Friday, April 29, 2005
Reminder: 'Values' Democrats aren't fishing for fundies.
I recommend Dan Kennedy's Boston Phoenix article about watching the
Christian nationalist "Justice Sunday" broadcast last weekend with a dozen members of a conservative Congregationalist church in New Hampshire, but he says one thing that is worth clarifying. After interviewing the Southern Baptist-trained pastor named David Bezanson, an affable but hard-right guy, Kennedy writes:
Liberals and progressives are forever making the mistake of thinking they can win over the other side, and are thus forever frittering away whatever small advantage they have by compromising with the right, making deals, and giving up on some of their principles in the hopes of obtaining concessions somewhere down the line. Statements such as Bezansonís are a useful reminder: the religious right aims to win, period.
Who could doubt that the religious right "aims to win"? And yet the reason Democrats have needed to get religion is not in order to sway the religious right. There's a huge middle in American religion between Ted Haggard's militant Evangelicals and, say, Unitarian Universalists. Methodists, for example. Many of these people aren't activists in the culture wars but are trending Republican because the G.O.P. dresses up its odious policies in religion- and family-friendly garb. They're not fundamentalists (and certainly not Dominionists), but they are the audience for improved communication from Democrats.
Liberals don't need to peel away Southern Baptist voters, and couldn't even if they tried. I'd be content if the Democrats could simply do a better job of seeming to understand mainstream Protestants.
Meanwhile, Kevin Drum is looking for "appealing, wide-ranging, and clearly unconservative" principles that liberals are for ó the liberal answer to "low taxes, traditional family values, and a strong military." Give it a try.
Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 29 April 2005 at 5:42 PM