THIS is a subject we’ve dealt with before, e.g.: Creationism in Politics: Time for Benign Neglect? It may at first seem off topic for us, but when you step back a moment you’ll realize that the only topic that really matters here is the political strength of the anti-science elements in society. Were creationists content to mind their own business and peacefully enjoy their private realities, The Controversy between evolution and creationism wouldn’t exist.
Therefore we present you some excerpts from Evangelicals’ political clout: real or imagined?, which appears an the Washington Post website. It’s by Steven Brint, who is introduced as follows:
Every election cycle the political power of evangelicals and the Christian Right seems to come under fresh scrutiny. But what is the actual impact of the group’s excellent mobilization efforts. Steven Brint, professor of sociology and associate dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of California, Riverside, provides some insight. …
When we discuss the religion-politics nexus, we do so reluctantly. That’s because the articles we quote often mention the proclivities of specific denominations and sects, which makes us uneasy. Our principal focus here is on science, not denominational disputes. But in retail politics this kind of thing is inevitable, so here it comes. The bold font was added by us:
Evangelical Protestant denominations accounted for 85 percent of all U.S. churches in 1860, according to the historian Mark Noll. Today, evangelicals represent about 25 percent of the U.S. adult population, a distinct minority in a landscape populated not only by Catholics (who rival them in numbers), mainline Protestants, and Jews — but also increasing numbers of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others.
That’s the way professional politicians think about things — segmentation of voters into interest groups, whose grievances they exploit in seeking votes. They seek out and exacerbate latent divisions in society. Let’s read on:
Even so, it often seems like evangelicals have attained unprecedented strength, as evidenced by their raucous support for Sarah Palin on the 2008 campaign trail and their sometimes rowdy turnout in town hall meetings to protest health care reform as a prelude to socialism and death panels. Since the West Virginia textbook protests of the 1960s, white evangelicals have shown that they will demonstrate loudly against social policies they reject.
The Washington Post doesn’t like Sarah Palin. And they think the town hall protests against health-care legislation are the work of “white evangelicals.” We continue:
Why has the politically diverse mass of white evangelicals (30 percent still think of themselves as Democrats) provided so many recruits for the Christian Right? Social factors help to explain it. Evangelicals experience feelings of moral elevation due, in part, to the strictness of the theological doctrines they profess.
Creationism and “moral elevation” are not exactly compatible in our experience. Notice that 30 percent who still linger in the Democrat party? They’re the residue from the creationist-populist glory days when William Jennings Bryan was their leader. Moving along:
Moreover, they are nominally members of the dominant racial and religious groups in American society, yet they perceive themselves as ignored or marginalized by the culture. The reservoir of frustration created by these circumstances runs deep and wide.
Not only deep and wide, but when stirred up, creationists can also be ugly. Here’s more:
Evangelicals find the nation continuously beset by social problems, many stemming from changes in sexual freedoms, gender and family relations, and the raising of children. They identify the secularization of society as the root cause of these problems.
Secularization is the big enemy of the Discoveroids. See their Wedge strategy. Another excerpt:
In spite of its impressive capacity to mobilize evangelicals, the Christian Right has made relatively few lasting impressions on post-sixties American society. Women’s rights and gay rights have continued to gain ground, as have women and gay candidates for office. Intelligent design has failed to displace evolution at the center of science teaching, and, indeed, both the educational objectives and curriculum of Christian school looks quite a bit like those of public schools.
Ghastly collection of issues. One last excerpt:
The lesson is that American society is, above all, an arena of secular legal authority, pluralistic competition for power, and a consumer marketplace. Religious conservatives have been shaped by these realities far more than they have been able to shape them. … Where they have been successful, they have done it, ironically, by becoming more a part of the secular world.
That’s an overly-optimistic view of things. Or is it that after so much dumpster-diving at creationist websites, your Curmudgeon has become too pessimistic? Time will tell.
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