In Defense of the Religious Right

Compass Points has an interview with Pat Hynes about his upcoming book, In Defense of the Religious Right. I was allowed a sneak peek at the book several weeks ago and highly recommend it. I will be posting a review next week. In the spirit of full disclosure, Pat is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He and his partner in crime, Bulldog Pundit, let me guest blog at Crush Kerry back when I was still very new to blogging and both of them have provided much encouragement to me over the past couple of years. Even if I didn’t think so highly of Pat, though, I could recommend the book wholeheartedly because it is really, really good and the topic is quite timely, as well. Pat has tons of experience in politics, so I expected the book to be informative. I was surprised, though, considering the serious subject matter, to also find it fun to read. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Miner: Quite a few people and even some bestselling books are saying the GOP is the party of theocracy. Any truth in this?

Hynes: None at all. Conservative Christians within the GOP don’t agree on their theology, so to say they are trying to establish a theocracy is an ignorant smear.

Miner: During your research, did you come across genuine American theocrats equivalent to the Iranian mullahs?

Hynes: No. The claim that conservative Christians in America are akin to the Iranian mullahs is an update to a similar smear that surfaced after September 11th – back then, the Religious Right was likened almost daily to the Taliban. This much is true: no matter the point in history, liberal pundits and extremist politicians will compare conservative Christians in America to whichever Islamo-fascist regime threatens to kill innocent Americans.

Miner: Is it fair to call America a “Christian nation”?

Hynes: Yes. America is a Christian nation. As I write in my book, “Is America a Christian nation? Of course it is. Don’t be ridiculous. What a stupid question.” The American form of government–a federalist-style representative democracy–was most certainly established as a secular framework. But it was so designed to best reflect the will of the people at all levels of government, federal, state, and local. Christian values have always informed the public’s will–from the moment William Bradford stepped foot on Plymouth Rock to the 2004 election.

Miner: How much impact will the Religious Right have in this November’s midterm election? How much in ’08?

Hynes: It is too soon to tell whether the Religious Right will engage the 2006 election with the same fervor it engaged the 2004 election or if conservative Christians–demoralized by the ineffectiveness of the Republican majority in Washington–will say home. Social issues or, if you prefer, “moral values” issues generally play a greater role in our public dialogue during a campaign than during the congressional session. They will so again this year and that fact will motivate many Christians to vote. If it motivates them as powerfully as in the past, their voice will dominate the public dialogue again this election year. If not, Republicans will probably lose their majority.
Jeremy Lott has more on the book here.

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