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


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 (1 comment)
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)
Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Crusin with Cruz
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right] Did you......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine
Here's what the country doesn't need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.Yet that's what......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Team Jeb Bush's Liaison to Religious Right Is Hardcore Culture Warrior
In 2008, Senator John McCain's campaign recognized that he needed to shore up his credentials with the Religious Right, which was skeptical about his......
By Bill Berkowitz (3 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 (3 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)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)

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.