How The Religious Right is Infiltrating the Democratic Party: Part 1
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 05:21:40 AM EST
On March 23, 2009, an odd column popped up in the Orange County [California] Register written by a friend of Howard Ahmansonn - a reclusive millionaire closely tied to Christian Reconstructionism and who was key funder of the effort to pass the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 referendum in California last fall. Steven Greenhut's OC Register column printed in its entirety a "rant" by Ahmanson explaining why he had decided to register as a Democrat, but that was hardly necessary - the Democratic Party is currently in power, and so it is likely Ahmanson wants to work to transform it from within or, to coin a term, to "theocratize" Democrats.

That would be pragmatic but also visionary. Once upon a time, though it may seem strange to think of it in the year 2009, the Republican Party was moderately progressive. So there's no reason Democrats can't become populist theocrats, especially if they are willing to jettison core principles such as support for secular government and minority rights.

Howard Ahmanson was at Christian Reconstructionism mastermind R.J. Rushdoony's dying bedside, and Rushdoony's movement is well known for its proposals that alleged sinners, including homosexuals and rebellious teenagers, be put to death by stoning. So the prospect of Howard Ahmanson making inroads among Democrats might sound absurd. But it is not. Along a wide range of fronts, the American religious right has been infiltrating, influencing, befuddling, and neutralizing the Democratic Party and the American left... for decades.

Here is my first installment of a series explaining how that is being done.
Here is an excerpt:

As Rachel Laser, Culture Program Director for the Third Way announced during a press conference on October 10th, 2007, "[t]wo years ago, we launched an initiative that few thought could be successful: finding common ground between centrist evangelicals and progressives on the most divisive cultural issues of our times... The Come Let Us Reason Together Governing Agenda represents the fruit of these labors and maps a joint path forward to heal a nation torn apart by the culture wars."

In early 2009, days before the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the 'Come Let Us Reason Together' effort re-launched its 'Governing Agenda' with a flourish, by announcing a press teleconference and sending a letter to the new President-Elect and Congressional leaders from both major US political parties which began, "For the last few decades, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, America has been polarized by an angry culture war, fought over such divisive issues as abortion and gay rights."

But Samuel Rodriguez, one of the co-authors of the Come Let Us Reason Together Governing Agenda is not an "evangelical moderate". Indeed, he's actively promoting the "culture wars" and has earned the nickname "The Hispanic Karl Rove".

In a November 19, 2006 sermon, Rodriguez declared,

"We have radical Muslims. Radical homosexuals. Radical abortionists. We need radical, born again, spirit filled Christians to arise ! Do you follow me ? We don't need any sissy Christians, Oprah Winfrey Christians. We need prophetic, devil stomping, demon rebuking, blood washed, Bible believing, free-from-sin Christians !" - Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, prominent Come Let Us Reason Together Governing Agenda co-author.

read " 'Hispanic Karl Rove' Helps Shape 'Third Way' Democratic Party Platform"

Interesting that Rodriguez is both a participant in so-called "common ground" efforts as well as recently signing on with the Freedom Federation, a new network of hard core Religious Right groups.

At the group's initial press conference, Rodriguez claimed that the group "will stand as the first multi-ethnic transgenerational evangelical Christian federation in history."

Other folks at the opening included Mathew Staver's Liberty Counsel, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Rick Scarborough from Vision America, Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families, Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, Kenneth Blackwell of the Family Research Council. Also represented were Exodus International, Morning Star Ministries, and Donald Wildmon's American Family Association, the undisputed king of the right-wing boycott.

by Bill Berkowitz on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 12:33:08 PM EST

Isn't it obvious already that both have been taken over? Though the Democrats still haven't removed those who still get in the way like Feingold and Kucinich but that may still happen.

by Nightgaunt on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 03:12:28 PM EST

These revivals come and go in American history. It would be a HUGE demographic mistake for the Democratic Party to invest much in religiosity in the long run, since the previous revivals tended to last a generation or so, and we are well into the generation at this point. Correct me, please, o history experts!

by NancyP on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:47:34 PM EST

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