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An Open Letter to All Republicans From a Former Religious Right Activist

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Dear Republicans: This election all Republicans who love America must vote for Obama. A vote for business-as-usual and a continuation of the Neoconservative/Religious Right/ party of corporate American alienation is a vote against America. As a former Republican activist, I appeal to your patriotism and honor.

Unless you haven't been paying attention to the recent history of the Republican Party you will know that today Republican ideology and energy is derived from three sources:

* The Religious Right,

* The Neoconservative Movement,

* Corporate business interests.

You also should know that when it comes to the Religious Right my late father and evangelist, Francis Schaeffer, was the intellectual voice that made it happen. As his young sidekick (in the 70s and 80s) I helped take his message to a huge evangelical audience.

I mention this by way of saying that even if you hate my guts -- for having dropped out of the Republican Party, for writing novels that make fun of you, and for reregistering as an independent voter, let alone for supporting Senator Obama -- perhaps you should listen up. I happen to know what I'm talking about.

So let's look at the three power centers that drive the Republican Party today.

The Religious Right
The Religious Right came about for one reason and one reason only: it was a reaction to Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion in 1973. The Supreme Court essentially created the culture wars. (A state-by-state approach to legalizing abortion would have been better and resulted in much the same situation we have today in terms of the availability of abortion.) Take Roe out of the political mix and there would be no Religious Right.

That said -- certain power-hungry individuals (Dobson, Falwell, Robertson, Rove, Reed et al.) took the energy of our original pro-life movement and used it to build a hate campaign reminiscent of the early momentum that drove European Fascist parties in the mid-1920s through the mid-1940s. Fear of the "other" gays, immigrants, intellectuals, artists, the media, feminists, etc., morphed into a general critique of "the elite" which turned out to be anyone with an education or even big city dwellers. The Religious Right became a crude populist movement pitting the resentful rubes against the rest.

Take a hard look at yourselves. Play back this year's Republican convention and you'll see an all-white crowd of people screaming for offshore oil drilling -- fat lot of good that will do! more carbon! more polution! -- and essentially reacting like starved hyenas when presented with a piece of juicy carrion. At the convention Sarah Palin and others produced nothing more than a snide list of smart ass put downs aimed at the really dumb, with so little substance that former conservatives such the late William F. Buckley, for instance (let alone my late father) would simply have been ashamed to be in your company. You have become a hate-filled rabble proud of your ignorance and resentful of the rest of your own country, resentment that's exceeded only by your maudlin (and false) sense of victimhood.

People that hate half the population of their own country can scarcely be called patriots. On the contrary, people who exult in mocking as their only way to "contribute" to solving our huge environmental, energy, military and economic problems are true subversives.

The smell emanating from your convention was that of a beer hall putsch circa 1930s, not anything remotely like participation in a democracy. Now you all know what it felt like to be in a lynch mob minus the hanging. You should be ashamed. But shame is something that apparently Republicans are no longer capable of feeling, at least when you get together in a mob.

If you could feel shame there would have been a series of contrite public apologies at your convention for the incredible fiasco of non-governing that has typified the Bush administration. My pension, other people's pensions, our homes, jobs and economy are in chaos because of you. Young Americans are dying in Iraq because of you. The world is a more dangerous place because of you. America is hated because of you. Yes, that is you personally. I blame all of you.

You are the people who gave us eight years of Bush. My Marine son fought in his wars. Cowards, where were most of your sons and daughters? The President's daughters were getting arrested for under age drinking and harassing their Secret Service detail. The rest of you were shopping.

Far from saying you're sorry for the state our country is in you're trying to change the subject by reviving a culture war that has nothing to do with the principled fight against abortion of the 1970s that my dad and I began, and everything to do with simply hating people not like yourselves. The ultimate irony is that you're doing this in the name of Jesus Christ, someone, by the way, whom I try to follow as a Christian. You have become blasphemers by dragging our Lord into your political games.

The Republican Party and the Religious Right have become "Christian" warmongers who applaud the use of torture, start needless wars, fight against civil rights for gays and other disadvantaged Americans, and perhaps worst of all, in terms of the long-term impact, have literally turned your hands against God's creation.

You have a little fool for a vice presidential candidate who says she doesn't believe that human beings have anything to do with the phenomena of global warming and the endangering of all human life on this planet. Dream on. This fool claims to know what she knows because of an absolute "I don't blink" confidence in herself. So on top of everything else this fool who says she is a Christian, proves she is not. She lacks any shred of decent humility, the most basic biblical virtue.

