Prophecy in today's headlines

Uncertain Times for US Religious Right





As the dust settles on Washington following the Barack Obama earthquake, one group more than any other is expecting to be out in the cold.

For the past eight years, the so-called Religious Right has enjoyed a warm reception at the centre of White House policy-making, and with the Republican coalition on Capitol Hill.

Mainly white, “born again” evangelical Protestants, who adhere to a literal interpretation of the Bible – and oppose abortion rights above all – the Religious Right comprise around 40% of the Republican Party’s support.

“The Republican Party as it exists today could not exist without the Christian evangelical vote and the conservative Catholic vote,” said Allen Hertzke, visiting senior fellow at the influential Pew Forum on Religion and Politics.

“Now the Republican Party can’t win with them alone – as we’ve learned.”

Although there is always a tension between the narrow social agenda of Christian conservatives and the broader, more pragmatic “low tax” wing of the party, the strong US economy kept that argument at bay – until this year’s financial crisis.

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