The Moral Majority Is Neither


I’ve recently come across a few links to a Politico article on the origins of the Religious Right, which was a quite interesting read. The main point is that, while it’s commonly said that Roe v. Wade was what inspired the movement in the 1970s, it was really more wanting to keep schools segregated. What I’ve heard is that, not too long before my lifetime, evangelical Protestants were commonly pro-choice or largely indifferent to abortion, thinking of it as more of a Catholic issue. The changeover was due in significant part to an attempt by the Republicans to defeat Jimmy Carter, who was an evangelical Democrat. It strikes me that there’s more of an alliance now between super-conservative Catholics and Protestants, which I guess is a good thing in some ways. I don’t want them to gain any more power than they already have, but at least they’ve become a little more tolerant, I suppose. A lot of the anchors on Fox News are Catholics who appeal to fundamentalist Protestants, which likely would have been unheard of in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Hell, even as late as the 1960 election, some people were afraid John F. Kennedy would take orders from the Pope, which makes me think their sources on Catholicism were several centuries out of date. But anyway, the segregated schools definitely wanted to have their all-white cake and eat it too; they didn’t want to integrate, but they also refused to pay taxes. I can’t help but be reminded of the Hobby Lobby story. Dudes, if you want to be discriminatory, just don’t take the tax breaks! One of the main schools at issue was Bob Jones University, which anyone who has read Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them might remember as the place Franken tried to prank.

They forbade interracial dating until 2000, and after that required the students’ parents’ permission to date people of other races. Bob Jones Jr. claimed that the Bible mandated racial segregation, although I have to wonder where he found that. Sure, there’s discrimination in the Bible, like Ezra’s insistence that Jews not marry Gentiles. This was based on religious and tribal identity, however, not skin color. And what about how Paul says in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”? He doesn’t say “black or white,” but I would think that’s very much in the same spirit. But that didn’t stop conservatives from using the Bible to argue against civil rights, just as they’re now using it to oppose gay marriage.

The whole thing is pretty disheartening, but we’ve made considerable progress in some areas. It’s just always a little weird to me when people object so strongly to things that don’t affect them. I’m not talking about abortion here; while I’m pro-choice, I can sympathize with the anti-abortion position, even as I take issue with some common pro-life rhetoric. I mean, everyone thinks there should be less abortion, although they can’t agree on how we should go about this. With some of these other issues, though, I can’t see that the Religious Right has an argument other than, “This is how we’ve always done it, so why change?”

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2 Responses to The Moral Majority Is Neither

  1. Well said! They’re more like the Immoral Minority.

    I personally find a stinging condemnation of them (and others like them) when I read Matthew 7:

    “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get…

    Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit…

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’”

    In nearly every way, the “Moral Majority” are the antithesis of actual Christianity.

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