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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign

The Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign: Christian Coalition Is in the White House

    Will the Real Republican Party Please Stand Up
    Jim Crow and the GOP
    Preaching to the Choir
    Ralph Reed is At It Again
    Bush lobbies the Vatican
    Objections from Religious Leaders
    Legislation from The House

One can feel the hand of Ralph Reed in the Bush-Cheny '04 campaign. Reed was hired to chair the southeastern region, but his reach seems to be national. He's working through the Churches much the way he did for Christian Coalition. This page will link to articles about the tactics of Bush-Cheney campaign and Republicans in Congress as they strive to strengthen the ability of churches to participate in partisan politics without risking their tax-exempt status.

Will the Real Republican Party Please Stand Up

Beliefnet reports that Christian nation activist, David Barton, is a paid consultant with the RNC:

The Republican National Committee is employing the services of a Texas-based activist who believes the United States is a "Christian nation" and the separation of church and state is "a myth."

For more on David Barton: "Who Is David Barton, And Why Is He Saying Such Awful Things About Separation Of Church And State?"

This is a long, but very important article from Ron Suskind, New York Times, October 17, 2004, Without A Doubt.

flyer This flyer was not sent out by some extremist
group. It was sent out by the Republican National Committee. If anyone doubts who controls the Republican Party, they need only look at this flyer. If Kerry wins, the Bible will be banned!

"The Rev. Jerry Falwell said yesterday that evangelical Christians, after nearly 25 years of increasing political activism, now control the Republican Party and the fate of President Bush in the November election." (From the San Diego Union-Tribune, September 25, 2004)

Now on DVD, The Passion of the Bush, Frank Rich, New York Times, October 3, 2004.

Bishop William Boyd Grove, a Methodist Bishop who served as the Bishop of The West Virginia Conference and is now retired, wrote: RELIGION AND THE ELECTION, A Caution Against Blasphemy.

Follow the Money, The Nation, November 1, 2004, shows how the Bush administration has used prosecutions, audits and obscenity investigations against organizations that don't share its ideology while sending millions of dollars to organizations of the Christian Right.

September 10, 2004, Keeper of the Faith? God's Will, According to the Bush Administration, from Counterpunch:

"An omnipresent consideration for Christian fundamentalists is the "Great Commission" biblical mandate, in the book of Matthew, of "go therefore and make disciples of all the nations." The felt responsibility to live out this command, both locally and globally, has become intertwined in the eyes of the Religious Right with support for the principles of political freedom and liberty."

"The Bush administration, therefore, has offered a dangerous combination: the president claims to know God's wishes and presides over a global landscape in which the administration believes that it can act upon such beliefs without compunction."

September 5, 2004, South Carolina's The wrote:

A June study by The Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, said 86 percent of self-described evangelicals plan to vote for Bush in November.

September 4, 2004, the LA Times, Christian Conservatives Leave Convention in Great Spirits:

"President Bush supports God, and God supports President Bu]sh, absolutely," said Judith H. Manning, an alternate delegate from Marietta, Ga., explaining the fervor for Bush.

Writing the Platform

Two articles from the New York Times, August 31: Party Centrists Find Places on Stage but Not on Agenda, New York Times, and Social Conservatives Wield Influence on Platform.

The 2004 Republican Party Platform was developed in secrecy, behind closed doors, much the way the Bush White House and Republican-dominated Congress has operated the government these past three and a half years. From the New York Times, August 27, 2004:

But the closely controlled process left sore feelings outside of the committee room, even from the conservatives who now dominate the party.

"Why can't we get a list of the platform committee members?" asked Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum and a veteran conservative who led the efforts to revise the platform planks on immigration, stem cell research and other issues. "What is the big secret? They not only don't want them talking to me, they don't want them talking to each other."

"Why did drafting this political manifesto resemble the Manhattan Project developing the atomic bomb?" the conservative commentator Robert Novak asked in a column published yesterday. "The process fits the Bush White House's authoritarian aura that has tempered enthusiasm within the party on the eve of its national convention."

Conservatives Grumble on Planks Reflecting Bush Agenda, New York Times, August 26, 2004, reveals tension between social conservatives and moderate pragmatists within Republican Party.

The Republican Make-over

"We still have moderates in our party,'' said Representative DeLay, a Texas conservative. "We have so many moderates that that is all that is speaking at our national convention.'' G.O.P. Centrists to Speak at Convention, but Will They Be Heard? (New York Times, August 23, 2004)

August 30, 2004, a Repubulican explains the Republican make-over: Bush Agenda Is AWOL by Michael Cudahy.

The genuine leaders of the Republican Part

The Council for National Policy has operated in secrecy since 1981. Its membership consists of hard-core religious leaders such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Kennedy and the late Rousas Rushdoony. Ralph Reed claims to have learned his craft there at the feet of the Reverend Tim LaHaye who was co-founder of the organzation. Other members include policitcal operatives, and big financiers of the Religious Right. At their three-times-a- year meetings they plan strategies. Because of their secrecy, the media has paid very little attention to the organization. It is therefore remarkable and encouraging that the New York Times has reported on them this year, calling the Council "Club of the Most Powerful." (New York Times, August 28, 2004)

"The real crux of this is that these are the genuine leaders of the Republican Party, but they certainly aren't going to be visible on television next week," Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said.

