Friday, October 24, 2008

Major Religious and Cultural Shift: The Current Election

Further confirmation of the major cultural realignment going on with the current U.S. presidential election--and the self-marginalization of those religious figures who can only say no to the realignment, and who refuse to engage postmodern culture creatively: a Barma Group poll released yesterday shows Obama and McCain in a dead heat among self-professed "born again" Christian voters (

Why is this big news? Because, until this election, for several decades now this constituency has always voted Republican. Churches aligned with right-wing Republican political platforms have done all they can to bring in the vote for the Republicans. An internal Southern Baptist Convention poll this election shows 80% of Southern Baptist pastors voting for McCain, and only 1% for Obama (the rest are undecided or have chosen a third party) (

People are moving away from the "non-negotiable," naysaying, fear-driven approach of the Christian right, with its overt theocratic agenda. This cultural shift dooms Christian leaders--including a significant proportion of the U.S. Catholic bishops--who continue to shill for the political right to irrevelancy in the culture now forming around a seismic political shift.

That place--that place of irrevelancy--is not a place a religion centered on hope should ever find itself.

And as all this takes place, those "Catholic" websites trying to drive the Catholic vote into the Republican fold continue to spring up like fungi in the night. Clerical Whispers links today to a new website for Latino Catholics, VotoCatolico, that claims not to endorse a candidate but to offer Latino voters intellectual and spiritual resources to choose wisely ( and

And, lo and behold, the "resources" offered by the website are the same old, same old "non-negotiables" about abortion and same-sex marriage. If this website has a sponsor, I can't locate it by clicking on the site. Interestingly enough, it gives Archbishop Chaput a high profile, and looks very much like the website I mentioned yesterday, the one sponsored by the Colorado Catholic Conference.

Once again: I'd dearly love to know where the funding for these "Catholic" websites is coming from. They are an extension of Republican marketing in this campaign.

Finally, in an article yesterday on Huffington Post, CC Goldwater, granddaughter of Barry Goldwater, explains why she is repudiating her grandfather's party in this election:

Myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year. We believe strongly in what our grandfather stood for: honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, free from political maneuvering and fear tactics.

Honesty, integrity, repudiation of manuevering and fear tactics: the kinds of values one would expect faith-based values voters to endorse in any leader. More's the pity, when some Christian pastoral leaders continue to give the impression of being on the side of dishonesty, lack of integrity, and fear tactics--even as large numbers of their flock look for something new when business as usual is no longer working for us.