On Rumors of the Death of the Religious Right
Welton Gaddy printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 05:27:35 PM EST
We are honored to welcome Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, president of  The Interfaith Alliance as a guest front pager today. What follows is the text of something he will say this Sunday on his weekly radio show, State of Belief on Air America. --  FC

I don't like to attend funerals under any circumstances, but I surely have no desire to attend a funeral for someone or some thing that is not dead. Lately, in several news stories and speaking venues, I have encountered smug declarations that the Religious Right in our nation is dead. These announcements remind me of Mark Twain's famous observation that news of his death had been greatly exaggerated.

Sure, I know that Democrats control both houses of Congress and that the president is out of favor with a huge majority of the American people for his relentless waging of the war in Iraq. But none of those developments herald the death of the Religious Right.

Perhaps the death announcement was erroneously written. Of course, some people may have made the announcement as a means of suggesting they are the vanquishers of record and in need of praise and financial support. Then, too, some harbingers of this message may simply have quit paying close attention to American politics and religion.

The Religious Right is not dead. You know, I feel a little stupid--maybe "superfluous" is a better word--making that statement. Why, it's like declaring "We will have air today!" To not pay attention to the deleterious effects of the Religious Right is as dangerous as saying that you're not going to breathe because someone told you there is no air.

Dear friends, look at the composition of local school boards, who controls state Republican parties, and what credentials most draw the public's attention in electoral campaigns. Listen to presidential candidates measuring their rhetoric to appeal to religious leaders like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Gary Bauer. Pay attention to the narrow list of social-political issues that continues to be the litmus test for moral values. Study the money amassed by right wing think tanks. Quickly you will see on the Right new energy alongside the old stridency.

People who think the Religious Right is dead had better wake up. These people who see themselves on a mission from God are even smarter than they were in the past and now even more skilled in political strategy. They are not about to give up. To have progressive people celebrating the victory of the Religious Right's demise is to put our constituency right where the Religious Right wants us to be--confident without cause and vulnerable to a surprise that will cause us to say again with regret, "We just didn't see it coming. We weren't ready for them!"

As for myself, I am going to pass on this funeral. I will continue to fight, to broadcast State of Belief, and to lead The Interfaith Alliance in organizing against the Religious Right.

Since we do not to sing a dirge for the Right, please join me in singing stirring music that inspires and activates a progressive response.

for too long -- saying silly things like what he wrote in Time magazine recently -- that the era of the religious right is over.  

It is important that prominent religious leaders speak out about the obvious: the religious right is far from dead and there is much to be done.

So, thank you Welton, for saying what needs to be said, and for saying it so well.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 08:06:27 PM EST

Welcome to the forum Rev. Gaddy, I've been waiting for you here! I have the greatest respect for you and your efforts at IA. Every progressive political candidate and elected official would do well to seek your counsel in matters of faith and politics.

by Vesica on Sun Mar 04, 2007 at 09:26:14 AM EST

Your presence here is extremely useful. I hope you plan to blog here on a regular basis.  We need so BE SEEN as working together as well as actually working together.  I'll be sending you a full report of the Interfaith Alliance of New York State conference about the religious right as soon as I get it smoothed out.  I hope you have lots of time to peruse it.  It was a spectacular event.  You can be very proud of our work and your very helpful contribution.  

by tikkun on Sun Mar 04, 2007 at 01:28:59 PM EST

Many good reminders here; I liked this one in particular:
"Pay attention to the narrow list of social-political issues that continues to be the litmus test for moral values."

I feel this trend has made our political process so infantile in the past 20 years.

But yes, The Anti-Socials are already invested at the local and legal level to the extent that retreat is certainly the last thing on their mind.  Would Napoleon consider retreat an option as long as his supply lines remained long and strong?  These dreadful "Ghost Dancers" are armed and all hooked up for the long haul.

I think writers like Wallis are being hopeful about America's ability to resist the RR's nonsense.  But they have already set plenty of stuff afoot that can wreck our democracy (or set us back 100 years) without the least need of a "ballot check" by the majority.


Thanks for writing.
God bless the whole world - - No Exceptions
by John Anngeister on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 12:14:39 AM EST

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