From Buzzflash, August 17, Conventional Facades: Why the Republicans Have to Hide their Agenda

Yes, in lieu of the GOP Congressmen who've been peddling Christian nation legislation , Democratic ideologue Zell Miller will appear on the stump. Instead of agenda-maven Tom DeLay , we'll see stoic Rudy Giuliani. And rather than the less-than-conventional John Ashcroft , John McCain will be selling the GOP soap.

Jim Crow and the GOP

Jim Crow's New Party, Julian Bond, August 26, 2004:

People For the American Way Foundation, the NAACP and our coalition partners intend to field an army of 25,000 volunteers, including 5,000 lawyers, to monitor precincts in 17 states.

The Long Shadow of Jim Crow , a special report from People for the American Way Foundation, gives many specific examples of the many ways minority voters are disenfranchised.

Groups Say GOP Moves to Stifle Vote , Washington Post , August 26, 2004:

The NAACP and other civil rights leaders yesterday charged that recent events suggest the Republican Party is mounting a campaign to keep African Americans and other minority voters away from the polls this November.

"A Chill in Florida" by New York Times columnist Bob Herbert describes the Republican strategy of disenfranchising black voters in Florida. (August 23, 2004)

Indian Health Agency Barred New-Voter Drive from the Washington Post, October 6, 2004, on efforts to ban voter registration on government property of a constituency important to the Democrats.

Black Pastors Backing Bush Are Rare, but Not Alone, from the New York Times, October 5, 2004.

Preaching to the Choir

From the New York Times, "On the Road, Bush Fields Softballs From the Faithful," August 16, 2004, reports that while a series of forums the candidate is holding appear to be spontaneous, the audience is carefully selected:

Whatever the case, Bush campaign officials readily say that they carefully screen the crowds by distributing tickets through campaign volunteers. "Our supporters hand them out to other supporters and people who may be undecided,'' said Scott Stanzel, a campaign spokesman.

The result is often a love-in with heavily Christian crowds. Mr. Bush relaxes, shows off his humor and appears more human than in his sometimes tongue-tied and tense encounters with the press. He clearly relishes the sessions.

From the LA Times, August 15, 2004, "The president aims to appeal to mainstream voters while keeping his religious base happy."

From the Washington Post, August 15, 2004:

Bush prefers the "Ask President Bush" sessions, the campaign equivalent of the infomercial, with an audience designed to look as if it's been plucked randomly off the street, delighted anew at each twist and turn of the master's demonstration, irrepressibly bursting with questions and comments.

From the AP, August 12, 2004, Top Evangelicals Still Await GOP Invite

Better-known Religious Right leaders such as Falwell and Robertson have not been invited to the Republican National Convention, possibly to make the party appear more moderate than it really is. The real movers and shakers of the party, however, will be attending, not as religious leaders, but as party insiders.

"Evangelicals are likely to be strongly represented at the convention, but within the ranks of the GOP and the Bush campaign," Green said. "Key movement leaders, like Ralph Reed and Gary Bauer, may well attend, but as party leaders, not evangelical figures."

"We'll have a huge presence there," said Roberta Combs, President of Christian Coalition. "We have the president."

Ralph Reed is At It Again

The New York Times, September 23, 2004:

The Republican Party acknowledged yesterday sending mass mailings to residents of two states warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible.

The New York Times, August 9, 2004:

The Bush campaign sent Mr. Reed to recruit pastors at the annual meeting of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention. According to campaign memorandums, it has asked "people of faith team leaders" to help identify thousands of "friendly congregations" around the country. It asked religious outreach volunteers to petition their pastors to hold voter registration drives, and to speak on behalf of the campaign to Bible studies and church groups.

The campaign has asked volunteers to send in copies of congregational directories for comparison with voter registration rolls - a move some conservative religious leaders have denounced as a violation of the privacy of the church and its members.

The Republican Party has sent has organized a special Catholic outreach tour, including a speech by the party chairman, Ed Gillespie, in St. Charles, a St. Louis suburb.

President Bush Lobbies the Vatican, Reported from Church and State, July/August, 2004, Critical Mass:

In mid-June, The New York Times reported that during his trip to Rome Bush sought help from Vatican officials in urging more American bishops to rally to his side in the political arena.

The newspaper cited a column by John L. Allen, a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter , in which a Vatican official stated that Bush made the request in a June 4 meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Sodano. According to Allen, other officials who attended the meeting confirmed that Bush pledged he would wage a robust battle this election season on touchy cultural issues, and he requested the Vatican's help in spurring more American bishops to join his cause.

