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The "Christianists" Aren't Taking Over This Week

For decades now, shocked lefty journalists have gingerly ventured into the dark American interior, emerging with terrifying tales of “Christianist” plots to hijack American democracy and install theocratic rule.  There’s an endless appetite for these stories on the secular left, and the fact that none of these Christianists dictatorships ever appear doesn’t seem to diminish the credulity with which each new “revelation” is greeted by the easily spooked.

Focus on the Family was very recently one of the most feared organizations of the allegedly all powerful Christian Right, but as the cash-strapped organization makes more staff cutbacks and donations fall, the paranoia once invested in this group looks pretty dumb.  The Christian Post reports:

Focus on the Family’s budget for fiscal year 2008-2009 was $160 million, which came down to $138 million in 2009-2010. For the fiscal year 2010-2011 ending Sept. 30, it further shrunk to $105 million, and now officials project it will receive donations of only $90 million to $95 million.

The layoffs in the organization founded by influential Christian right leader James Dobson in 1977 resulted from decreased donations due to the economic downturn. “Long ago I suppose there was a time when we had fat to trim, but we’ve moved through that to muscle, sinew, bone – and now we’re scraping out marrow,” [Vice President Gary] Schneeberger said.

The rise and fall of Focus on the Family is not surprising.  Ralph Reed’s Christian Coalition and Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority followed similar paths.  The long history of evangelical America is full of organizations and individual leaders who rise quickly to prominence and then quickly fade.  These trees do not grow to the sky.

In any case, if anybody in America ever establishes a theocracy, it is unlikely to be evangelicals.  Almost all American evangelicals come out of religious traditions that were persecuted in either Europe or the US or both by “established” churches tied to the government.  It became an article of faith for the persecuted evangelicals that church and state should be kept at arms length.  Even in apocalyptic fiction like the Left Behind series, the merger of church and state is one of the signs of the approach of Antichrist and signals the start of a great persecution.  For the most part, American evangelicals viscerally loathe the idea that church and state should act together to enforce religious orthodoxy.

That is still the overwhelmingly dominant position among the roughly one fourth of Americans who consider themselves evangelicals (and their cousins the Pentecostals).  That hasn’t changed in 200 years and is very unlikely to change in the next 25.

But if an evangelical tidal wave isn’t about to engulf the United States, evangelical religion isn’t going to fade away, and it is going to continue to influence American politics.  It is the same old same old, I am afraid.  Evangelicals will not hijack the country, burn the biology textbooks, turn the dinosaur museums into Noah’s Ark dioramas, torch the genetics labs and re-enact the tales of misogynist oppression from the The Handmaid’s Tale; neither will they fade as a major social and political force in American civic life.

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  • TwoDogs

    I worry a lot more about the environmentalists than I do the evangelicals. That’s where the theocracy will come from if we let it.

  • Silverfiddle

    I have never heard a good explanation of how this rightwing Christian takeover was supposed to happen, especially given that less than half of the nation is fervently Christian.

  • Robert

    As someone has said somewhere, the dark night of theocracy is always threatening to descend upon America, but it always lands elsewhere.

    And yes, environmentalism is a religion, but unlike most, it hasn’t the courage to declare itself such.

  • Charles R. Williams

    This is utter slander and paranoia. There are theocratic strains in certain Calvinistic subsects but these are splinter groups with near zero influence over American Christians. What these people (the paranoids) seem to object to is religious motivations behind certain poltical positions they reject. They want religious people to do their little rituals behind closed doors and walk back into the public square as if nothing has happened. But this attitude is utterly totalitarian.

  • Kris

    Nice try, but you ain’t fooling us, Mead. No less august a public intellectual than NYT editor-in-chief Bill Keller has warned us about the imminent danger of the evangelical Dominionists.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Why spend so much time on a leftist conspiracy theory? Nothing you say will change the mind of anyone who would believe in such conspiracies.

  • LevinFan

    Focus on the Family’s recent financial woes have basically nothing to do with politics. The current leaders of Focus (primarily Jim Daly) have markedly improved their stance and tone towards politics, avoiding gaffes that Dr. Dobson was known for (flip-flopping on political endorsements, etc.)

