If you want to know why Republican Ken Cuccinelli lost the governorship of the Old Dominion yesterday, look no further than white evangelicals.
To defend against the alleged assault, the Armed Services committees of both houses of Congress have approved language to the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act that instructs the Armed Forces to “accommodate the beliefs, actions, and speech” of service members “except in cases of military necessity.” “That’s like using a meat ax to do brain surgery,” says the American Jewish Committee’s Marc Stern, one of the country’s leading church-state lawyers and as staunch an advocate of religious liberty as exists on God’s green earth.
Let us pause to reflect on the changing of the guard at the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy shop. Richard Land, a member of the founding generation of the religious right, fought to restore — or maintain — conservative cultural values in society at large. And how does his successor, Russell Moore, compare?
Yes, the decision by the Boy Scouts to open its doors to gay boys but not to gay men is an awkward compromise, but social progress often proceeds by awkward compromise. The fact is that it is now officially possible to be both openly gay and, in Scouting lingo, “morally…straight.” And that’s what’s got conservative religious leaders’ knickers in a twist.
The New York Times’ incomparable obituarist Margalit Fox did herself proud yesterday with a fine account of the life of McCandlish Phillips, the incomparable reporter who left the Times in 1973 to devote himself to the little Pentecostal congregation he helped found in upper Manhattan.
Last week the Public Religion Research Institute’s big survey on immigration showed, unsurprisingly, that white evangelicals are the ethno-religious group least supportive of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Over at RealClearReligion, Jeffrey Weiss thinks the fuss over Tim Tebow’s broken engagement at First Baptist Dallas doesn’t “make a lick of sense.” I beg to differ.
“Can the Republicans Be Saved From Obsolescence?,” Robert Draper’s cover story in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine, focuses on the GOP’s digital backwardness, but the point of the piece is not technological but demographic.
Like employers eager for a plentiful supply of cheap labor, Republican-leaning religious leaders have a soft spot in their hearts for comprehensive immigration reform–aka a plentiful supply of fannies in the pews. Now evangelical leaders, aka the Christian Right, have joined with Catholic bishops and Mormon General Authorities to support the cause.
Give Richard Land credit. The Southern Baptist public policy Pooh-bah did catch some flak in December for justifying the use of deadly force on New Testament grounds. But the grounds were defense of neighbor–a variant of just war theory of which St. Augustine would probably have approved.