Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fred Clark on Overlap Between GOP and White Evangelicalism in Post-Election Analysis

At his Slacktivist blog site, Fred Clark notes that post-election analysis of the challenges now facing the Republican party seems to dovetail neatly with analysis of the challenges now facing the white evangelical communities in the U.S.  As he notes, 

Both institutions face the same problems. Both have become dominated by white male perspectives and have come to serve primarily the interests of those who share that perspective. Both have attained and maintained power by marginalizing everyone else — everyone who is not a straight, white, Christian male. This has been done through policy, through rhetoric that paints others as illegitimate and alien, and through the simple cluelessness that comes from not hearing and not listening to any other voices.

Fred  notes that Tony Jones has done a fascinating "remix" of David Simon's post-election commentary on the re-election of Barack Obama as a game-changer for those who have hinged their hopes in perpetuity on the continuing dominance of, oh, everything, by straight, white, Christian males.  I blogged about Simon's essay a number of days ago.

Jones's remix simply scores through assertions in Simon's original text that have to do with cultural and political shifts and substitutes terms that apply to white evangelical faith communities.  A sample:

This election marks a moment in which the racial and social hierarchy of America the American Church is upended forever. No longer will it mean more politically theologically to be a white male than to be anything else. Evolve, or don’t. Swallow your resentments, or don’t. But the votes people are going to be counted, more of them with each election liturgical year. Arizona will soon be in play. And in a few cycles, even Texas. And those wishing to hold national office prominent pulpits in these United States will find it increasingly useless to argue for normal, to attempt to play one minority against the next, to turn pluralities against the feared “other” of gays, or blacks, or immigrants, or, incredibly in this election cycle liturgical year, our very wives and lovers and daughters, fellow citizens Christians who demand to control their own bodies.

And as a number of good readers of Bilgrimage have been noting, one can with equal justification score through all of the valuable assertions in post-election commentary about how the back of straight, white, Christian, male cultural dominance is now being broken, and substitute the terms "Vatican" and "Catholic bishops" everywhere that the subject is "aging, straight, white, Christian men."  Though I'd perhaps qualify the term "straight" with quotation marks when referring to the Catholic hierarchy . . . . 

P.S. It's fascinating to see the extent to which some men remain intent on not getting it, even after the  2012 elections.  I find it hilarious in a grim kind of way that a secular newspaper in Oklahoma is running a series right now by the conservative Christian journalist Terry Mattingly about "Holy Matrimony" (caps in original) and "civil unions."  And how the twain never shall meet.  

The crude and even downright silly logic of Mattingly's argument?  If the gays want marriage, let's change the terminology and start calling what straight folks do Holy Matrimony.  Since the gays can't have anything that's Holy.

My response: if Holy Matrimony is what the straights have been doing for decades now, I'm not really sure I do want any part of it.  And if it's self-evidently Holy, then perhaps straight men wouldn't now be so intent on rebranding it.  It would speak for itself as Holy simply because what heterosexual people are doing with Holy Matrimony beams the message holy to the world.

As I say, this is simply silly.  What it amounts to is an ongoing determination among straight white Christian men to keep the doors of their little clubhouse shut to anyone other than themselves.

But I'd submit that the clubhouse might well be in the process of morphing into a prison for the boys who continue to live inside it.  If they but had eyes to see the world outside their doors and how radically that world is shifting while the boys remain shut up inside their clubhouse. . . .

And shame on The Oklahoman for running a series that is ostensibly about discussing the issue of marriage equality dispassionately, in a pluralistic secular context, but is really about promoting  the extremist views of some Christians as if they're the views of all Christians.  And as if what straight folks have been doing for years now, with their marriage club that's too sacrosanct to admit teh gayz any entry to,  is really holy.

(Thanks to Dennis Coday at National Catholic Reporter for linking to Mattingly's article in his "Morning Briefing" column.)

The graphic shows the results of a November 2011 poll conducted by Politico and George Washington University which shows the gender breakdown of political preferences between evangelical males and evangelical females.

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