If we pretend that progressive evangelicals are not REALLY evangelical, then all evangelicals must be conservatives, and therefore progressive evangelicals cannot really be evangelicals

Racist, AIDS-denying spokesman for the American Family Association Bryan Fischer says progressive evangelicals are solely to blame for the defeat of Mitt Romney.

Fischer is referring to the nearly 7 million evangelical Christians who voted to re-elect President Barack Obama.

“It’s hard to overstate the extent of the progressive failure here,” David French writes of the 2012 elections.

While I think Fischer is an idiot and that he’s overstating his case, I’m happy to accept this “blame” if doing so further gets under his skin. You’re welcome, Mr. Fischer. Any time.

But while millions of evangelicals said a resounding “No” to the agenda of the religious right, it’s wrong of Fischer to isolate us for special credit/blame. As Martin E. Marty said, the majority of Americans, “who voted against the Religious Right leadership included millions of evangelicals, most Catholics, mainline Protestants, significant numbers of black church members, and, yes, many non-churched citizens.”

David French — a proponent of that failing religious right agenda — offers his own creative take on the crushing disappointment he suffered Election Day, when his multi-year devotion to Mitt Romney ended in tears, as all such exquisitely intense, beautiful passions must.

French consoles himself by asserting that Tuesday’s overwhelming rejection of religious-right values somehow constitutes, above all, a defeat for progressive evangelicals. See, if we just reclassify all the evangelicals who voted for Obama as “post-evangelicals,” then it becomes very clear that evangelicals nearly all voted for Romney. Q.E.D.! All those progressive evangelicals Fischer blames for tipping the balance? Just reclassify them as really something else, call them:

Post-Evangelical dissenters (I say “post” because many of these political dissenters also dissent from key elements of Christian orthodoxy).

By “key elements of Christian orthodoxy” French apparently means the Holy Trinity. No, not the doctrine of the Trinity, but the three sacred “key elements” by which French defines the boundaries of the evangelical tribe: 1) opposing LGBT rights; 2) seeking to criminalize abortion; and 3) voting for Mitt Romney.

Zack Hunt has a thoughtful rebuttal of French’s “argument.” (He’s not addressing French specifically, but something like a less absurdly self-negating approximation of the same general idea that French attempts.)

Mark Silk breaks down the statistics that French’s claim of “progressive failure” ignores, citing the Public Religion Research Institute findings labeled “The End of the White Christian Strategy.”

But really the best response to French’s failed attempt to console himself by condemning other Christians as illegitimate comes from Nelson Muntz.

As Tony Jones notes, progressive Christians are newly emboldened by the momentum of their victories against paleo-culture warriors like French. Far from being silenced by the culture-warriors’ constant efforts to redefine tribal purity:

Progressives have begun to make their voices heard in new ways — at least in ways not heard for several decades. … Collectively, progressive versions of Christianity are gaining a foothold in the landscape of American cultural conversation.

Or as Carol Howard Merritt writes:

The last election showed the decline of the Religious Right’s power. Not only that, but the mute button is off. We can begin to hear progressive Christian voices, whether they come from those who grew up Evangelical and are now rejecting the views of their youth or they have been working for justice all along. And we can now claim that our work has been hard, but it has not been in vain.

 

  • AnonymousSam

    Since when is rejection of homosexuality and abortion core values of Christianity? Yes, I know, the fact that they’ve made them this way in recent history is the point, but the audacity of trying to redefine Christianity to revolve around selective enforcement of a few certain rules (while ignoring the ones about being rich and taking care of the poor) is staggering.

    Speaking as someone who hasn’t considered themselves to be Christian in over fifteen years, there’s a lot more to it than that.

  • Xclamation

    I don’t know if I should be amused by this, but I am. I kind of imagine Bryan Fischer as the 12 year-old president of his middle school’s “He-Man Women Haters Club”. And now he’s yelling at some socially well-adjusted boy for getting a girlfriend. “Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Well, fine, TRAITOR! You can’t be in my club anymore!”

    To which the other boy responds, “You know, I was never really in your club to begin with.”

