I’m anxious to move beyond marriage equality, both politically and in this blog. As Black Girl Dangerous recently pointed out, many injustices are being perpetrated while our attentions are riveted to the marriage debate. And, while marriage is a very important concern, this blog exists to draw our attention to the aspects of injustice that lurk beyond, beneath, and on the edges of the more obvious offenses to justice that tend to dominate the news cycle.
And, as my readers no doubt know, while the traditional nuclear family continues to be promoted as the ideal, the reality is that most American families, including an even greater majority of families of color, don’t live that way at all. Marriage rights aren’t a remedy for many of the challenges facing them, even while the fact that they are the majority means that their vulnerability to injustice has immediate and broad implications for the health and security of us all.
On the tip of what lies beyond marriage, and while I still have the attention of LGBT readers, I’d like to ask that we reconsider the idea that the right wing evangelical movement is dying.
Liberal media pundits and political analysts have turned this notion into a popular meme, casting the evangelical wing of the GOP as the frog enjoying the warmth of the water in the pot just before it boils and turns into frog stew. In other words, clueless.
Why? Demographic change, including census reports that indicate we will soon be a majority-minority nation by race. And, more subtle but no less consequential changes in the attitudes of younger people seem to point in the direction of greater liberalism.
Yet, all around us there are indications that the evangelical right is far from dead. On the issue of abortion, they remain extremely active and, sadly, successful. Moreover, by staking out such extreme positions on the issue, they are making what were once considered relatively mainstream demands to expand reproductive freedom seem extreme by comparison.
And on the issue of LGBT rights, conservative evangelicals are reacting to the realization that the sun is setting on their ability to use homophobia to build political power in the U.S. by taking their culture wars abroad to places like Brazil and Uganda. We need to address this, not just as a matter of concern for LGBT people outside the U.S. (though in a world where people can still be executed for their sexual orientations and gender identities, this should be a matter of grave concern), but as an act of self-interest.
As rightists succeed, they will make conditions far worse for people in the regions they’ve targeted, with broad and devastating consequences. I remind you, fundamentalism isn’t just oppressive, it’s politically dangerous. And, they will use their international base as a launching pad for bringing the fight back home, threatening LGBT security, reproductive and religious freedom, our social safety net, and basic democratic rights.
And, the American evangelical right wing may eventually age out, but they won’t simply give up. One need only witness the Congressional swing back to the right on gun safety to confirm that view.
Their determination to continue fighting is forged in religious fervor. Power hungry evangelical leaders have politicized a faction within the Christian community, turning them into a permanent counter-insurgency against democratic movements. These leaders challenged believers to no longer define their faith simply through their personal relationship to Jesus, but through actions that will cause their faith to be reflected in public policy. For them, the gates of heaven turn on hinges that are as political as they are spiritual.
Rather than just quit as the elite of the GOP pushes evangelicals and other extreme factions out, many may choose other means to exercise influence. Some may even swell the ranks of another, now rapidly burgeoning, movement on the right – white nationalist patriot groups.