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Intelligent Life Found In the Republican Party


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If they could get past their bible thumping and their fear of science and gays they might actually become a meaningful Party again.

Steve Schmidt, McCain Campaign Manager: Religion Could Kill The GOP

04/17/09 03:16 PM

Speaking publicly for one of the first times since the end of the presidential campaign, John McCain's campaign manager Steve Schmidt painted a dire portrait of the state of the Republican Party, arguing that the GOP has largely been co-opted by its religious elements.

"If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party," Schmidt declared. "And in a free country, a political party cannot be viable in the long term if it is seen as a sectarian party."

The remarks came in a passionate, roughly 20-minute speech before the Log Cabin Republican's national convention, in which Schmidt laid out the case for a far more open party -- one which did not consider gay marriage to be a "litmus test" issue. And while he made it a purpose not to offend social conservatives -- they "remain an indispensable part of the Republican coalition," he said -- Schmidt did not hide his concerns that religion had become the predominant thread of the GOP.

"If you reject [gay marriage] on religious grounds, I respect that," he said. "I respect anyone's religious views. However, religious views should not inform the public policy positions of a political party because... when it is a religious party, many people who would otherwise be members of that party are excluded from it because of a religious belief system that may be different. And the Republican Party ought not to be that. It ought to be a coalition of people under a big tent."

Earlier, in the question-and-answer session, Schmidt said he conveyed a similar message to Senator McCain, though he declined to elaborate on what kind of advice was given.

"My views were known inside the campaign on this," he said.

Looking beyond the issue of marriage, Schmidt's diagnosis of the GOP's ills was fairly ominous. "Our coalition," he declared, "is shrinking and losing ground to segments of the population that is growing, whether it is with suburban voters, working class, college educated voters, Hispanics, or left handed Albania psychics, the percentage voting republican has declined precipitously."

Schmidt warned, particularly, that losses among Hispanic voters threatened to "cost the Republicans the entire southwest," a development that would make winning 270 electoral votes a near impossibility. "Had Sen. McCain not been the nominee in 2008," he said, "I am convinced we would have lost the state of Arizona."

The road back would be arduous, he added, even if politics are inherently cyclical. "I think Republicans ought to embrace this 'Lord of the Flies' period," he said at one point, "when there is no clear leader in the party. And the problems of the party are not going to be corrected by any single big day event, you know, tea parties for instance. The problems of the party will be fixed over time and as we go through this period of time. There needs to be an opportunity for new leaders to emerge."

And while the chance for an Obama-backlash was apparent -- "should the recession grow deeper or longer" -- and the likelihood of a "national disaster or any number of other contingencies" remained, Republicans, Schmidt added, should not "take comfort from knowing our party's success could come at the expense of the country or rely on blunders of the administration."

The statement sounded like a rebuke to Rush Limbaugh's calls for the president's failure. But Schmidt declined to describe the brash radio talk show host's rhetoric as counter-productive to the party's efforts.

"I think people make their own judgments on that," he said. "At the end of the day, the party is not in the condition it is in because of even a talented talk radio host. The party is in the condition it is in because of the abdication of our principles on spending and a lot of other issues."

Indeed, the shrinking of the GOP tent, he prophesied, was due not to one individual actor but from a quasi-religious political brand that was "off-putting to many people." That held true whether in the case of Terry Schaivo, which Schmidt called "disastrous for the Republican Party," or gay marriage.

"If a party is seen as anti-gay than that is injurious to its candidates in states like California, Oregon or Washington or New Jersey or New York, increasingly even in states like Virginia and the mid-south," he said. "And to be a national party we need to be competitive in the northeast, for instance. I will argue that our party was a richer party when we had people, by no means conservatives but republicans, like Christie Whitman and George Pataki and all the members of Congress who have since gone extinct."

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That makes one. I think if the GOP could get the God out of the party, you would find a much more receptive ear among the middle. The majority of Americans are fiscally conservative and socially moderate/liberal. While the GOP is not the party of fiscal conservatism anymore, they still, somehow, maintained that title.

