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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Religious Right and the GOP at cross purposes?

There is an excellent article in TCS by James Pinkerton that touches on the history of the relationship between the GOP and the Religious Right. He makes the argument that their animosity toward stem cell research will eventually hurt the Republicans.

Yet in America, 14 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the anti-communist alliance of capitalists and moralists still exists. There's nothing wrong with that per se. However, as with any dynamic process, feedback occurs in unexpected ways. And so the Religious Right's large presence within the conservative coalition has shifted the Republican Party's position on the issue that is arguably the mega-issue of the 21st century: biotech. And on that issue, the essentially reactionary nature of the Religious Right becomes a hindrance, not a help. That is, the same traditionalism that inspired conservative Catholics and Protestants to oppose communistic experimentation now inspires them to oppose scientific experimentation. To be sure, humane balance is needed between Mary Baker Eddy and Dr. Frankenstein. But right now, the Religious Right isn't interested in balancing medical progress and bioethics; instead, conservatives aim to stymie medical progress in the name of Biblical ethics. Thus the paradox: the Religious Rightists who bulked up the anti-communist movement, who helped the Republican Party achieve majority status, have now become the major obstacle to saving and improving lives. And that's not only bad for America, that's bad politics for the GOP.

He also talks about this horrible "Bright" movement that has been blogged ad nauseum. Although I understand the sentiment exactly, I will call myself a Bright the day I cough up a hairball.

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