  • Sindragosa

    I don’t why people are celebrating this election as huge win for liberalism and a ‘shellacking’ of the religious right or social conservatism. Obama won with a 2-3 percent margin. With all the talk of a changing demographic, he actually reduced his lead from last time.

  • arcseconds

    Not only are they now core values of Christianity, but they have always been core values of Christianity.

    (And we have always been at war with Eastasia.)

  • Hilary

    What are these people going to do if Obamacare works, and abortion rates go way down because of better access to birth control and better healthcare coverage?

    What are they going to do if gay marriage becomes legal around Obama’s third year in office, and  . . . . nothing happens to straight marriage?  Divorce rates don’t get any worse, kids from both gay and straight families do about the same, no one’s goose marched into doing religous marriage ceremonies for gay people if they don’t want to . . . .

    What are they going to do if the sky doesn’t fall because of Obamacare and gay marriage?

    What are they going to do if the sky does fall, because of science they work so hard to deny?

    Hilary

  • AnonymousSam

    Nothing. They’re still howling that Communism and the Soviet Union are right around the bend to devour up our children.

  • Lori

    David French — a proponent of that failing religious right agenda —
    offers his own creative take on the crushing disappointment he suffered
    Election Day, when his multi-year devotion to Mitt Romney ended in
    tears, as all such exquisitely intense, beautiful passions must.  

    Am I the only one whose mind went straight to Bartok the bat?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQp1vglWejs

  • http://www.jasonknox.weebly.com jasonknox

    I get that haters and bullies need to be stood up to, but good grief, if you spend all of your time writing about what you’re against people (read as “I”) are  going to stop listening. I understand that there is a time and a place for polemics, but it can get old.  If you tell us what you are for we’ll be able to figure out what you are against and you won’t sound as grating.

  • Lori

    What are they going to do if the sky doesn’t fall because of Obamacare and gay marriage?  

    Find some other group(s) to hate and some other policies to raise money over.

    What are they going to do if the sky does fall, because of science they work so hard to deny?  

    We already know the answer to this one. They’ll do more of what they do now—-blame the problem on the evil, islomofascist, commie, gay-sex-having, tramps who brought the Almighty’s wrath down upon us all.

  • Tricksterson

    Not so much the Obama victory by itself but some of the phenomena that accompanied it like the election of an openly lesbian senator, the confirmation of gay marriage in three state ballots and the rejection of an anti SSM referendum in another, the victory of two referenda to legalize marijuana and another to legalize medical marijuana, etc.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I don’t think that they’d actually claim themselves that specifically being anti-gay rights and pro-forced-birth are core values of christianity.  They’d add a level of indirection. They’d say that the *core tenant* is  “Believe the bible” or “Do what god says”, and then just sort of shrug and nod and assume everyone would take it for granted that anyone who supported QUILTBAG-rights or women’s reproductive rights must not “believe in the bible” or “want to obey god”.

  • EllieMurasaki

    (1) Fred has actually told us quite a bit about what he’s for. I’ll grant that a lot of it has been phrased as he’s against people who are against equal rights for women/queer folk/folk of color/etc, but.

    (2) Door’s to your left.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I don’t why people are celebrating this election as huge win for
    liberalism and a ‘shellacking’ of the religious right or social
    conservatism. Obama won with a 2-3 percent margin. With all the talk of a
    changing demographic, he actually reduced his lead from last time.

    Because that’s what the right made it.  They put their money down and said “Mitt Romney is the avatar of all we believe in. It is a vote againstl iberalism, a vote against obamacare. A vote against marriage equality. A vote for tax cuts for the rich. A vote for supply-side economics. A vote against immigration, a vote against women’s reproductive rights, a vote against equal pay for women.”

    So yes, Obama only won by a few percentage points. But last time, the election was between Barrack Obama and John McCain. This time, it was between Barrack Obama and the abstract concept of the modern conservative movement.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    What are they going to do if the sky does fall, because of science they work so hard to deny?

    Deny it.

    In four years, they’ll have angry white men at their rallies, and they;’ll shout “Is your health care any better?” and they’ll shout “No!” and the’ll shout “Are your taxes higher?” and they’ll shout “Yes!”

