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Republican Insider Explains How Religion Destroyed the GOP

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  • Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, California, speaks on September 26, 2008 in New York. The youngest son of prominent US evangelical preacher Rick Warren has committed suicide after a long struggle with mental illness.
  • In the book, "The Party Is Over," veteran Republican Mike Lofgren writes about the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism and how the GOP devolved into anti-intellectual nuts.

Mike Lofgren, Viking Press / AlterNet

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Editor%20Comment%20icon_0.jpgAlterNet Editor's Note: The following exceprt is reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of the Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from "The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted," by Mike Lofgren. Copyright © 2012 by Mike Lofgren.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Mike%20Lofgren%20%7C%20The%20Party%20Is%20Over%20jacket%20illus.jpgMay 10, 2018 | Religious cranks ceased to be a minor public nuisance in this country beginning in the 1970s and grew into a major element of the Republican rank and file. Pat Robertson’s strong showing in the 1988 Iowa presidential caucus signaled the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. Unfortunately, at the time I mostly underestimated the implications of what I was seeing. It did strike me as oddly humorous that a fundamentalist staff member in my congressional office was going to take time off to convert the heathen in Greece, a country that had been overwhelmingly Christian for almost two thousand years. I recall another point, in the early 1990s, when a different fundamentalist GOP staffer said that dinosaur fossils were a hoax. As a mere legislative mechanic toiling away in what I held to be a civil rather than ecclesiastical calling, I did not yet see that ideological impulses far different from mine were poised to capture the party of Lincoln.

The results of this takeover are all around us: If the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution, scriptural inerrancy, the presence of angels and demons, and so forth, it is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party, and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary beliefs. All around us now is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science. Politicized religion is the sheet anchor of the dreary forty-year-old culture wars.

Mike Lofgren  is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees.

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Special Report | Barry Goldwater Warned Us - The Danger of Evangelicals. Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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