The honchos of the Christian Right met in Salt Lake City last week to discuss strategy.
Kind of like the Sermon on the Mount. The big guys talking about strategy. Positioning. Sound bites.
Well, there are certainly sound bites in the Sermon on the Mount, anyway. It remains to be seen whose bites will have more enduring appeal, but I have my suspicions. Hey, Jesus does have a pretty good head start.
The biggest bite coming from Utah was the declaration that The Christian Right (which is remarkably good at speaking with one voice) will be really really mad if Republicans nominate a pro-choice candidate like Rudy Guiliani. In fact, they will find themselves a nice third party candidate to vote for. And make all of their millions of faithful followers vote for that guy too. (I'm assuming it's a guy--that seems pretty safe.)
Good for them! That's the way it's supposed to work. You examine your values, study the words of, say, the Sermon on the Mount, and then decide whom you will support. Based on principles, not power.
(Having done that myself, I have to say that I wouldn't vote for Rudy Guiliani either.)
Okay, so I know that this is really a power check. James Dobson and Tony Perkins and the rest of the wild kingdom of fundamentalism are trying to see if they have any relevance left in the big scary world of politics. The answer is "not nearly as much as you want." Which is bad news for them, and mixed news for the rest of us.
Fundamentalism gave us George W. Bush, and this travesty has gone on long enough that I don't even have to comment on that. Just say it--they are responsible for the current administration. They know it and we know it and if they are happy about it, it's a nostalgic happiness, because their influence is waning, and everybody knows that as well.
I find that to be a good thing, generally, as I disagree with the Religious Right about most social matters. (Though we are not on opposite sides on abortion. We're not on the same side either, but you simply can't say they're wrong to fight for the rights of unborn children. I wish they'd choose to fight for better child support enforcement and widely available birth control, but there's where we disagree again.)
Here's the thing, though. The Religious Right has been rendered increasingly irrelevant in national politics because they don't play the game very well. They actually expect to get everything they want from our very broken political system. Even the brazen idealists no longer expect that. We've started settling for people who are "electable" and then looking the other way as they compromise compromise compromise. On their promises, on their integrity, on our future.
So I say "good for you" to the religious right for sticking to their guns and expecting the system to serve them. We could all take a lesson from that. If only they would take a lesson from us in return, we might start getting somewhere.