Thursday, August 15, 2013

Is the influence of Evangelicals on American politics coming to an end? Oh please let this be true!

Courtesy of The American Prospect:  

George W. Bush was the last Republican candidate who was considered sufficiently socially conservative to garner approval from evangelical leaders like Robertson and Jerry Falwell and still win a general election. In January 2012, faced with the prospect of Mitt Romney—a moderate and a Mormon—as the presumptive Republican nominee, 150 members of the evangelical old guard gathered on a ranch in Texas to reach a consensus on the best alternative to Romney. After mulling their alternatives in the motley GOP field, which included Bachmann, Santorum, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich, the leaders endorsed Santorum, a Catholic with a strong emphasis on social issues and a sharp contrast to Romney the business maven. 

Their followers’ response, in the primaries that followed, was mixed. Romney’s eventual nomination remained almost certain; conservative evangelicals’ support for Santorum only helped delay the inevitable until May. But in the general election, nearly eight in ten evangelicals voted for Romney. 

“The days of evangelical leaders crowning political princes are well behind us,” says Robert P. Jones, the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit public opinion research organization. “Evangelicals are still a huge part of the GOP base, but they’re no longer taking their cues from a handful of well-known leaders.” 

Keeping the spotlight on Iowa is one of the best ways for Christian conservative leaders to retain some influence over the nomination process. But preserving their foothold will be an uphill battle. To Vander Plaats’ chagrin, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, is threatening to do away with the Ames Straw Poll, an event that’s traditionally been important for party fundraising, saying that it has “outlived its usefulness.” The Straw Poll, which was first held in 1979, has been a crucial way for the Christian Right to advance their agenda in the presidential race since 1988, when Pat Robertson pulled off a spectacular first-place finish, setting the tone for the rest of the primary. If the Iowa Republican Party scraps the event, Vander Plaats says, his group is ready to fill the gap with another Family Leadership Summit in 2015. But it wouldn’t be the same kind of media magnet as the Ames Straw Poll, which offers fried butter on a stick as well as GOP candidates.

If we are indeed witnessing the end of the Evangelical strangle hold on the GOP, and therefore the end of their influence in American politics, essentially my work here is done.

This blog was started in response to my rage over the fact that the religious fundamentalists had foisted upon this country an unfit leader, while also hijacking morality as something that could ONLY be achieved through attendance at THEIR churches or adherence to THEIR religion.

That was when I set out to point out their hypocrisy, undermine their claim to a higher morality, and hopefully help usher in the day when the least rational people in the nation would no longer hold sway over our political process.

To be honest I am not at all convinced that such a day is upon us, but I will say that every time even one finger from their choke hold relaxes it is a day to be celebrated.

I am in this for the long haul and hope to still be typing away when the majority of politicians no longer have to do their swearing in to office on the Bible, when our leaders can openly embrace atheism without fear of losing all support, and when science is taught in our schools based on research and unmolested by those who fear that its influence will impact church attendance.

I don't want to tell people what to believe or how to worship, I just want them to keep their religious influence out of my politics. That may seem fairly reasonable, but until recently that position marginalized me and made me the enemy of people whose ability to interpret ethics and morality is based solely on a belief in a higher power.


  1. Anonymous6:20 AM

    Thank you for all your efforts over the past years. I too hope for a day when rationality and compassion which does not come from fear of hell but from making THIS LIFE better will prevail.

  2. Anonymous6:28 AM

    The power that the evangelical church and the Koch brothers have held over our country has been far more dangerous than any terrorist.

    Once their power is reduced, it will still take years to repair the damage they've caused.

  3. Anonymous6:36 AM

    I am not convinced. They still have ALEC roaming around and enforcing their bullshit now.
    ALEC was behind the prop 8 in cali. It was thought it was the mormons but it was ALEC also,too!
    Religion has NO fucking place in politics.
    Right now in my town religious crazys are trying to stop a planned parenthood showing pics of aborted babies and crap.
    People are getting sick and tired of their shit.
    Sick and fucking tired.
    The tide has turned... :D :D :D

  4. Anonymous6:43 AM

    Watching these people lift their hands and heads in prayer gives me the creeps, it's one step away from speaking in tongues.