The article points out that only five of 178 American Bishops are joining the effort to use communion as a campaign tool by denying communion to candidates who don't support Church doctrine. In addition forty-eight Catholic members of Congress signed a letter charging that bishops who deny communion on political grounds are "miring the Church in partisan politics."

Group of Bishops Using Influence to Oppose Kerry, New York Times, October 12, 2004

September 8, Washington Post on the Vatican and Catholics voting:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's arbiter of doctrinal orthodoxy, has given Roman Catholic voters leeway under certain circumstances to vote for politicians who support abortion rights, U.S. Catholic officials said yesterday.

Susan Gibbs, spokesperson for Washington's Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, head of a commission of U.S. bishops on Catholics in political life said, "the church speaks on issues, not on individuals. The church never tells someone who to vote for."

Arkansas Church's Partisan Politicking Needs Irs Investigation, Says Americans United.
Wednesday July 21, 2004.

The Green Bay News, July 19, 2004:

" .. for any political rally to feature one type of religion exclusively is not only wrong on its face, it's something that makes me wonder how politically smart the organizers are. I always believed politics was to be all-inclusive. It was meant to bring all of us together, to debate the issues fairly, to make sure all viewpoints were heard, and to respect each other.

Well, that died a long time ago, and now we have rallies aimed at one type of religion. Were I Jewish, or Buddhist - or even a more mainstream Protestant denomination that believes religion is a more personal thing - I would have felt out of place, perhaps not wanted .. "

New York Times Editorial, July 14, 2004: Onward G.O.P. Soldiers

The Bush-Cheney campaign is buttonholing Christian churches nationwide to serve as virtual party precincts in the Republican drive to turn out voters in November. The campaign has sent congregation volunteers marching orders - a schedule of 22 "duties," beginning with the submission of local church membership directories to party headquarters, the better to compare them with voter registration lists.

The Guardian UK, Bush Poll Campaign Courts Religious Right, July 3, 2004: "Evangelical 'mega-churches' may hold the key to the White House:"

Protestant mega-churches are spreading exponentially. There are now 850 in America. They each have congregations of more than 2,000 and a combined total of 3 million.

John Vaughan, whose organisation Church Growth Today monitors and encourages their expansion, says a new mega-church appears in America every four days.

New York Times, Party Appeal to Churches for Help Raises Doubts, David Kirkpatrick, July 2, 2004

Washington Post, Churchgoers Get Direction From Bush Campaign By Alan Cooperman, July 1, 2004

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Bush Campaign Targets Churches For Election Outreach
"Politicizing Houses Of Worship Is Shameless Abuse Of Sacred Space, May Violate Federal Law, Says AU's Lynn," July 1, 2004.

The Seattle Times, Bible Belt churches putting Bush in more than prayers By Geneive Abdo, Chicago Tribune, June 30, 2004

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Philadelphia Church That Endorsed Bush Gets $1 Million 'Faith-Based' Grant, June 23, 2004

New York Times, Bush Allies Till Fertile Soil, Among Baptists, for Votes By David Kirkpatrick, June 18, 2004

Republicans woo Jewish and Catholic voters, New York Times, September 3, 2004: Republicans Try to Expand Appeal to Religious Voters

Objections from Religious Leaders

From Yahoo News, September 1, 2004: Jewish Groups Irked by Cross on Republican Podium.

From the Washington Post, August 18, 2004:

Ten teachers of Christian ethics at leading seminaries and universities have written a letter to President Bush criticizing his campaign's outreach to churches, particularly its effort to gather church membership directories.

From The Jewish Week, August 9, 2004:

The First Amendment, however, also ensures the separation of religion and state in order to protect people of faith and nonbelievers alike from domination by any favored creed and to protect religion itself from state coercion.

Thus it was especially troubling to learn that the Bush-Cheney campaign has sent a letter to some of its conservative Christian adherents that is in effect a 22-point partisan organizing guide. It asks them to perform specific tasks by specific dates, such as to send church directories to Bush-Cheney '04 headquarters, identify other conservative churches that could be organized for Bush-Cheney, distribute issue guides, hold two campaign-related potluck dinners and conduct targeted voter registration drives, among other assignments.

Here are the Interfaith Alliance's, Do's and Don'ts for candidates listed in "Running for Office in a Multi-Faith Nation."

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism issued the a statement in response to a campaign instruction sheet sent out to religious volunteers by the Bush-Cheney reelection team containing a list of campaign activities to be performed in churches. "Efforts aimed at transforming houses of worship into political campaign offices stink to high heaven," says Rabbi Saperstein.

Legislation from The House

New York Times, A Bill Eases Vote Curb on Churches By David Kirkpatrick, June 8, 2004

From the AP, June 7, 2004 Bill Allows Mixing of Religion, Politics. Bush '04 Re-election Campaign is openly taking down the wall of separation between Church and State.

Associated Press, Bill Allows Mixing of Religion, Politics, By LARA JAKES JORDAN, June 4, 2004




Last updated: 14-Jul-2004