Abortion Trumps Gay Marriage for VVS Christian Right Activists
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 10:06:23 AM EST
After months of direct mail and e-mail aimed at mobilizing the Christian Right base to stop gay marriage and block the "gay agenda," attendees at the 2010 Values Voter Summit picked abortion as their most important issue.  Gay marriage wasn't in the top five.

The take home point?  Sometimes social movement participants simply reject the plans of the movement leaders.  I suspect that Christian Right leaders will continue to push the antigay agenda, but I should have known that predicting homophobia as the major theme for Christian Right activism leading up to the November election based on what the leaders wanted was foolish.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  Let's watch what happens.

Throughout the event program speakers urged attendees to stop and reverse the political and social victories of gay rights activists, especially gay marriage but also the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the U.S. military.

The top issues picked by Christian Right leaders going into the 2010 Values Voter Summit picked which ended today (Sunday, September 19) were listed at the top of the event web page in this order:

Protect Marriage
Champion Life
Strengthen the Military
Limit Government
Control Spending
Defend Our Freedoms

When the issues were voted on by attendees at the conference, however, this was the lineup:

Government spending
Repeal of health care
Protection of religious liberty
National security

A major theme of the conference was that fiscal and social conservatives must be working together. Here is an intellectual defense of this idea: http://tinyurl.com/socialeconomic. Right-wing bloggers have been touting it.  We should read it.  

Some evangelicals are concerned that getting too deep into the political swamp leads them away from God. To counter this tendency, the Family Research Council has issued a pamphlet titled "Why You Should Be Involved: A Biblical Case for Social and Political Involvement."

After listening to many hours of speeches at the Values Voter Summit, my primary impression is that we are now living in a Post-Fact Society. These folks not only live inside conservative information silos, but they accept as factual all sorts of assertions that not only lack logic, but in many cases are demonstrably false. Is there really a threat that judges in the United States plan to start enforcing Sharia Law?  Really?  I think not. More on the Post-Fact Environment later. Meanwhile check out the book True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, by Farhad Manjoo

Between now and election day look for the excellent reporting by (listed alphabetically) Peter Montgomery, Sarah Posner, Abby Scher, Adele Stan, Amanda Terkel, and David Weigel, on the Values Voter Summit and the Tea Parties. These are among the thoughtful reporters who covered the conference and have done their homework on this subject. There are other reporters who also have been writing thoughtful articles, but for progressive people of faith, the journalists listed above need our support. Some of these folks have to scramble just to pay their rent. Heads up funders.

p.s. David Weigel is some sort of libertarian, but progressives should read him anyway...his writing is that good. Never think we can't learn from libertarians or even conservatives.

I have long thought that at least for the leadership of the Religious Right, it was all about using faith to disguise, what is at heart, an economic agenda of laissez-faire.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:37:38 PM EST

Four of the five issues chosen by attendees are also of tremendous importance to me:
--Keeping abortion safe, legal and rare (that last by improving genuinely informative sex ed for young people and by providing safe and reliable contraceptives to all who want them)
--Rational government spending that doesn't involve lining the pockets of big business interests in any realm of activity (especially defense contractors providing programs deemed unnecessary and wasteful by the Pentagon!)
--Protecting the right of all people in America to practice their religion - or not to practice a religion at all - freely unless such practice violates criminal statutes; sadly, this really must include extremists of all varieties until their rhetoric rises to the level of inciting violence.
--A national security plan that takes account of actual threats in the world, has the analytical heft necessary to predict and preempt threats in hot spots in the world, and the flexibility to respond to real needs around the world, both security and humanitarian.

Somehow, I don't think these are the same reasons for which the VV included these items on the list.

by RevRuthUCC on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 04:21:55 PM EST
... they are actually addressing the issues that concern Americans.  But they are providing answers that, in my opinion, totally ignore reality and will lead to authoritarianism, not 'liberty.'  

The Religious Right understands and manipulates the loss of control that Americans feel in their daily lives and the sense of helplessness one feels in a world where mega-corporations call the shots. But they teach that it is liberation from federal government and taxes that would help them regain that control.  Somehow, miraculously, the private sector would then function perfectly, providing for the needs of all.  It is a utopian vision that is almost a mirror image of communism.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 08:40:27 AM EST

All of these items are great fund raisers and have made a lot of the rapture-right crusaders extremely wealthy. To get them outlawed would dry up the golden goose.

by PlacitasRoy on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 08:49:14 AM EST

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