    Anyhow, how's SarahAC's coffers these days? Tread lightly Postage section, if the son of an American Icon can be spanked for abusing campaign funds, so can a wanna-be-has-been-quitter and her family and friends of Takers:

    Jesse Jackson Jr. Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Illegal Spending of Campaign Funds

    Posted: 14 Aug 2013 08:22 AM PDT

    (WASHINGTON) — Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison Wednesday for illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items, the judge scolding the son of the famed civil rights leader for using the money as a “piggy bank” and sentencing his wife to a year as well. Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced for filing false joint federal income tax returns. After prison, the former congressman is to spend three years on supervised release and complete 500 hours of community service. He agreed to repay the $750,000. According to court documents, the Jacksons had spent campaign money on TV’s, restaurant dinners, an expensive watch and other costly personal items.

    1. Sarah Palin has received and spent on her self far more than this man ever did and nobody has done anything about her. Did she manage to get away with this by hinting and implying she is going to run again but in fact having no intention of doing so? That way she can both rake in the dough and just do what she wants with it? Some out there still think they can get her to run again. One is a high school classmate of mine who is also into religious fanaticism. That classmate still gives Sarah money. If anyone here has a better explanation how she gets away with this, I'd be interested to hear.

  5. Anonymous6:48 AM

    So maybe you need a new subject. I have been comparing the photos of the UPS plane crash with the photos from flight 93, which we are told went down on 9/11 at Shanksboro PA. Take a look for yourself, and tell me what is missing form the 'crash' in PA.

    Spoiler alert if you do not want to look, and then ask the required questions: There is NO AIRPLANE DEBRIS on the ground from flight 93. also no airplane debris on the ground at the pentagon.

    Outrage? If you are not outraged, you are simply not paying attention.

    The B.

    1. Oh, I agree, and I’ve been yelled at by my stepson, a neighbor, and my son-in-law for suggesting that 911 was an inside job. I didn’t get mad in return, since they are all former military, and wouldn’t want to think the government they supported could do such things, or look the other way while a more competent outside entity performed them. Maybe China will get mad enough to blow the lid off this. They certainly took that steel in a hurry.

    2. Anonymous7:36 AM

      Hahahahahahaha - plane crashes may differ.

    3. Anonymous8:03 AM

      Anon@7:36: ALL plane crashes leave a debris field. In that they are all the same.

      You are a fool, evidenced by your braying like an ass.

      (aside to Darlene: we are almost neighbors. howzit in TRF these days? Nice town, nice people.)

      The B.

    4. Anonymous8:16 AM

      There was airplane debris at both the flight 93 crash site and at the pentagon. I'm not sure what pictures you're looking at, but I've seen photos at both sites that show pieces of ripped apart airplane. Of course, now you'll tell me those photos were doctored or something.

    5. Anonymous8:17 AM

      OOOOops! I did mean Shankesville, not Shanksboro. But still, no debris field. The coroner said he stopped being a coroner after twenty minutes, because he could find no bodies. Bodies? What about the titanium jet engines? Did they vaporise?

      The B.

    6. Hi B,

      I never get up there anymore, and I feel sort of bad, because the Riverside Cemetery (between TRF and what was once St. Hilaire) is on land donated by my grandfather. Lots of family members are there. It’s kind of funny, the Wik family claims the cemetery, and that used to rile my father, but it seems to have decent maintenance, so I don’t care.

    7. Anonymous10:14 PM

    8. Anonymous3:31 AM

      The difference in debris fields is due to speed at impact. The UPS plane was attempting to land thus was going slow. The 757's where not attempting to land but being used as missiles. The difference in energy created is night and day. But don't let something known like physics get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

  6. The sheep got into the locoweed again, sigh. Now they’re trying to fly, but all they do is plummet.

    This stuff is as endemic to the USA as locoweed is to the western rangelands. It’s only beaten temporarily; it’ll be back. We need you, Gryphen.

