Kathleen Parker at the WaPo must looooove hate-mail. Her latest piece talks about the ‘Oogedy Boogedy’ conservative– you know, the one who clings to guns and God– and then demands the GOP toss the Evangelical Christian aside because they’re too loud about their religion.
To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn’t soon cometh.
Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth — as long as we’re setting ourselves free — is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.
Jonah Goldberg has an excellent rebuttal. I highly recommend you read it. And here’s mine.
Christians are called to Jesus and God, and part of that calling is evangelization. Some believe it’s done through preaching, others by works. In any way, we are called to Christianity and to follow its precepts in total. We can’t be closet Christians. In fact, last Sunday’s Gospel from the Catholic year was exactly about that.
14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
So, if we do as Kathleen suggests, and “keep religion in our hearts where it belongs”, then we are turning our backs on our mission and are behaving like the wicked servant with one talent!
I happen to believe the GOP can do both, be a Christian party and be a Conservative party, and it’s a matter of priorities on how we get elected. Conservative fiscal policies will win us the next election, and reducing the size and interference of government in our lives will be the best policy. None of this is anathema to Christianity. Building a solid society must come first, but a society that is moral and just, and religion plays a big part in that.
Kathleen suggests it’s the White Christiany Oogedy Boogedy-ness of the GOP that cost them the election. She’s wrong in many ways, and to cannibalize the morality of those in the party to further some political dream is nonsense. We lost the election because people were a) still upset about the war, b) upset about the economic downturn, c) unable to get behind McCain because he was a centrist and d) disgusted with the latest rounds of GOP scandals. It had nothing to do with G-O-D.
But in a way, I agree. We can’t run primarily on social issues. That’s the domain of the Democrats. Run on strengths of foreign policy and economics and you’ll defeat the Democrats.