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Dear Evangelicals: You’re Being Had

An interesting article in The Daily Beast points out what should be obvious to everyone by now — the GOP may pay lip service to social conservatives, but they haven’t actually done much of anything for them. The interesting part is why — you can’t solve a cultural problem with a political solution. Or stated another way, you can’t legislate morality.

Prohibition demonstrated that a long time ago, but somehow that didn’t stop us from trying a “war on drugs”. So what made anyone think that making homosexuality a crime would eliminate it? Or think that making abortion illegal would do anything other than cause the deaths of desperate women.

In large part the GOP gained power in the last 40 years because they expanded their base beyond the rich, moneyed elites who have always controlled the party by adding (mainly religious) social conservatives. For the rich, this was a marriage of convenience, and for them it was very convenient. As the article puts it:

Now, let’s see who has won, and who has lost, in the ensuing 34 years.

It’s clear that the rich—call them the 1 percent if you like, but I prefer to think of them as the moneylenders whom Jesus threw out of the Temple—have prospered enormously. In 1983, the wealthiest 1 percent were 131 times richer than the average American. In 2009, they were 225 times richer. In 2012, the top 20 percent made $13.5 trillion in income; the entire bottom 80% made $1 trillion.

These are disparities not seen since before the Great Depression. Whether for better or for worse, the ultra-rich have done extremely well in the 30 years you’ve allied with them.

How have you done, in the same period? Not well at all. Not only is gay marriage now the law for over two-thirds of Americans while the value of marriage in general has been declining for decades; not only are television, film, music, and video games more vulgar than we could have imagined in 1980; but more Americans are declaring themselves “Nones,” that is, people of no religious affiliation, than ever before in our history. Sure, some churches are expanding, but overall, your way of life is in steep decline. In short, you are losing horribly.

Ironically, social conservatives should learn from the gay movement, which initially tried a political solution (laws and lawsuits), but saw that the more they tried to force their beliefs on others, the stronger the backlash. They realized that to solve a cultural problem (discrimination against gays) they had to use a cultural solution.

And gays did, with TV shows like Ellen and “Will & Grace” and by breaking down cultural stereotypes in hundreds of other ways. They showed that gays are people with the same hopes and aspirations as everyone else. And it worked. Even gay friends of mine were surprised by how quickly they won the right to marry. And with little or no backlash.

In trying for a political solution, social conservatives have created such a backlash. The face of social conservatism has become shrill politicians and wingnuts like Michele Bachmann and Fred Phelps. No wonder young people are running away from religion. But most Christians are not bigots or homophobes.

Social conservatives are in an abusive relationship with the Republican party. Maybe it is time to break up.

There is a good reason why our founding fathers insisted on a wall of separation between church and state. It was meant to protect religion as much as to protect the state.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    “Ironically, social conservatives should learn from the gay movement, which initially tried a political solution (laws and lawsuits), but saw that the more they tried to force their beliefs on others, the stronger the backlash. They realized that to solve a cultural problem (discrimination against gays) they had to use a cultural solution.”

    But now role is reversed, sexual and moral deviancy is forced upon us to accept as normal and dare we raise voice, we get shunned, lose business, lose job etc. I hope someone can fight for my right to consider homosexuality what it is, without government forcing to close my business and life etc.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 5:35 am | Permalink
  2. Xuuths wrote:

    Little or no backlash?! What planet is that person on?

    It is the lawsuits which are granting marriage equality, not episodes of “Ellen.”

    Oh, and Hassan, you can “consider” homosexuality to be whatever you want. But if you offer services to the public, you have to treat them equally with everyone else. You don’t have to close your business, just treat them like everyone else.

    If you think dogs are unclean — don’t get one, but if you have a business open to the public, you can’t tell a blind person with a seeing-eye dog that they can’t come in. Tough noogies about your personal beliefs. When you open a business to the public, you don’t get to pick the public.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  3. Jon wrote:

    Quoting from an article printed last February (the whole thing can be seen here:

    2. “My religious liberty is at risk because:
    A) I am not allowed to marry the person I love legally, even though my religious community blesses my marriage.
    B) Some states refuse to enforce my own particular religious beliefs on marriage on those two guys in line down at the courthouse.

    3. My religious liberty is at risk because:
    A) I am being forced to use birth control.
    B) I am unable to force others to not use birth control.

    4. My religious liberty is at risk because:
    A) I am not allowed to pray privately.
    B) I am not allowed to force others to pray the prayers of my faith publicly.

    5. My religious liberty is at risk because:
    A) Being a member of my faith means that I can be bullied without legal recourse.
    B) I am no longer allowed to use my faith to bully gay kids with impunity.

    Meanwhile, religious organizations continue to enjoy tax-exempt status for the simple reason that, they have that much political power.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    XUUTHS, yes business is open for everyone. It does not matter if customer is doctor who performs abortion, or woman who was performed abortion on her, a guy who is serial adulterer, a guy who cheats on his tax, a banker who intends to defraud people, a person who may go home and commit act of sodomy.