  7. abbafan7:30 AM

    Hi Gryphen! Yes, it will be good to see the influence of the evangies and fundies wane; however, there is still ONE major task that needs to be completed - the exposure, indictment, arrest, conviction and incarceration of the idiot liar and her pimp and enablers. Only then will your mandate be fullfilled. Thank you for your tireless efforts in educating the electorate; it is TRULY appreciated!!!

  8. Anonymous7:34 AM

    "when our leaders can openly embrace atheism without fear of losing all support"

    They've never lost ALL support, as there have always been atheists and the religiously tolerant.

    suggest:when our leaders can openly embrace atheism without fear of losing any significant support

    There will likely always be some fringe crazies - you know the kind that won't vote for someone who wears a green shirt, or name begins with "R".

  9. Can I write this and know that you will know that it is totally "tongue-in-cheek" (whatever the hell that means...)?
    Bless you Gryphen...for all you do.

    As a born and raised, dyed-in-the-wool (sorry, going for all the trite phrases I can think of this morning) Catholic who "left" the church at 18...I can tell you that I am perpetually queasy at the state of religion and politics in this society.

    I learn the most interesting pieces of information from you. This is my first stop every morning! It helps me to take a deep breath and realize I'm not alone in this insanity.

    As to your last camping trip...sitting by the remnants of last night's fire right now. (Cold coals mind you...we're a little averse to forest fires here.)
    Course, our campsite is the "back yard"...National Forest Service out the back door, big aspen groves, etc. The munchikin wants to camp the next several nights...but I'm not sure how many more hot dogs I can take. I'll have to get creative over the campfire I guess.

    As to your dusting of snow...our weather has been more like late September. Cold, rainy, windy. I even turned the heater on yesterday!!!

    Happy day!

    1. Anonymous10:16 AM

      Thankfully, the weather here in western NY has been unseasonably cool. I am grateful for two reasons. One is that I'm finishing up a drainage project in the front yard that requires a lot of digging and hauling of gravel and stone - much more pleasant when the temps are in the 70s!

      I've also had to sleep with the windows closed the past few nights due to the repeated wee hours visits to my yard by a black and white critter that leaves a noxious cloud everywhere he goes. I think the nasty little dog next door got sprayed night before last. I'm tired of waking up at 2 am to watering eyes and a bedroom full of eau de skunk, so the windows have been closed the past 2 nights.

  10. Anonymous7:41 AM

    So times have changed. Church leaders don't need to pick their favorite for the GOP nominee because they've basically taken over the party, its platform, and forced all the nominees to support their agenda.

  11. Anonymous8:31 AM

    Today's lesson:

    The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

    9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

  12. Anonymous8:37 AM

    This article has Palin written all over it...

    Republicans' big problem with crazy
    The GOP establishment pandered to Tea Party extremism to win the 2010 midterm elections. Now, it's reaping the whirlwind

    The result was a short-term political victory (control of the House of Representatives, won in the 2010 midterms) – but an increasingly long-term political headache, like the one playing out in GOP town hall meetings across America right now. The establishment players in Congress found themselves with a host of new Tea Partier colleagues little interested in following the usual GOP script of compromise in the name of political necessity. They were willing to undermine the full faith and credit of the US government in order to force draconian spending cuts upon the White House. They've continued their assault on Obamacare, voting to repeal it 40 times, and now, one of the group's biggest bomb-throwers, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, is talking about shutting down the government in order to defund it. They've allowed sequestration – and its devastating affect on communities across the country – to continue. And they have resisted any and all effort to moderate the party's image, dragging the Republican establishment under the bus with them.

    Any hope that the defeat of Mitt Romney in November 2012 would begin to drain the GOP's fever swamp has gone by the wayside – and Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. In nurturing and radicalizing its extremist fringe – in pursuit of short-term gain – the Republican establishment created a political Frankenstein. Increasingly, however, it looks as though the monster's first victim is going to be them.

