Faith, Fear and Politics

We have seen no break in the pre- and post-election rhetoric from the religious right that links an incoming Barack Obama presidential administration with persecution of people of faith. Yesterday, for example, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council had this to say

“We are going to see, I think, unprecedented attacks against our faith through measures like the hate crimes [legislation] to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We’re going to see attacks on innocent human life through the Freedom of Choice Act, trying to erase all the gains that have been made in the pro-life movement. And I think even our freedoms are going to come under attack.”

Perkins’ comment is outrageous on many levels, but especially two. First, Perkins assumes that all people of faith agree with his political views. So if someone doesn’t vote the way he does, that person can’t be a good Christian (or Jew or other person of faith). That arrogance reflects the religious right’s strategy of using faith as a weapon to divide people to advance a political agenda. Second, Perkins’ assertion that the election of Obama somehow represents a threat to fundamental freedoms in America is represhensible. That kind of baseless fear-mongering clearly reflects the extremism of the religious right in America today.