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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bye Bye, Religious Right

For the first time in 20 years, the homosexual lobby proudly endorses a Kentucky candidate for governor: Steve Beshear. Beshear is receiving major support from out-of-state gay activists and has publicly committed to same-gender relationships, employment of more homosexuals in state government including teachers, and support for homosexual adoption of children.

If you believe these rights are fair please vote for Steve Beshear for governor. Visit

That's the text of a robocall Kentuckians received prior to yesterday's elections -- the audio is here. No one will take credit for it -- mostly because it's probably illegal -- although it tries damned hard to seem like it came from, a Kentucky gay rights group.

It may try hard, but it fails miserably. The references to the "homosexual lobby," "out-of-state gay activists," and "homosexual adoption of children" ensure that only those with room temperature IQs would fall for it. Not surprisingly, despite this brilliant political maneuver, Steve Beshear won his election, easily beating the hopelessly corrupt and indicted Republican Ernie Fletcher.

Fletcher tried pretty much every trick in the book to get the religious nuts to the polls. He played up the fact that he was once a preacher. In an incredibly transparent move, he ordered that the Ten Commandments be displayed in the Capitol on the day before the election.

For some voters, the 2004 theme of "God, gays, and guns" worked. "I think his problems have been mostly politics," one voter said. "I think he's done a fine job. I think he's got high morals, and that's what the state needs." It's hard to figure how someone has "high morals" when just about everyone who's been paying attention knows that Fletcher's hiring scandal will likely put him behind bars. In response to the initial wave of indictments, Fletcher issued his own wave of pardons -- there's corrupt and then there's shamelessly corrupt.

Fletcher's humiliating loss may reflect the future of the religious right nationally. Hounded by high profile scandals and hypocrisy, split in support for candidates, and facing an electorate much more concerned about the economy and Iraq than what people do in bed, the religious right may find themselves not much of a player in 2008.

What a difference four years makes. In February of 2004, a Pew poll showed that 63% of respondents opposed same sex marriage. By August, that number had dropped dramatically to 56% and has continued to fall until it became a bare majority of 51% by 2006. Scaring people with gays may not work with many, since fewer and fewer people are afraid of them.

So other fear-based arguments are being used. A photo is making the rounds and nuts are freaking out.

Barack Obama without hand over heart

Terrifyin', ain't it? According to, "The photo [show's] Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama neglecting to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem at Senator Tom Harkin's Steak Fry event on September 16 in Indianola, Iowa."

Nuts see this as evidence that Barack Obama hates America -- which wouldn't really explain this whole "running for president" thing he's doing. puts up a few emails about the photo, of which this is entirely representative.

I am not pushing my political views on anyone but I am asking you to OPEN YOUR EYES TO WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR COUNTRY TODAY.

This guy obviously has no loyalty to anything, but possibly "ISLAM", and he wants to to the president of the United States and refuses to say the pledge of Allegiance to the country he wants to be the leader. I say ABSOLUTELY NO. How do you feel??? These butchers have already told the citizens of the world that they are spreading ISLAM all over the world, by force if needed.

Every citizen in the US needs to read this. The word MUST get out on this @%&*A^)%@#, could not think of anything worst than what my current vocabulary is, so you just fill in what you wish.

Send to all your contacts and request they do the same.

May God Bless America.

I had heard about this but a picture is definitely worth 1000 words! God save us!!!

Needless to say, Barack Obama isn't Muslim. And how you could come to that conclusion from this photo is beyond me. But any excuse for a good ol' fashioned bigotted freak out is good enough for some people. I suppose there's some progress here -- forty years ago, that rant would've referred to Obama's race. Now, it just takes a wild stab at what his religion might be. Can't hate jews anymore and no one's afraid of gays, so Muslims will have to do.

This is the religious right and this has always been the religious right. Since Jerry Falwell got this whole thing rolling over segregation until today, it's always been about hate and which Americans are really American and which are to be shunned and hated. It's never been about anything other than fear and hate and a carefully chosen and protected ignorance of the world.

And, finally, the whole damned thing seems to be falling apart. In an article in the New York Times Magazine last month, David D. Kirkpatrick described the situation for "God warriors" on the ground:

The hundred-foot white cross atop the Immanuel Baptist Church in downtown Wichita, Kan., casts a shadow over a neighborhood of payday lenders, pawnbrokers and pornographic video stores. To its parishioners, this has long been the front line of the culture war. Immanuel has stood for Southern Baptist traditionalism for more than half a century. Until recently, its pastor, Terry Fox, was the Jerry Falwell of the Sunflower State -- the public face of the conservative Christian political movement in a place where that made him a very big deal.


So when Fox announced to his flock one Sunday in August last year that it was his final appearance in the pulpit, the news startled evangelical activists from Atlanta to Grand Rapids. Fox told the congregation that he was quitting so he could work full time on "cultural issues." Within days, The Wichita Eagle reported that Fox left under pressure. The board of deacons had told him that his activism was getting in the way of the Gospel. "It just wasn't pertinent," Associate Pastor Gayle Tenbrook later told me.

Fox, who is 47, said he saw some impatient shuffling in the pews, but he was stunned that the church's lay leaders had turned on him. "They said they were tired of hearing about abortion 52 weeks a year, hearing about all this political stuff!" he told me on a recent Sunday afternoon. "And these were deacons of the church!"

People seem to be coming to the wild conclusion that Christianity is about this fella named Jesus, not abortion and gays and Islam and evolution in schools. And the leaders of the religious right seem to be having a hard time correcting this misconception. I've written before that candidates make a lot of promises about abortion and "moral values" when they campaign, but deliver top-heavy tax cuts and corporate handouts when they're elected. Sooner or later, I've argued, these guys are going to wise up.

And that seems to be happening, helped along by four-flushing phonies like Ernie Fletcher, David Vitter, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, on and on and on. Clearly, these people don't practice what they preach, never had any intention of delivering on their promises, and may not even believe what they say. The fact that Super-Christian George W. Bush has turned out to be a really lousy president can't be helping things much, either.

When the smoke clears next November, it may just turn out that the leaders of the religious right have few followers. You can only string people along so far, then they just give up and stay home.

Here's hoping, anyway.


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