If Colorado Republican leaders Mark Hillman and John Andrews are any indication, the Republican Party will remain the Party of Faith and will continue to attempt to impose religious doctrine by force of law.
Andrews begins a recent column,
"What many call a concern for social issues, I call a passion for protection of the human person." He goes on to compare abortion with slavery, and he suggests that at least we should have "laws to balance this difficult issue where precious lives are at stake." The Republican Party, he states, should not "abandon its defense of the unborn."
There is just one little thing missing from Andrews's column: any argument as to why we should believe that a zygote, a tiny clump of undifferentiated cells, is a "human person." Recall that Andrews endorsed Colorado's Amendment 48, which would have defined a fertilized egg as a person. Given Andrews's beliefs, his call for "balance" is an unconscionable compromise; does he really want "balance" that would result in the deaths of what he regards as "human persons?"
I guess Andrews is acknowledging that most Coloradans regard his views as ludicrous; 73 percent of the voters rejected 48. And yet he insists on promoting his faith-based politics through the GOP.
Mark Hillman writes:
Recently, some have grumbled that social conservatives - pro-lifers, opponents of same-sex marriage and the so-called "Religious Right" -- are to blame for the party's recent set backs and should be muzzled. If the goal is winning elections, rather than purging membership rolls at the country club, throwing social conservatives under the bus is a catastrophic idea.
But this comparison to throwing them "under a bus" is silly. Here is what I have written:
Religious voters can remain a part of a winning GOP coalition, so long as their goal is to keep politics out of religion, not inject religion into politics. Abortion bans and fear mongering about homosexuals can no longer be the litmus tests of primaries. Republican candidates must clearly endorse the separation of church and state, a separation necessary for the protection of both church and state.
In other words, I am perfectly happy to join a coalition that contains Christians, so long as the Christians stop trying to violate people's rights.
Hillman pretends that evangelicals also favor economic liberty, even though evangelicals blessed us with the likes of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin.
Hillman does point out:
This year, moderate "maverick" John McCain enjoyed 72% support from evangelicals (of all parties) on Election Day, despite ranking as the least favorite primary candidate of pro-life Republicans.
I don't know where the statistic is coming from, but it sounds right. Hillman is selectively retelling history. Of course evangelicals such as James Dobson rallied for McCain only after McCain selected Palin as his running mate. These evangelicals supported that ticket because of Palin's anti-abortion record, and despite the fact that McCain is an enemy of economic liberty and free speech. That pretty much tells us where the priorities of the evangelicals are.
Hillman points out that many more people favor some abortion restrictions than voted for 48. True, but irrelevant. Amendment 48 shows the logical consequences of the religious right's position. Voters who value liberty will not sanction Republican efforts to "incrementally" obliterate the right to get an abortion.
Hillman also points out that defining a marriage as between a man and woman is fairly popular. Yet, as I've noted,
the stance against gay "marriage" is not strictly religious, and the general attitudes toward homosexuals -- especially among younger voters -- are much more accepting, whereas the propaganda against homosexuals coming from the religious right is vitriolic.
But Hillman, like Andrews is ready to compromise:
[P]ro-life leaders sometimes treat each tangent like a slippery slope. Battles over stem cell research and Terri Schiavo aren't as clearly defined as the mission of saving millions of unborn children.
In other words, banning all abortions is a "clearly defined" mission of the religious right and therefore the Republican Party.
I'm beginning to think that the "new liberty coalition" that I've described cannot arise within the Republican Party. Faith-based politics is incompatible with liberty. I'll be interested to see which mission becomes most clearly defined for the GOP.
Labels: GOP, religious right