be more loving and accepting than God. Having put
away “childish things,” many politically savvy, “enlightened” believers
sidetrack Bible mandate in the misguided, albeit conciliatory gesture of
welcoming to their pulpits out-of-the-closet clergy.
On a broader scale, by redistributing wealth—its codeword, “globalization”—a favored power-elite is expected to provide everything needed for “the common good” of our global family—or should I say village? Unlike visionary capitalists, socialists discredit entrepreneurial prowess as simply unsustainable. So, then, let’s say you have two hens. In the new paradigm, government takes them both; and with the appearance of magnanimity, provides you with eggs. In contrast, a resourceful capitalist with two hens will sell one for profit to buy a rooster. As commended stewards of Matthew 25:14ff, these not only preserve, but also increase wealth. It’s after all the American way. “Allies for the common good” mirror “foolish Galatians,” whom the apostle Paul fingered as man-pleasers more so than God-servers.
Debra Rae is an author and educator who has traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad. Having authored two books—the ABCs of Globalism and ABCs of Cultural-Isms (the latter highlighted at the 55th Annual CBA International Convention, 2004)—Debra contributing columnist for News With Views. Debra has been a speaker on numerous radio shows aired across the nation, the Western Hemisphere, Russia, and the Middle East. This past year, she co-launched and now co-hosts WOMANTalk, a special edition of Changing Worldviews TALK Radio, for which she writes weekly commentaries. www.debraraebooks.com, www.womantalk.us, www.newswithviews.com/Rae/Debra.htm