If they could actually get somewhere near fiscal conservatism, they might really be tough to stop.

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Religion is a cancer, it kills everything, just read a high school history book and you'll know how destructive religion is.

I can only hope to one day live to see the collapse of organized religion.

Organized religion is definitely a problem. Allow any relationship between man and god be ONLY between man and god.

It's that feeling of being "together" in congregation that keeps the organization of it alive.

While you can get that same feeling from going to a football game or a concert, the fact is that you don't have to congregate in a church to be a spiritual person. But what better way to gather people than to create a crowd so that the lone person seeing the crowd jumps in so they don't feel left out.

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I can't speak for religion in general, but Christian theology does not work in isolation.

Put another way, we were created in community. You cannot divorce yourself from the community without divorcing yourself from the Creator. The oft-repeated maxim "you don't have to go to Church to be a Christian" is wrong for a number of reasons, but chiefly because the Church is a community of believers, not just one guy and his notion of "god."

None of that is to say that the Republican party or any other party ought be controlled or dominated by Christianity. Christianity also doesn't work that way. But the idea that "organized religion is destructive" is antithetical to Christian theology. The Church is by nature organized around Christ and His Word and Sacraments. It cannot function any other way.

FWIW.

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I can only hope to one day live to see the collapse of organized religion.

I second that. We only can hope that organized religion doesn´t get another chance of moving mankind from a civilized society into an dark age. This and nothing else is the biggest threat we face these days

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I second that. We only can hope that organized religion doesn´t get another chance of moving mankind from a civilized society into an dark age. This and nothing else is the biggest threat we face these days

For all of you decrying "organized religion," what exactly IS "organized religion?"

Are all religions dumped in the same basket?

Is all of Christendom to blame for the Crusades, for example (even though the Eastern Church was a VICTIM of the Crusades)?

If so, is all of Islam to blame for 9/11?

Just wondering how wide the "organized religion" net is cast.

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I second that. We only can hope that organized religion doesn´t get another chance of moving mankind from a civilized society into an dark age. This and nothing else is the biggest threat we face these days

Hey beast, Are you a native of Germany? If I'm not mistaken, that nation is a church state with Lutherism being the religion. I wholeheartedly disagree with the concept of a church state and glad our Founding Father did too.

But my point is that organized religion, though not perfect, has done many good things in our world. Just check out the organization called Samaritan's Purse. They help thousands of thousands each and every year. They are hardly a threat. True religion that is pure and undefiled is a good thing.

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Hey beast, Are you a native of Germany? If I'm not mistaken, that nation is a church state with Lutherism being the religion. I wholeheartedly disagree with the concept of a church state and glad our Founding Father did too.

But my point is that organized religion, though not perfect, has done many good things in our world. Just check out the organization called Samaritan's Purse. They help thousands of thousands each and every year. They are hardly a threat. True religion that is pure and undefiled is a good thing.

martin luther king was part of organized religion and used the church as the basis for the civil rights movement.

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Hey beast, Are you a native of Germany? If I'm not mistaken, that nation is a church state with Lutherism being the religion. I wholeheartedly disagree with the concept of a church state and glad our Founding Father did too.

On paper you could say Germany is a church state, but in reality the two big churches - catholicism and lutherism being equally big 50/50 - are state churches since the government collects a church tax from those being in one of these churches. While this sounds like it is to the benefit of organised religion at first, it is really slowly eliminating organised religion because people are quitting the churches to not pay the church tax. But Germany is story for itself, being first the country of the Holy Roman Empire and then the country where Lutherism started and then finally the place where the followers of catholicism and lutherism fought out their differences in a bloody 30y long war. That led to some very strange but balancing solutions that still impact organised religion these days and how people judge organised religion.

A funny note that might interest you: As I mentioned above, Germany is pretty much split in two halfes, Catholics and Lutherianians. The last are usually liberal, sometimes very liberal and the catholics are conservative, sometimes extremely conservative. This seems somewhat different to what you see in the US and the difference is how those organised religions differently impacted the history of our countries.

