Thursday, October 19, 2006

How Faith-Based is the GOP?

David Kuo is making his rounds of the talk show circuit following the publication of his new book, Tempting Faith. Kuo used to work as a deputy in the White House office that handled faith-based initiatives and his book claims that while the Bush administration curried favor with evangelical leaders and voters, they privately thought them all to be a bit kooky.

If true, this raises an interesting question. If the administration's Christian-friendly stance was actually more of a pose, then how much influence did and do evangelicals actually have in the governance of this country?

Many complaints have been raised at the level of access evangelicals have to the Bush White House. As just one example, liberals and conservatives wary of what Andrew Sullivan calls "Christianism" alike were up in arms over the fact that Bush and his team apparently consulted with James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and others before deciding who to nominate for the Supreme Court.

The White House strenuously denies Kuo's claims, which means they want to country to believe that they really do suck up to evangelical Christians as much as they seem to. If it's all so much window-dressing, however, then what happens to all the complaints and analyses about a government in the pocket of Big Religion? Is that just a facade, too?

Of course, apart from the evangelical voters and religious leaders, there's another important group here. It's the evangelical legislators. No matter how much Karl Rove may or may not privately ridicule evangelicals, it's undeniable that our government is and has been rife with the likes of DeLay, Ashcroft and Santorum. I'm not sure how that fits in to Kuo's analysis.

Update: Andrew Sullivan answers these questions in a timely post this morning.
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