This is just getting silly.
I know that after 2006 it's fashionable for these people to say that they're part of a revitalization of the evangelical movement - not so focused on gay marriage and abortion; more so on poverty, foreign policy, and the environment - but if it's to mean anything, then not everyone can claim to be part of that new movement.
But Sarah Posner has a post up at TAP on Tony Perkins and the new book he co-wrote with Harry Jackson on their agenda for the new Religious Right. You may remember Tony Perkins as the president of the Family Research Council and Harry Jackson as the HILC president and Huckabee supporter who got the national spotlight when he put out an ad saying Black preachers would be silenced by hate crimes legislation and when he became Jim Naugle's sidekick during the robo-toilet incident in Fort Lauderdale.
In other words, these two are definitely not signs of a shift in attitudes among evangelicals.
Sarah Posner reports:
At the National Press Club last week, religious right political animals Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson rolled out their new book, Personal Faith, Public Policy, which purports to expand the agenda of the religious right beyond abortion and gay marriage. Flanked by Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine and Rev. Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, both of whom represent the "evangelical center," Perkins and Jackson gave the first public presentation of their new face, without some of the divisive old guard in the room.
The rest of the old guard was across town at another meeting, so I guess it's convenient for them. But she notes on their book:
The purveyors of the new religious right agenda haven't yet explained how they're going to reconcile their distrust of government with their pledge to, for example, solve the health care crisis. Perkins made it clear that he's opposed to universal health care because, echoing the tired old conservative rant, he wouldn't want the same government that screwed up the response to Hurricane Katrina to make health care decisions for him. Michel Martin, the National Public Radio host who moderated the panel discussion, shot back, "that was the Bush administration, wasn't it?"
The new Religious Right frame is being shot out from every corner of the fundamentalist Christian community, it seems. It's a way for them to reach an audience that has little knowledge about the history of the movement and its obsession with gays and sexual purity and keeping women submissive, but who are at the same time turned off by such mean-spirited politics. These people say that they're different than that old generation of sexists and homophobes, that they care about substantive policy, and that they're not just Republican pawns.
But it's hard to see the president of the FRC (who was a Republican elected official up to 2004) as anything but old guard or to see Harry Jackson as anything but disproportionately obsessed with the gays and sexual purity. Take that in combination with their framing health care in exclusively privileged/conservative terms (No big government! Private solutions for health care somehow! Tax cuts for the wealthy!) and it's the same old thing being vomited out again.
But, hey, they get to appear cutting-edge, so why not?
As Sarah pointed out several weeks ago, this new Religious Right frame was even used by Pat Robertson back in the early 90's. And there's no way he's a new generation of evangelical.
It's just another trick to get people to vote on silly issues against their own economic interests.