A veteran Republican says the religious right has taken over, and turned his party into anti-intellectual nuts

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    Aug 06, 2012 12:42 PM GMT
    GOP insider: Religion destroyed my party

    A veteran Republican says the religious right has taken over, and turned his party into anti-intellectual nuts
    By Mike Lofgren


    This article is an excerpt from the book "The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted," available from Viking.

    Having observed politics up close and personal for most of my adult lifetime, I have come to the conclusion that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism may have been the key ingredient in the transformation of the Republican Party. Politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes—at least in the minds of its followers—all three of the GOP’s main tenets: wealth worship, war worship, and the permanent culture war.

    Religious cranks ceased to be a minor public nuisance in this country beginning in the 1970s and grew into a major element of the Republican rank and file. Pat Robertson’s strong showing in the 1988 Iowa presidential caucus signaled the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. Unfortunately, at the time I mostly underestimated the implications of what I was seeing. It did strike me as oddly humorous that a fundamentalist staff member in my congressional office was going to take time off to convert the heathen in Greece, a country that had been overwhelmingly Christian for almost two thousand years. I recall another point, in the early 1990s, when a different fundamentalist GOP staffer said that dinosaur fossils were a hoax. As a mere legislative mechanic toiling away in what I held to be a civil rather than ecclesiastical calling, I did not yet see that ideological impulses far different from mine were poised to capture the party of Lincoln.

    The results of this takeover are all around us: If the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution, scriptural inerrancy, the presence of angels and demons, and so forth, it is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party, and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary beliefs. All around us now is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science. Politicized religion is the sheet anchor of the dreary forty-year-old culture wars.

    The Constitution notwithstanding, there is now a de facto religious test for the presidency: Major candidates are encouraged (or coerced) to share their feelings about their faith in a revelatory speech, or a televangelist like Rick Warren will dragoon the candidates (as he did with Obama and McCain in 200icon_cool.gif to debate the finer points of Christology, offering himself as the final arbiter. Half a century after John F. Kennedy put to rest the question of whether a candidate of a minority denomination could be president, the Republican Party has reignited the kinds of seventeenth-century religious controversies that advanced democracies are supposed to have outgrown. And some in the media seem to have internalized the GOP’s premise that the religion of a candidate is a matter for public debate.

  • HottJoe

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    Aug 06, 2012 5:34 PM GMT
    Nicely written. It baffles me that anyone who isn't part of the Christian right would even want to associate with the republican party anymore.
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    Aug 06, 2012 5:35 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidNicely written. It baffles me that anyone who isn't part of the Christian right would even want to associate with the republican party anymore.
    Fundamentalist Christians specialize in brainwashing.

    Smart people can see through it.
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    Aug 07, 2012 2:12 AM GMT
    Very insightful and accurate.

    It's sad to see what the Repub party has devolved into.

    The only reason the Repub party is still competitive politically is because they have an effective propaganda machine and a shrinking base of brainwashed knee jerk supporters.
  • HottJoe

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    Aug 07, 2012 2:33 AM GMT
    friendlyjock01 said
    RickRick91 saidVery insightful and accurate.

    It's sad to see what the Repub party has devolved into.

    The only reason the Repub party is still competitive politically is because they have an effective propaganda machine and a shrinking base of brainwashed knee jerk supporters.


    You forgot to add that the Republican party is populated by morons, racists and inbreds.


    Why state the obvious?
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    Aug 07, 2012 3:58 AM GMT
    That guy could not be more correct.
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    Aug 07, 2012 4:00 AM GMT
    BmV3k.gif

    they're all nothing but self-righteous, finger-pointing, hypocritical, sanctimonious, ignorant bigots.
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    Aug 07, 2012 6:54 AM GMT
    eightball saidBmV3k.gif

    they're all nothing but self-righteous, finger-pointing, hypocritical, sanctimonious, ignorant bigots.




    And they've been screwing the country for too damn long.

    This November we get the change to screw them back - and boot their worthless asses out of Congress.