Monday, July 28, 2008

Musings on the Religious Right

After reading this article in MacLeans, I have to say that I was forced to rethink my views on social conservatives, not just in the US, but here in Canada as well.

The article makes the point that many religious voters may be gradually coming to the realization that abortion and gay marriage are not the only religious/moral issues in politics. Such a statement seems self-evident, but those two issues have dominated political discourse for so long that many of us have forgotten.

For example, ensuring access to health care, stopping climate change, and opposition to torture and unjust wars are all things that the Religious Right cares about (or should care about). And it's clear to everyone that the right wing of the American political establishment has been disastrous on every single one of those issues. Not very Christian.

And we have an interesting shift this election season. Unlike prior elections, it's the Democrat, Barack Obama, who often talks about his personal faith and religious beliefs, partly out of necessity (because of all the "secret Muslim" smears), and partly because it's something he seems to genuinely care deeply about. In contrast, John McCain rarely, if ever, talks about his religious beliefs.

That's not to say it's smooth sailing for Obama with religious conservatives; he supports abortion rights, and his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright was repellent for many voters whether they were religious or not. And the polls aren't cause for much encouragement just yet, still showing McCain ahead by large margins in this demographic group.

But Obama does have a chance to make inroads.

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