The Neoconservative Movement
Let's be honest: the Neoconservative Movement is nothing more than an kill-all-the-Arabs, pro-Israel-at-any-cost, morally bankrupt lobby that actually turns out to be anti-Israel. Why? Because taken to the logical conclusion the neoconservative's position on everything--from illegal West Bank settlements, to making war on Iran, not to mention the absolutely useless waste of life that's taken place in Iraq, warlike preparations against Syria and just about every other Middle Eastern country, no, scratch that, every other country in the world--puts Israel in worse jeopardy than ever before.

Fortunately for everyone, it seems that most Israelis "get" this, as well as most Jewish Americans (who vote Democratic) even if a few Neoconservative Jews, most Evangelicals and all the other Republican zealots don't. (Most Jews also know that the idiot fringe so-called Christian Zionists like Rev., Hagee, are no friends to Israel, rather they are perpetuating a doomsday nineteenth century Armageddon/ "Rapture" cult that wants to use the Jews as cosmic "End Times" cannon fodder.)

Get it through your thick heads: a state of permanent war between the West, including Israel and the United States, and the Muslim world is a war that Israel will eventually lose. Do the demographic math!

Republicans: You have been tricked and misled by; Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Robert Kagan, Michael Ledeen, William Kristol, Frank Gaffney, Jr. Dick Cheney. These neofools have unwittingly set in motion the destruction of Israel (probably in our lifetimes) and have maybe killed America too. Bastards! Republicans: It will be remembered that you embraced these world-hating self-deluded paranoid blabberers and made their twisted sound-bite polemics your own.

Those who, like me, actually believe that Israel has the right to exist should look on the Neoconservatives listed above with the same loathing that we look back on the idiots who goaded Europe into World War I, also in the name of "nationalism," "democracy" and "freedom."

Belligerent posturing is not a policy, it is idiocy. You Republicans have become the party of perpetual fear and aggressive non-provoked war, seeing enemies where there are none and/or provoking former friends to become our enemies, and/or faking reasons for war and/or wasting our soldier's blood in places such as Afghanistan, where our cause was just but you fumbled the ball.

Your moron vice presidential candidate is still at it! While turning her son's deployment to war into a flag-dishonoring political circus stunt she repeated the Bush lie and said that her son was going off to fight the perpetrators of 9/11. This is a barefaced lie and you all know it. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. The only reason we attacked them is because the fools listed above decided it would be good for Israel and our stupid "president" went along.

Now you belligerent asses are supporting the same idiot (McCain) that helped bring us Iraq. He is now champing at the bit to revive the cold, and maybe a hot war with Russia! Have you gone mad? Can't you see you have an old foolish semi-senile man mired in the bathos of post-Vietnam "we were denied victory" psychosis for a candidate? Don't you know that Bush has made us weak?

You Republicans did to our military what the USSR could not do: demoralize it, stretch it beyond breaking and set it back decades. And now you want MORE wars?!

Corporate Business Interests
The Republican Party claims traditional values. It has propagated a laissez-faire attitude toward corporate interests and has -- literally -- stood back and encouraged the rape of the earth. You are the party of the earth-hogging SUV. You have literally sowed the wind and reaped the hurricanes.

This is as self-defeating as it is embarrassing for those claiming the moral high ground, particularly those who say that their philosophy represents traditional Judeo-Christian values. We all live here for crying out loud! Will you now fight our God and Creator too for the "right" to burn the last drop of oil while on a weekend jaunt to nowhere in your all-terrain piece of garbage?

Conclusion
The Republican problem is a systemic disparagement of government, community, faith in our institutions, family, God's creation and the mitigating institutions that put a check on something any party aligned with a religious movement should know all about: sin. Greed is not the only problem. Human weakness and stupidity (i.e., "sin") is the problem! And the genius of the American system is supposedly that we have a system of checks and balances to mitigate our fallen state. You have destroyed those checks and balances.

Bush felt no guilt about promoting completely unqualified people to high posts merely on the basis of social, ideological or political connections. I'll take that a step further: I don't think Bush ever wanted the government to work. You Republicans hate our government as bitterly as our terrorist enemies do. You have been trying to deconstruct it. Since the government is seen as the enemy of freedom by you, if it doesn't work so much the better!

We have met the enemy and he is us! When Islamists tried to destroy our country by flying planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers, we rightly called them terrorists. When the Republicans in the Congress and the White House set about destroying our country, our standing in the world, our military and our economy, but much more effectively, you called them statesmen. It is time for all Americans -- including all you who are patriotic Republicans -- to sweep away these putrid earth-consuming, family killing, government bashing "me" worshipping individualistic fools--that or to watch our country be swept away by them. We can't afford eight more years of this willful ignorance. Obama in 2008!

Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back.
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