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Richard

You should not equate either Republican or “conservative” with “religious.” I have dozens of Republican, conservative friends who consider themselves Christians, but could care less (or are against) such “values issues” as prayer in public schools, or “abstinence first” education. (I consider myself, too, Republican and conservative, but I'm atheist and pro-choice. Go figure.) The religious right has received little but symbolic support from the Republican party, and has made no strides whatsoever in moving the nation closer to a theocracy. Our culture is more liberal today than it was 20 years ago (just turn on your television).

Don’t mistake an interest in “values issues” with Christianity, either. Many people who haven’t been to a Sunday service in 20 years didn’t care for Janet Jackson’s breast popping out on prime time TV, believe that a mom and dad raising a child, while not always possible, is the best scenario for that child, and think many Great Society programs have helped weaken families. They think they know better than school administrators what to teach their kids about sex, and they believe Hollywood Values are largely destructive.

Liberals have created for themselves a cartoon character conservative Republican to rail against that just doesn’t square with reality. To liberals, it’s a party of intolerant religious fanatics Hell bent on converting non-like minded folks to Christianity. It makes liberals seem foolish, uniformed, and oftentimes, bizarre, (a la Rosie O’Donnell’s recent remarks that the threat from radical Islam is equivalent to the threat from radical Christianity.)

mythago

He pointed out to his son that if there is no way to know whether Jesus was resurrected, there is also no way to know whether George Washington really lived

Even for Dobson, this is pretty lame.

Many people who haven’t been to a Sunday service in 20 years

...call themselves Christians and adhere to Christian values. Let's not mistake church attendance for a lack of religion.

Oh, and don't mistake "values issues" for a particular set of values.

Richard

... Mythago wrote: "...call themselves Christians and adhere to Christian values."

(GASP!) No, not Christian values!

I don't think the problem is so much Christian values, as it is folks wanting to press their values onto everyone else. But okay then, so you see Christians and Christain values as a social evil. That's a good think to know.

The Happy Feminist

Clearly in my post I am not trying to equate all conservatives with the religious right. I am referring to a specific type of conservative and a specific type of conservatism. While the Religious Right may not hold sway where you live, Richard, or where I live, they certainly do hold sway in certain parts of the country. While it's hard for me to guage how influential they are becoming, I definitely have the sense that their message is becoming more and more popular and their methods more and more sophisticated. They may not be in a position to abolish the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit today, but who knows what will happen in 50 years?

I don't necessarily have an enormous problem with George Will style conservatism. Heck, I might even vote Republican myself once in a while but for the Republicans' affiliation with the far right. While you may view the Republicans' pandering to the Religious Right as "merely symbolic," I view such symbolism as important, especially as it appears to confer legitimacy on ideas that are contrary to traditional American values (such as egalitarianism and the separation between church and state). I am also not convinced that this pandering IS merely symbolic since things like reproductive rights are so frequently under attack.

So yeah, while the values of fiscal conservatism and a hard line foreign policy may be appropriate in many instances, I ain't supporting a party that's in bed with people who oppose my very right to fully participate in society because I am a woman.

The Happy Feminist

It makes liberals seem foolish, uniformed, and oftentimes, bizarre, (a la Rosie O’Donnell’s recent remarks that the threat from radical Islam is equivalent to the threat from radical Christianity.)

Rosie isn't necessarily any more representative of liberalism than James Dobson is of Republicans. But be that as it may, I am not sure that she is necessarily that far off, although it strikes me as counter productive to try to decide which is more or less of a threat. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Radical Muslims threaten us with terror and murder. Politically radical Christians are less likely to be criminals (although there Christian anti-choicers have used violence and terrorism). But they pose an internal threat to the interests Americans have in making free personal decisions about reproduction, marriage, sex, and the role of women.

Richard

>>> Happy wrote: "I ain't supporting a party that's in bed with people who oppose my very right to fully participate in society because I am a woman."

Each party has its unsavory subgroups. If I truly thought that Republicans were turning into the Party of Biblical Principle, I'd be the first to exit. But it’s not true. That’s the liberal cartoon character. Where's all this scary legislation passed by the Evil Republican Congress? Huh? What, the Bush faith-based charity initiative? Oooo, scarrrry.

Women are gaining on all fronts. You mention abortion. Abortion is more widely accepted and ingrained in our society than it ever was before Roe. I have not the least concern that safe and legal abortion will be available to those who want it for at least the next 50 years.

In the political arena, we've now had two female secretaries of state and other high-ranking female political appointees, more elected female senators and governors than ever before, and an ever growing number of female state and local officials.

Female business leaders are turning up everywhere. Anne Mulcahy (CEO, Xerox), Meg Whitman (CEO, eBay), Sallie Krawcheck (CFO, Citigroup), Brenda Barnes (CEO, Sara Lee), Patricia Russo (CEO, Lucent Tech). I could go on and on in this area.

The bottom line is that women have been making enormous strides in all sorts of areas of public and private concern, and all during this so-called evil tyrannical and theological Republican Rule. This imagined threat from the Bible thumpers is a mirage. They don't have any real power. They’ve lost already. Every social, cultural, economic and scientific indicator is going against them. Sure, the Republican Party throws them symbolic bones now and then, just like the Democrats throw them to the MoveOn crowd, mainly to keep the cash flowing. Unfortunately, that’s just politics. Don't confuse politics with the heart and soul of a party. The real power lies elsewhere.

powderblue

Richard writes: “Our culture is more liberal today than it was 20 years ago (just turn on your television).”

I haven’t noticed that, although TV does seem increasingly vulgar.

jamesQ

Richard “Our culture is more liberal today than it was 20 years ago (just turn on your television).”

I think this depends what area of our culture your are refering too.

For instance economically we are probably far more right wing that 20 to 30 years ago as can be see by the ever increasing disparities between the upper classses and the middle and lower classes.

The news media, outside of pure entertainment and some humanity interests, has actually shifted to the right over the last two decades.

I suppose the main thing that makes north american culture seem more liberal is that more people are accepting of others taking on different roles and having interests outside of there own (perceived) particular backgrounds/physical characteristics.


ballgame

Liberals have created for themselves a cartoon character conservative Republican to rail against that just doesn’t square with reality.

No, Richard, Republicans have created for all of us a cartoon character "conservative" Republican government that is far more radical than you or the average American realizes. The Bush administration is not just rolling back gains from the Great Society, or even the New Deal, but assaulting the very core principles of governance on which the U.S. was founded … you know, little things like the Fourth Amendment and the Eighth Amendment (and arguably the Fifth and Sixth Amendments as well).

As for philosophy, I highly recommend Marvin Harris's brilliant Cultural Materialism.

Antigone

Bush's track record on women's rights:

1) Partial Birth Abortion Ban (and comfy with anti-choice groups)
2) Sent back VAWA (at first)
3) Faith-based Initiative (which is scary, I don't want Bibles instead of bread).
4) German Chancellor at G-8 Summit
5) Supreme court: highly unqualified female, the rest male appointees
6) Changing Title IX
7) AND Act
8) Dr. Hagar to FDA
9) Abstinence Only Education
10) Pulling back international/domestic family planning funds

Not to mention the whole lose of jobs and economic stagnation (which hits women the hardest).

Yeah, Bush's GREAT for women *Rolls eyes*

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