Saturday, December 09, 2006

Way Out of Touch....

According to this analysis, evangelical voters stayed with the sinking Republican ship in the 2006 election. Not only could Republicans count on their votes, they also saw the number of evangelicals voting stay much the same as previous elections. Evangelical Christians ignored the ethical challenges and well documented hypocricy of the Republican Party and continued to led their support to the party of Mark Foley, Tom Delay and Randy Cunningham.
One of the most hotly debated pre-election questions revolved around whether, given all the Republican scandals and bad news emanating from Iraq, conservative Christian evangelicals would choose to sit the election out. They didn't. Instead, they stayed the course: The New York Times reported that about 24 percent of voters -- up from 23 percent in 2004 -- considered themselves evangelicals or born-again Christians. Seventy percent voted for Republican candidates, compared to 72 percent in the last election.
Evangelical voters stuck with Republicans because that is what the leaders of the religious right encouraged them to do. Ignoring the evidence that from top to bottom the Republican leadership was cynically using evangelical voters, the leaders of the movement stuck with their political allies, while abandoning their Christian principles.
Ken Connor, a Christian conservative leader who has consistently spoken out against this era's ethically-challenged Republican leaders and the evangelicals that support and enable them, lays part of the blame for the Republican's defeat at the doorstep of Christian evangelical leaders. "It is clear that Christian conservative leaders contributed to the Republican defeat, and in the process they've lost credibility," Connor wrote in a post-election commentary titled "Defending the Indefensible: The Road to Defeat."
Conner is very clear in his condemnation of the leaders of the religious right and points out that just like secular leaders, religious leaders are not immune to the seduction of political power.
Why have prominent Christian organizations and leaders behaved in this way? The sad reality is that many have been seduced by the Washington, D.C. political culture. They have identified themselves so closely with persons and parties that they have lost sight of principle. By excusing the behavior of the Republican Party, Christian conservatives set the party up for the 2006 defeat.
In their lust for power, men who presume to tell the rest of America how to live and who attempt to set standards for behavior, decide that they would rather court power than stand up for even the most basic moral principles.
Cal Thomas, one of the country's most widely syndicated columnists, maintained in a recent piece that intoxication with political power "often dulls the senses to morality and 'values.'" In a piece titled "Where do conservative Christians go from here?" Thomas argued that the "unholy alliance between people of faith and politicians... often ends in compromise on the part of the faithful and the cynical harvesting of their votes with little offered in return."
The case of Rep. Don Sherwood, a Pennsylvania Republican who lost his seat to a Democrat, is particular instructive, said Thomas. Here is someone who "cheat[ed] on his wife and allegedly abus[ed] his mistress, Cynthia Ore, [yet] he still gets an 85 percent approval rating from the Focus on the Family Action organisation. The delicious irony here is that he might have earned a 100 percent rating had he voted for the Marriage Protection amendment, which he supported."
So who's to blame for the Republican election debacle? According to one of the leaders of the religious right, Rev. Lou Shelton of the Traditional Values Coalition, suggests that it wasn't the moral failing of the Republican leadership that caused their defeat. No, instead Shelton blames the American people who voted against the corrupt Republicans.
The Rev. Lou Sheldon, the head of the Traditional Values Coalition maintained: "We know that in America the people are with us. They're just confused."
That's right confused voters failed to keep corrupt, lying, cheating Republican politicians in power.