Religious Right After Reagan

An addendum to my post at today:

There’s a generational issue that the aging leaders of the religious right needs to be addressed in a serious way. Most of my students and younger colleagues do not identify in any way with the old religious right. They are anti-abortion and (usually) oppose the homosexual rights agenda, but they bristle at aggressive American foreign policy and they are conscious of the imbalances and injustices of today’s capitalist system (which isn’t really a free market). The religious right, and the things it did right, are will disappear without a trace unless there’s an effort to appeal to the younger generation. It’s not an adequate answer to tell young people to “grow up” and get used to the “real world.” Besides, I think the concerns of the younger generation are right .

This is not only a challenge but also, I think, a political opportunity. A religious right that is prolife and profamily, but also genuinely advocates a just war position and is as hard on the abuses of capitalism as it is on the brutality of socialism – that could skim off support from both Republicans and Democrats. Think of how much traction Ron Paul got from young people, and people across the spectrum; and he’s a cranky 70+.

On the other hand, the religious right also has to reckon with the possibility that it may not make any difference in the end. The last two elections have demonstrated conclusively that this is no longer a conservative country in any of the normal senses of the word. When a party gives a Sandra Fluke a podium at the national convention, and then wins the Presidency, we know that we’re in a different world than the one that could still produce the illusion of a Moral Majority.

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