Religion & Politics: USF Fall 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Access and Power

A book came out recently called Tempting Faith: an Inside Story of Political Seduction by David Kuo. Kuo is the former deputy director of the White House office of faith-based initiatives. I have not read the book but I read an article by Julion Borger in The Guardian and I heard an interview with the author. According to Kuo, the Bush administration met often with leaders of the Religious Right and claimed to be supporters of their religious agenda, but behind their backs Bush officials described them as ridiculous, out of control and just plain goofy. And Karl Rove, a long time political advisor to President Bush, is quoted as calling evangelical Christians “nuts.”

I am glad this is finally coming out into the open. I did not know for sure what the Bush advisors might say about the religious right behind their backs, but I seriously doubted that very many of them really believed in the Christian right’s agenda. Supposedly President Bush does, but why do we almost never hear about George Bush attending church anywhere and he supposedly is a Methodist which is a mainstream protestant denomination, and not part of the Evangelical movement by a long shot. The Religious Right has anointed Bush as their leader and I think he is enamored with that idea, but somehow he doesn’t have to do anything religious to earn that position.

The Republicans are a smaller party than the Democrats and they have long been the party that represented rich, white people. This made it hard for them to win elections, and though they held the presidency often in the past fifty years, the Senate and House of Representatives had been controlled by the Democrats for many years. The Republicans and the Religious Right need each other, but there is nothing in the background of most wealthy, long time Republicans that would lead me to think that they are really born again Christians. They are more likely to be reading the Wall Street Journal and checking on their stock portfolios than reading the Bible and praying. But the Republicans came to the realization that if they claimed to support and were willing to advocate certain issues of the Religious Right (anti-abortion, anti gay, pro-prayer in school etc.) they would get more votes from middle to lower class, mostly white Evangelical Christians that were more than willing to believe that the Republicans are the party of God, as long as they promote the Conservative Christian social issues. Economically most of these people have no business voting Republican.

I’ve heard that one of the reasons the Democrats took back the Senate and House of Representatives is that Evangelicals either stayed home for the first time in many years or they voted Democrat. I can’t help but think that the leaders of the Religious Right understood what was going on and they just played along with it because it gave them access and power. Though the average, not wealthy church-goer was being played as a fool by both sides and it is about time some of them at least know the truth, even if they are not sure where to go from here.


  • I enjoyed your blog entry and appreciate your opinions on our political leaders and the manipulation involved in receiving a vote. Of course this is with any political leader, republican or democrat, one must appeal to certain audiences to win votes. Of course, Bush and his administration have appealed to many "right wing Christians," yet his political agenda has seemed to be inconsistent with their religious beliefs. I am not familiar with the book, but it sounds like the usual political agenda of any politician. That is why I don't agree that religion and politics should be intertwined, even though they may inevitably be, forever. I don't ever think religion and politics could ever truly be consistent and lack hypocrisy, there are too many dirty tricks and games in politics and I don't think it is necessarily a forum for religion. Look at lobbyists alone-there are so many corrupt and sleazy games that take place that many Americans (including myself) have the slightest clue about. I think there can be great Christians, or Muslims, or Catholics, etc. with or without certain policies in our country. I don't think any faith should take responsibility for a country's policies or single policy, in order to implement their own ideas about how other should live their lives.

    By Blogger Briana G., at 1:02 PM  

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