As noted many times on this blog, I attribute the descent of the Republican Party largely with the rise of the Christofascists within the party. We are seeing the fruits of this hijacking of the party by religious extremists in Iowa where the GOP contest looks more like a contest to select the next leader of a right wing religious denomination than selecting the leader a world superpower. Equally unsettling is the reality that has tracked education levels and the least educated among Christians - and some would also argue low IQ's - is among the evangelical denominations. Thus, in Iowa, we see the least educated being give a role in selecting the nation's leader. It's a frightening spectacle as noted in a New York Times column over the weekend. Here are column highlights:
IN the final, furious days of campaigning here, it was sometimes hard to tell whether this state’s Republicans were poised to vote for a president or a preacher, a commander or a crusader.
The references to religion were expansive. The talk of it was excessive. A few candidates didn’t just profess the supposed purity of their own faith. They questioned rivals’ piety, with Ted Cruz inevitably leading the way.The evangelist or the apostate: That’s how the choice was framed. And it underscored the extent to which the Iowa caucuses have turned into an unsettling holy war.Religion routinely plays a prominent part in political campaigns, especially on the Republican side, and always has an outsize role in Iowa, where evangelical Christians make up an especially large fraction of the Republican electorate.Jeb Bush questioned Trump’s faith. Marco Rubio kept going out of his way to extol his own. HE released a television commercial here in which he speaks directly to the camera about what it means to be Christian. “Our goal is eternity, the ability to live alongside our creator for all time,” he says. “The purpose of our life is to cooperate with God’s plan.”During last week’s debate, he worked religion into an answer to a question that had nothing to do with it.Cruz’s whole strategy for capturing the presidency hinges on evangelicals’ support, as Robert Draper details in The Times Magazine.He rails against abortion rights and same-sex marriage in speeches that sound like sermons, with references to Scripture and invocations of God.It’s impossible to know the genuineness of someone’s faith. That’s among the reasons we shouldn’t grant it center stage.Religion was integral to our country’s founding. It’s central to our understanding of the liberty that each of us deserves. But so are the principles that we don’t enshrine any one creed or submit anyone — including those running for office — to religious litmus tests. So why does a Republican race frequently resemble such an exam?One of the speakers expressed joy at the thought of “a president who’s willing to kneel down and ask God for guidance as he’s leading our country.” Cruz had declared such willingness in Iowa in November at an evangelical conference where a right-wing pastor talked about the death penalty for gay people and the need for candidates to accept Jesus as the “king of the president of the United States.”I’m less interested in whether a president kneels down than in whether he or she stands up for the important values that many religions teach — altruism, mercy, sacrifice — along with the religious pluralism that this country rightly cherishes. And while I agree that Trump is unfit for the Oval Office, Corinthians has nothing to do with it.