Alex Blaze

Well, there goes the "Evangelical right works with Obama" experiment

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 11, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Department of Health, politico, pro-choice, pro-life, right to conscience, tony perkins

Remember how kissing Rick Warren's hand and giving a lot of God talk was supposed to get the Religious Right on Obama's side so that they'd be more likely to support him? Remember how a few of us said that was the dumbest thing we've ever heard but were told we didn't understand Obama's new politics?

Well, part of the right-wing sound machine is complaining that Obama isn't bending over backwards far enough for the Religious Right. They list a few things - like lifting some "right to conscience" restrictions on hospitals that want to treat women and stem cell research. But it's not really about either of those two things individually - it's because he hasn't completely enacted their entire agenda. He's a Democrat, that the only way the leaders of the Religious Right movement were going to warm to him was if he completely capitulated on women's choice, science, and LGBT rights, which he hasn't done.

Here's famous homophobe Tony Perkins:

"We have had a number of teaching moments," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "If people are really listening and watching, they will see what President Obama said is not what he is doing. He said he wanted to reach out to evangelicals or Christian conservatives who care about human life, but they will have a hard time squaring support for Barack Obama in light of these policies."

Really? Did pro-lifers vote for Obama in droves and now they're disappointed? If they are, they're dumber than sacks of cashews because he hasn't strayed much from the platform on which he ran when it comes to these issues.

But get a load of Politico's right-wing editorializing on the topic:

He called for reducing abortions and seeking common ground on one of the nation's most divisive issues -- promises that led some on the right to think maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama was a different kind of Democrat.

But no more.

A series of decisions in the past two months -- capped by an announcement Monday that he's abolishing Bush-era limits on embryonic stem cell research -- has led to a reassessment of Obama by some Christian conservative and other religious leaders, who now charge him with inflaming the very cultural divisions he once pledged to heal.

In fact, Obama's stem cell decision sparked a volley of rhetoric reminiscent of the height of the culture wars that defined American politics through the 1990s.

Um, that's just idiotic. He has been working to "reduce abortions" - last time I checked he lifted the global gag order on family planning NGO's, increasing women's access to contraception and information about it worldwide. If that's not "reducing abortions," then I don't know what is.

But I especially like that last sentence, because we all know that the "Culture Wars" stopped in the 1990's. Bush ended the entire thing, and we all got along just fine.

I could go line-by-line, but there's really no point here. Obama's worked to enact what he promised during his campaign. These people were never going to be satisfied, so for them to pretend like they're disappointed now is just dumb.

Although it does provide a good lesson in "compromise" when it comes to the Religious Right....

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Alex, I don't think Obama was ever expecting the leaders of the religious right to go along with his agenda. I think his 'common ground' arguments are generally aimed at rank-and-file evangelicals. Those folks are experiencing some pretty clear disillusionment with the religious right's leaders anyway--and I think some of them really are giving Obama the benefit of the doubt. Thus he's able to steer them away from the hard-right positions they used to advocate for AND away from the influence of those same christian right leaders. Their outrage in response to Obama's middle of the road positions is actually really helpful in that it will contribute to their further marginalization.

isa kocher | March 12, 2009 7:08 PM

warren wasn't rank and file. he's just rank. it wasn't about rank and file but about who had the bigger clout.

obama just has no real fundamental non-negotiables. people/principle are expendable when politics is what matters: i happen to like his politics. i was actually in fact hoping there was something there of substance behind all the pretty posturing. the kids are cute. it's just, as a life long faggot, i feel, i know now that i was used abused blued and tatooed. obama's cute but i still prefer to choose who screws me myself.

i actually at my age cried on november 5, actually believed the bs about all of us being called to be one america, no blue or red or queer or whatever. no fool like an old fool, huh? next time i'll know buffy the vampire slayers are strictly hollywood. NOT in foggy bottom.

I agree with Kevin. It's worth a try to lure evangelicals away from the hard right. It's important for moderates to talk with moderates. And just because a few nutbars on the right are trashing The Obamatron doesn't mean he should stop reaching out to sensible folk.
That doesn't seem to fly with the queer community, though, because of the group who despise all christians reflexively, and the selfish group who demand every issue be decided in our favor right now regardless of the political cost.

Kevin makes a really good point about the rank-and-file right becoming disillusioned with their leaders and becoming willing to give Obama a chance. Therein lies hope for a number of issues.

But I don't think Alex was saying he thought Obama was expecting the leaders of the right to go along with his agenda, rather that the leaders of the right were expecting him to go along with theirs.

It's ridiculous to think that the religious right would bend or compromise on anything. That's like thinking that the Roman Catholic Church would ever EVER give up a single thing on its long, long list of beliefs set in concrete. The Catholic Church even attempts to interfere in our political process here, by trying to tell Catholic voters that they can't vote for candidates who support abortion. (Yet another reason why churches should their tax exempt status.)

