YES, this is about creationism. And it’s also about a great deal more.
It’s all coming into focus in a special congressional election in New York, in which the Republican candidate, Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava, is running against Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman to see who will represent New York’s 23rd Congressional District. There is also a democrat in the race, attorney Bill Owens. The election will be held on 03 November 2009.
The consensus of informed opinion is that the democrat would be handily defeated were it not for the presence of both a Republican and a Conservative candidate in the race. The Republican vote is being split between Dierdre and Doug. That’s bad news for the GOP, which should otherwise be able to win the currently vacant seat. And that GOP split, dear reader, involves creationism.
We’ve previously written of our discomfort concerning the present state of the GOP. See: Open Letter to the Republican Party. There we complained that:
While the other party has been winning elections and undermining everything we have traditionally valued, what issues dominate our political discourse? Our party has been talking about sex and religion.
At that time we referred to the divisive issues as sex and religion; at other times we’ve used a different expression for the same problem. We once wrote that “family values” is code for an obsession with Noah’s Ark and chastity belts. We’re still struggling for a memorable expression that captures the two issues threatening the future of the Republican party.
This time we’re going to try creationism and chastity, or C&C. The meaning of creationism is obvious; the term chastity in this context includes a vast array of topics that somehow find their way into political discourse — topics like abstinence, promiscuity, homosexuality, pre-marital relations, contraception, sodomy, pornography, same-sex marriage, sex education, abortion, and morning-after pills. Does that list sound familiar? It should, because increasingly, those are the issues that get discussed in Republican campaigns.
When either of the C&C issues is raised (usually it’s both), even if only in a peripheral way, it energizes an enthusiastic portion of the Republican base, and that can assure primary victories. It can also assure general election victories in some regions of the country — especially where William Jennings Bryan once strode like giant across the political landscape. But in other regions, and in national politics generally, those same issues are seen as extreme — even bizarre — and that repels a large number of undecided voters who often determine the outcome in general elections.
There’s yet another problem with the C&C issues, which helps to explain the unfavorable reaction of independent voters. The Constitution doesn’t give the federal government any authority over those issues, so they’re strikingly out of place in congressional and presidential politics. If the C&C issues need to be addressed, it can only be at the state level; and most state constitutions also prevent governmental enforcement of religious doctrine; and let’s be candid here — religion is at the core of both C&C issues.
So how is all of this playing out in the New York election? Scozzafava is the Republican candidate. She has traditional Republican positions on taxes, economics, defense, and the 2nd Amendment. But she’s not a “social conservative.” She’s not one of the “family values” crowd. She’s pretty much a libertarian on abortion, and she’s also that way on same-sex relationships. She’s definitely not an in-your-bedroom conservative.
Because Scozzafava is the Republican in the race, she’s been endorsed by Newt Gingrich. At this page of his website, On the NY23 Race, We Have A Practical Choice To Make, Newt says, with bold font added by us:
Through my experience as Speaker of the House and building a Republican majority in 1994, I have learned that if America wants a conservative majority in Washington, parts of that majority are going to disagree. I was elected Speaker because a number of moderates voted for me. They gave us control of the House for the first time in forty years, allowing us to balance the federal budget, cut taxes and reform welfare for America.
My endorsement of Dede Scozzafava in the special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District is a means of regaining a conservative majority in America.
Although some of her values do not match my own, Scozzafava will help us in our efforts to win back Congress. She has signed the no-tax-increase pledge from the Americans from Tax Reform, she has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, she opposes cap-and-trade and energy tax increases, she is against Obama Care, and she has said she will vote against Nancy Pelosi and in favor of John Boehner as Speaker of the House.
Newt is undoubtedly thinking of his Contract With America, the most successful thing we’ve done since nominating Ronald Reagan. Each item on Newt’s list was poll-tested. Significantly, religion and sex were not on the list, except indirectly in the case of some welfare reform provisions affecting unwed mothers, and some non-controversial items in the proposed Family Reinforcement Act ( such as tax incentives for adoption, and stronger child pornography laws). Wikipedia says: “Gingrich insisted on ‘60% issues’, intending for the Contract to avoid promises on controversial and divisive matters like abortion and school prayer.” Source: Contract with America.
A bit more from the Gingrich website:
My number one interest in the 2009 elections is to build a Republican majority. If your interest is taking power back from the Left, and your interest is winning the necessary elections, then there are times when you have to put together a coalition that has disagreement within it.
We have to decide which business we are in. If we are in the business about feeling good about ourselves while our country gets crushed then I probably made the wrong decision.
We like Newt. He makes sense.
Opposed to Scozzafava is Doug Hoffman, who differs from Scozzafava in that he is anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. Thus, one of the C&C issues is clearly involved. Hoffman has recently been endorsed by Sarah Palin, and more recently by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Both are creationists — the other part of C&C. We can’t find anything specifically indicating that Hoffman is a creationist, but he certainly holds to all the other “family values” positions.
Hoffman’s campaign website indicates that he’s also endorsed by Rick Santorum, another creationist. Can this be a coincidence? It seems more likely that the “family values” crowd recognize Hoffman as one of their own.
Lesson 5 – Science: What is True? (two-part lesson)
(Part One): Science, the “systematic study of the natural world,” brings to light innumerable evidences of Intelligent Design. But Darwinian theory transforms science from the honest investigation of nature into a vehicle for propagating a godless philosophy.
(Part Two): A careful examination of molecular biology and the fossil record demonstrates that evolution is not a “proven fact.” Meanwhile, history shows that ideas, including Darwinism as a social philosophy, have definite consequences – consequences that can turn ugly when God is left out of the picture.
To be fair, that’s from Dobson, not Hoffman. But the question is unavoidable — Why are so many known creationists supporting Hoffman? We think it’s because Hoffman is another C&C Republican.
We don’t know what’s going to happen in New York’s 23rd Congressional District on 03 November. But we think the split between what’s shaping up to be the Gingrich wing and Palin wing of the party is in plain view for all to see. The GOP may well lose that seat as a result.
So where does this leave us? Is the Grand Old Party about taxes, defense, and preserving the Constitution? Or is it primarily about God and sex?
The answer involves more than one congressional seat — far more. What’s really in question is whether the Republican party will have any national viability at all. And on that point — some will think this an exaggeration, but they’re wrong — depends the fate of the civilized world.
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.