WWW Opinion Times

Friday, June 24, 2005

Economist: Religious Just Starting Rise

Economist.com gives its take on the rise of the "Religious Right" in American politics.
"Religious America's switch to the right is rooted in two things: liberal over-reach and conservative organisation. The consistent whinge from the Christian right about "liberal activist judges" exceeding their mandate contains a kernel of truth. In the 1960s and 1970s, judges changed America from a country where every school day began with a prayer, and abortion and pornography were frowned on, to a country where school prayer was banned and both abortion and pornography were protected by the constitution.

The fact that the courts were running so far ahead of public opinion in a generally religious country bolstered the religious right in two ways. It provoked white evangelicals to join the political fray. And it persuaded all religious types to bond together. Protestants and Catholics, who used to be at loggerheads, have now found common ground, especially on abortion. "
This is not just a passing fad but the result of more than 25 years of effort which has led to a more mature and diverse Christian response to political and legal actions. President Reagan's move to remove the Fairness Doctrine which led to the rise of Rush Limbaugh and a slew of conservative radio talk shows and the emergence of the blogs has also facilitated the rise of Social and Evangelical Conservatives.

The gains which took fruit in 2004 have not yet consolidated, but a successful 2006 election in Congress and with various Senate and Governors' races could change the political landscape for the proceeding 20-25 years.