The Protestant right has its own list of inflexible belief, which is almost as long as the Catholic list, though the Protestants haven't been going for half as long as the Roman church.

To govern this country, Obama will not be able to subscribe to any church's list of beliefs. Hence the many moments when he is going to piss off the belief-makers.

Lynn David Lynn David | March 12, 2009 6:11 AM

This is nothing but a reason for them to propagandize the American people. They'll make up anything to get themselves in print and read. I'd almost suggest that we stop reading them.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 12, 2009 9:22 AM

They're just yelling becasue thats what they do. They complained about Bush too becasue he used them but never put the ring on their finger.

They got plenty from Bush and they may get a trifle less from Obama. Or not. He's asking for a lot more money for faith based bribes. He’s hired prayer writers. He pisses them off because he hustles both sides of the street.

They’re apoplectic because of his welcome if meaningless policy changes in stem cell research and abstinence programs. To make them real Obama has to propose hundreds of billions for research and treatment programs of champion socialized medicine. He won’t do that.

Nor is he likely to champion our agenda or change his pigheaded and hypocritical opposition to same sex marriage rights. If the right wingers get pissed at him that only means they’re as loony and dangerous as they were under Clinton and Bush. Christer criticism of Obama doesn’t change his nature as a right centrist political opportunist terrified of being associated with GLBT rights. During the election he explicitly forbade mention of us in his platform. After the election he put up a tepid web site full of pabulum and meaningless support for items like ENDA and hate crimes. Unfortunately, for now he’s too busy deepening the depression with more bailouts to tackle them

I see what you're saying Kevin, but evangelicals voted for Obama in really low numbers according to the exit polling. And the point of the article was whether or not they were "betrayed" by Obama's campaign rhetoric.

I just really doubt that a few pretty words is enough to get either the rank and file or the leaders over into the obama camp, and there I'm not referring to evangelicals generally, but the pro-lifers specifically. Too bad that question wasn't included in the exit polling, because we'd have a better idea of how pro-lifers voted.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 12, 2009 2:41 PM

… but evangelicals voted for Obama in really low numbers according to the exit polling.

Not really. And it‘s not just about evangelicals.

In the runup to the election Obama’s Minister of Pandering Joshua Dubois created a network of thousands of precinct and neighborhood groups to tap the religious vote for Obama. And from McClurkin to Warren he kept Obama on track to capture the religious vote.

“The senator from Illinois delivered his campaign message to a multiracial evangelical congregation in traditionally conservative Greenville, South Carolina. … “He finished his brief remarks by saying, “We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth.”

It worked. According to Alexandra Marks of the Christian Science Monitor

“This year it appears the Democrats got religion, at least in terms of the vote.
In becoming the president-elect, Barack Obama made gains among religious voters of almost every type compared with recent Democratic presidential candidates. He handily won the Catholic and Jewish votes, and even picked up support among Protestants and some Evangelicals, long a pillar of Republican ballot-box strength.

Republican John McCain did win more support than President-elect Obama among people who attend worship services at least once a week. He also won almost three-quarters of white Evangelicals – a margin smaller than President Bush’s in 2004.”

Similar stories appeared in the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The StLPD article points out that the vote was a consequence of the similarities of Obama’s efforts to those of Rove in 2000 and 2004.

Obama did his best to pander and did pretty well. He even appointed Dubious Dubois to bribe cult figures with billons to win a second term. It’s not their fault that the religious right wants to gobble up everything in sight and are all whiney because they’ll have to wait a bit for establishing a theocracy. With Obama in office all they have to do is be patient.

Here’s the Black Agenda Report on Dubois and Obama.

I'm surprised Tony Perkins actually speaks of Obama as if he's a human, with his KKK connections and all.

This could get entertaining - like towards the end of a movie, when the main villain realizes his plan of destruction and death is doomed, and he starts screaming, spitting fire, and ripping the flesh off his face in defeat.

You can't work politically with extremists, because they don't know the meaning of compromise. Obama was naive to think he could; he made a sincere effort, and it's falling apart. Now onto more important business.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 19, 2009 3:55 PM

Those who predicted that Obama is not permanently wedded to theocrats are wrong. He's burrowing under the covers and doing some serious snuggling.

In addition to Warren and ex-gay scuzwad McClurkin and his Minister of Pandering, Joshua Dubois, Obama has a new group of sky pixie guides. Among them are his old standby Kirbyjon Caldwell who was also Bush’s sky pixie advisor, and the most holy Bishop T.D. Jakes, who says being gay or lesbian is a "brokenness" and refuses to hire sexually active GLBT folks. Jakes son, not at all broken by his father’s bigotry still manages to find sex in parks, although that’s very, very dangerous.

If you read the NY Times article on the subject and Besen’s background analysis of these crackpot sky pilots it becomes clear that Obama is continuing to pander to cult conservatives and gay bashers. He chose advisors who are generally very right centrist and who are enemies of GLBT people.