The Death of the Religious Right?

Back after a long holiday break….

Beginning a  several-part series on why all of the proclamations about the death of the Religious Right are mostly wishful thinking….

Not that I don’t wish it was true–the Religious Right’s contributions to Christianity start and end at fear…

But that is not the issue, the issue is the earnest desire of many progressives for that movement to go away since its followers and the politicians it supports are despised in some of my circles (academia and progressive churches), but the Religious Right, and its finan cial support of certain politicians are viewed as godly men and women doing spiritual battle and they are not losing–they will never lose.

One of many many reasons that I will outline here to why the Religious Right is not dying nor is it near death, because despite its limited following, that following is intense, devoted, and convinced that they are in a death match with the “enemy of their soul.” They, if Rep. Paul Broun is any indication, are in deep deep denial about their coming demographic irrelevance–that no amount of conspiracy theorizing can stop.

Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, who once say that evolution was a ” lie from the pit of hell” and who inexplicably sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is running for Senate.  He regularly makes statements straight from talking points of the Religious Right/Tea Party Axis of Crazy.  Broun’s latest is a slur at all Latinos/ as in Georgia who, Broun wrongly concludes, must be illegal aliens on the government dole.  The theory goes, if all the illegal aliens in Georgia keep getting  fed by the government, and  vote illegally, then Georgia veer from its sad drift into Tea Party nuttiness, because of course, this is the only way Broun can lose (he is only one  of a slate of GOP candidates vying for the nomination).  Broun does what alot of the Religious Right do–they ignore the destiny of demography because they have nothing to say about their growing irrelevance except to say, that if they are going to lose political power, it will only be because the hidden hand of secular humanist liberal law breaking operatives some how convince Latinos/as in Georgia to vote Democrat in huge numbers that eclipse the “legal” voters of Georgia, who, in Broun’s logic, are overwhelmingly white Republicans.  I know, my head hurts too….

With politicians like Broun benefiting from the fear-baiting of the Religious Right, and anti-immigrant animus of the GOP establishment–the Religious Right isn’t going anywhere–sorry but I wish I had better news for you.

It is also this curious twist that many Latino/a politics watchers never make that I’d like to point out here.  There are organizations who proclaim their solidarity with Latino/as in the search for humane immigration reform, mostly evangelical and Pentecostal in origin, who also place their faith in politicians like Broun, by doing nothing to denounce his ilk, and strongly using that power of being on the right side theologically to note that Broun’s anti-immgrant rants are unjust, unChristian, and deserve to be denounced by organizations like the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who, curiously enough, seem to have at their disposal access to all of the elite of the Religious Right (Liberty University, Pat Robertson’s Regent University & CBN Español, Personhood U.S.A, and Focus on the Family), yet, because their financial sustainability will no doubt be hurt by criticizing the Religious Right darlings like Broun.

In many ways, conservative organizations like the NHCLC mirror the culture of dependency that marks Latino/a evangelical/pentecostal church life for a century. Being dependent on monies from white conservative politicians is little different than being dependent on monies from white evangelical missionaries–it means you are not as autonomous as you think and when you proclaim fasts for immigration reform without denouncing the likes of Paul Broun, you are part of the problem not the solution.

For the next few weeks, I’m gonna look at this little cottage industry that the Religious Right has spent alot of time trying to convince religion journalists exists, that the next big wave of GOP voters will come from these alliances of white and Latino/a evangelicals–an alliance that so far has not proven as successful at getting out the vote and stemming the overwhelming advantage that Democrats have with Latino/a voters.  Also going spend some time looking at stories where solidarity with the most just cause of immigration reform exists that does not receive as much exposure as it should.

About Arlene Sánchez-Walsh

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