    Their current downturn has more to do with Dobson coming out of retirement to start another similar ministry (FamilyTalk), siphoning away fundraising from the parent organization. Despite all the transition planning at Focus- feelings got hurt, egos were mismanaged and now you have a lot of good honest peoples’ livelihoods at stake.

    Life is messy. Perhaps the lessons these folks learn can help as we all try to figure out politics. Christians involved in the public square isn’t a scary thing, rather it sustains a rather vital tradition going back to Bradford, Washington, et. al.

  • Luke Lea

    Joe McGinnis’s new book about Sarah Palin is revealing: Here we have a self-described liberal alleging a single white woman once sniffed some cocaine and had a one-night stand with a black man. He apparently thinks that these revelations assuming they are true) will derail Palin’s political career by eroding her support among evangelicals and tea partiers.

    Thus he shows he thinks evangelicals are not only racists but incapable of the forgiveness and that tea partiers are motivated by race and not taxes.

    When you consider all the recent male presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle who have done similar things and worse, it’s hard not to conclude McGuinnis is prejudiced against white working women not educated in New England who act like feminists. Trifecta!

  • Corlyss

    “In any case, if anybody in America ever establishes a theocracy, it is unlikely to be evangelicals.”

    Right you are, since we already have a dominant theocracy and it’s on the rise: environmentalists. Their church is EPA, their wingmen Sierra Club and Al Gore. This is a “faith” the left elitists scornful of traditional regligions can get behind with out taint and push to the exclusion, indeed the corruption, of science the left claims to idolize. There’s no end to their purity and their self-righteousness and their intolerance for any competing belief system. They are more passionate and devoted to hunting down and delegitimizing their opposition than the Christian bishops of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD ever dreamed of being. Like the latter, the environmentalists have the ear of the power structure and will not abandon their positions without an awesome fight in which they will take no prisoners.

  • Aeolus13

    ‘For the most part, American evangelicals viscerally loathe the idea that church and state should act together to enforce religious orthodoxy.’

    Dr. Mead, I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear this. I sure would like it if you could explain to me how bans on embryonic stem-cell research, abstinence-only sex ed, creationism taught as a legitimate scientific theory in public schools, the Defense of Marriage Act, and anti-sodomy laws, to name a few, are not efforts to use the force of the state to enforce religious orthodoxy.

    You’re correct that an evangelical tide is not currently threatening to engulf the United States, but that’s because Evangelicals aren’t able to assemble a political majority, not because of the moderation and harmlessness of the movement itself.

  • rrr

    And Aeolus, who imagines himself to be o, so wise, reveals himself to be a narrow-minded fool.

  • Kirk Parker

    Aeolus13, what you are describing is simply the law reflecting the majority opinion. While the US Constitution contains some anti-majoritarian features (mostly ignored these days), it still describes a polity where in the long run the majority rules. You would have it otherwise???

  • The Den Mother

    Aeolus13, you forgot to mention anti-homicide and anti-theft statutes that have permeated our nation since even before its founding. Those are undoubtedly efforts to enforce religious orthodoxy (i.e. all those “thou shalt nots” in the ten commandments).

    Now, if you want to argue the merits of any of the items you listed, then we can have a discussion. Otherwise, go away.

  • Jim Hlavac

    As the gay guy in the cross hairs of the Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, American Family Association, and the National Organization for Marriage, well, I’m worried. And I’ve been a life long Goldwater sort of Republican/Libertarian. All the Republican presidential contenders (except Karger & Johnson, and Palin,) are going to the FRC’s “values summit” and there they will hear “outlaw the gays” “imprison the gays” “cure the gays” and even, from Peter Sprigg, senior policy analyst of the FRC, “export the gays.” Santorum and Bachmann have already said “great idea,” repeatedly. Perry is perhaps thinking it on a state by state basis. Some of the others have mushed around the idea as “states rights.”

    And if one listens to the “debate” (which is merely slinging slander and libel at gays in North Carolina,) over a state constitutional amendment that will “protect” marriage by forever baring even a chance for any word to be used for gay couples, and keep divorce and adultery perfectly legal, you might well be surprised at the evangelical fervor; and power.

    The evangelicals have seized the machinery of the Republican party; so they are choosing candidates who are evangelicals; leaving the people with a choice between a socialist/liberal or a theocrat. Some choice, eh?

    If they outlaw gays again (and it’s not just our sex, it’s our very existence, this we know and feel and are quite sure about,) we shall demand to be arrested; though it is true I doubt the police will actually come and arrest us, for they never did before. But if they did, it would be at a cost of billions, to round us all up and incarcerate us together for being, um, being together. How friggin’ weird is that? They will call this punishment, and we will call it the weirdest club ‘ted’ ever invented by the folly of man.

    It might be true that the Evangelicals make up 25% or less of the population; but they are now the ones putting up the candidates; which means they will get the power of the government in their hands. And they will use it, until more rational people get riled up.

    You might be rational, Mr. Mead; but I’m the canary in the coal mine for liberty; and when the evangelicals are done with me, they shall come for thee.

  • Polyglot

    ” bans on embryonic stem-cell research, ”

    You mean bans on FEDERAL FUNDING of stem-cell research ? Because embryonic stem-cell research was NEVER banned in the US. All that happened was the government was forbidden to pay for it if, IF came from embryonic stem-cell banks other than those already established.

    ” abstinence-only sex ed, ”

    I went to a Lutheran elementary school in the 1970’s and 80’s and never had Abstinence-only sex ed. Abstinence was strongly encouraged as the only way to be sure but was hardly the only option taught. This was at a “Christianist” school. Stupid stereotype is stupid.

    ” creationism taught as a legitimate scientific theory in public schools, ”

    Schools frankly are pretty terrible at teaching any science. Evolution is taught without details, often with silly misconceptions about the theory passed along. being told about creationism as an alternative belief system is not harmful to one’s scientific education. A student who knows about creationism can still use a dichotomous key to identify life forms and do biochemistry if trained. The terrified call for science-orthodoxy to suppress teaching of creationism is hilariously over wrought. An understanding that creationism is a movement will not tarnish anyone’s understanding of Evolutionary theory and evolutionary theory won’t get you very far in anything by itself anyway since it is not in grade school form a useful skill. The fear of a creationist anti-science killing real science comes down to a weird sneering snobbery more than a real problem. Meanwhile bad ‘environmental science’ is taught in the name of ‘environmental awareness’ and horrible social science is taught in the name of enlightened humanism.

    “the Defense of Marriage Act, ”

    This is hardly entirely the result of a christian movement. Sorry. Homosexual marriage is NOT a popular issue for the left and is huge problem for them among immigrant voters. Homosexual marriage is a distasteful subject for a majority of Americans right now even if they are willing to grit their teeth and tolerate it.

    “and anti-sodomy laws,”

    Rarely if ever enforced, and usually local. So what? Also usually very old. Sign of a growing theocratic movement? Again, hardly.

  • SubNote

    Aeolus13 commits a few errors in his comment above:

    1. There has been no ban on embryonic stem-cell research. Pres. Bush decided in 2001 to forbid public funding of research on all but existing cell lines thus removing the public from the process. Sounds more like a compromise than a ban.
    2. Abstinence-only sex education attempts to persuade young people to prevents unintended pregnancies through the only method that is 100% effective, i.e. not having sex. I fail to see how this is an enforcement of religious orthodoxy. In fact, you might make the case that insisting on sex education that encourages young people to have sex (i.e. contraception) is an equivalent example of the enforcement of a “moral orthodoxy.” Including this as an objection says more about you than about Mr. Mead’s arguments.

    I can understand your points regarding DoMA, creationism and anti-sodomy laws, however these ideas have been in place since our country’s founding so it’s a difficult point to make that this is somehow part of an “evangelical tide.” Our country does a fine job of balancing the religious and the civic (see Prohibition, repeal of Blue Laws, etc.) so Mr. Mead’s points are still relevant.

  • Jeannette

    Embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) has never been illegal in the US. However, since it is both ethically “icky” and doesn’t work, it doesn’t get much private investment. That is why ESCR needs government funding in order to continue, and it’s the federal funding of ESCR that’s the subject of debate. You are either poorly informed, or are hoping we are; you don’t look good in either situation.

