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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Theocons at the Gate

Lost amid the daily drip of coverage -- and even the occasional look at the politics of religion -- is the realization of how thoroughly Republican Party politics are dominated by the Religious Right. The slow, steady growth of the Theocons has obscured how they have come to dominate both the GOP and America in 2005.

The excesses of the Religious Right are hard to miss: the Terry Schiavo tragedy may still represent the zenith of the movement, the point from which they so overreached as the begin their descent. But the Theocons are there daily from Rick Santorum's silliness to the threats of the Dobson-Bauer axis, mandating the direction of the nation as if they hold the levers of power.

In a very real sense they do -- and it is to their credit and the liberals shame. Over the past 20 years, from school boards and town councils to the halls of Congress, the Theocons have been slowly amassing power to put behind their agenda. And the agenda is really quite simple: the direction of our nation should be drawn from the "moral values" of the movement. Whether that amounts to renouncing evolution, mandating abstinence over reality-based sex education or dictating what we see in our homes and theaters.

How is this different from the theocracies in the Middle East who we are fighting to ensure "our way of life"? Maybe this really is another Crusade?

The battle will play out in the confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts. "Right-to-life" versus "women's rights" are merely code words for the underlying issue at stake in the Supreme Court fights that will follow. This dedicated band of zealots is really out to reverse the underpinning of Roe. v. Wade -- the Griswold decision that guaranteed the right to privacy. Republicans and conservatives have long held the belief that government should be out of the boardrooms and focus on the bedrooms where it belongs.

If Roe falls (and it likely would not with Roberts on the court, but would be in grave peril with a second Bush appointment) Griswold won't be far behind. From there it would be the slippery slope: government mandates on how to raise children (including what they can watch on TV); mandates on how to live a proper "moral" life, with the creation of unwanted children (and indifference to their plight) enshrined as the "law" of the land. Who know, maybe even roving bands of religious police singling out infidels for punishment.

The Theocons are at the Gate. The 49-plus percent of the nation that voted Democratic (and the millions more who voted for Bush without endorsing this extremist agenda) need to wake up before it is too late. Just one heathen's thoughts.


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