Saturday, July 13, 2013

Social Conservatives' Role in Politics -- A Factual View

From an interview on CSPAN July 8, 2013. "Social Conservatives' Role in Politics" Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention, Ethics and Religion Liberty Commission President

Mr. Moore made a statement which I consider not only remarkable, I consider it almost unbelievable.  He said of the recent Supreme Court decision in regard to the validity of gay marriages,  "Well, I think it says something to social conservatives. I think that, for a long time, social conservatives in America had a kind of Silent Majority view of ourselves and conservative Evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics had a Moral Majority view of ourselves, as though we somehow represented the mainstream of American culture; that most people really agree with us except for some elites somewhere.  That isn't the case. I think we need to start seeing the fact that we're really very similar to what the Christian church was in the very beginning of it's existence, a minority of people that were speaking to the larger culture in ways that are going to sometimes seem freakish to that larger culture. I don't think that that's anything that should panic us or cause us to become outraged or despondent.  I think it's a realistic view of who we are."

Considering that these groups; the Tea Party, the Religious Right, and the Republican Party in general, have for the last few decades constructed an entire belief system and developed an entire political strategy out of their conviction that the are constantly subject to victimization by a tiny minority while they see themselves as clearly in the great majority; this is a very remarkable statement!

Many of us have never believed the Silent Majority existed as anything more than a very noisy minority. Neither did we believe that the Moral Majority was either very moral or anything but another minority. When Ronald Reagan was still president, I regularly referred to the latter as the Immoral Minority. This reflects my conviction that they failed to live up to their own moral strictures and were nothing more than an even noisier, and a very much self-pitying, minority.  

But they did not, and most of them still deny the essential liberality of the  United States. Even liberal commentators frequently, and inaccurately, state that our country is center right.  The Noisy Minority and the Immoral Minority insist that the nation is radical right. One can only understand the Republican Party's conviction that election after election has been stolen from them in the light of this view. If we accept the assumption that these individuals actually do comprise the vast majority of Americans, and then the fact that this vast majority is always beaten at the ballot box, the only explanation left is that the elections must have been stolen through some form of fraud.  Until now, this was the only possible conclusion which these individuals could reach.

However, if they now begin to face the facts, they will draw very different conclusions.  There may yet be hope for them. They can provide an interesting perspective to the national political dialogue if they realize their actual position.   I have never surrendered hope for America, although there was a time when I feared that we might be forced to defend our nation from its becoming a theocratic state; an Iran lite, if you will. 

I no longer believe that the extremists of the GOP have any chance of accomplishing more than fighting a delaying action to prolong the inevitable defeat of their Lost Cause.  Even if I am correct, unlike these self appointed Chosen Ones, we must be tolerant and protect their rights, even as they desperately try to strip us of ours.  Its the moral thing to do.

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