  • Fred

    Aeolus, I second rrr’s emotion, but to be more dispassionate and specific, none of the things you mention are necessarily tied to religious orthodoxy. That an embryo has a life of its own, that that life is genetically human, and that that life is destroyed in embryonic stem cell research are empirical facts, not religious beliefs. One does not have to be religious (only familiar with teenagers) to know that teenagers told “sex is ok, just do it right” are only going to hear “sex is ok.” It’s difficult for adults in the throes of passion to “do it right” 100% of the time. And we’re supposed to trust teenagers to control their raging hormones long enough to “do it right?” Again, empirical facts, not religious beliefs. Teaching creationism may be silly, but from the evangelicals’ point of view, it’s not an attempt to impose their religion but a defense against having what they see as the “anti-religion” of secular humanism imposed on _them_. Marriage is a secular as well as a religious institution and one that is at the center of our culture. One need not be religious to be extremely wary of making radical changes to such an important institution. And anti-sodomy laws, like anti-prostitution laws and anti-drug laws, are perfectly legitimate expressions of a community’s disapproval of behavior that it (rightly) considers physically and psychologically unhealthy.

  • craig

    Aeolus13, what is gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied.

    You assert it as a given that the only impetuses to oppose embryonic stem-cell research, oppose the redefinition of legal marriage, or support anti-sodomy laws, to name a few, are religious reasons. You are either deluded or dishonest on this point, as it is demonstrably untrue.

    Opposition to the arbitrary redefinition of legal marriage can be, and repeatedly has been, justified by secular writers on purely secular grounds. Often their arguments employ utilitarian premises alien to Christianity, yet arrive at the same result.

    The same history of secular arguments that are overlooked or denied by those seeking to anathematize Christians from the public square — for this is indeed the left’s totalitarian desire, as Charles R. Williams 5:17 pm has so aptly put — is true of opposition to abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

  • Ritchie The Riveter

    Aeolus …

    I sure would like it if you could explain to me …

    > … how allowing embryonic stem-cell research is not based upon a utilitarian/arbitrary definition (and value judgment) of human life?

    > … how well mechanics-only/character-free sex ed has worked to diminish ALL the consequences of irresponsible sexual activity … as opposed to giving those predisposed to irresponsibility the idea that they can get away with it if they just “protect” themselves?

    > … how that the extrapolation of evolutionary theory into a theory of origins does not involve assumptions of time-invariant physical processes and NO intelligent intervention, that are at least as faith-based as what you find in creationism … and if it is faith-based in this regard, explain how it can be taught as fact beyond challenge in our public schools … let alone be used as a litmus test for human intelligence?

    >… how the opponents of the Defense of Marriage Act aren’t seeking to jam their morality down our throats in their efforts to make GLBT lifestyles a “new normal” and thereby reinforce the idea that all opposition to them is “bigotry” and “hate”?

    >… when was the last and anti-sodomy law enforced, much less passed?

    >… how are all of the above opposition are not efforts to use the force of the state to enforce the tenets of faith of one group … those who believe in their own omniscience, to the degree they can summarily dismiss spiritual viewpoints as “superstition” and therefore completely irrelevant, without regard to how those viewpoints can offer solutions in the temporal world … by skating past the interpretation of the Establishment Clause that assumes religion must involve a supernatural Deity?

    Frankly, what is upsetting you, is that the near-monopoly of Progressive humanists upon our public institutions, with respect to imposing their worldview by the force of law upon the rest of us, is being threatened … and rightly so, IMO.

    As for we evangelicals … Google “the priesthood of the believer”, which is a doctrine held by virtually all evangelicals … then check the Yellow Pages and see how many different flavors of evangelical churches that are out there … and you will see that evangelicals are this nation’s first line of defense AGAINST theocracy … not a threat to impose it.

