The Religious Right: Dead/Not/Dead/Not (and so on)
There is quite a debate going on about the alleged death, decline or irrelvance of the religious right. It is a perennial discussion stretching back decades, and led mostly by waves of pundits and self promoters surfing the currents generated by Inside the Beltway PR shops. (I debunk
these bogus rounds of sloganeering from from time-to-time.) Part of this is tied to efforts to marginalize public discussion of reproductive rights, marriage equality and matters related to separation of church and state.
Fortunately, Barry Lynn and Welton Gaddy not only know that the Religious Right is not dead -- but they have coauthored a book about it with ideas about what to do. Related to this, thier respective organizations, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Interfaith Alliance Foundation have been promoting ten questions citizens should ask of candidates at all levels this election season. All this has the editorial writers at the hometown paper of James Dobson's Focus on the Family gobsmacked! Outraged! And apparently out to prove Lynn and Gaddy correct.
According to a press release about the book:
Is the 'Religious Right' Dead? New Book Says 'Rumors of its Death Are Greatly Exaggerated'
WASHINGTON, DC - Despite rumors to the contrary, the Religious Right's influence over the government and the 2008 campaign remains alarmingly strong, say two nationally known ministers and interfaith leaders campaigning for protection of individual religious liberties in America.
Religious liberty -- the right of an individual to worship or not -- was established in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the resulting church-state divide is a defining American value. But in today's political climate, where the Religious Right wields undue influence and the 2008 presidential candidates publicly proclaim their religious credentials, this "first freedom" is at risk.
In a new book released this week, the leaders of the Interfaith Alliance Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State provide a citizens' guide to understanding and navigating the intersection between faith and politics.
First Freedom First: A Citizens' Guide To Protecting Religious Liberty And The Separation Of Church And State, co-authored by the President of the Interfaith Alliance Foundation, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, and the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, illustrates the threats facing religious liberty in this country. Their book offers simple ways individuals can preserve our nation's fundamental freedoms and First Amendment rights.
Rev. Gaddy provides a religious-political perspective that takes readers on the campaign trail and into the halls of Congress. Rev. Lynn provides a legal perspective on religious freedom that takes readers from the creation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment to contemporary issues of religious freedom moving through the U.S. legal system, including those dealing with end-of-life care, academic integrity, evolution and creationism in public schools, and religious discrimination.
"This year's presidential election has often seemed to be more of a race for pastor-in-chief, than commander-in-chief," said Gaddy. "We seem to have become obsessed with the candidates' religion to the point of distraction. It is one thing for a candidate to talk about their faith; it is quite another to imply that you should vote for them because of it. Faith can play a positive role in public life, but not as a political tool."
Said Lynn, "The forces that would merge religion and government are alive and well in this country. We need to make sure the Religious Right does not dominate the public square in this election year. The American people want to know where the candidates stand on the critical issues of the day, not what their favorite Bible verse is."
But here is some of what the ed board at the Colorado Springs Gazette had to say. The knees of these writers jerked so hard that I can only imagine they must have severely damaged themselves against the underside of the conference table.
Warning: The scary and dangerous religious right isn't dead yet, and it's threatening the First Amendment.
That's the ridiculous and inflammatory theme of a new book co-authored by two far left activists with histories of trying to silence Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family and its founder, James Dobson....
A press release for the book states: "Despite rumors to the contrary, the Religious Right's influence over the government and the 2008 campaign remains alarmingly strong."
Unfortunately for conservatives, the statement couldn't be sillier. In November, the president-elect will be Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John McCain. Obama and Hillary are boldly pro-choice on abortion and fetal stem cell research, two issues the religious right vehemently opposes. McCain, a morality moderate who divorced his first wife to pursue a woman 18 years his junior, gives Christian conservatives the willies. Yet they're all too religious for Gaddy and Lynn.
They're serious. They believe the First Amendment may be doomed because some candidates have revealed Christian beliefs. Rather than wonder about a candidate's religious beliefs, declares Lynn in the press release, "the American people want to know where the candidates stand on the critical issues of the day."
That's deep, except for those who understand that "critical issues of the day" involve morality and religion. Abortion, cloning, fetal stem cell research, capital punishment, homosexual marriage, drugs, taxation, and human rights come to mind as issues one can't divorce from atheism, secularism, humanism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, or any other belief system protected by the First Amendment.
The press release quotes Walter Cronkite fabricating the Constitution. Cronkite says: The book "informs and challenges, as well as inspires and guides us on issues of vital importance to all of us - our founding fathers' vision for religious liberty and their constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state."
Constitutional guarantee? The phrase "separation of church and state" doesn't appear in the Constitution. Gaddy, Lynn and Cronkite wish it were so, because they desire to disenfranchise conservative Christians. They believe it's illegal to support laws against abortion, or homosexual marriage, or fetal stem cell research. They want a law against bringing religious views into public office, even though federal court rulings view atheism and secularism as religion, or mere beliefs. Christians "believe" in one omnipotent God; atheists "believe" no god exists. Secularists "believe" it doesn't matter.