One of the things I find most entertaining about the Religious Right is their vehement opposition to any effort to broaden the so-called “evangelical agenda” to include anything beyond the Right’s core anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda and their constant attempts to justify their rigidly narrow focus.
Starting back in 2006 after the GOP got thumped in the mid-term elections and the media stopped talking about “values voters” and began to write about the emergence of a “new evangelical” movement, right-wing leaders were telling anyone who would listen that religious efforts to help the poor or protect the environment were all well and good but were just way less important than opposing gays and abortion:
“It’s not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important,” said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, Dobson’s influential, Colorado-based Christian organization. “But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that.”
When Rev. Joel Hunter was tapped to take over the Christian Coalition, he ended up leaving his position before he even began because they wanted to have
with his efforts to broaden the Religious Right’s agenda and then, in 2007, when the National Association of Evangelicals’ Richard Cizik stared working on issue of climate change, right-wing leaders including James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Don Wildmon, Gary Bauer, and Rick Scarborough demanded that he be
because they were afraid that it would end up undermining their old-school agenda:
More importantly, we have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.
But what angers the Right even more than that is Democratic efforts to reach out to religious communities and voters. The Religious Right has always hated and attacked such efforts, regularly accusing Democrats of “hijacking” faith to promote an ungodly agenda because, you guessed it, it takes away from their own efforts to use religion to bolster their own narrow agenda:
Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council, an influential conservative lobbying group, said he objects to the Democrats’ approach. He said it is morally problematic to equate poverty issues, as serious as they are, with abortion.
“It’s not that, as Christians or as people, we shouldn’t be helping out those who need it,” he said. “But when it comes right down to it, if you’re never born, you’re not going to be poor. If you’re not born, you’re not going to be afflicted with illnesses. They’re trying to say there’s some sort of equivalency when it comes to these issues. I personally think that’s wrong.”
Can’t argue with that, I guess. You can’t be poor or sick if you were never born, and so FRC is committed to making sure that you are born so that you can then be poor and get sick, at which point … well, you are on your own because those aren’t thing that they really care about.