As long as even the few self-professed pro-life democrats continue to use the ruse of not enforcing their morality on the general population and continue to vote for pro-choice congressional leadership, the Democratic Party will have a hardtime picking up a significant number of evangelicals.
“The GOP is now dominated by two varieties of fundamentalism—the religious one, focused single-mindedly on matters south of the navel—and the economic one, which affirms the dogma that all taxes are the work of the devil.”
This characterization is the language of an ideologue, not a scholar–and most definitely not the language of a Peter Berger. Very disappointing.
This is an insightful article but in the world Mr Berger describes so acutely, I wonder why Democratic and Republican parties are even relevant. These artifacts of our political culture are less influential than ever, and the last time I looked, self-described independents were a larger segment than either of them. Insofar as political parties serve an organizing purpose, it would seem they need to evolve at least as much as our perceptions.
Then there is the oxymoronic Evangelical affordable housing activist who even wrote a book on an Old Testament social justice approach to affordable housing. When questioned whether she had any reservations given that sub-prime loans resulted in many lower income families eventually losing homes they couldn’t afford, she apparently had none. So Evangelicals for Affordable Housing may support a middle ground, although in this case I am not so sure it is “vital.”
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Berger makes a breezy and strangely oblique passing reference to the Christian progressives of the 19th and early 20th century —
“There has been an Evangelical Left in the Democratic party at least as early as William Jennings Bryan, who combined progressive views as then understood with a fierce belief in Biblical inerrancy (which Clarence Darrow successfully ridiculed in the famous Dayton “monkey trial”).”
— but fails to mention (even if only with an equally breezy parenthesis, for God’s sake), the distinctly and massively Christian character of the Abolition movement — just to pick out of the hat we are passing one progressive classically liberal social cause in which Christians were active.
I’m surprised that Ken Smith is surprised.
Besides, this is a blog, not an article in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, where the ideologue at least is more constrained to construct interpretations of data according to scrupulously rational rules (though even in that context enjoying certain fudge factors).
It’s precisely the sort of caricatures–which run very much against the grain of my experiences with the people he is [or thinks he is] talking about, that tend to discredit whatever else an essayist has to say on the topic.
One can, I think, write a blog and do it successfully without engaging in such base cartoonish depictions. If it’s necessary to use such things to appeal to a given audience, then I’d say that audience is not really worth addressing in the first place. Either in a blog or in a scholarly journal.
There are some interesting points here, but this language of “Godders” and the hysterical assumption that all conservative Christians care about is issues “south of the waist,” alongside some other rather brainless rhetoric, makes the whole thing rather silly. And when someone who talks like this says he’s never heard of appeals to secularists from the right, well, I simply understand that to mean that he lives in a bubble. Has he never read David Stove or Theodore Dalrymple? Heather Mac Donald or Melanie Phillips? I can think of a dozen major conservative thinkers who are avowed atheists, and I can think of scores and scores of conservatives who never make religious appeals in their writing, so that their faith (or lack thereof) is unknown and unknowable. To not be aware of this sounds like a confession of ignorance almost unimaginable.
They adhere to traditional moral values, but seek to balance them with various social causes (such as combating hunger, or AIDS, or sex trafficking)…
You’re saying that “traditional moral values” do not include combating hunger or sex trafficking?
And what if one’s traditional values include opposition to abortion, or disapproval of homosexuality? Is the Democrat Party USA ready to embrace these traditional moral values?
Oh why can’t Republicans be more like Democrats and Democrats be more like Republicans? Can’t we just forget about our differences, and let’s all get along.
Ken Smith and others have it exactly right. The rhetorical exaggeration of the opening paragraphs is inappropriate here and disappointing for those, like myself, who hope for better in Brother Berger’s analysis of our current situation. His concluding paragraph certainly suggests that his talents do not include a gift for satire.
But perhaps Berger isn’t what I thought he was after all.
Wow, Pew finds that young evangelical’s support for Republicans has fallen since it’s cyclical high point in 2005. So has every other demographic group’s, including Orthodox Rastafarians and Pedophiles. I bet the Dems has fallen since oh, let’s say November 2008. But can’t cite that stat, doesn’t fit the narrative. Shoddy argumentation.
I am particularly amused by the brand new insult ‘Godders’.
You stay classy, Mr. Berger
“There is nothing intrinsically secular in the Democratic party…”