Sunday, February 18, 2007

Playing the God Card Risks

There's been a lot of God politics over the last 6 years and some pretty fair amount the preceding 6 years. The Republicans have used and abused the Religious Right extensively and Democrats are starting to hope aboard the Faith bandwagon. There really isn't a problem with people and politicians having Faith, the problem starts when the pandering starts. The real lightning rod issues seem to be abortion and gays; the prevailing Religion Test seems to be the removal of freedom for segments of our society on the basis of religious tenets.

Now catering to that particular brand of political thought carries with it certain political and religious realities. First you better not look like a flip-flopper on the issues, a great problem for candidates who've faced races in states with more moderate outlooks. (That leaves the matter of principles entirely out of the picture) The really big part of this is that the majority of General Election voters don't hold those views, so if you run to the religious right to win the Primary, you'll have to run away from them for the General and if you've already got problems in that area you'll have flip-flopped-flipped and that looks bad.

The second problem is the suit of the God card you've played. If you're appealing to folks on the basis of their religious beliefs and intolerance it would be a good idea not to offend their variety of church. For a long time there was bad blood between the more Fundamentalist Protestants and Catholics and despite a lot common ground Mormonism doesn't play well with that crowd. It's not that Mormons aren't big on anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-feminism, and aren't at least fundamentally racist, it's that cult aspect, well, and polygamy. You can count on polygamy making it back into the news again, there's some serious trouble brewing down in that country. Intolerance and varieties of God don't mix well, trying to get a broad point of view from a selected narrow view group is asking a lot.

When Democrats try to deal themselves into this game they face a real perception problem, the Republicans have painted them as the anti-god party and an effort to overcome that view with people that have actually taken it seriously opens candidates to pandering charges. Bear in mind, the Democrats have taken no anti-religion stances, ever, so anyone that has actually bought that charge is someone who doesn't pay attention to facts anyhow. The question occurs, who is it you're trying to impress?

If the electorate is sick and tired of BushCo politics and the results of them, it might be reasonable to remember just how often that particular Texas oaf has invoked God, depended on God, and listened to God. Maybe the electorate would like to hear about Universal Health Care, not being in a civil war, lifting the bottom half of the economic scale, a respect for Rights, c'mon, the whole litany of items that BushCo has screwed for 6 years. But hey, stopping gay marriages is a big deal.


KISS said...

I wonder: McCain has now crossed the line, is all for rescinding the Wade-Roe decision. The homo-preacher [ now cured] is getting back into the fold. Pat Robertson's outrageousness, Oral Roberts included, Even the money-making machine of Billy Graham all have the same goal as Bush: conning the true believers. And you know what? It works. Fanaticism is fanaticism is fanaticism! Glory be to god, politics and mostly MONEY.

Chuck Butcher said...

The God machine is treacherous ground to tread, much can happen.