    But if am baker (for example) I have right not to make cake for abortion party, adulterer’s 100th adultery party, tax cheater party, banker promotion party or gay wedding party. I think it is simple, but gays are not happy enough to be tolerated, they want celebrated and anyone who refuses to do so will face their wrath one way or another.

    Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  5. bobsuruncle wrote:

    Hassan, to be on the level, I’m sure there are some that do feel that way. That said, the majority are simply looking to be treated as equal under the law. In many states, being gay disqualify you from adopting, donating blood,as well as visiting your life partner in the hospital during non visiting hours.

    So, should I feel bad that you are asked to treat someone the same as someone else? Nope.

    As to the silly examples? Yes, yes you should have to make those cakes. You opened a public business. My tax dollars support your business.

    Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink
  6. Michael wrote:

    Actually, Hassan doesn’t have to make those cakes because he’s not a baker. He just trots out that as a red herring any time marriage equality is ever mentioned.

    I shouldn’t do it, but okay, I’ll bite. Here is why the baker analogy fails: There is no fundamental difference in the actions performed for a heterosexual and a homosexual civil marriage. The only difference is the identity of the participants, which is what makes it illegal discrimination.

    Let me make your examples more analogous to refusing to bake a cake at a gay wedding: You advertise that you specialize in cakes for abortion parties, unless the woman is black. Your business caters to adultery parties, unless the participants are Muslim. You send out flyers for tax cheat parties but refuse to serve anyone over the age of 50. You have a specialty banker promotion cake but turn away all women as customers.

    That is what is going on with the baker example and why it doesn’t hold water. The baker’s role–which is also true for the photographer, caterer, etc.–is identical in all types of weddings. Bakers et al., are NOT participants, nor are they celebrants. They are vendors selling goods and services on an open market. Refusing to provide those services based solely on the identity of the clients is discrimination, plain and simple. If your business is focused on baking cakes for weddings in general, you cannot discriminate. That is part of the social contract that underlies operating a business. If you do not accept the legal requirements for operating your business, then you need to find a new business.

    Note that if your business is advertised as serving exclusively Jewish weddings, for instance, you might have a case for an exception on religious grounds. But you cannot say that you will serve everyone BUT Jewish weddings. The former can be defended as operating a religious-based business, while the latter is simply discriminatory.

    Here’s what I don’t get. In civil disobedience cases in the past, protestors have accepted punishment for standing up for their beliefs. Henry David Thoreau gladly went to jail for refusing to pay taxes in protest of the Mexican-American War and slavery. MLK went to jail in Birmingham to protest segregation. Gandhi and his supporters suffered violent beatings in their opposition to the British government. In all cases, they accepted their punishment without protest to demonstrate how unjust the systems they were protesting were. All I hear from religious conservatives about gay marriage is whining. They want to be able to discriminate and they want to be able to do it without retribution.

    But of course, none of this actual matters, because you have repeatedly made it clear that you are not a baker and you are just being a troll by trotting out this example again and again and again and again…

    Friday, December 5, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink
  7. Hassan wrote:

    MICHAEL, yes I am not baker, I use it example, did not know that it is not allowed to use it.

    Honestly, even if you don’t believe me, I feel that legally even I don’t have to serve in an event that I feel contradict to my religious principle. I hope SC clears it. Secondly, if my understanding is incorrect, then we will try to change laws. And lastly if we cant change the law, we will go the gandhi route you mentioned.

    Friday, December 5, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink
  8. Hassan wrote:

    BTW, I do regularly discriminate against banks and insurance companies. I get many job offers, and no matter how much they are willing to pay me, I refuse to work with them, not sure if that is illegal.

    Friday, December 5, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  9. Austin 3:16 wrote:

    Yeah it’s a terrible thing when minorities think they are the same as normal people.

    Right Hassan ?

    Friday, December 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink
  10. Hassan wrote:

    AUSTIN 3:16, are murderers, rapists, cheaters, wall street bankers minorities as well?

    Friday, December 5, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    “There is a good reason why our founding fathers insisted on a wall of separation between church and state. It was meant to protect religion as much as to protect the state.”

    This is definitely true. Look at Salem Massachusetts. It used to be by far the most religious part of the US, and was basically a theocracy in the colonial days.

    But then the Salem Witch Trials came along because of their theocracy. Anyone who dared speak against it wasn’t just attacking the government, but was seen as attacking god to.

    The damage of the Salem Witch Trials are still felt in Salem Massachusetts to this very day, the New England area is now the least religious part of the entire US, despite it’s history as the most religious part centuries ago. And the puritans who were in charge in Salem back then, just about extinct.

    Friday, December 5, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  12. Austin 3:16 wrote:

    ” are murderers, rapists, cheaters, wall street bankers minorities as well?”

    Nope. Unless you think any of the above is dependent upon factors such as ethnicity, race, gender, age, health or sexual orientation.

    Monday, December 8, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink