Sunday, June 12, 2005

Topic of the Week - The Christian 'Whites'

Recent 'controversy' as reported by the media on Howard Dean's comments on how the Republican Party has turned into a party of White Christian Men is somewhat interesting to comment upon. Dean's comments were as follows "The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. They're a pretty monolithic party. They pretty much all behave the same, they all look the same... It's pretty much a white Christian party." Is this not a fairly accurate statement? Over the past fifteen years, when you combine it with the fact that whites have shrunk from 89% of the electorate in 1976 to just 77% in 2004, you can get a sense of just how quickly the white Christian percentage of the population is shrinking. As they shrink in size, they have voted more and more for Republicans.

Do you think it is coincidence that in the 70's the Democratic Party's base was the southern U.S. and Great Plains and now is predominantly Republican? Today, based on a strategic, focused initiative beginning over 30 years ago, the Republican Party sought out white, Evangelical Christian voters and then promoted the specific religious views of the Evangelical Christians into their public policy issues. Basically, the Republican Party realized the only way to reach middle class America, was through religious (disguised as social) issues. Whereas the southern U.S. and Great Plains felt victims of economic consequence in the past, the Republicans have convinced these same people they are victims of religious persecution here in the United States.

Now today, we are experiencing one of the most dangerous transformation elements ever...a very united, organized effort by the majority of the Republican Party, at the federal, state and local level, in incorporating the Evangelical Christian belief system into our public policies...with an attempt to define morality for the American populace according to this belief system. Diversity, once embraced by our country, is now narrowed and interpreted as ethnic diversity...religious diversity as framed within our constitution, is now attempting to be compromised by incorporating one religious belief system into our public policies.

I watched a short debate this morning on CNN between Peter Sprigg, Senior Director of Policy Studies of the American Family Research Council (Evangelical Christian Political Organization) and Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church & State.

Barry Lynn simply stated that within our country, there are 10,000 different religious groups, 20 million non-believers and how their organization is simply supporting the intent of our founding fathers - to look for commonly shared, constitutionally based values in our political system and process, not differing views that stem from different religious beliefs. To look for equal justice under law, respect for individual choice and not have religious views imposed on individuals. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Peter Sprigg, however, argued that all political issues stem from moral values and the American Research Family Council is only supporting values that are pro-family, in that we as Americans have always defined what a family is, a marriage between a man and woman where procreation is part of our natural order...so family is a mom, dad and children (Of course, this implies that same sex couples with or without children as well as heterosexual couples who elect not to have children are not considered moral). And Peter went on to state how the Christians' rights have been violated for many years and how they are simply trying to get their rights accepted into our policies. What?

Has this country not allowed Evangelical Christians to practice their religious beliefs? Unless I missed something, isn't that the basis for support of religion in this country? Simply, to allow for an individual or a group to practice their religious beliefs?

The victim mentality...sounds like the white Republican Evangelical Christians are playing the same card they like to attack for those who benefit from social programs (welfare, public housing, etc.). So, The Christian 'Whites' and The Christian Rights seem to be one in the same. Hasn't the Republican Party morphed into a party that pledges allegiance to the cross rather than to the American flag?

Once again, Howard Dean seems to be on target in that Republicans are the White Christian party. Diversity is almost non-existent...

Agree? Disagree? Post your comments below.

3 Comments:

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3rd paragraph; what is wromg with instituting Christian belief systems into into public policy isues. Should we use the Muslim belief system/ It was good eenough for the founding fathers to base the Constitution on, so???? that is dangerous???

Paragraph 5 do you know or have you read of anyone that is not allowed to practice their own religion in this country?

Last sentence. If Howard Dean is on target I say keep it up. Come 2008 the american population will vote not for Republican religiosity but against the lack of spine evidenced by the liberalism of the Democrats which has brought us to to the sorry state of social affairs we suffer with today.

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger PWB said...

Anonymous at 7:03 AM:

Our founding fathers did not base our Constitution on Christianity, they based it on the tenets of Christianity...big difference. If you recall, our founding fathers believed, supported and emphasized freedom of religion and separation of church & state. Their concern being the Church of England...where they came from and the corruption, the strict belief system in not allowing varying beliefs and the lack of support for diversity (remember our country is founded upon a melting pot - 'bring me your tired and your poor...").

Also, practicing your own religion is fine, just not in public forums that are either funded with public tax dollars or public forums where religion is not the focus (i.e. a baseball game, orchestra, etc.). Go and practice your religion in your privacy...

Last sentence - 'sorry state of social affairs' that liberalism has brought. I challenge you to name one sorry stated affair - come on...instead of this rhetoric you 'buy into' on talk radio or Fox news, lets read about one sorry state of affair that has affected this country adversely that is categorized as 'liberalism' - I am betting you cannot.

 
At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our founding fathers, in escaping religious tyranny from England, set up their own religious tyranny in the new world--that is why we needed the Constitutional ammendment that separates church and state. We are a nation of many faiths, yet the religious right group tends to claim that their faith is the right way--the only way. They make Christians look like bullies unwilling to share the country with people of other faiths.

 

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