  • nagohal

    I’m a politically aware and involved Evangelical Christian and I can assure you there is no organized effort to establish a Theocracy in the U.S. Just try getting most Evangelicals interested in political issues or even to vote for that matter!
    Aeolus13 – There was never a ban on embryonic stem cell research, abstinence only is taught along with the failed sex ed programs in place now, as Creationism should be taught as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution. As for your other examples how are your issues not then ‘efforts to use the force of the state to enforce’ your irreligious orthodoxy? That’s how our Government works. I get my say you get your’s and the voters decide. It’s not imposing anything; it’s a decision making process.

  • ExurbanKevin

    “Almost all American evangelicals come out of religious traditions that were persecuted in either Europe or the US or both by ‘established’ churches tied to the government. ”

    There is a big, big difference between making political decisions based on a moral, religious or philosophical stance and theocracy. My family is Scots-Irish, which means we got kicked out of two perfectly good countries because we couldn’t play nice with the State Church.

    I’m not asking for blasphemy laws (like they still have on the books in oh-so-enlightened Massachusetts) or making Transubstantiation the law of the land: I’m asking for my faith-based beliefs and convictions to hold the same weight in politics and public life as anyone else’s.

  • Koblog

    Every law passed is a reflection of the underlying moral framework of the nation (or tyrant) that adopts that law.

    We have an interesting dichotomy here: we want to live as consequence-free libertines, but we want our neighbors to live like Christians.

    “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
    ― Alexis de Tocqueville

    de Tocqueville’s basis for America being good? Her pulpits were “aflame with righteousness.”

    Every nation has to have a moral code — an internal guide of what is right and wrong.

    The world’s great monsters used their own edicts as that guide.

    America, from its earliest times, used the Bible.

  • Celebrim

    The protests of the conspiracy theorists bitterly clinging to their paranoid fantasies aside, this is a spot on analysis.

    “I have never heard a good explanation of how this rightwing Christian takeover was supposed to happen, especially given that less than half of the nation is fervently Christian.”

    It’s worse than that. Because the most fervently Christian portion of America is the protestant Evangelicals, and they are divided into about 50 different major flavors and countless further divisions. There is no consensus between these groups over any matter of theology or church government. Moreover, the more fervent evangelical groups are not marked by the sort of centralized authority seen in the Catholic or Episcopalian tradtions but are instead marked by highly democratic and highly decentralized forms of government. In most cases, it’s not possible to get the individual denomination to come to a concensus much less get the various disparate denominations to work together. Baptists generally refuse to partner with non-Baptists. Mainline demonitions like Methodists and Presbyterians typically refuse to partner with Charismatics, Pentacaustals and other younger independent movements. Groups like the Menonites, Amish and Mormons are out in their own completely separate cultural traditions. And so forth. In the event that one of these denominations tried to take over the government, there would be no more fervent oposition to their domination than the other churches.

    Worries about Christian theocracy in America are based on pure unadulturated ignorance.

  • K

    The religious culture in the US, in terms of what constitutes a “religion” needs an overhaul in the same way Jonah Goldberg overhauled the default political spectrum with his “Liberal Fascism” book. A religion based government need not be Christian, or Muslim or Hindu – it is far more plausibly going to be secular socialist or communist. The fanatical believers in dialectical materialism and scientific atheism as applied to the state manifest the same theocratic urges as fanatics from any other religious faith – and usually the results are even more horrific for the citizens of those states.

  • Bonfire of the Idiocies

    TwoDogs is correct. The MSM provides a generally effective counterweight for any conservative administration in Washington. Any proposal that even hints of social-conservatism would be quickly drowned out by a media-induced stampede of opposition of gargantuan proportions.

    Unfortunately, no one plays the same role when it comes to liberal crack-pottery. AGW, mindless multicult, this year’s “civility” charade, are all greeted with drooling credulity and eager promotion by the members of the same MSM. I dare say with a more neutral MSM, this country’s policies would actually reflect the right-center nature of the majority of its citizens.

  • Tex Taylor

    [Nice try, but you ain’t fooling us, Mead. No less august a public intellectual than NYT editor-in-chief Bill Keller has warned us about the imminent danger of the evangelical Dominionists.]

    Just like a liberal. Quote the very people Walter Mead was referring as fear mongers without calling them out by name to make argument. Thanks. Nothing here could do anymore to reinforce Walter Russell Mead is exactly right. Reinforcing the author’s point without meaning to would be my best guess.

