Anyone here reading "The Theocons" by Damon Linker? Linker was formerly and editor of "First Things" the journal of theocon Richard John Neuhaus.
I'm part way through the book. It provides a different angle on the Christian Right. I'm a mainline Protestant (a liberal United Methodist), so it helps me understand the connections between the Institute on Religion and Democracy and the rest of the Christian Right--including both right-wing Evangelicals and Roman Catholics.
Neuhaus' philosophy is strange and interesting. Like the Neoconservatives he was, many years ago, associated with the political left, and then he migrated to the far right. All at the same time he seems partly populist, revolutionary and authoritarian. He subscribes to a theory that the "true" understanding of the U.S. Constitution is based in Roman Catholic "Natural Law" theory. This is helping me understand the perspective of our local right-wing Roman Catholic Bishop (Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin) who has been making political claims based on "natural law." In the end, despite all the appeal to "reason" and "natural law" the whole world view rests on the "truth" and "authority" of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
Neuhaus (a Roman Catholic) and Chuck Colson (an evangelical and Watergate convict) have put together a coalition of Evangelicals and Right Wing Catholics. The old animosities between Catholics and Evangelicals have been set aside. (And then there is the further connection between the Theocons and the Neocons who are largely right-wing Jews.)
I've been reading a number of books dealing with the Christian Right lately. Most, like Mel White's book, focus on the Evangelicals. This book may provide a "bigger picture" showing more of the links between the Evangelicals and other elements of the Right wing.
By the way, despite Bush's affinity to the Evangelicals, it turns out he is very close to Father Richard John Neuhaus and the Catholic right--so Bush, also, is involved in the connections between these seemingly disparate movements.
And another aside, some of my fellow United Methodist progressives have been puzzling over why the Institute on Religion and Democracy(IRD)-- which focuses on the "renewal" (actually undermining) of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches--has a board dominated by Roman Catholics! This book, "The Theocons" answers that puzzle!
It's not surprising to me, really. The Roman Catholic right has been deeply involved in the development of the theocon movement from the beginning, with the likes of Neuhaus and Robert George providing the main intellectual background for much of theoconservatism. Really, Catholic conservatives have been involved in this for quite some time -- after all, Paul Weyrich (a Melkite Catholic deacon) helped set up the Christian Coalition, and has been a mainstay of the theocon movement and social conservatism in general.
I would say that the theological disagreements between conservative Catholics and evangelicals remain, but the idea behind movements like this is to leave those disagreements on the level of theology, and rather band together over issues that conservative Catholics and evangelicals agree about -- relating to the "culture" -- and try to get things ionm the culture and law changed to reflect those views. It's more of a coalition of convenience, the idea being that banding together and working together more can be achieved than working seperately. But it's certainly true that the right wing of the Catholic Church in the USA is definitely a part of the "religious right", not just in sympathy, but in actual fact in terms of what certain individuals have done and continue to do, their involvement with the neoconservative political movement and so forth.
|All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:55 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.