    1. Anonymous9:02 AM

      After pandering to Palin, the GOP must now pay the piper...

      "After three and a half years of legislative hostage-taking and policy nihilism and unceasing, uncompromising obstructionism of President Obama's agenda, the message from the Tea Party is a simple one: we want more crazy.

      So what's going on here? Quite simply, Republicans are being destroyed by the rightwing monster they created."

    2. Anonymous9:13 AM

  13. Anonymous9:02 AM

    GRyphen, Did you see the article in The Guardian today by Michael Cohen. Sorry I can't post a link for some reason. It's basically about the infighting in the GOP and I bet you will find it interesting.
    I think in a way it goes against the premise of this article. I think most evangelicals would side with tea party types over the semi-sane (comparatively speaking) GOP... The crazies are having a terrible effect upon our country and they better do something about us.
    It does help our side but if they retain the house, they will continue to destroy any hopes of improving the economy, school systems etc...

    1. Anonymous9:41 AM

      Times 1000, to Anonymous 9:02.

      The crazies are on the loose, more powerful and better armed than ever before, and have wreaked far more damage than was the case five years ago. The so-called 'liberal' media is starting to treat them as though they are a force worthy of equal respect and something to be reckoned with (as though Obama and other sane people should attempt to compromise with theocrats who do. not. believe. in. compromise.). What's to celebrate?

  14. Anonymous9:05 AM

    There also was a HP article about funding for science research drying up, our country is rapidly falling behind in science and medical research as well as education to prepare kids for careers in this area. So I think the evangelicals do have a continued terrible effect on our country. And what about the hundreds of abortion bills introduced across the country.nthey have a very organized effort going on.. I think they are a huge threat still.

    1. Anonymous9:13 AM

      And they continue to undermine public schooling so that their biblical-driven curriculum keeps this country safe from Sharia Law.

    2. Anonymous10:03 AM

      9:05 Don't forget that Republican President George Bush stopped funds from going to medical research during his presidencies! That created a huge set back to many diseases (to include one I have!).

      The Republicans cannot and should not be trusted!

    3. Anonymous11:24 AM

      We've dumbed down our youth population to a point that we have to hire Indians and other guest workers in order to find qualified people to fill tech jobs. Meanwhile, American kids flip burgers, even the college grads!

  15. Anonymous9:32 AM

    I find it so frightening that people who act as if they want to be seen as highly moral, have no trouble whatsoever, lying about massively important issues.

    When you ask an extremist "evangelical" how they justify going against one of the basic principles this nation was founded upon--separation of church and state--they simply choose to bear the false witness of replying that no, the nation was always meant to be a total theocracy, and the founding fathers were quite clear about that.

    I fear that NOTHING is ever going to get through to people who are willing to just pretend that how they choose to believe, makes it actually so. Its the psychological definition of insanity.

  16. Anonymous9:33 AM

    Stay the course.
    All is will take is one big horrible attack, engineered or allowed by people sympathetic to GOP crazies and we are right back where we started. Guaranteed. Something really horrible will convince even many liberals that we need to turn this nation back to god to save us.

    1. Sally in MI10:14 AM

      I'm not so sure. Liberals tend to be thinkers, and aren't easily led. The only time I actually could stand to look at Bush was the week after 9-11. Knowing what I know now, I would never trust a Republican to haul my garbage, let alone be in charge of anything. And that won't change.

    2. Leland12:46 PM


      Interesting premise. About turning back to god, I mean. You know, to "save us"?

      A simple question:

      What makes you think he will save this country if he does absolutely NOTHING to save the starving children wherever they are? Or stop the genocide. Or stop the....

      Well, I think you get the point I am trying to make.

      The "something really horrible" I see coming is from INTERNAL forces. So which side will he pick to "save"?

  17. Anonymous9:46 AM

    The Once Flavor-Of-The-Month "Herb" Cain knows what he knows what he knows:

  18. Anonymous10:00 AM

    The Republicans appear to me to be trying to change their image to enhance votes for them in the next election cycle. I don't believe the majority of them as far as I can throw them. We need to watch and research them closely as to every move they make as a party. They have always lied far too easily.

    Remember too, they are very much anti women!!

    As to religion...the USA is becoming less and less Christian...I have many friends that are either agnostic or atheists...and, the majority of them (me too!) were raised in some type of faith.

  19. Anonymous11:06 AM

    I am not convinced. It is way too early to celebrate. Let's not have a "Mission Accomplished" moment over this.

  20. Anita Winecooler7:02 PM

    We're not quite there yet, but it's getting closer. My "aha" moment was when President GWB said
    "We want to fund programs that save Americans
    one soul at a time.", he opened the floodgates for the dominionist/evilgelical bullshit invading every segment of our government and society. Was I still shocked/surprised McCain picked Palin? That's when I found this blog and others willing to fight the good fight.
    And I'm grateful to you for everything you've done.

    This link covers it pretty well. It was systematically planned and put into motion.

  21. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Here's a headbanger:

    It takes a minute to get through the double negative in the headline, but then the import sinks in...

  22. I agree with you 100%. Keep going until this scourge is over.

  23. Anonymous6:56 PM

    Saw this here...

    So I put this here --


    (Each human is part of this "River." Are you an "oxbow lake"?)

    Islam, part of the Living River of History, affected even the 2012 US election!
    The "headwaters" of this River was Adam, according to Judaism, Christianity, Islam etc.
    In the OT (Deut. 28), "tributaries" wanting to join the River are blessed while "distributaries" wanting to flow away from it are cursed. Those wishing to totally separate from the fresh Living River become polluted, dying "oxbow lakes."
    In the OT we see Israelites repeatedly flowing away from God, then repenting and returning to Him; we also see heathen "oxbow lakes" creating their own little "gods" and being allowed by God to plunder and kill the erring Israelites.
    Then, at the right time, the Living River took on new life with the arrival of the Promised One who offers "living water."
    In the 7th century Islam, drawing from both OT and NT, chose to be a distributary away from this River. Many scholars have viewed it as the final Antichrist: note "scourge" (Isa. 28), "Assyrian" (Mic. 5), "Euphrates" (Rev. 9) etc. (Google "Prof. F. N. Lee's ISLAM IN THE BIBLE [PDF]." Dr. Lee, BTW, has nine (!) earned doctorates in various fields.)
    God will allow this "scourge" to temporarily persecute and kill apostate Jews (JINOs) and Christians (CINOs). Jews, especially in "entertainment," seem more expert in apostasy than Christians since Jews have been at it 2000 years longer than Christians have (Google "") - but Christians apparently want to catch up to the Jews!
    It's apparent that others will join Islam in its end-time inquisition; its great oil wealth can captivate many leaders and already we're seeing apostate American leaders being bribed into turning against true American patriots.
    Those who ignore (or try to dilute or destroy) the God-ordained Living River of History will be swept down it to an ocean made by their own never-ending tears of agony and despair.
    The good news is that American JINOs & CINOs can overcome the "scourge" discussed above. The secret is found by checking out "II Chronicles 7:14" & "John 3:16" on the web.
    There's still time - and freedom - to Google or MSN "Obama Promotes Public Sex," "Obama a Black-Slavery Avenger?," "Dangerous Radicals of the Religious Right," "Pretrib Rapture Politics," "Mikey Weinstein, Jesus-Basher," "Christ's return is NOT imminent," "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," "Pretrib Rapture Pride," and (for dessert) "Pretrib Rapture Stealth."
    In light of Matthew 7:2, if we tolerate Christian leaders who lie to us and steal from us, we shouldn't be surprised if God allows us to have political leaders who lie to us and steal from us!

    A Kansas Patriot (who won FIRST PLACE over 2200 entrants in a nationwide Americanism essay contest)

    [Hi, TIM. For what it's worth, the above was spotted on the www.]


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