  • Azraelmacool

    Well, my understanding while looking at demographics is that the reason this is considered a huge victory is that the republicans got exactly the group they wanted (white Christian males), which any other election year would have carried the win… But this year, it didn’t. Of course, I haven’t studied this in depth, so I may well be talking out my ass.

  • Lori

    I don’t why people are celebrating this election as huge win for
    liberalism and a ‘shellacking’ of the religious right or social
    conservatism. Obama won with a 2-3 percent margin. With all the talk of a
    changing demographic, he actually reduced his lead from last time.  

    Obama won an election that was widely expected to be not just a win, but a cake walk for the GOP because everybody knows that when the economy sucks (which it still does) people vote against the incumbent. They also out-spent the Dems by a huge margin. Virtually all the Citizens United dark money went to Republicans.

    It wasn’t that long ago that they expected to not only stroll into the White House, but to extend their majority in the House and retake the Senate, allowing them to put at least one more whackjob conservative on the Supreme Court to guarantee a full roll back of the New Deal and GOP dominance of national policy for the next several decades. They were that confident. Not the kind of totally divorced from reality confident we saw on election night either.

    The fact that Obama won and the Dems increased their numbers in both the House and the Senate, not to mention some key pick ups at the state level is an ass-whopping.

    The religious right lost a lot of votes this year, not just the presidency. Their preferred candidates didn’t fair well and they lost their “firewall” fight on one of their key issues. In spite of the millions and millions of dollars they spent and the hundreds of lies they told, marriage equality won in the voting booth, instead of at the state house or in the courts. They were heavily invested in being able to hold that off for a lot longer. It’s pretty clear that not only is the Religious Right no longer able to deliver guaranteed victory to the candidates who sign their endless parade of pledges and take all the right “stances”, they are in fact a hindrance with key demographics. I’m sure we’ll have to put up with their crap for several more election cycles, but barring some drastic change I think we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of the Religious Right’s 4 decade choke hold on US politics. And they know it, which is why we’re all doing what Fred aptly called the Snoopy dance of schadenfreude.

  • http://www.jasonknox.weebly.com jasonknox

    Ellie,
    That’s completely fair – Fred owes me nothing and there is plenty of other writes on the internet to fill other niches.

    Reading his mast head “test everything, hold to what is good” I suppose that he leans more towards “test everything” and sees that as the purpose of this blog. I’ve greatly benefited from some of his writing  but I just don’t  want my RSS Feed full of polemics everyday. When this article popped up I just felt it was too much.

    I figured I would just voice my opinion before exiting out the door and now I wish I had a little less snark in my tone – I am thankful for what he does and I am very free to leave.

  • Lori

    I guess you’ve missed Fred’s posts about things like people in mobile home parks being able to own the land their homes sit on and the Rolling Jubilee and other such efforts. They haven’t exactly been rare. But I guess some people, (read “you”) didn’t read those.

  • Albanaeon

     Well, let’s see.  Citizen’s United allowed a full play of corporate money in mass to be deployed.  The Republicans in the House made it their one and only priority to have Obama defeated this election.  The Senate Republicans deployed the filibuster en masse to prevent any sort of legislature or even court appointments for going through.  The Right has been playing the “sociacommiesecularmuslimathiest” card constantly and predicting the doom of America any day now on tv and radio.  The Religious Right and the NRA and Better Business Bureau and Wall Street and all the other shills did everything they could to make as much noise and confusion as they could.  Voter ID and other voter disenfranchisement schemes were rolled out and some were sure that it would guarantee a Republican victory. 

    All together, they delivered a president with a weak economy and a dispirited based to Mitt and the other candidates who were fully backed by the full force of the Right Wing machine.

    And they lost.  They lost the popular, majority, and hugely on electoral vote.  They lost a chance to take the Senate, and held on to the House mostly by gerrymandering, while still getting less total votes than the Democrats.  But more importantly, they lost while getting everything right in the play book they’ve been using since the 80′s.  And most importantly the candidates who beat them did so on a broad populist liberal stance.