    Anybody that believes a Christian basher like Bill Keller objective with respect to Christianity probably believes Saddam Hussein was simply misunderstood.

  • ArrogantAgnostic

    Small towns in the southwest will have 1,000 inhabitants with 10 different churches. At least my grandparents’ town did.

    Those numbers indicate that a state-supported religion is a chimera that will not occur in this country.

    In the buckle of the Bible Belt, they can’t agree on which church to support. How are you going to get a theocracy out of that?

  • Ben H

    Supposed ‘concern’ about theocracy is an excuse for some northeastern mainline protestant and jews to express their regional and ethnic prejudices against Southerners and Christians. There’s no content there. Its the SWPL version of obsessing about the Bilderbergers or the Rothschilds.

  • Amazed

    I grew up immersed in an extreme conservative Christian environment, and I can say with confidence that Mead is correct.

    I remember my jaw dropping when I first heard some lefties ranting about far-right conspiracies to establish theocracies. It was obvious that their ravings were untethered to reality.

    I know many, many, many deeply religious christian conservatives, and can state with confidence that the more extreme their religious beliefs, the more they generally want to just be left alone to practice their faith.

    Ignorant leftists are only people I have ever heard talk about organized attempts to establish a Christian theocracy.

  • Ritchie The Riveter

    Kris …

    … is “Dominionist” the new Koch?

    At least with respect to talking points?

  • Luke Lea

    I congratulate Aeolus13! His comment drew more negative reactions than any other in the history of this blog.

  • Randy

    No, Christians aren’t interested in a theocracy. They just want laws that punish those folks who live their lives outside of Christian moral norms. It doesn’t matter if the actions involved are actually peaceable, if Christians think the behavior involved as wrong/sinful, it’s fair game for criminalization. Of course, this has been going on in one way or another to one degree or another for centuries, so unfortunately there is nothing new here. In fact, many Christians seem to believe it their Christain duty to ensure that man’s laws and God’s laws are one and the same.

    Generally speaking, the average Christian has yet to come to terms with the fact that freedom of conscience and freedom of action are inextricably linked. Christianity, to its credit, claims to believe in freedom of conscience and therefore every individual has the right to make up their own mind with regard to the questions of God, Jesus, the resurrection, salvation, etc. free from coercion. But when it comes to freedom of action, many Christians are of another mind there. It seems like most Christians support laws that criminalize human action that fall outside of Christian norms, even though the behaviors involved aren’t criminal in any moral or rational way (generally speaking, I’m referring to vice laws). If a person is free to reject your religious message but then can’t live their lives as they choose without fear of punishments put in place politically at the behest of the Christian majority, then what good is your freedom of conscience to that person? The question answers itself.

    Essentially, Christians are saying that individuals are free to reject our religion, but they are not free to reject our ways. And if you do reject our ways, you will be punished if caught because we’ve enshrined our ways into law. Because of this mind set and the immoral and unjust laws it engenders, the freedom of conscience Christians believe they are extending to their fellow man is really a fiction and actually worthless. For some years now, secularists and moderate Christians have been pointing out this contradiction to the moral authoritarian Christians, but it continually falls on deaf ears for the most part.

    The reality is that in America today the average Christian has more in common with the Pharisees of 2000 years ago than they do with Jesus of Nazareth. FWIW, I take no pleasure in saying this.

  • jack

    This continual paranoia about evangelicals is simply an extension of the Left’s hatred of Christianity in general.

  • Tennwriter

    Jacksonian Libertarian,
    Well it does serve the purpose of making the knowledgeable and reasonable more likely to laugh riotously at the ignorant and paranoid.

    I remember one gay guy predicting W was going to create concentration camps after he was re-elected. I mentioned this to the guy after W was re-elected, and rather than apologizing, he just ignored the reminder.

    Now perhaps you’re not engaging in raving hyperbole, and perhaps you’re not utterly paranoid. But the Greys in the spaceship in my backyard think you are.

