Tag Archives: New Right

The Rubber Has Hit The Road

Remember that old saying about “when the rubber hits the road”? Its import was that, when the rubber hit the road, it was time to act, to decide…Well, given overwhelming evidence of the GOP’s attempted coup, the neutering of Congress by use of the filibuster, and the morphing of the Supreme Court into a religious tribunal, it’s fair to conclude that the rubber has indeed hit pavement, and a failure to move quickly to recapture the institutions of American life will turn this country into a place most of us won’t want to inhabit.

In the wake of the Court’s ruling in Dobbs, The Guardian was especially blunt. In an article headlined “How the Christian right took over the judiciary and changed America,” it reported–quite accurately-

The supreme court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reverses the constitutional abortion rights that American women have enjoyed over the past 50 years, has come as a surprise to many voters. A majority, after all, support reproductive rights and regard their abolition as regressive and barbaric.

Understood in the context of the movement that created the supreme court in its current incarnation, however, there is nothing surprising about it. In fact, it marks the beginning rather than the endpoint of the agenda this movement has in mind.

 At the core of the Dobbs decision lies the conviction that the power of government can and should be used to impose a certain moral and religious vision – a supposedly biblical and regressive understanding of the Christian religion – on the population at large.

Let me just repeat that last paragraph:

At the core of the Dobbs decision lies the conviction that the power of government can and should be used to impose a certain moral and religious vision – a supposedly biblical and regressive understanding of the Christian religion – on the population at large.

How did this happen? How did White Christian Nationalists effectively take over a major political party and the courts? As the Guardian article notes, answering that question requires looking back at the history of the Christian Nationalist movement, and how it “united conservatives across denominational barriers by, in effect, inventing a new form of intensely political religion.”

Christian nationalists often claim their movement got its start as a grassroots reaction to Roe v Wade in 1973. But the movement actually gelled several years later with a crucial assist from a group calling itself the “New Right”.

Among the many things the New Right opposed were feminism and the civil rights movement. One thing that they were not particularly angry about, at least initially, was the matter of abortion rights. A primary concern was that the Supreme Court might end tax exemptions for segregated Christian schools, but they knew “Stop the tax on segregation!” was unlikely to be an effective rallying cry for their new movement. They needed an issue that could be used to unify the various, disparate elements of the New Right, an issue that could draw in the rank and file.

In many respects abortion was an unlikely choice, because when the Roe v Wade decision was issued, most Protestant Republicans supported it. The Southern Baptist Convention passed resolutions in 1971 and 1974 expressing support for the liberalization of abortion law, and an editorial in their wire service hailed the passage of Roe v Wade, declaring that “religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.”

On the other hand, abortion brought conservative Catholics into the movement with conservative Protestants and evangelicals, and allowed the New Right to blame abortion rights for all manner of perceived social ills of the age – especially women’s liberation .”The issue became a focal point for the anxieties about social change welling up from the base.”

In recent decades, the religious right has invested many hundreds of millions of dollars developing a complex and coordinated infrastructure, whose features include rightwing policy groups, networking organizations, data initiatives and media. A critical component of this infrastructure is its sophisticated legal sphere.

 Movement leaders understood very well that if you can capture the courts, you can change society.

And so here we are. The Courts have been captured; the Congress (thanks to gerrymandering and filibuster Joe Manchin) has been neutered. Over 100 state candidates running for the right to count our votes are “Big Lie” proponents.

The rubber has hit the road.  Americans must turn out in massive numbers this November to  dislodge the theocrats and begin the process of reclaiming  America.

All available research shows a majority of Americans strongly opposed to the Christian Nationalists who have assumed control of our no-longer-so-democratic institutions. All voting history shows that a disastrous number of those Americans won’t bother to vote.

If that doesn’t change in November, the America we know is over.