Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The GOP's Casablanca Moment

Watching all the feigned shock among Republicans about Pastor Robert Jeffress' comments about Romney's candidacy reminded me of this famous scene from the classic movie Casablanca:

The GOP has been actively courting the support of evangelical Christians ever since Ronald Reagan appeared before a group of pastors in Dallas and said "I know you can’t endorse me, but I want you to know that I endorse you.” Over the years, evangelical Christians have become an essential part of the GOP base. One leg of the three legged stool of the Reagan coalition. In 2004, it was the values voters that delivered Bush a victory.

The GOP has brought and kept evangelicals into the fold essentially two ways: 1) reinforcing the idea that religious voters should apply their values in selecting which party to support; and 2) painting the Democrat party as the "Godless" party.

As far as the first tactic, one only has to look to the 2008 GOP national party platform. It states:

"We affirm every citizen’s right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious objects or symbols, or becoming subject to government-imposed hiring practices."

With respect to painting the Democrats as "Godless",  just take a look at this page titled "Republicans & Democrats in Their Own Words: National Party Platforms on Certain Biblical Issues on the Collin County Republican Party website.

Just like the gendarme in Casablanca being "shocked" about the gambling, now the GOP is feigning "shock" that Jeffress is applying religious standards.

Pastor Jeffress did exactly what the GOP has been telling evangelical Christians to do: apply their values in selecting candidates. He said he was supporting Rick Perry because he reflects "Biblical principles". And Jeffress'views on Mormonism are widely held in the evangelical community. What did the GOP want Jeffress to do? Be politically correct?