  • MaxMBJ

    I’ve been an evangelical all my life but I doubt I fit the profile the left has of evangelicals. Just as we in America have a hard time not seeing Islam as a monolithic religion, liberals in the U.S. have never been able to see the vast array of diversity within the evangelical cause. “Focus on the Family” may have been the big dog a few years ago, but many, many evangelicals wanted nothing to do with them. Probably the only thing that all evangelicals agree on is that Christ crucified is the central event of history.

    I suppose we evangelicals are guilty of stereotyping liberals as monolithic so it shouldn’t be a shock that they do the same to us. But really, aren’t all liberals exactly the same? They’re all for gay marriage, they all love Obama (or loved Obama), they hate McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, and they are pro-abortion.


  • teapartydoc

    The reason the left has a fear of theocracy, is because they have brought many issues into the public sphere which have no business being there and which should not be subject to majority rule. When everything is made subject to the capriciousness of the crowd, everything is subject to change in unforeseen ways. It is from this uncertainty that their paranoia stems.

  • Mike H.

    Aeolus13 is afraid of only one thing, and that is the moral standard that a belief in God engenders.

  • Ken

    The reason evangelicals are politically active is that hedo-fascists like Bill Maher are trying to establish a Communist totalitarian state in order to protect their disgusting lifestyles. Maher makes no secret about the fact that he wants to depopulate the American heartland in order to prevent them from breeding children who might “judge” his abortion-based lifestyle. All other leftists are exactly the same: vile disgusting PERVERTS and PARASITES.

  • Kurt

    Stuff like this is the way the left keeps their disciples in fear of anything right of center. their message is _always_ fear for this or fear for that. It must be horrible to live in a constant state of fear.

  • Tom Billings

    Aeoleus13 asks:

    “I sure would like it if you could explain to me how bans on embryonic stem-cell research, abstinence-only sex ed, creationism taught as a legitimate scientific theory in public schools, the Defense of Marriage Act, and anti-sodomy laws, to name a few, are not efforts to use the force of the state to enforce religious orthodoxy.”

    Each iof these things involves the previous use of taxpayer’s money to promote something that many religious people feel opposes their religion. The removal of that opposition by the government to their religion is viewed by them as moving religion and State farther from each other, not combining them.

    The only way to make that into moving State and religion closer is to assume that:

    1.) Currently government supported science consensus is a useful tool for political decision-making.

    2.) That the initial use of government funds for these activities is itself both constitutional and not an assault on religious freedom, because of the non-voluntary nature of the taxes used to support these activities.

    Essentially, to think that ending these activities support by government is a inception of merging church and State one has to willing say to religious people “your opinions don’t count politically,…so,…shut up, he explained.”

    In short, academic institutions that often get government money for science are no longer trusted to actually produce results by the scientific method, but by simulating it, to get the results politicians want.

    It is not nearly so much an opposition to science, but an opposition to academic institutions that are now widely viewed as having betrayed the Republic during the struggle with “the socialist camp”, and as being willing to do so again,…especially for more money.

  • Joseph Somsel

    There is a thread in our history that goes back to the English Civil War that still resonants.

    The Puritan Roundheads acted like the Taliban while the Royalist Cavaliers acted like “Pirates of the Carribean.”

    But that was almost 500 years ago. Times change.

  • R.C.

    Others are already replying to Aeolus (albeit with varying degrees of graciousness), so I’ll skip that for the moment.

    But I’d like to reply to Jim Hlavac, who identifies himself as “the gay guy in the cross hairs” of various evangelical organizations.

    Jim, I note with great interest that you claim, “If they outlaw gays again (and it’s not just our sex, it’s our very existence, this we know and feel and are quite sure about)….”

    This is a great surprise to me. You write with the structure and precision of someone who thinks clearly, yet this statement, if I understand you correctly, seems as obviously, demonstrably wrong as someone claiming that the sun is cold.

    So let me first test if I understand your statement correctly.

    By this statement, did you mean to assert that evangelicals want not only to outlaw same-gendered persons engaging in mutual masturbation, but to lock up anyone who is at all tempted to engage in same-gender sex acts, even if they have never done so?

