One Last, Ugly Gasp: Religious Right Losing Evangelicals

Posted: October 26, 2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

The Religious Right sees the writing on the wall and is not happy about it.  From the AP:

Terrorist strikes on four American cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every state. The end of the Boy Scouts.

All are plausible scenarios if Democrat Barack Obama is elected president, according to a new addition to the campaign conversation called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America,” produced by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family Action.

…Steve Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine, a Pentecostal publication, titled one of his recent weekly e-mails to readers, “Life As We Know It Will End If Obama is Elected.”

Strang said gay rights and abortion rights would be strengthened in an Obama administration, taxes would rise and “people who hate Christianity will be emboldened to attack our freedoms.”

…Among the claims:

  • …A series of domestic and international disasters based on Obama’s “reluctance to send troops overseas.” That includes terrorist attacks on U.S. soil that kill hundreds, Russia occupying the Baltic states and Eastern European countries including Poland and the Czech Republic, and al-Qaida overwhelming Iraq.

These hysterical Nostradamus-like prognostications continue the worst of the Religious Right’s tendency to ignore not only the facts,

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks

but also the core of Jesus’ teachings:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely* on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you…

‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,* what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The “Letter from 2012” made me giggle occassionally, mostly because of the palpable sense of fear from the Religious Right, not of an Obama presidency, but of the dissolving relevance of their voice in the evangelical community. In the best of these parts of the letter, the authors offer a not-too-subtle excoriation of those darn young people who dare to screw up everything the Right worked for:

The 2008 election was closer than anybody expected, but Barack Obama still won. Many Christians voted for Obama – younger evangelicals actually provided him with the needed margin to defeat John McCain – but they didn’t think he would really follow through on the far- Left policies that had marked his career. They were wrong.

Vigorous writing omits needless words, so I’d offer this as more consice phrase to replace the above:

Stupid, naive, diaper-wearing Christians voted for Obama. Smart, mature evangelicals voted McCain.

What’s prompting this hysteria? Simply put, reality:

(Ventura, California) – Unless a dramatic shake-up of the electorate occurs in the next two weeks, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is poised to win the November 4th election by a comfortable margin. A new survey from The Barna Group, exploring the voting preferences of registered voters who are likely to vote in the upcoming election found that Sen. Obama has a 13-point lead against Republican John McCain (50% to 37%).

One of the surprising insights of the research is the significant inroads Sen. Obama has made among the Christian community, particularly compared to 2004. In fact, among born again voters there is a statistical dead-heat: 45% plan to vote for Sen. McCain, while 43% expect to cast a ballot for Sen. Obama. Even if Sen. McCain were to sweep the 10% who are undecided born again voters, he would fail to reach the 62% who rallied for President Bush in 2004.

As my previous post shows, I have plenty of very serious concerns about an Obama presidency. But the polling data in this election shows me something I can celebrate without hesitation: the Religious Right can no longer claim to speak for my faith. That’s good news.

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Comments
  1. Excellent post! I’m glad I found this today (found it on digg). I am also sick to death of being told from the pulpit that I’ll probably go go hell if I vote for a Democrat.

  2. Matth says:

    That letter made me rather sad.

  3. dcrowe says:

    Catherine: Thanks! I agree, although I’m an Episcopalian…not a lot of fire and brimstone there. 🙂 But I grew up Church of Christ and have heard that kind of thing before. I’m so glad the polls show the utter breakdown of the Right’s influence in church.

    Matth: It made me sad, but it also made me laugh. Desperation.

    Thanks to both of you for stopping in…hope you make it a habit.

  4. Malcolm Bruge says:

    [COMMENT DELETED. Sorry, Malcolm, the reference to Jews and 9/11 was enough to set off my hate radar. –DC]

  5. stuperb says:

    Dcrowe, the more I read of your blog, the more intrigued and impressed I am with your perspective. Thank you for posting this!

  6. N. Dan Smith says:

    Remember when Focus on the Family were Christian psychologists?

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