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On paper you could say Germany is a church state, but in reality the two big churches - catholicism and lutherism being equally big 50/50 - are state churches since the government collects a church tax from those being in one of these churches. While this sounds like it is to the benefit of organised religion at first, it is really slowly eliminating organised religion because people are quitting the churches to not pay the church tax. But Germany is story for itself, being first the country of the Holy Roman Empire and then the country where Lutherism started and then finally the place where the followers of catholicism and lutherism fought out their differences in a bloody 30y long war. That led to some very strange but balancing solutions that still impact organised religion these days and how people judge organised religion.

A funny note that might interest you: As I mentioned above, Germany is pretty much split in two halfes, Catholics and Lutherianians. The last are usually liberal, sometimes very liberal and the catholics are conservative, sometimes extremely conservative. This seems somewhat different to what you see in the US and the difference is how those organised religions differently impacted the history of our countries.

Don't know if this is still true, but the Saxon Lutherans fled Germany for America because of union Churches. The State basically mandated unionism, and Lutherans left to retain their religious freedom.

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Don't know if this is still true, but the Saxon Lutherans fled Germany for America because of union Churches. The State basically mandated unionism, and Lutherans left to retain their religious freedom.

I am no expert on that but that´s probably the story. You still don´t find many small churches in Germany because of those all mighty union Churches. I guess that as much as the system now hurts the union churches (members leaving to save taxes) as much it is making it difficult for smaller churches to exist because they have to collect their expanses by themselfes. Basicly the connection between state and church is actually killing the church... as an agnostic I am obviously not very sorry about that ;) Church pretty much is all about old women above age 80 here... maybe 15-30 people in my district visit church on a normal sunday and the district has a population of 10000... but I live in a very urban area and numbers might not be much different in comparable urban areas in the east/west coast

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I agree with the First Amendment. I do not want America to become a church state. Separation of church and state is open to interpretation and has been abused.

Perhaps so, but I don't want government involved in my theology, and I sure don't want laws (i.e., Sunday alcohol sales) passed based on bad theology.

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I second that. We only can hope that organized religion doesn´t get another chance of moving mankind from a civilized society into an dark age. This and nothing else is the biggest threat we face these days

The current and last few political regimes are doing a good enough job of expediently moving us to the dark ages without blaming organized religion as the primary factor. Religious beliefs and moral principles are the only things that keeps us from completely sliding all the way into the abyss. Atheists are always out of touch with what is causing the current debauchery of mankind because their narrow tunnel-visioned existence cannot fathom any other explanations to the contrary. I would worry more about the buffoons we are sending to run this country more so than people who are praying for this country.

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The current and last few political regimes are doing a good enough job of expediently moving us to the dark ages without blaming organized religion as the primary factor. Religious beliefs and moral principles are the only things that keeps us from completely sliding all the way into the abyss. Atheists are always out of touch with what is causing the current debauchery of mankind because their narrow tunnel-visioned existence cannot fathom any other explanations to the contrary. I would worry more about the buffoons we are sending run this country more so than people who are praying for this country.

Sorry, secular government has been vastly more successful than religious ones. The debauchery of mankind is not a religious or secular problem, it is a human one. That is it's source, and it's there we will have to try to find a solution.

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Sorry, secular government has been vastly more successful than religious ones.

I am referring to organized religion as a whole and not as a religious governmental vehicle per se. I wouldn't categorize our current government in recent years as secular, but suckular instead and that's what we get when we vote the cream of the crap into office.

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I am referring to organized religion as a whole and not as a religious governmental vehicle per se. I wouldn't categorize our current government in recent years as secular, but suckular instead and that's what we get when we vote the cream of the crap into office.

Yet you blamed the government for guiding us into the dark ages and pointed to religion and morality as being the only things that prevent us from sliding into the abyss. Well, of course, but morality does not have to be religious.

I can't really argue anything else, because not much was said. I'm not clear on what you are angry at, and/or what solutions you might see.

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