Catholic Right: Are the Neo-Cons Out and the Tea-Partiers In?
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 11:32:12 AM EST
The American Catholic Right in recent years has been dominated by neo-conservatives.  But the Catholic Right now seems to be in transition as the neoconservative philosophy of empire and behind-the-scenes philosopher elites is sinking faster than a box of tea in Boston harbor.  There is also evidence emerging that movement conservatives now switching over to the bumptiously paleo-conservative Tea Party movement.

If the trend continues, it would constitute an historic shift for American politics as well as global Catholicism.

 Ever since the 1970s when the troika of Irving Kristol, Antonin Scalia and John Richard Neuhaus began their lunchtime brainstorms at the American Enterprise Institute, Catholic conservatism has been deeply intertwined with the neo-conservative movement.  Scalia, the future US Supreme Court Justice had always practiced a traditionalist form of the faith, being an Opus Dei cooperator. Neuhaus, the former anti-war Lutheran minister had swung his politics to the hard -right and was on the road to converting to orthodox Catholicism.  Kristol, a non-religious Jew, nevertheless had lectured the Church on the supposed dangers of Vatican II.

Others preached have preached a Catholic variety of neo-conservatism as well, such as Michael Novak and Robert P. George, who as a group gained the ear of president George W. Bush. And into that ear they spokes of religious justifications for the invasion of Iraq, laissez-faire economics and the onerous restriction of funding for embryonic stem cell research.

But the poor execution of the Iraq War and the proof of the failure of self correction markets that emerged from the  2008 economic crisis, neo-conservatism finds itself on the ropes. Consequently, it is now a far less effective vehicle for the peculiar mix of religious and economic philosophies that comprise movement Catholic conservatism.

It is therefore no surprise that the Tea Party movement offers a potentially energetic alternative.

Among those leading the transition is long-time movement conservative activist Deal Hudson, who enjoys access to the highest levels of the Republican Party, having been charged with "Catholic outreach" first with the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and then-Senator John McCain. (It was during the 2004 Bush campaign when the story of Hudson's sexual harassment scandal surfaced, forcing him to resign).  Hudson is also close to many stalwarts of the Catholic Right, including Catholic League president Bill Donohue who described Hudson as "the ultimate networker."

Thus it is no surprise that Hudson has networked his way into Tea Partyism, going so far as to declare, at annual the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) convention:   "It's time for a Catholic Tea Party."

Catholic News Service reported, "Hudson's remarks were made in the context of a campaign to "reform the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)" that he is helping lead. The CCHD, which is under jurisdiction of the U.S. bishops, has recently come under fire for its alleged connections with a network of community organizations that have promoted abortion and the homosexual agenda."

But CCHD's mission has always been a  target for conservatives. Created in 1969 during the hey-day of Vatican II, its focus reflects a liberal economic efforts to empower the poor. The project's mission statement, stating the desire "to address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through transformative education" while citing "modern Catholic social teaching" (read that as Distributive Justice) in and of itself reveals why it would be an anathema to the stridently libertarian Tea Partiers. Thus, Hudson's appeal was actually part of a repackaged but ongoing assault on Church cooperation with progressive community groups such as ACORN.

Apparently Hudson's tactics have paid-off.  The National Catholic Reporter recently reported that ten dioceses ceased contributing to the CCHD.

Hudson's Tea Party raid on the CCHD should be noted for two main reasons. First and foremost, it is proof positive the Religious Right - particularly the Catholic Right - is not a defeated movement - far from it. Instead, it is coalescing and recasting itself, probing for issues where it can win individual victories that in turn can be transformed into momentum.  Secondly, it provides us with evidence that for the leadership of the Catholic Right (and presumably the greater Religious Right movement) that its primary goal is the economic transformation of society as opposed to a spiritual one.

We need to remember that while there are significant philosophical differences between the empire-seeking neocons and the more nativist and isolationist paleo-con Tea Partiers, they both believe in laissez-faire capitalism; one flavored with a heavy dose of neo-platonic notion of knowing one's place in society.

Thus it has been a no-brainer for much of the Catholic Right to go with this now more vibrant movement. And as I will discuss in the upcoming related posts, the only thing they fear more than a society devoid of orthodox faith is, ironically, one that embraces an actual Catholic approach to economics.




Display:
In fact, they are retrenching and getting ready for the next round. And unlike our side, they have the financial resources to keep them in the fight for a very, very long time.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 06:16:05 PM EST

Many of us who want to keep change in our modern church find us outspent and outmaneuvered by the wealthy backers of these political and social movements. They seem to see themselves as creators of heaven on earth, and when they kill all the people whom they perceive as being critics of their movement, they will be surrounded by the actual hell they've created.  History doesn't repeat itself, but if does often rhyme.

by khughes1963 on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 10:39:59 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


The Religious Bigotry of Rick Santorum
Now that Rick Santorum has announced that he is running for president, again, it is worth reminding ourselves that he is a coarsely obvious......
By Frederick Clarkson (23 comments)
Thoughts on the Finale of the Finn Debacle
Now that Bishop Robert Finn has finally resigned his leadership of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri -- here are some final thoughts......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
DeVos and School Privatization Funders Backing Philadelphia Democratic Mayoral Candidate
The Betsy DeVos-led American Federation for Children (AFC) and its core funders have spent more than fifteen million dollars in Pennsylvania over the last......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Religious Right Rabbi: Christian Coalition Favorite Daniel Lapin Resurfaces
Back in the 1990s when I was regularly covering the antics of TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, one part of the job was......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Christian Right leaders escalate anti-LGBTQ threats
As marriage equality has advanced around the country, and the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the issue in June, threatening language......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Could Support for LGBTQ Rights Disrupt the Coalition of Jews and Evangelical Christian Zionists?
Some might say that the relationship between the conservative US Jewish community and Evangelicals is inviolable, with support for Israel being the cement that......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)
Whine Festival: Second-Tier Religious Right Leaders Still Don't Like Marriage Equality
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.In preparation for this, a sad collection of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Whither the Christian Right in the Democratic Party?
You don't have to be a Hillary hater (and I'm not) to recognize that Clinton and other Democratic Party leaders have had long and......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Bishop Robert Finn Resigns Leadership of St. Joseph-Kansas City Diocese
Bishop Robert W. Finn, the Opus Dei Bishop who was convicted by a Missouri court for failing to report suspected child abuse by a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Two Overlooked Indiana Outcomes that Could Haunt the Christian Right
I think there are two underreported features of the fallout from Indiana that we should make sure do not get lost in the hoo......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
President Obama Can Help Stop Religious Discrimination
Barry Lynn, the longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently posted an important essay at Huffington Post. In......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Marriage Matters: Thoughts On The Recent Unpleasantness In Indiana
Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of "Interfaith Voices," a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
The Campaign Against Pro-LGBTQ Denominations
The recent endorsement of marriage equality by the Presbyterian Church (USA) seemed like a good moment to discuss the campaign to divide and conquer......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Upcoming Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice
The 29th annual conference From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom will be held from April 10-12 at Hampshire......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)

Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (5 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (2 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.