Friday, March 9, 2007

The Religious Right Now

From the prosperity gospel that provides the underpinning for poverty-fueling economic policies, to timely confessions from conservative stalwarts like Newt Gingrich and Ted Haggard, the GOP is increasingly dependent on their unholy matrimony with the Religious Right Now, a marriage that may ultimately be the death of neo-conservatism.
These are not simply conservative Christians who value the Bible as Word of God; the Religious Right Now are political power-brokers who embrace a guilt-free gospel of immediate entitlement. Wealth is good, and forgiveness is treated as a political commodity, available not in humility at the foot of the cross, but instead in carefully orchestrated reality television dramas with cameras rolling, talking points memorized and spin-masters ready to become the talking heads on the news programs to follow. And none of it happens, of course, until the issue is polled to measure how potential voters are likely to react. The goal is not saving a soul, but instead saving a political career, and the broker's access to power.
The problem for the GOP is that this "Right Now" gospel carries a scent of hypocrisy that taints people like Gingrich, Haggard, and ultimately the Party that has embraced them. There's the sense that they have more in common with the money changers in the temple than with Jesus of Nazareth. Perhaps they will now share their fate.