Caving to the Demands of Religious Extremists

Their failure to dictate which candidate will be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee this year doesn’t mean that religious-right leaders and activists aren’t shaping this year’s campaign. Just this week, for example, intense pressure from religious-right groups essentially forced openly gay political strategist Richard Grenell to resign from Mitt Romney’s campaign staff. A Republican adviser made that clear in a New York Times piece on Wednesday:

“It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay. They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.”

Of course, Texans are familiar with politicians who refuse to confront the extremism of the religious right. Even worse, we have politicians — like Gov. Rick Perry — who pander to extremists. Bryan Fischer, the anti-gay hate monger at American Family Association, has been among the loudest (and most vicious) critics of Romney’s decision to put Grenell on his foreign policy team. You might recall that Gov. Perry got Fischer’s hate group to organize his prayer extravaganza at Houston’s Reliant Stadium last August.

Fischer is obsessed with homosexuality. He says, for example, that gay people are Nazis and that Americans “must choose between homosexuality and liberty.” In one of his least incendiary attacks against Grenell (a staunch conservative on just about everything except his support for same-sex marriage), Fischer Tweeted a couple of weeks ago:

Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.

Following Grenell’s announcement this week that he was leaving the Romney campaign, Fischer responded to a Tweet suggesting that the whole issue showed Romney can be pressured to flip-flop:

Gov. Romney will do the right thing if it’s politically expedient. Let’s make it expedient for him to do many right things.

Got that? Extremists like Fischer think the GOP’s likely presidential nominee is such a wuss that he will cave to pretty much any demands that they make. Seeing what happened to Grenell, perhaps they’re right.

But will that make Romney more palatable to the religious right? Maybe for some, but certainly not all. For some religious-righters, Romney is unqualified because they simply don’t think he’s a Christian. In fact, for extremists like Pastor Steven Andrew of USA Christian Ministries, Romney might as well be President Obama — someone else they don’t think is a Christian. In press release today, Andrew writes that Ron Paul is the only Christian left among active Republican presidential candidates:

“God warns that Obama and Romney serve another Jesus. Romney and Obama aren’t Christians. Don’t vote against God or waste your vote with Romney who shares in many of Obama’s sins.”

So it looks like Mitt Romney can continue to cave to the most vicious and discriminatory demands of the extremist fringe on the right, but even that won’t please the extremists. Of course, that’s a big reason why they’re extremists.

2 thoughts on “Caving to the Demands of Religious Extremists

  1. They are going to take their pound of flesh out of Romney. As has been discussed and predicted for months, he’s going to be even more beholden to the religious right than a Huckabee would because they fundamentally do not trust him. So he’s going to have to demonstrate subservience to their goals.
    If he does try to etch a sketch and pivot away from them, he’ll be fried.
    What this means for Texas is that it’s a good year to get out the vote. We need record participation, and we need the Dems to commit big time to the state. I hope they understand their opportunity.

  2. Since Romney caved to Fischer, Fischer has been dissing Romney for being weak. Predictably, Fischer still does not like Romney — but now calls him out for doing exactly what Fisher wanted. “Fischer: Let me ask you this question, people have raised this question, if Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, coopted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership.”
    Will the mainstream GOP (is there even such a thing anymore?) never learn their unholy alliance with the religious right is unsustainable?