Invasion of the Body Snatchers

There is a book recently written by an old fashioned conservative Republican. His title is “Party Snatchers” not Body snatchers. Its lambasts the theocons who have taken over the party. Here’s a positive review by the Daily Kos.

Starting in the early 1990’s this was my description of the new folks innundating the Republican Party. I always used to say that I felt I was surrounded by pod people.

One thought on “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”

  1. I wish I had room to address the book’s concerns here. He’s right- the church in America is not too bright and is easily bamboozled by politicians who know how to make a “quick hit” and “schnooker” the unsuspecting. The problem is less the “theo-cons” in the GOP but what makes the “theo-cons” what they are today. If they were intelligent, sharp and incisive, you could have the tools to help regenerate the party right there. But it’s going to take some doing to make that happen.

    The church in America is inherently anti-intellectual in part because of how it was formed. The church grew up on the frontier in America where hard work and initiative were treasured more than a college education. You had to have “what it takes” to survive on the frontier, rather than a degree in philosophy.

    Before the American Revolution, the evangelicals were primarily Episcopalian or Presbyterian- two “high church” denominations. After the revolution, most evangelicals became Methodists or Baptists. Methodists and Baptists hired circuit riding preachers without PhDs. The Episcopalians and the Presbyterians insisted on preachers with high academic credentials. When the cost of getting into a job is too high, you’ll have fewer and fewer applicants. The high church denominations are continuing their near ruinous decline in numbers while the denominations with the lowest academic requirements tend to grow.

    Christianity is not anti-intellectual by nature. Rather American Christianity has become anti-intellectual by culture.

    Another problem relates to the belief in the soon return of Jesus Christ to earth. If he’s coming back tomorrow, wouldn’t I be better off trying to win my neighbor than going to seminary and studying for a degree that’s several years off down the road? It leads to a very “present” orientation rather than a “future” orientation. Why study for years if Jesus will be back next week?

    The trends towards a more post modernist culture in America are also interesting. It means churches that are oriented with a more “experiential” spiritualism are probably set for growth while the academically oriented denominations are going to find it more of a problem to get converts. Look for continued growth in the charismatic churches as a result of this trend.

    The Bible is not first and foremost a book of philosophy. You have to read it deeply to pick up on themes and ideas that lie behind the stories in it. There are a few simple things such as “Thou shall not kill” and “Thou shall not commit adultery” that are easily extrapolated into policy positions. For example, no killing might mean no abortion and no adultery means no prostitutes. A politician wanting to pick up another fragment of a coalition can take a stand on an issue like one of those and try to rope in another coalition partner.

    I’m rambling. Have a nice day, Harry.
    Your friend,

    Roger

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