Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Religious Right: where to now?

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has an analysis of the Religious Right's impact on the election - and vice versa. Some excerpts:

After eight years of unprecedented access to the White House and (until 2006) in the halls of Congress, Religious Right organizations are about to lose a lot of clout with much of official Washington and could see their influence at the national level diminished.

But it’s unlikely any of these organizations will close down. Rather, they will organize to defeat individual-freedom initiatives put forward by President Barack Obama, and they will place more emphasis on state and local governments as a way to press their agenda forward.

. . .

Obama’s victory is a serious blow to the Religious Right. Top organizations had pulled out all of the stops to defeat him. Main tactics included hyperbolic claims of what to expect under an Obama presidency, the distribution of biased “voter guides” that heavily favored John McCain and an attempt to forge a church-based political machine that would promote McCain. While widely implemented, these efforts were not terribly successful.

. . .

. . . Obama’s electoral landslide does not mean the Religious Right is dead or even seriously wounded. The Religious Right has been part of the American political landscape for more than 30 years and is not likely to fade away simply because of a bad election cycle.

It’s important to remember that several of the Religious Right’s favored candidates won their races, and, more importantly, the referenda results on same-sex marriage shows that this issue remains a potent one for the Religious Right to exploit. With power changing hands in Washington, these groups will shift tactics, not shut their doors.

In short, it is probably too early to declare the culture wars over just yet.

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