Now that the Republican party has established itself as the party of Christianity what freedom loving American can possibly support the GOP? Whether the Republican party is using Christianity or whether Christianity has taken over the Republican party is unimportant. The GOP has become the champion of far-right Christian views.
As stated in the article, a veteran Republican has witnessed the co-opting of his party by fundamentally Christian political “cranks” starting in the 1970’s and progressing to grow into a major element within the ranks of the GOP. As evidence it was offered that some GOP staffers are now expressing fundamentalist ideas openly, for example, the fundamentalist staffer who said that dinosaur fossils were a hoax, or the staffer who decided to take time off when in Greece for the purposes of converting the local population.
Despite the fact that the Constitution states there shall be no religious test for public office there is in fact a test conducted. Inevitably candidates for high public office are pressured into sharing their feelings about their faith. Many in the public media have been convinced that a candidate’s religion is a matter for public debate.
Republican candidates for high public office are severely examined as to their religious views. Mitt Romney was harassed about his views and a preacher from Texas, one Robert Jeffress, even expressed the opinion that it was even doubtful that Romney could be considered a Christian given his Mormonism.
Wearing the fundamentalist label within the Republican party has become a cloak behind which all manner of indiscretions can be overlooked. As long as the candidate identifies with fundamentalists values his/her personal ‘sins’ are disregarded.
Not too long ago the group of which I am a member took to discussing how to attract new members. One of the taboos mentioned in the discussion was whether or not members should make disparaging remarks about one or the other major political parties. This particular taboo was mentioned in that some atheists might be Republicans.
I found this astounding. Upon realizing my atheism and adopting the label proudly I found immediately that I could no longer be a member of the Republican party and abandoned it. How could any self-respecting person believing in freedom of religion and the Separation of Church and State adhere to the Republican party? (The fundamentalist members of the Republican Party do not believe that Federal prohibitions about religion apply to the states, and they do not believe that the Constitution mentions a separation between church and state).
The Democratic party is the only other party that can successfully oppose the Republican religious machine. If there were a more secular party with the resources to keep the Republicans from making the United States a theocracy I would certainly support them. With all of its flaws, the Democratic party is all we have that is in a position to stop this race towards a religiously fundamentalist state. Even if every atheist supported an independent secular party its numbers would be tiny and ineffectual against the religious political machine of the Republican party and would diminish the strength of the only party capable of challenging it.