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'The Republican Party has become the first religious party in U.S. history'

That’s the opening sentence of the Kevin Phillips column up at the WaPo on how the GOP became God’s Own Party, and the threat these crazies pose to our nation. It’s a must read. A snippet:

When religion was trod upon in the 1960s and thereafter by secular advocates determined to push Christianity out of the public square, the move unleashed an evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostal counterreformation, with strong theocratic pressures becoming visible in the Republican national coalition and its leadership.

Besides providing critical support for invading Iraq — widely anathematized by preachers as a second Babylon — the Republican coalition has also seeded half a dozen controversies in the realm of science. These include Bible-based disbelief in Darwinian theories of evolution, dismissal of global warming, disagreement with geological explanations of fossil-fuel depletion, religious rejection of global population planning, derogation of women’s rights and opposition to stem cell research. This suggests that U.S. society and politics may again be heading for a defining controversy such as the Scopes trial of 1925. That embarrassment chastened fundamentalism for a generation, but the outcome of the eventual 21st century test is hardly assured.

Clockwise from top: James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Donald Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; and Pat Buchanan, a political commentator and founder of American Cause. All are simply religious extremists who believe in God’s Own Party should control our lives (and bodies). (Photos: AP)

These developments have warped the Republican Party and its electoral coalition, muted Democratic voices and become a gathering threat to America’s future. No leading world power in modern memory has become a captive of the sort of biblical inerrancy that dismisses modern knowledge and science. The last parallel was in the early 17th century, when the papacy, with the agreement of inquisitional Spain, disciplined the astronomer Galileo for saying that the sun, not the Earth, was the center of our solar system.

Conservative true believers will scoff at such concerns. The United States is a unique and chosen nation, they say; what did or did not happen to Rome, imperial Spain, the Dutch Republic and Britain is irrelevant. The catch here, alas, is that these nations also thought they were unique and that God was on their side. The revelation that He apparently was not added a further debilitating note to the late stages of each national decline.

The moderate Republicans know the bed they’ve made and it’s clear from the behavior of those jockeying for 2008 (McCain, Romney, etc.) that they fear The Base. I think the fear is almost paralyzing these folks; the pols aren’t sure how many times they can get away with kissing up to the bible beaters and pulling the legislative rug out from under them once in office. What they don’t understand is that every time they throw them a bone to appease them — a Supreme Court pick or two, marriage amendments passing in the states — the country moves closer to that theocracy that the movement desires.

At some point it will be almost impossible to legislatively stop the juggernaut of damage to society that these people have caused in the name of God. The only hope is that the sheeple wake up, particularly the apathetic voters who simply stay home, never read a paper or care about politics even as their privacy rights are eroding. These are the people that Dems (and moderate Republicans) should energize if they wish to turn back the Christofascists.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding