Too Many Calls of “Calls of Victimhood”, and The Fading Religious Right
I don’t know when the line was crossed, but at some point, the white conservative evangelicals claiming victimhood status became outnumbered by their mockers.
I grew up in Texas and Colorado Springs, I worked at the national headquarters for Bush-Cheney 04, I worked with Campus Crusade for Christ: Religious Right bona fides: I got ’em. More importantly, I have relatives and family friends who still reside within that camp. So when I say that I rarely hear sentiments like “we’re under attack from atheistic socialists”, I don’t think it’s because I lack exposure to the movement. They’re just not saying it very much. Now, why they’re not saying it, that’s an interesting question.
By my lights, many on the Right did not pull out of their despair dive, but rather broke on through to the other side: acceptance. I know several men and women who think America has lost its bloom, that it’s been fully compromised by a godless majority. Gone is the “City On The Hill” (which many evangelicals love to cite as the founding creed of this country over the Declaration of Independence), now we are a Pauline-era Rome: decadent and anti-Christian. It’s anecdotal, but the topics of sermons in churches in Colorado Springs has slowly changed over the last decade. Moving from the more bellicose to the more prescriptive, the change reflects the opinions and needs of the parishioners. In the late 90’s many Christians thought they had finally developed the political tools to re-work the world into their desired form. When they fizzled this decade (and trust me: many evangelicals think the GWB administration was, in retrospect, a flop), resignation set it.
Here’s another way to think of it: people who claim they are victims are those that think there’s a chance to fix the problem. Because of our liberal culture, women who are raped and abused in the West are encouraged to come forth so the criminal is punished. In the retrogressive cultures of fundamentalist Islam, how many women come forth as victims? Nearly none, and we can be sure that even fewer did so before Western attention was on them.
Yes, it’s drastic, and no, I do not share their beliefs, but the change in sermons is akin to a rebel group transitioning into best survival tips from an older slave to a younger slave. Some Christians I know think things have gotten so bad in the US that they now have turned inward trying their best to be a stranger in a strange land.
The rest of our culture has always been about two steps behind in its appraisal of the Christian Right. There has been more breathless rhetoric and heightened panic at the machinations of evangelical Christians in the past 5 years than I recall in the previous 10, missing the fact that the height of Religious Right-ism, in my estimation, was probably the years surrounding 2000. Good grief, I’m sure there are people out there in Blue States terrified of the hordes of Christianist youth who aren’t even aware of the growing post-evangelical Christian movement.
Spend any amount of time perusing the Barna Group‘s teen/next generation stuff and you’ll see: the James Dobson crowd had near zero carryover to the next generation. They’ll soon be more outnumbered and more irrelevant. And more to the point, many Dobsonites are aware of this future, and that’s why they’ve stopped crowing “victim”.