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In Defense of the Religious Right

Compass Points has an interview with Pat Hynes about his upcoming book, In Defense of the Religious Right. I was allowed a sneak peek at the book several weeks ago and highly recommend it. I will be posting a review next week. In the spirit of full disclosure, Pat is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He and his partner in crime, Bulldog Pundit, let me guest blog at Crush Kerry back when I was still very new to blogging and both of them have provided much encouragement to me over the past couple of years. Even if I didn't think so highly of Pat, though, I could recommend the book wholeheartedly because it is really, really good and the topic is quite timely, as well. Pat has tons of experience in politics, so I expected the book to be informative. I was surprised, though, considering the serious subject matter, to also find it fun to read. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Miner: Quite a few people and even some bestselling books are saying the GOP is the party of theocracy. Any truth in this?

Hynes: None at all. Conservative Christians within the GOP don't agree on their theology, so to say they are trying to establish a theocracy is an ignorant smear.

Miner: During your research, did you come across genuine American theocrats equivalent to the Iranian mullahs?

Hynes: No. The claim that conservative Christians in America are akin to the Iranian mullahs is an update to a similar smear that surfaced after September 11th - back then, the Religious Right was likened almost daily to the Taliban. This much is true: no matter the point in history, liberal pundits and extremist politicians will compare conservative Christians in America to whichever Islamo-fascist regime threatens to kill innocent Americans.

Miner: Is it fair to call America a "Christian nation"?

Hynes: Yes. America is a Christian nation. As I write in my book, "Is America a Christian nation? Of course it is. Don't be ridiculous. What a stupid question." The American form of government--a federalist-style representative democracy--was most certainly established as a secular framework. But it was so designed to best reflect the will of the people at all levels of government, federal, state, and local. Christian values have always informed the public's will--from the moment William Bradford stepped foot on Plymouth Rock to the 2004 election.

Miner: How much impact will the Religious Right have in this November's midterm election? How much in '08?

Hynes: It is too soon to tell whether the Religious Right will engage the 2006 election with the same fervor it engaged the 2004 election or if conservative Christians--demoralized by the ineffectiveness of the Republican majority in Washington--will say home. Social issues or, if you prefer, "moral values" issues generally play a greater role in our public dialogue during a campaign than during the congressional session. They will so again this year and that fact will motivate many Christians to vote. If it motivates them as powerfully as in the past, their voice will dominate the public dialogue again this election year. If not, Republicans will probably lose their majority.

Jeremy Lott has more on the book here.

Comments (11)

I think people have difficu... (Below threshold)

I think people have difficulty discussing their faith and their politics in the same place, Lorie. I don't understand why, but I've noticed it before.

Isn't the American Religiou... (Below threshold)
Ken Hoop:

Isn't the American Religious Right almost exclusively peopled by "radical left" (in history's terminology) apocalpytic millenialists who long for and believe in an imminent Armageddon and the return of Christ? Aren't the vast majority some stripe of "Rapture"-yearning
"pre-tribulationists" who can also be called
"Christian Zionists" , as they view the state of Israel as a fulfllment of Bible prophecy and
believe they should support only politicians who do the bidding of Israel's right wing parties?

Doesn't seem all that optimistically healthy-or positive- a phenomenon to me. And the eschatology is very modernist & un-Traditional, again , not a very "Right" orientation.

Ken, in a word, no.<p... (Below threshold)

Ken, in a word, no.

In two words, hell no.

In three words...you get the idea, don't you?

Ken, your ignorance is show... (Below threshold)

Ken, your ignorance is showing.

Nice try Ken, but not even ... (Below threshold)

Nice try Ken, but not even close.

I'm a so called(right wing ... (Below threshold)

I'm a so called(right wing Christian)and i'll vote and incourage all Christians to vote because we can't afford to allow the Athiest left to control this country.The Repubs. tried to lose this election,but no matter how weak they have been,we can't allow the dems in power that would be the begining of the end.

Anybody else think that Ken... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Anybody else think that Ken's response was cut and pasted?

Meanwhile, the one negative review of th book posted on the Amazon site by some clown named Steve Zecola was utterly ridiculous. His rant had nothing to do with the book at hand and everything to do with his prejudices against Christianity. His first sentence is telling:

"Evangelicals believe the Bible is inerrant. However, we know that virtuous human beings wrote the Bible without the insights provided by the microscope or the telescope, nor did God choose to bestow these insights upon them."

Offered with no proof, no context, no intelligence, either.

If you're going to review a book, at last 1) read it, 2) critique its contents, 3) consider its arguments, and 4) critique its conclusions. Don't rant and rave because you want to score some cheap political points or want to use someone else's work to spread your own message of predjudice or misinformation.

(Disclaimer: Pat Hynes has asked me to review this book for Amazon, which I will do fairly and to the best of my abilities.)

I found Ken's statements to... (Below threshold)

I found Ken's statements to be at least true enough to be amusing... including the pro-Israel thing. It's better than being pro-theotherguys, though, and at least apocalyptic milenialists don't go around cutting people's heads off.

And it's very true that they aren't mono-lithic enough to be shooting for any sort of theocracy, so that's accurate too.

At least Synova gets it. Ev... (Below threshold)
Ken Hoop:

At least Synova gets it. Evangelicalism is
dominated by premillenial Rapture-yearners.
But while "God and One are a majority", the US
and Israel are not. And if the US continues to
allow Israel-first neocons to dominate foreign
policy, the US will continue to lose in Iraq,
and lose influence in the Middle East.

Ken, your description pegs ... (Below threshold)

Ken, your description pegs me pretty accurately. So what? I could similarly characterize the religious left as godless humanists who care more about whether a lobster feels pain when it's cooked than they care about the killing of millions of innocent fetuses.

We will not "continue to lose" the war in Iraq, we will continue to win it - despite the best efforts of American Traitorcrats to defeat us from within.

Pope Pius IX, in his Encycl... (Below threshold)

Pope Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1954, said:"The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defence of liberty of consdience are most pestilential error---a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state." The same Pope in his Encyclical Letter of 1864 ANATHEMATIZED "Those who assert the liberty of conscience and of regligious worship, also "all such as maintain that the church may not employ force." The Catholic church dosn't belive in seperation of church and state the Catholic is supreme,the Pope is the Absolute authority in all earthly and hevenly matters and thay will be the MAJORITY in a decade or two.






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