    So yes this is a huge win for liberalism because we won against so much arrayed against us on our principles.  And the Republicans know that the demographics and general attitude of the country is changing against them.  They have to know, that deep down, they’ve lost.

    And that’s pretty important too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Mmm, fresh, hot tone argument.  That stuff never gets old.  Just like Twinkies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I think the club you’re thinking of is actually called Get Rid Of Slimy girlS.

  • Albanaeon

     That analogy may be closing in on its expiration date, funnily enough…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    As I said, one other thing that’s very interesting is there’s no outpouring of any kind of attempt at national reconciliation where the 52% and the 48% extended the hand of friendship or understanding.

    This time around, the ~51% are stiffening their spines and girding their loins and drawing the line in the sand that says “Here, and no further.” And the ~49% are flailing about wondering why on Earth the old white guy didn’t win and who they can blame for it.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    now I wish I had a little less snark in my tone

    There’s a way to do that. It’s called “editing”. It’s what you have time to do when you’re not just dashing off a whine before you flounce back to your world of cotton balls and silk pillows. Goodbye, whoever you were.

  • Sindragosa

    You guys’ replies comfort me a little. I just hope this election really was a sign of things to come.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    “Bryan Fischer says progressive evangelicals are solely to blame for the defeat of Mitt Romney.”

    Is that true? If so, uh, thanks guys!

    (One of the things that’s interesting about this election is there is an abundance of groups who can “take credit”. There is a study showing LGBT voters were pivotal. There is a study showing african-american turnout was pivotal. There are other such studies and probably, they’re all right, because you take any two or three groups out of the coalition and the entire thing maybe falls.)

  • Lori

       That analogy may be closing in on its expiration date, funnily enough…  

    Nah, they’re still being made in Canada. We’ll just have a nice cross-border smuggling system going with our neighbors to the north. Cheap cheese into Canada, twinkies into the US.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

    “What are they going to do if the sky does fall, because of science they work so hard to deny?”
    Easy. They will blame Obamacare and gay marriage. God forbid they should ever have been wrong about anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Cule/100001621659800 Michael Cule

    Well, let us hope like Twinkies that one day they stop manufacturing it…

    And may I just say that ‘everybody’ did not assume this was going to be a cakewalk for the Republicans. I never thought they were on to an obvious winner: the idea that they can point at the economy and say ‘see, I told you this guy was no use’ requires, to be a winning strategy, that the voters forget who got them into this mess in the first place and to have failed to pay attention to what the Republicans in Congress have been up to for the past four years.

    Romney… he was not perceived as the embodiment of conservative values by a lot of conservatives just as ‘the best guy we can get today’. You may expect a lot of calls for a more extreme candidate next time as the True Believers will be sure that there are lots and lots of people out there who will come out and vote for someone with fire in their belly and that the majority of Americans are just as enthusiastic as they are.

    Romney had no Unique Selling Point, nothing to make people think it would be cool to have him as President. He was just the notObama. And that wasn’t nearly enough. 

  • patter

    “They will blame Obamacare and gay marriage. ”

    And satanic baby killers, don’t forget those.  And feminazis.  And Clinton. 

  • Turcano

    You do know that Hostess is just going to sell its trademarks to someone else, right?

    Also, fun fact:  Twinkies (and by extension other Hostess products) are relatively unique in that they have both a maximum and a minimum shelf life; according to one of my professors who is a connoisseur of such things, they need to degas after baking or else they taste funny.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     I think the problem for them is, they seriously can’t allow themselves to be wrong about anything; because they aren’t merely saying things as human beings.

    It’s one thing if a random person says “I think X will happen” and X does not happen, in fact the opposite of X happens.  In that case, while it’s not unusual for the person to try to deny their wrongness, it’s entirely possible to say “Yeah, I screwed up bigtime.”

    However the Religious Wrong is always going on about  how this is prophecy – how they just know that God is involved; and when you’re in the business of speaking for an infallible deity you can’t very well just say “I screwed up” – because then it sounds an awful lot like “God screwed up”.

