Liberal Grace

Friday, October 13, 2006

A real conservative speaks about the Religious Right.

Conservatives have changed so much that many previously considered conservative now seem liberal!



I was raised in a fundamentalist church and I've often said that I'm a liberal now because fundamentalism changed, not me. The meaning of fundamentalism and Christian conservatism has shifted so much that it re-defined me.

Liberals like Stephanie Miller say something similar about political conservatism and yesterday I heard her quote Barry Goldwater "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."

A key person who changed both fundamentalism and political conservatism is one-in-the-same: Jerry Falwell.

So, I went to search for the legitimacy of this quote and learned that Barry Goldwater -- often called the founder of modern conservatism -- did not like the Religious Right one bit at all!

Here's the Wikipedia entry:

After his retirement, in 1987, Goldwater described the conservative Arizona Governor Evan Mecham as "hardheaded" and called on him to resign, and two years later stated the Republican Party had been taken over by a "bunch of kooks." In a 1994 interview with the Washington Post the retired Senator said, "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye." He said about Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass," in response to Falwell's opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court where Falwell said, "Every good Christian should be concerned."
Goldwater at Wikipedia

I found this Goldwater warning, all the back from 1981 when Falwell was just ramping up.

The religious factions will go on imposing their will on others," he said, "unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives...

"We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now," he insisted. "To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic."

"Being a conservative in America traditionally has meant that one holds a deep, abiding respect for the Constitution. We conservatives believe sincerely in the integrity of the Constitution. We treasure the freedom that document protects...."

"By maintaining the separation of church and state, the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars. Throughout our two hundred plus years, public policy debate has focused on political and economic issues, on which there can be compromise...."

"The great decisions of government cannot be dictated by the concerns of religious factions. This was true in the days of Madison, and it is just as true today. We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now. To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic."


-- Barry Goldwater, U.S. Senate Address, September 16, 1981,


I got this quote from Zepp's Political Commentary which has a pretty good page on Goldwater.

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