    That seems to be the only way to interpret your claim that it is the existence of persons with SSAD (same-sex attraction disorder), not their sex (by which I must assume you mean “sex acts”) that evangelicals (in your view) wish to criminalize.

    As I say, it seems the only way to interpret your claim, but if that’s what you meant, it’s a fantastical claim!

    It seems to me that the test-case for your claim would be this: How would a bunch of evangelicals react to a person who said that…

    (a.) they wrestled with the temptation to commit sexual acts with same-gendered persons;

    (b.) they regarded such acts to be morally wrong; and,

    (c.) they had not in fact ever given in to that temptation.

    I think the answer is pretty well-known, inasmuch as it already happens: They would consider such a person heroic; and if his gifts lent themselves to such activity, they’d likely have him give speeches in their churches.

    But that very fact seems to disprove your assertion on the face of it. It shows that it’s the sex acts, not the temptation to them, that is the problem in the eyes of evangelicals. They’ve no problem with chaste gays any more than with sober alcoholics or with accountants who are tempted to embezzle but don’t, or with persons with pica who in fact eat healthy food.

    In short, it seems to me that if one defines “being gay” as “actively pursuing/engaging in sex acts with same-gender persons,” then of course evangelicals have a problem with that.

    But if “being gay” means being tempted to doing that, but not doing it, then evangelicals are apt to cheer.

  • Kris


    To reiterate Dr Mead’s point, I’ve heard about the horrible Evangelical tsunami for over a generation now. And yet, gay rights have progressed unimaginably during that time. Strange, innit?

  • rfichoke

    It sounds like aeolus13 has simply redefined “Theocracy” as “stuff I don’t like.” Leftists are such drama queens.

  • Wayne Sutton

    People resort to negative labeling (name calling) when their arguments no longer stand up to reason… Just sayin’.

  • Ray Harwick

    Isn’t the irony here that you have a Christian using a political forum to make this point? Else, why isn’t he publishing this on “Christian Interests” instead of “American Interests”?

    Rick Perry *began* his campaign by holding a religious meeting attended by 71,000, um, Take-Back-The-Country-For-Christ devotees. Did you notice how Perry **leaped** into the lead of the Republican primary when he did that? What Republicans know that Mr. Mead doesn’t want to acknowledge is that the GOP and the Religious Right hare *indistinguishable* any more.

    Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachman, Rick Santorum, all signed the “save marriage” pledge. Now why would they do that for the **religious organization** who wrote the pledge? Don’t tell me that Mormon Mitt Romney supports that organization’s call for Jews to convert to Christianity so he was on board. No. Mitt Romney knows who runs the GOP – Evangelicals.

  • KMF

    Is Christianism All Hype?

    Focus on the Family is laying off staff. This prompts Walter Russell Mead to defend Evangelicals and deny the power of American Christianism:

    [I]f anybody in America ever establishes a theocracy, it is unlikely to be evangelicals. Almost all American evangelicals come out of religious traditions that were persecuted in either Europe or the US or both by “established” churches tied to the government. It became an article of faith for the persecuted evangelicals that church and state should be kept at arms length.

    Has he been conscious since Roe vs Wade? The point here, it seems to me, is that Focus on the Family is no longer necessary. Its positions – once radical – are now litmus tests for every GOP candidate save one. It controls the party on social issues so completely the likeliest nominee began his campaign at a prayer rally. The winner of the Iowa straw poll is not just anti-gay, but actually has a business “curing” them. Criminalizing all abortion is now not even up for debate within the GOP, and blind, faith-based support for Greater Israel in a global war against Islam is also de rigueur. Mead can dream on … but you don’t need a religious right when the GOP has itself become synonymous with it.

  • ardsley

    Just burn them all at the stake and be done with it. It’s then a moot point.

  • Kris


    Or as seems to be the case here: Post whatever non-reality-based comment you want, and let the moderator sort them out.

  • ardsley

    Perhaps I can clarify. Burn all the Christianists at the stake. This will eliminate the question whether they’re taking over. The rest of us can then go on with our lives.

  • Kris


    That sounds like an excellent plan, and I urge you to carry it out. Once you’re done, I will launch my own stake-burning initiative.

    [Title for this comment: “Well Done”.]

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