Monday, February 11, 2008

Time - The Evangelicals' New Clothes

I must admit that it was entertaining to read this Time Magazine article (,8599,1711615,00.html) at basically mocks some of the ego-inflated, self-annoited "leaders" of the Christian Right and looks at their inability to dictate candidate support to the Republcan Party in this year's primary elections. May their influence continue to wane for the betterment of both the GOP and the nation. James Dobson and similar anti-gay bigots have held power - both real and perceived - for far too long in the GOP. Here are some story highlights:

So only after Fred and Rudy and Mitt have dropped out, and McCain has all but mathematically sealed the G.O.P. nomination, does Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson come out and endorse Mike Huckabee as "our best remaining choice for President of the United States," now that it can't possibly make a difference. Given how this season has unfolded, there is something beautifully appropriate about that.

Those who claim to be in public life to promote and defend certain values can least afford to look craven. We may expect that from the every-man-for-himself plutocrats; but the virtuecrats are supposed to believe in something. So when Robertson et al ignored the conspicuous apostasies of Rudy and, in his earlier more liberal life, Romney, in order to jump on the bandwagon, they exposed a much less lofty agenda: they just liked their seat at the table, they didn't want to lose, and they didn't seem to realize that by signing on with a front-runner, they were following, not leading; demonstrating weakness, not strength.

What this plot twist has really exposed is that the shepherds have no sheep. You get the sense that rank-and-file evangelicals are just as sick of their own "leaders" as they are of the political arena in general. This actually represents a return to normal: evangelicals have historically been suspicious of getting too deeply involved in worldly matters, preferring a focus on individual salvation. So their willingness to vote their hearts with Huck and leave the rest to the Lord is perfectly normal behavior.

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