saliently referring us today to an article expanding this topic." /> saliently referring us today to an article expanding this topic." />
A couple of days ago I wrote a Polinaut item on the Pew poll on religion and politics in America and tried to make a distinction that the term "religious" does not necessarily refer only to evangelical Christians, even though it seemed to be a term that has been hijacked by the political media to mean exactly that.
It's as hard to discuss this issue without being called anti-religion as it is to discuss race in this country without being called a racist. But discuss we must.
The reason Michael Barone (not the Pipedreams guy) makes the big bucks is that he's a better wordsmith than I am, as he demonstrates in saliently referring us today to an article expanding this topic.
Essentially, Walter Russell Mead seems to suggest, what we have now is not a non-religious vs. the religious scenario that the folks who latched onto the poll might suggest, but that we have a religion vs. religion scenario.
Yet the balance of power among the different religious strands shifts over time; in the last generation, this balance has shifted significantly, and with dramatic consequences. The more conservative strains within American Protestantism have gained adherents, and the liberal Protestantism that dominated the country during the middle years of the twentieth century has weakened. This shift has already changed U.S. foreign policy in profound ways.
These changes have yet to be widely understood, however, in part because most students of foreign policy in the United States and abroad are relatively unfamiliar with conservative U.S. Protestantism. That the views of the evangelical Reverend Billy Graham lead to quite different approaches to foreign relations than, say, those popular at the fundamentalist Bob Jones University is not generally appreciated. But subtle theological and cultural differences can and do have important political consequences. Interpreting the impact of religious changes in the United States on U.S. foreign policy therefore requires a closer look into the big revival tent of American Protestantism.
Why focus exclusively on Protestantism? The answer is, in part, that Protestantism has shaped much of the country's identity and remains today the majority faith in the United States (although only just). Moreover, the changes in Catholicism (the second-largest faith and the largest single religious denomination in the country) present a more mixed picture with fewer foreign policy implications. And finally, the remaining religious groups in the United States are significantly less influential when it comes to the country's politics.
I'll have to read his book because -- so far -- it's lightbulb material. And if I'm reading his writing correctly -- and I acknowledge I may not be -- the constant to-and-fro' of liberalism/conservatism does not necessarily start with a shift in political thought; it starts with a shift in religion.
I am no expert in forign policy, but I remeber a french word from PSC-100 that means reason of the state.
Religon, albiet powerful, is not the only, nor the overiding domestic antecedent in forming Americans policy abroad. The author of the passage you quote seems to see Religon as the only domestic factor that effects the creation of forien policy.
We'd argue that it's a politically infected religion vs. religion debate. One of the main reasons why Jefferson thought that his statute on religious freedom was so important (he listed it as one of his top 3 accomplishments) was because it made the clear case that politics and religion are like oil and water, and that if they are mixed, they end up completely contaminating eachother. The changes that the article and the Pew poll (among other recent religion/political studies) note is that black evangelicals and Catholics are being won over to traditionally hostile protestant factions because of gay marriage and abortion.
These two issues continue to allow churches to bring specific political issues within their doors. This does wonders in elections. Look at Ohio in 04. The liberal/progressive ground game was the most expensive and comprehensive in history. Report upon report from that area noted that the GOP ground game was no where to be seen. It turned out, that the GOP ground game was being run from church basements on 2 or 3 main issues that allow churches to get around the tricky tax problem.
"Judicial activism" is the monster of this church/political hybrid. There is an active assault on our nation's courts by church-basement radicals. We've mentioned it a few times in the last day or so, but go check out the Constitution Restoration Act. Go check out some of the comments by Judge Prior or Judge Brown during last year's confirmation fights...this is the goal...a weakened judiciary; it is being organized and funded by religious organizations.
The main point here is that politics and religion create bad, nasty things when they are mixed (esp organizationally).
I will say this, folks like Mr. Mead and Kevin Phillips miss the boat on the question of how much this affects foreign policy. They see premillenial dispensationalism and some bad stuff in the Middle East and they skip a whole bunch of steps on their way to the conclusion that confuses a minority interpretation of the war with its root causes.
This is a primarily domestic issue/problem. It is about reconstructing American society by replacing secular law with biblical fiat. Foreign policy is a side-effect of the main problem.
I know that I am posting in the wrong place, but I know that I read here about Pawlenty supporting the death penalty for Alfonso Rodriguez. I thought that this article about brain injuries and death rown might be enlightening for him and for your readers.