I grew up a Reagan Republican --- a teenager disillusioned with a weak foreign policy, an economy that had been in the tank for the decade of the 70s, & a glimmer of hope from an actor-turned-politician who made patriotism a good thing again. So, yeah, I began my years as a Republican & was proud of it.
And then reality set in. I began to see that the GOP stood for God's Own Party & that God was defined with a very narrow theological slant, i.e., Fundamentalism, that left many believers to be cast into outer darkness.
While college mellowed my rigidity (thank God for the Good Ol' Days of Shorter College before the Neocons in GA took over the GA Baptist Convention & the Republican Party) it was in seminary that I was forced to examine where theology meets the real world. It was there I had to step back, take inventory, & admit that many of the things I had always heard were true were, in fact, not, but were really either politics in religious disguise or a narrow theology masquerading as conservative politics.
All that means little to the intent of this post except that the last five years or so have caused me to pause & examine the principles instead of the party. I don't like what I see happening in Baptist circles, & it is even worse in the national political sphere.
Frankly, the Brown Shirts have re-emerged in America. Oh, yes, they are more respectable, but they are just as real in the danger they bring.
Such is the case made by Max Blumenthal in his new book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. (Here's the NPR link.) Catch this quote:
This was a portrait of the Republican Party fully in the grip of its right wing: almost exclusively white, overwhelmingly evangelical, fixated on abortion, homosexuality, and abstinence education; resentful and angry; and unable to discuss how and why it had become this way ... Eisenhower observed the early development of the modern American right with anxiety. His experience in Europe had taught him that the rise of extreme movements could be explained only by the psychological yearnings and social needs of their supporters. He understood that these movements were not unique to any place or time. Authoritarianism could take root anywhere, even in America. Eisenhower did not believe that an American exceptionalism immunized the country against the spores of extremism.
Interesting analysis. If true, the analysis would make Sinclair Lewis' 1935 quote in It Can't Happen Here a prophetic voice:
When fascism comes to America, it will be draped in the flag and carrying a bible.