Will 2008 be the year that Christianity goes secular?
Although similar claims have been made about the 2000 and 2004 elections, the next presidential election will unquestionably be one of the most consequential in U.S. history. A significant factor in this election will be the left’s effort to finally achieve a goal it has pursued for decades: convincing a majority of Americans that liberal “social justice” and traditional Christianity are one and the same.
For years, the left has pushed the notion that a permanent welfare state, social “nonjudgmentalism,” environmental eccentricity, staunch pacifism, and wealth redistribution are virtues consistent with the teachings of Jesus. On the surface, the left-wing endeavor to associate salvation with “social justice” has been a disaster. However, a closer look reveals that the left has, unfortunately, had some traction in this effort.
Despite vigorous and virtuous attempts on the part of the Republican Party to reach out to African-Americans of faith, the black church, sadly, remains a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party; the left has propagandized far too many Christians of color into believing that the GOP is inimical to their interests. The left has also made inroads into the American Catholic Church, convincing scores of believers that the church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and marriage are invalid and obsolete.
Having seized political control of large numbers of church-going African-Americans as well as a significant share of the American Catholic population, the left will now wage a propaganda offensive focused on the evangelical voters who supported President Bush in 2000 and 2004. These voters were outraged by the moral vacuity of the Clinton Administration, and refused to support Al Gore, who famously declared that Clinton would be remembered as one of the greatest presidents of all-time right after he was impeached in December 1998. However, now that six years have passed since Clinton left office, the left is anticipating that Clinton’s moral faults are no longer prominent in the American consciousness, thus giving “progressives” an opportunity to emphasize the alleged moral failings of Bush.
The left will seize upon the difficulties in Iraq and in post-Katrina New Orleans, presenting these controversies as “proof” that the GOP is a party that has abandoned Christian principles. They will slander the party as an institution of iniquity, accusing the GOP of tending to the wealthy’s needs and ignoring “the least of these,” blasting the party for supposedly investing in wars instead of the poor. They will declare that Jesus wouldn’t stand for “two Americas,” wouldn’t ignore the “cries” of the “polluted” earth, wouldn’t give “tax cuts to the rich”—and, of course, wouldn’t have led us into an “unjust” war.
Will it work? Don’t assume it can’t, not with the Democrats running Congress once again, not with the relentless media glorification of left-wing Christian Barack Obama (to say nothing of the positive coverage given to Christian celebrities with politically correct views), not with an electorate seemingly uneasy about our chances for victory in Iraq. Republicans must be on guard heading into ‘08: the left’s propaganda channels will relentlessly promote the idea that Jesus is an antiwar progressive, and that “authentic” Christians cannot vote for the GOP. Old-school Democrat propaganda put Bill Clinton into office fifteen years ago. The GOP must fight to ensure that new-school Democrat propaganda—i.e., demagoguery with a “religious” imprimatur—doesn’t affect the outcome of next year’s election.