Religionandpolitics.org: ‘How One Purist Tried to Save the Religious Right from the Republicans’

Daniel Silliman at religionandpolitics.org via Cody Quirk at ATPR:

Howard Phillips being interviewed in 2000

It wasn’t a matter of polite disagreement. For Howard Phillips, evangelical support for a Republican presidential candidate could be a deep, deep betrayal.

“There are some people who would stick with the Republican Party if they nominated Judas,” the conservative activist once told Mother Jones. “And they would still call him Christian, and they would still call themselves Christian.”

Phillips died in 2013, but his words have new resonance in the age of Trump. Phillips, an evangelical convert, once instigated a civil war among his fellow Christian conservatives. He thought they were selling out their values, trading them in for political clout.

Today, when Religious Right leaders regularly make excuses for Trump and his aides’ most atrocious behavior, the same argument is made. The exit-poll statistic, that at least 80 percent of white evangelical voters cast their ballots for Donald Trump, has been cited again and again in bewilderment. Now that white evangelicals strongly support an adulterous casino mogul, it’s hard to imagine them ever breaking away from the GOP, for any reason. It wasn’t that long ago, though, when there was serious talk among some evangelicals about the need for a third party—a Religious-Right alternative to the Republicans…

To read the article in full, click here.

14 thoughts on “Religionandpolitics.org: ‘How One Purist Tried to Save the Religious Right from the Republicans’

  1. Cody Quirk

    Looks like he failed with both the GOP and the U.S. Taxpayers (Constitution Party) in the long run.

  2. DJ

    The response I’ve gotten from religious people when confronted with the hypocrisy of Republican is; well they’re better than Democrats.

  3. SocraticGadfly

    The Religious Right is losing its viability as America slowly becomes less religious, and a lot of its leaders know that, though they’ll never admit it in public.

  4. Cody Quirk

    Yep. The overwhelming majority of religious right voters are GOP loyalist to the core; I certainly know that from personal experience. If people like Trump have a GOP label -such voters will still vote for him in big numbers, regardless of his background or personal character.
    Hence why the CP are simpleton fools in vainly continuing to woo over such voters to their cause.

  5. Cody Quirk

    Regardless, religiously/socially conservative voters are indeed a shrinking demographic that is losing both power and influence rather quickly at the present.

  6. paulie

    I wouldn’t say that. They remain a significant influence in the Republican Party, and the Republicans are more politically dominant than at any time since the 1920s right now.

  7. langa

    But the GOP is popular right now in large part because they have abandoned their religious zealotry (for more of a nationalist zealotry, as embodied by Trump).

    The Democrats, meanwhile, have adopted a sort of “religious zealotry” of their own, complete with lots of preaching, lecturing and scolding — and they’re paying the price for it.

    People are sick of being scolded, no matter whether it’s for being sinners or bigots.

  8. paulie

    But the GOP is popular right now in large part because they have abandoned their religious zealotry (for more of a nationalist zealotry, as embodied by Trump).

    Pence is VP. The religious right is still a powerful group within the NSGOP.

  9. paulie

    Cruz coming in second is another indicator of same, as are any number of Governors, Senators, Representatives, legislators and so on.

  10. Cody Quirk

    “Pence is VP. The religious right is still a powerful group within the NSGOP.”

    Within the GOP and the southern & lower midwestern states, maybe, for now. But nationally and with mainstream society, their influence is in free-fall.

    However much of the religious right within the GOP has become so politicized and less focused on the actual teachings of the bible & living a devout Christian lifestyle that they have crossed far into sacrilegious territory; as long as any authentically immoral, godless candidate has a GOP label on him/her and he/she speaks their language -the GOP’s religious right blindly follows such candidates.

    Hence, any minor party that attempts to cater to and woo such a demographic is wasting their time.

  11. Cody Quirk

    “Cruz coming in second is another indicator of same, as are any number of Governors, Senators, Representatives, legislators and so on.”

    He was one of the last GOP candidates to drop out. Also remember he won the majority of the LDS (Mormon) ‘Never-Trump’ vote in several Jello-Belt states including Utah, and many of the GOP neocon establishment opposed to Trump jumped on the Cruz bandwagon after Bush, Carson, Paul, and other primary candidates dropped out.
    So his appeal was not limited to the religious right only, but it sure was limited to the deep red states -minus Wisconsin & Maine.

  12. paulie

    My point exactly. The fact that the religious right guy was the last opponent to Herr Drumpf in the primary left standing, and another religious right guy became VP, shows that they still have a lot of pull in the NSGOP. And the NSGOP has a greater than normal pull in the duopoly as a whole right now.

    Drumpf uses feigned religiosity for his own purposes, much as his role model Adolf Hitler did; and like Hitler, Drumpf is not much of a believer at all himself – if he even is at all – but finds the faith of believers to be politically exploitable for himself. Putin is another example of this; the ex-KGB man and ultimate realpolitik mobster is making a big show of wearing crosses, appearing with the Patriarch and Bishops, putting religion in government schools, building churches all over the place, etc. It’s highly unlikely that this is anything other than a cynical ploy on his part to misuse religion as a political tool.

    Because most of the religious right’s leaders have gone along with this in the US as elsewhere, you are most likely correct that a religious right based alt party is like pushing string up a hill right now. They are at home in the NSGOP and see no need to look elsewhere. But let that not be confused for the completely different point that they have no influence there; that I will not agree with.

  13. Cody Quirk

    Very glad I’m a Latter Day Saint.

    Despite my church’s stance on a few political issues, I have a deep respect for their strict neutrality on partisan politics.

    However the religious right and Christian fundamentalism is still dying off on a national basis and in mainstream society, regardless.
    Look at how socially liberal the mainstream American society has become. The GOP’s religious right may know how to play politics and maintain their grip on state and local politics in the heart of the Bible Belt and keep their popular mandate in that region; yet nationally their influence has become quite limited compared to the 1980’s and the early 90’s, and they do not have a popular mandate whatsoever; Trump won the election primarily on economic protectionism and the fear of another Clinton presidency -not because of the religious right or their voting demographic.

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