…and what they are is becoming clearer as we approach December 12 and the Alabama Senate election.
Not that we didn’t already have a pretty good idea of what the religious right actually is: a fundamentalist, illiberal, basically white, and scary-as-all-hell arm of the Republican Party. You can accuse me of painting with too broad a brush, but I could use a roller in this case and it wouldn’t make any difference.
I could even use a spray gun if voters insist on saying loudly and proudly that they’ll be voting for an accused rapist and serial abuser. I didn’t make them say it, but they said it. (Do they know he was also a mall fugitive?)
Obviously, tribal politics has supplanted scripture among these evangelicals. Anyone but a democrat—okay, I get that part. But Anyone but a democrat including grown men who seek sex from fourteen year-old children is a little more problematic for most right-minded adults.
Evangelicals then: Tribalism. and politics. Not religion.
Now consider this little tidbit as the Republican tax bill nears a vote.
A 1954 law bans churches and other nonprofit groups from engaging in political activity. The law is 63 years old, and right-wing religious groups have been fighting it for 62.9 years. Now, in the reign of Trump, Moore, and others who traffic in misaligned libidos, these groups may have a chance to turn churches into a well-funded political force: by some estimates close to $2 billion could end up in church coffers, and the leaders would have the legal right to spend it on whatever rapist or child abuser they wanted—provided it was not a Democrat. I wouldn’t think women or citizens of color would benefit from their funding either.
Those of us who still advocate for that quaint notion of separating church and state oppose this, but upon further review, maybe it’s time to end the hypocrisy. Let’s call all those religious leaders and their followers, all of whom seem so forgiving of Trump, Moore, et al. what they really are: Republicans. But let’s also designate them a bona fide political party with a platform and a nominating committee and a convention and the name of their choosing. Oh, and a color: they could be the white states on election night.
Of course this is the last thing that the actual Republican party, what remains of it, would want to see. The splintering would virtually assure there’d never be another Republican president—not without a subsequent purge and the re-establishment of the center. That damage might take a generation to repair.
But at least we could stop listening to Democrats like me whining about the hypocrisy of the evangelicals. They’re not hypocrites: they’re just the party faithful.