A great piece by Neal Gabler can be found in LA Times opinion section, saying that the American conservative movement has been hijacked by the religious right. The problem is that --- like the Taliban in Afghanistan --- when a political ideology is melded with the righteousness of God, there is nothing that can stand in its way, even if it is bad theology, bad politics, or just evil run wild. There is no evil men won't do when they believe God is on their side.
Here's a quote:
You cannot beat religion with politics, which is why the extreme right "wins" so many battles. The fundamentalist political fanatics will always be more zealous than mainstream conservatives or liberals. They will always be louder, more adamant, more aggrieved, more threatening, more willing to do anything to win. Losing is inconceivable. For them, every battle is a crusade -- or a jihad -- a matter of good and evil.
There is something terrifying in this. The media have certainly been cowed; they treat intolerance as if it were legitimate political activity. So have many politicians, and not just the conservative ones who know that if they don't fall in line, they will be run over. This political fundamentalism has also invaded the general culture in deleterious ways. The ugly incivility of recent months is partly the result of political fundamentalists who have nothing but contempt for opposing viewpoints, which gives them license to shout down opponents or threaten them, just as jihadis everywhere do.
Those who oppose the religification of politics may think all they have to do is change tactics, but they are sadly, tragically mistaken. They can never win, because for the political fundamentalists, this isn't political jousting, this is Armageddon.
Thanks to Dr. Bruce Prescott for bringing this to my attention.