Sunday, June 12, 2005

The "Christian" Part

So if you've been reading here, you've read of my bewilderment at the furor over Dean's comment that the Republican Party is "... pretty much a white, Christian party." I've written about the "white" part of this statement, but what about the "Christian" part of it? What would a former Republican Senator, and Episcopal minister say? Well, John C. Danforth, a former United States senator from Missouri and Episcopal minister, had this to say about his party:
St. Louis - By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians. The elements of this transformation have included advocacy of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, opposition to stem cell research involving both frozen embryos and human cells in petri dishes, and the extraordinary effort to keep Terri Schiavo hooked up to a feeding tube.

Standing alone, each of these initiatives has its advocates, within the Republican Party and beyond. But the distinct elements do not stand alone. Rather they are parts of a larger package, an agenda of positions common to conservative Christians and the dominant wing of the Republican Party.

Christian activists, eager to take credit for recent electoral successes, would not be likely to concede that Republican adoption of their political agenda is merely the natural convergence of conservative religious and political values. Correctly, they would see a causal relationship between the activism of the churches and the responsiveness of Republican politicians. In turn, pragmatic Republicans would agree that motivating Christian conservatives has contributed to their successes.

Once again, Dean is correct.