Via Meadia has spilled a lot of virtual ink trying to reassure parts of the blogosphere that the “Christianists” aren’t coming in the middle of the night to lock us all up. Whether responding to alarmism about supposed power surges by “dominionists” or Mormons, we keep pointing out that while there are all kinds of fruitcakes in our rich and wonderful land, the US keeps moving away rather than toward some kind of enforced religious uniformity.
It’s as foolish for the left to hyperventilate about the dominionist danger as it is for the right to get its knickers in a twist over alleged Muslim plots to impose Sharia. America has a lot of problems these days; the imposition of theocracy — whether Catholic, evangelical, dominionist, Islamic, Jewish, Zoroastrian — isn’t one of them.
Fortunately, some writers on the left are also trying to help the overwrought and the panic stricken calm down. Michael Kazin, for example, co-editor of Dissent, understands that the “Christianists” aren’t taking over tomorrow, and writing in The New Republic, he offers an obituary for the Christian Right:
[W]hatever their influence on the Republican primary, the Christian Right is fighting a losing battle with the rest of the country—above all, when it comes to abortion and same-sex marriage, the issues they care most about. A strong majority of Americans backs abortion in the early months of a pregnancy. If elected president, it’s exceedingly unlikely that Romney would ever sign legislation that could lead to the indictment of millions of women and tens of thousands of physicians for fetal murder. Last fall, even voters in Mississippi soundly rejected a bill that might have done just that.
Meanwhile, support for gay rights is rising, quite swiftly. Same-sex marriage tops fifty percent in some recent polls, and the remarkably placid response to New York’s recent legalization of the practice will make it easier for other states to follow suit. With over two-thirds of Americans now endorsing the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the debate on that once controversial issue is now a matter for historians to analyze.
Some of the changes in American morals and mores are good and some are troubling, but Kazin is basically right: America is becoming much more of a live-and-let-live society. The public likes values and for the most part it likes religion, but one of the values that Americans care about is tolerance.
I’ve said it before and I say it again: The Handmaid’s Tale is not coming to a country near you.