Thursday, April 13, 2006

Conservative takes on theocons.

Kevin Phillips is a long-time conservative pundit. But he is troubled with the trend in the Republican Party toward theocracy and away from it's older view of limited government. Phillips authored a new book American Theocracy arguing that the US is headed into decline and that the rise of the theocratic right is one sign of this decline. I keep carrying it around with me intending to read it but having trouble finding the time.

Phillips has a new article in The Nation and here are a few excerpts:

The essential US conditions for a theocratic trend fell into place in the late 1980s and '90s with the growing mass of evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christianity, expressed politically by the religious right; and the rise of the Republican Party as a powerful vehicle for religious policy-making and eventual erosion of the accepted degree of separation between church and state. This transformation was most vivid at the state level, where fifteen to twenty state Republican parties came under the control of the religious right, and party conventions in the South and West endorsed so-called "Christian nation" platforms. As yet nationally uncatalogued--a shortfall that cries out for a serious research project--these platforms set out in varying degrees the radical political theology of the Christian Reconstructionist movement, ranging from the Bible as the basis for domestic law to an emphasis on religious schools and women's subordination to men.

More telling still, in the years since 1988 dozens of reports have quoted Bush the Younger telling ministers, supporters and foreign officials that God wanted him to run for President and that God speaks through him. In mid-2004 one Pennsylvania newspaper reported his telling a local Amish audience, "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job." Reports that he told Middle Eastern leaders that God told him to invade Iraq have been denied by the White House, but this is clearly the sort of language he uses from time to time.


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