I have somewhat lessened my panic over religious fervor of late.
If you look at the current Republican race, there really is
an ideological schism happening in the GOP. There seems to be a real
core of fundamentalist Christians that are finally waking up to the
fact that the other set of Republicans are simply not interested in
what they are. I used to call it "The Great Republican Trick" that
somehow fiscal conservatives convinced fundamentalist Christians that
they were the right candidate for the job, despite 30 years of
delivering zero to them. In the 2000's, the Republicans effectively
controlled *ALL THREE* branches of the US government for a good
fraction of time, and TWO of the three for 100% of the time. There was
general paranoia and fervor everywhere, and religious mania reached a
real pitch. The time was RIPE for the Republicans in power to deliver
to the fundamentalists who had been voting for them for decades.
So what happened?
Roe V. Wade still stands, which is symbolic of the huge target that
these fundamentalists are after. If anytime was optimal to overturn
this decision, it would have been in the 2000's. Luckily, it didn't
So should we be worried that a Santorum or Bachman will eventually
succeed here? I don't think so. I don't think the fundamentalists will
ever be able to completely overtake a political party in the US for a
long time, because they have stopped supporting people with general
appeal, and started supporting people who are visibly outside of their
senses. For those of us who were panicked over them for years, that's
a great relief.
The opposition to abortion has risen steadily ever since the wingnuts first took control in the 1990s.
http://bit.ly/wajqmB shows that the pro-forced-pregnancy crowd led the pro-choice crowd in 2009.
Religiosity in red states (http://bit.ly/yGotN0) has been steadily at the high end, even as education declines
It is becoming commonplace for politicians to cry god at the drop of a hat. Global warming gets denied by politicians because God won't let us.
Despite all this I too was sure like you that we have seen the worst of it. After all gay marriage is getting more acceptable and the primary opposition was religious.
However, a new front has been launched. This involves denying or dumbing down education. That is going to lead us back into the dark ages, so any relief that is seen should be guarded against.
The Republicans have been successful in moving the Overton window to the right so much so that people like Huntsman are called moderates.
I certainly agree that optimism should be guarded here. Schooling is indeed in dire straits these days (I've even made a point of this in my recent job interviews) but this is something I think can be rationally handled.
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