Deal With The Devil: GOP Marriage To Religious Right Is Hard To Get Out Of

"If our Party is not welcoming and inclusive, young people and increasingly other voters will continue to tune us out.” --Republican Party report

GOP Chairman Reince Priebus unveiled a new report yesterday outlining the things the Republican Party must do to improve its performance at the polls.

Priebus said Republicans have to reach out to women, Hispanics and other minorities and change their “narrow-minded” and “out of touch” image. One of the to-do items was to alter the GOP approach to social issues such as equality for gay people.

“Already,” the report observes, “ there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be. If our Party is not welcoming and inclusive, young people and increasingly other voters will continue to tune us out.”

Good point. A public opinion poll in today’s Post says 58 percent of Americans now support marriage equality for gay couples. That figure rises to an astounding 81 percent among Americans age 18-29.

But not everyone in the Republican Party finds an altered approach on this topic appealing. Religious Right ideologues are outraged.

The American Family Association’s radio ranter Bryan Fischer, for example, said it would be “idiotic” for Republicans to change their stance in order to win over young voters.

According to our friends at Right Wing Watch, Fischer fulminated, "[Young people] don't need to be pandered to; they need to be educated. We don't pander to the least mature, least intelligent, least informed, least experienced, least educated members of our movement; we educate them."

David Lane, an “under the radar” Religious Right operative, was even more blunt -- and threatening.

According to The Washington Post, Lane said evangelical Christians will leave the GOP en masse if Republicans drop their opposition to same-sex marriage, and “it will lead quickly to the collapse of the Republican Party.”

“The debate is good,” Lane added. “We need to decide whether we are a Christian nation or a pagan nation and get on with it. The glory of a nation lies in its righteousness.”

So there you have it. Lane and his Religious Right cronies want to use the political system to impose their vision of a “Christian nation” on everyone and they’ll resort to “whatever means necessary” – including sabotaging the Republican Party – to do it.

Back about 1980, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan and other Republican leaders made a deal with the devil. They wholeheartedly embraced odious Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell and the rest of the Religious Right. In exchange, they got legions of fundamentalist Christian voters but lost the party’s reputation for moderation on social issues.

Now that bad bargain has come back to haunt the GOP.  It will be very interesting to see where this all goes.