In an increasingly anxious political environment, largely brought on by the spectacular failure of the much promised “Change We Can Believe In” agenda, the Republican leadership has fallen into an old trap. It appears that in their rush to make a huge media splash and gain national attention, they have yet again allowed the Grand Old Party to be high-jacked by the vocal and well-organized members of their right-wing Christian base.
While there is much to value in what these supporters bring to the table, their fear of science (which has unfortunately often before tainted Republican politics) has succeeded in making the organization appear to be embracing a pseudo-Luddite philosophy. It is becoming ever more apparent that the evangelical Protestant branch of the GOP is demanding a return to a darker time in human history when religion overruled any ideas, scientific or other, that appeared to threaten their interpretation of the Bible.
Why has the Tea Party, a populist movement initially conceived to deal with the criminal ineptitude of the Obama administration and a Democrat-dominated Congress, now made its focus the replacing of America’s separation of church and state religious with their version of Christian ideals? How can a party that is supposed to be concerned with personal freedom from overwhelming government interference in their lives wish to hinder the scientific and social progress of America? I suggest that fear is driving this issue, and it is not a fear that we can assuage with any rational thought. This fear is based on doing whatever is necessary to avoid the wrath of an Old Testament God who they will not accept was a construct to allow people thousands of years ago cope with a large and scary world.