For Jewish progressives who remember the dark days of George W. Bush and Republican control of both houses of Congress, evangelicals are the election cycle boogeyman. We’ve already seen a growing stream of books and articles about evangelical conspiracies supposedly aimed at using Republican presidential candidates, such as Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, to turn the United States into a “Christian nation.” These include Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism and Rabbi James Rudin’s The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right’s Plans for the Rest of Us. In a series for public radio, Rachel Tabachnick reported on the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), which aims to wage “spiritual warfare,” leveraging stealth political influence to take dominion over government, business and culture and hasten the second coming of Jesus.
Arcane, sensational theological doctrines like this are catnip to conspiracy theorists and their media enablers. Yet many of those most fearful of evangelicals know the least about them. Back in September, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart implicitly acknowledged that ignorance when he surveyed a clip of spectators at a Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. With his customary acuity, Stewart deconstructed the upscale audience in dresses, jackets and ties: “Look at this crowd. They’re not yahoos. This is not your torch and pitchfork angry villagers. These are people with firm opinions on which is the best brand of rider mower.” Kidding or not, Stewart at least recognized the evangelical Christians of the GOP base for what they are: moderate, middle-class Sun Belt suburbanites.
Read it all.
Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm
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