Monday, April 11, 2005


More on Ohio's rightwing clergy and Blackwell

Joe Hallett has a good, above-the-fold front pager about Rev. Parsley, the World Harvest Church and the other fringe church leaders who are lining up to support Blackwell.

Ohio's press corps was embarassingly scooped last week by the NY Times story on the efforts of the far-right bible thumpers and their Ohio Restoration Project to organize support for Kenny Blackwell. We at Hypothetically Speaking also scooped them on Parsley's rally featuring the intellectually challenged Alan Keyes and Ann Coulter. (No one'e picked up on the Karl Rove story, yet.)

It appears that Hallett is trying to make up for lost time and he covers a lot of bases. We suspect there is still more to come from him on this.

The most frightening line for us was this:
"I guess you could say it’s our turn," said Greg Quinlan, founder of the Dayton-based Pro-Family Network.
Their turn for what? It's not like their issues and candidates have been losing at the ballot box. It seems that they want to 1) suppress the opposition and 2) purge the GOP of anyone that believes in choice or keeping the government out of the bedroom.

This seems to us like the perfect story for some of the other papers and investigative writers around the state. It's not like the Democrats and the moderate Republicans won't be silent on this issue. More importantly, Parsley and Russell Johnson are going to have to walk a tightrope to keep this thing legal while protecting the tax-exempt status of their churches. Our guess is that they've probably already stumbled a few times.

In the past, we have referred to some of the involved church leaders as theocratic conservatives or theocons. Upon reflection and after some emails from others, it does seem that this is a misnomer. As we understand it, one of the tenets of conservatism is that less government is preferred over more government, that there is an inherent loss of individual liberty that occurs as government expands.

But, given these religious groups seem to be fixated on more government involvement. The have a compulsion to craft laws and inforcement mechanisms on morality. They want the government to decide who you should marry (Issue 1). They want the government to decide what type of people can adopt and be foster parents. They want the government to make private health decisions (Schiavo and abortion). And to put the icing on the cake, they want to elect a governor who will find even more nooks and crannies to stick the government's nose into.
"We want our government leaders to pursue policies that prioritize life, faith and issues of the family," Parsley said.
So what's conservative about that? Nothing, as far as we can tell. And, from the people we've been talking to later and from anecdotes from others, it seems like a lot of other true conservatives are seeing that someone(s) hijacking their political movement.

But the real question is, are Ohio Democrats smart enough to know how to capitalize on this rift?


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