Underneath the rubble of last week’s election lies a casualty not much discussed- the religious right.
The Religious right went all out in this election. After years of picturing Obama as anti-Christian, gay-marriage as anti-family, and reproductive rights as anti-life, the right was soundly defeated in almost every possible way.
Instead of the promised victories, the religious right encountered defeat at almost every turn. Not only did Obama win convincingly, but Democrats held onto the Senate – and the power to confirm judges – and Wisconsin elected the nation’s first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin. –Religious News Service (RNS)
Anti-abortion champions Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lost what should have been easy races. Same-sex marriage was passed in two states. Romney made it a race only after he dropped the religious right’s key issues like marriage and abortion, and focused on the economy.
As Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist who backed Romney, wrote Wednesday in The Washington Post, “the issue of gay marriage is a generational one, a battle that social conservatives have lost … The American people have changed their minds on the issue and fighting this one is political flat-earthism.” -RNS
This defeat could be the best thing that has happened to conservatives if they learn its real lessons. Two of the most strident voices of the right seem to have:
“No party can win if it is seen as heartless. No party can win if it appeals only to white and older Americans. No party can win if it looks more like the way to the past than the way to the future.” -R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“My message really today is we have more work to do to become more diverse, but the party has to start building bridges and practicing the politics of addition to bring more people in,” Ralph Reed, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition
There is room in our political process for religious as well as secular voices. We need a strong right wing as well as a strong left. America said “no” to the religious right not because it has nothing important to say, but because it was threatening to take away the voices of others. Right wing Christians are valued members of our community, but so are immigrants, the poor, gay and lesbian people, feminists, Jews, Muslims and atheists.
If the religious right learns tolerance instead of judgment, they will be a formidable force.