Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, a leader of North Carolina’s pro-adultery wing of the evangelical movement, called politics the “religion of the left.” That’s pretty ironic coming from the party that put an amendment on the ballot to prevent marriage equality based on religious convictions. Forest is a theocrat whose politics is driven largely by his religious fervor.
Forest told the audience at the Conservative Leadership Conference, “You see it on issues like climate change, or the Me Too movement or black lives matter or gun control. Name the issue today, the fervor has reached a religious pitch in America. Why? Because it really is the religion of the left.” Forrest misses the point altogether.
The political movements animating progressives today are secular not religious. They’ve taken to the streets because they’re shut out of the decision making process in too many states and at the federal level. They’re enthusiasm is driven by their faith in the power of the First Amendment. That’s not religious. That’s American.
Forest, though, is part of a right wing tradition that has mixed religion and politics for hundreds of years. They’ve always been part of the American political scene. In the 20th century, they provided the religious justification for Jim Crow and the religious ideology of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.
The current configuration began with the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition that tried to make the GOP the party of God. They successfully drove the libertarian wing of the party into the background and forced candidates to adhere to religious orthodoxy that included anti-abortion and anti-LGBT positions. In North Carolina, they’re claiming “religious freedom” to allow government employees to refuse to marry gay couples. That’s mixing your politics and religion.
Today, the theocrats in the Republican Party have decided that adultery is acceptable as long as a candidate adheres to party orthodoxy around abortion. Their leaders are men like Dan Forest, Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins. Their champion is Donald Trump, an amoral politician who has pays for sex, brags about cheating on his wives and objectifies women. They’ve abandoned the poor and the needy for the rich and sleazy.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >
Gotta hand it to dear ole Ebrun, bringing up the right’s favorite boogeyman, Clinton! They can never comment on Trump himself: all they can do is deflect and say “Look over there – CLINTON!!!!” Either that, or they bring up Obama in some way, although they’ve not figured out yet how to link Obama to infidelity/marital problems.
The point is not about Clinton, Obama or even Trump. What is appalling is the HYPOCRISY of liberals who decry Trump’s extra martial affairs that happened ten to fifteen years ago when he a private citizen, but ignore or rationalize Bil Cinton’s dissolute behavior (including under oath) even though some of it occurred while he held the Nation’s highest public office.
No, the hypocrisy, as always, is with the holier-than-thou Republican crowd who will jump all over each and every thing that a Democrat ever does (even if it happened long ago), but always rationalizes away everything that Trump has ever said or done. They would excuse him for killing someone, I think, if it meant that their policy ideas could be enacted. One small example: if a Democratic president owned hotels and was charging the Secret Service for staying there, there would be no end to the howling from the right. However, Trump gets a pass, as always. Why is it OK for him to jet off to Florida every weekend instead of staying in DC and working, as he himself promised he would? And for the record, I do NOT condone what Clinton did.
And re “politics is the religion of the left”: shouldn’t politics be at least part of the religion of anyone who cares about their own and other species? I guess that explains how people who make a point of their “Christian faith” can ignore every word that Jesus is reported to have spoken once they’re out of the church’s door on Sunday. (In my case it often began with “Now I don’t hate the colored people, but….” The primary reason I’m no longer an active church member is that I’ve seen & heard way too many folks repeat the New Testament on Sunday morning and deny Jesus’s teachings as soon as they’re out the church door. (And BTW, Jesus had something to say about that specifically: funny how it’s possible to thump the bible and deny or ignore nearly everything Jesus said at the same time. And BTW, he had something to say about that: I believe it begins “Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord….”).
I agree with this one caveat; in Trump’s world Evangelicals do not wait until they are “out the door”; worship of money and fame (prosperity preaching) and preaching the antichrist message of hate is inside the church door!!
William Barber’s Moral Monday Movement is a perfect example of religion motivating Progressives.
The tradition of mixing religion and politics is American, not Conservative. Take for instance the Civil Rights movement.
Very true Christopher. I think there’s a difference in Rev. Barber and the Civil Rights Movement, both of which were certainly informed by the Christian Gospel, and the Right-wing Evangelicals of today. The former were involved in lifting people up, while the latter seeks to push people down. I suppose it’s how you’re informed, and by whom, rather than working together for a common understanding. I fear that with all we’ve been through, from about 1980 on that we’ll never find a way to walk the same road in the same direction.
Religion and politics should not be mixed. We have a democracy, not a theocracy.
If you have a good marriage you know that adultery isn’t practical. Lot of men get married thinking they will be able to have it both ways. Hardly ever works out that way. Those with power who abuse it in their personal lives abuse it in their professional lives.
Excellent succinct article about the dichotomy between politics and religion. Today’s religious community is fractured between those who believe that they are called to meet the imperatives given by Jesus to care for the poor, visit the prisoners, care for the widows and orphans (the Beatitudes). The other side of Christianity alleges to have as their focus the conversion of “nonbelievers” to Christianity. They have in fact become a “moral-guard” based on their sense of morality. This group is opposed to abortion, LGBT rights, and gay marriage among other things. Not only do they have an interest in promoting their positions to the public, they want to codify it in the laws of the states and the Federal government.
Thanks for this excellent article. We must constantly be on watch for efforts to theocratizing our laws.
The dichotomy that I see is between the “Love Christians” who try to help people, and the “Hate Christians” who try to “stone the Devil” and excommunicate the unbelievers.
Christopher, I have no problem with that characterization. In fact, I might embrace yours better than my own. Thanks!
“…adultery is acceptable as long as a candidate adheres to party orthodoxy around abortion” with Republicans; however, God makes exceptions when the Republican candidate’s girlfriend/mistress gets pregnant. Just sayin’…..
You get an “Amen” for that one.
I remember that when Bill Clinton’s extra martial affairs were big news, many of his diehard supporters demurred, arguing that a politician’s private life should be off limits to political scrutiny. Since he was promoting party orthodoxy, his private behavior was extraneous to his political persona.
Seems yesterday’s double standard is today’s moral certitude for many on the left.
Please. When Bill Clinton first ran for President in 1992 the moral certitude for so many on the right was that he was morally unfit to be president because his adultery he committed against his sole wife. “Character matters” was the mantra of the “religious” right.
Today with Trump, who has committed adultery against THREE wives (and if fundamentalists really interpreted the Bible literally he was an adulterer when he divorced and remarried, as was Ronald Reagan) and yet he is a hero to the “religious” right who chose to ignore these matters when they are given 30 pieces of silver known as access to power.