    So yeah, you’re pretty much dead on – they’ll blame anything else; but they’ll never, ever admit they’re wrong because to do so would at-best put them out of a job.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    We have always been at war with East Gaysia.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I might recommend sticking around for all the post-election hubbub to die down?

  • http://twitter.com/Didaktylos Paul Hantusch

    As I have previously said elsewhere: to use a metaphor from military history, 2010 was the Manstein counter-offensive. 2012 was Kursk.

  • Albanaeon

    That would be why I included “may” in my statement.  I’m pretty sure twinkies will be around for quite some time, evil Wall Street Execs not withstanding.

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s that selective interpretation that gets me. Oh, sure, they’ll point and say “sexual indiscretion” is a core tenet of the Bible, which is probably true. Then they’ll brush off the fact that they’ve had three affairs and five divorces, because reasons.

  • EllieMurasaki

    they’ll point and say “sexual indiscretion” is a core tenet of the Bible, which is probably true

    Still haven’t ever heard a single marriage-is-one-man-and-one-woman-because-Bible proponent explain Abraham and Sarah and Hagar, or Jacob and Leah and Rachel and Bilhah and Zilpah, or David and Michal and Abigail and Bathsheba and I’ve forgotten the other women he married, or Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, and a thousand more women who never had recorded names to begin with. Or for that matter Tamar and Judah, Ruth and Boaz, or Rahab and her Israelite-invader-of-Rahab’s-hometown buddy whose name I don’t recall.
    Or I-love-you-more-than-I-love-women David, who as mentioned above really loved women, and Jonathan.

  • TheFaithfulStone

     I  think it’s about that age where the answer begins “That’s fine, this other club has GIRLS in it.”

  • http://twitter.com/namastechi Mike Ford

    Fighting over a word is short-sighted.

  • Kiba

    You may expect a lot of calls for a more extreme candidate next time as the True Believers will be sure that there are lots and lots of people out there who will come out and vote for someone with fire in their belly and that the majority of Americans are just as enthusiastic as they are.

    Well little Ricky Frothymix is already saying he plans to run again in 2016. Evidently, according to him, Romney’s problem was that he didn’t go balls-to-the-wall conservative enough. 

    From the New Civil Rights Movement:

    “A leading evangelical leader who is close to Santorum and asked not to be identified, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that Santorum is ‘organizing and making all the necessary preparations’ for another run in the 2016 Republican primary,” the Christian Post reports: “Rick’s getting ready organized and is not going to be behind the eight-ball when it comes to fundraising and building a grassroots organization,” the anonymous source said. “I think you’ll see and hear a lot from Rick in the next 12 months.” 

    Last week, Santorum told CNN’s Piers Morgan that “Romney, in my opinion, didn’t do was go out and vigorously defend the beliefs that he said he espoused and didn’t go on the offense.”

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/gop-identity-crisis-solved-santorum-preparing-2016-presidential-run/politics/2012/11/16/53944

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ah yes, the same guy who Doth Protest Way Too Much about Teh ICKY Buttsechs, and on top of that gets into fine old rants where he almost forgets himself and uses the N word.

    Yes, that will go over very well.

    With anyone with their head still up their arse.

  • Tricksterson

    I was actually surprised he didn’t go third party this time around  which of course would have led to an Obama landslide.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hopefully they won’t do what’s happening to Kinder Eggs. :P

  • Lori

    I am stunned by how many people CNN is telling me get busted trying to bring those into the US. WTH?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I’ve had Kinder Eggs, but, what’s happening to them?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The USA blocks their import due to regulations regarding toys inside chocolates.

    Et voila.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of Hostess, is anyone at all surprised that the executives concocted self-serving reasons to bankrupt the company while raiding the kitty for what was left?

  • Lori

    Considering that these are the same people who already stole the workers’ pension fund, no, no one with any sense who is actually paying attention is surprised that they’re going to pick the company’s bones clean while blaming the union for all their troubles.

    The question I have is why do bankruptcy judges approve these bonus plans? Why is there even a question of approving them? The law should not allow the payment of huge bonuses to executives running companies in bankruptcy.


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