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-Thomas Jefferson

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-Martin Luther King Jr.

Staceyann Chin, National Equality March 10/10/09 photo: Ed Needham

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Andrew Sullivan revisits the Deal with Christianists.

In May of 2006, Andrew Sullivan coined the term and concept of "christianist" in his Time Magazine article "My Problem with Christianism." (read it here.)

Since then, it has been a topic he has revisited in his own column, The Dish.

Since The Democrat Deal started in February of 2010, we have written extensively on the subject, frequently bringing Mr. Sullivan's lucid observations with us into the fray.

With Rick Perry's entrance into the GOP fray, yesterday, The Dish catches us up to speed.

The Deal would only venture to add that while the Christianist movement has had an impact on the whole of the country, the only "takeover" accorded it is within the ranks of the Tea Party-controlled GOP. This political marriage (with the Tea Party/Christianists forming the male figure and the rest of the GOP playing the subservient wife) is, at best, a rocky one. The Tea Party is feuding among it's own. The GOP is increasingly transparent in it's declining valuation of the radical right. The upcoming election is already being seen as one where losses are expected among it's ranks.

But - there is still plenty of political fuel to be fired. For that, there is no one better than the Gov. of Texas. It is an obvious career choice. Rick Perry should be able to suck all the air out of Bachmann and Palin while sweeping the floor with Romney, succeeding whether he wins or loses. (take it easy, he will surely lose the general, should he get there.)

Perry will, undoubtedly, succeed at increasing his own number of zealots, sheep, and career options for a former Gov of Texas. It is a tough job to follow. Ask anyone.

The Christianist Takeover
by Andrew Sullivan
c/o The Dish

It now appears to be complete. When I wrote "The Conservative Soul," David Brooks was underwhelmed by its core argument: that an accelerating shift was taking place in American conservatism that was transforming the small government secular temperament into a fundamentalist religious mindset that sought its refuge not in doubting humankind's capacity for good, but in believing in God's ability to heal all things, including politics.

David argued that the religious and fundamentalist shift in the GOP was over-rated, and that there was no conflict between evangelicalism and mainstream American values.
As any number of historians, sociologists and pollsters can tell you, the evangelical Protestants who now exercise a major influence on the Republican Party are an infinitely diverse and contradictory group, and their relationship to these hyperpartisans is extremely ambivalent.
Well, a few years later, examine the candidacies of the two front-runners for the GOP. One launched his campaign in a revival meeting calling for God to solve our economic problems (having previously led mass prayers for the end of the Texas drought); the other emerges entirely out of Dominionist theology and built her entire career in the Christianist world of home-schooling, and anti-gay demonization. One reason Mitt Romney is not a shoo-in? Sectarianism, and his own previous deviations from binding orthodoxy. And it is this fundamentalist mindset - in which nothing doctrinal can be questioned, and the real world must be bent to the shape of a rigid theo-ideology - that defines these two candidates.

Hence Bachmann's belief that the entire deficit can be ended in short shrift solely by massive cuts in spending. This "spending alone" principle cannot be compromised, since taxation in and of itself is a way in which the liberal elites control people's lives. It doesn't matter what economists say about the consequence of wilful default or of austerity too sharply imposed. It only matters what God says. And God is bound up with a radical American theology in which slavery was more benign than the Great Society, and that the Founders were abolitionists. That American theology creates the justification for the use of American military power across the globe, especially in protecting and advancing Greater Israel, Bachmann's and Perry's fundamentalist cause of causes.

This is what this party now is: a religious movement clothed in anti-government radicalism. It has nothing to do with the conservative temperament, conservative political thought or conservative ideas. It is hostile to most existing institutions, especially government, contemptuous of the courts, and seized of an ideology as rigid as any far-left liberalism, as utopian as any wide-eyed socialist, as fanatical as anything the left spawned in the 1960s.

And it has hijacked an entire political party; and recently held to ransom an entire country. I knew it would get worse before it gets better. But this bad?

[Yes, Mr. Sullivan "this bad." The phoenix must burn to ash before it can take to the skies. ed.]

For the original article, go here.

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