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Why a Conservative America Is a Myth

That’s the name of a new report out by Media Matters. By gathering information from non-partisan opinion polls and sources on a host of issues, it presents a different picture than often painted by the mainstream media about Americans — the country is growing more progressive.

Nor is the progressive majority merely a product of the current political moment. On a broad array of issues, particularly social issues, American opinion has grown more and more progressive over the past few decades. In contrast, it is difficult to find an issue on which the public has grown steadily more conservative over the last 10, 20, or 30 years.

The issues covered in this report include the following:

  * The role of government – Americans support an active government that tackles problems, provides services, and aids those in need.
  * The economy – Americans support increasing the minimum wage and strong unions, and believe the wealthy and corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
  * Social issues – Americans support legal abortion and embryonic stem cell research; opinions on equal rights for women and gay Americans have grown dramatically more progressive in recent years.
  * Security – Americans support a progressive approach to national security, emphasizing strong alliances and diplomacy over the indiscriminate use of military force. On domestic security issues, progressive approaches to crime and gun control enjoy wide support.
  * The environment – By enormous margins, Americans favor strong environmental protections, a core progressive belief.
  * Energy – Americans support energy conservation and the development of alternative fuels.
  * Health care – Americans clearly favor universal coverage and are more than comfortable with government solutions to the health care problem.

The theocrats and fringe conservatives know this is the trend as well, particularly on social issues — the increasing shrillness of their attacks, and need to use the most desperate anti-LGBT, anti-woman, anti-immigrant racist rhetoric to fill their coffers tells you all that you need to know. The winds aren’t blowing their way, but they aren’t going down without a fight.

Just a few months ago, the late Jerry Falwell summed up the plight of the bible-beating set quite nicely. Read after the jump. In January, Falwell penned a column for WorldNetDaily, “Is the culture overpowering our churches?” (my post here).

As I’ve recently reported, the few so-called Christian characters represented on the networks have either abandoned core biblical values or are depicted as callous ogres. Further, the media typically tout diverse forms of spirituality that embrace alternative modes of sexuality, worship and lifestyle.

…Sadly, countless pastors and church leaders have folded under cultural pressure and have attempted to socialize the Gospel of Christ. Meanwhile, those of us who remain faithful to the Scriptures are seen as unintelligent and irrational.

…Evangelical pastors simply must determine to lead by biblical principle, even though those principles are being increasingly disparaged in the popular culture. I believe it is time for a re-evaluation of the church’s efforts. It is obvious that we are losing the cultural battle in many ways, especially with our young people. We will not succeed in reaching this world for Christ unless our churches determine to lovingly reach out with the Word of God to our fellow man.

The numbers from a George Barna study fueled Falwell’s hand-wringing — it found that while Americans say they are “deeply spiritual” and religious faith is “very important,” only 15% of those who attend church said that a relationship with God was the top priority in their life.

A Pew poll released last month found that 4 in 10 Americans have close friends or relatives who are gay — and that results in increased support for expanding, not restricting civil rights (my post here). Gallup’s 2007 Values and Beliefs survey showed support for LGBT rights at its highest levels.

It won’t be pretty being on the receiving end of increasing bile and hate from people who have so much to lose — they’ve been trading in fear of the gay boogeyman in the name of God for so long it’s like breathing — but it’s good to remind ourselves from time to time that they are going the way of the Wicked Witch of the West. Does anyone have a bucket of water?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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