THE Washington Post has an article by Reihan Salam, described as a New America Foundation Fellow. We haven’t previously encountered either him or that foundation, but both are interesting. Today’s article is preceded by this introduction:
Every Wednesday, Reihan Salam examines the ideological struggle for the future of American conservatism and how to revitalize the Republican party.
The article, which seems to be a transcript of Salam’s remarks and his answers to questions from an audience, is titled: What the Republican victories in N.J. and Va. mean, was NY-23 about national issues?, and it’s subtitled: “A free-wheeling conversation about the Republican future.”
We’ll skip most of it, except for some remarks in response to questions that are relevant to The Controversy between evolution and creationism. We’ll give you those excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Question: [A]re Chris Christie [who won the governorship of New Jersey] and Doug Hoffman [conservative candidate for Congress] religious conservatives, or do they simply oppose abortion and gay marriage? That’s an important distinction — I generally define “religious conservatism” and “religious right” as encompassing belief in dominion theology, but one doesn’t have to hold that belief to oppose either abortion or gay marriage. I would be interested in knowing where Christie and Hoffman stand on, say, teaching creationism in schools and posting the Ten Commandments in courtrooms.
A most intriguing question! Dominion theology, according to Wikipedia, is the belief:
… that society should be governed exclusively by the law of God as codified in the Bible, to the exclusion of secular law. The two main streams of Dominion Theology are Christian Reconstructionism and Kingdom now theology. Though these two differ greatly in their general theological orientation (the first is strongly Reformed and Neo-Calvinistic, the second is Charismatic), they share a postmillenial vision in which the kingdom of God will be established on Earth through political and (in some cases) even military means.
According to Wikipedia’s article on the funding of the Discovery Institute:
In 2005, the Washington Post reported, ‘Meyer said the institute accepts money from such wealthy conservatives as Howard Ahmanson Jr., who once said his goal is “the total integration of biblical law into our lives” …
Here’s Salam’s answer:
Now here was have some nuanced analysis! I like this idea. One could think of McDonnell [who won the governorship of Virginia] as the un-Romney. Romney felt he had to establish his social conservative bona fides in light of his pro-choice stance during his 1994 run for the U.S. Senate and his 2002 run for governor. McDonnell, in contrast, had a lengthy record as a committed social conservative.
I’m pretty sure Christie is opposed to teaching creationism and posting the Ten Commandments. I can’t say for Hoffman, though my guess is that he thinks local governments should decide.
Do you think “teaching creationism and posting the Ten Commandments” are winning issues for Republicans nationally? Anyone who believes in creationism is ignorant and uneducated and most likely has a low opinion of education.
Salam’s answer: (1) I do not think that teaching creationism and posting the Ten Commandments are winning issues nationally.
(2) I do not think that anyone who believes in creationism is ignorant or uneducated. I know it’s hard to believe for some of us, but people who have different views are sometimes highly educated and well-informed. Though I don’t believe in creationism, I know a number of devout evangelicals who do. And I also know many very smart people who believe that there has been some kind of divine intervention involved in the emergence of the world’s flora and fauna.
To tell you the truth, I think that the fixation of these issues is mainly about status politics. And I can’t say I’m very interested in status politics.
What are “status politics”? We don’t know, but this book may be instructive: Status Politics and the American Temperance Movement.
That’s all we could find in the Salam article about The Controversy. But what little we found is … well, thought-provoking.
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