Ann Banks has done some serious research on the religious right and she sent me this message the other day, in response to exchanges about the Miers nomination on HuffPo. Food for thought:
“The nomination of Harriet Miers underlines how important it is for the reality-based community (that's us) to gain a more nuanced understanding of fundamentalist Christianity. Never mind where Miers attends church, what precisely are her religious beliefs? Now that the President has identified them as among her primary qualifications, we'd better find out.
Christian fundamentalists debate one another on the fine points of eschatology, throwing around terms like premill (pre-millennial) and post-trib (post-tribulation.) Yet whatever their differences, most believe that life on earth is on a downhill slide that cannot be arrested by human effort, but only by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In this grim credo, natural disasters (especially when occurring in godless places like New Orleans and Pakistan) are possible harbingers of imminent celestial glory.
Since Jesus will be along soon to iron everything out, there's little point in social reform and even less in protecting the environment, as Bill Moyers recently made clear. In fact, any such action would indicate a dismaying lack of faith. (Remember religious fundamentalist James Watt, Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, who famously said, “God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.)
Where does Harriet Miers stand on these issues? Is she a premillennial dispensationalist, to use the term of art? Does she believe we are living in the End Times? If the answer is yes and if she is confirmed, we are in a world of trouble. Roe v. Wade will be only the beginning.”