A Mormon And A Catholic Walk Into A GOP Convention

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 19 2012 @ 8:06pm

by Matthew Sitman

This year's election should feature millions of evangelical protestants voting for a GOP ticket comprised of a Mormon and a Roman Catholic. Andrew Hartman revisits the unsurprising reason for Republicans' ecumenical politics:

It’s the culture wars, stupid. That is, the culture wars are the reason that the American right—including conservative white evangelicals—is fine with the GOP's relatively newfound love of religious diversity. As James Davison Hunter pointed out more than two decades ago in his now classic book, Culture Wars, religious Americans gave up their sectarian prejudices in order to form political and ideological alliances in the culture wars. Conservative evangelicals came to love, or at least tolerate, conservative Catholics, Jews, and even Mormons.

These “orthodox” Americans, to borrow Hunter’s language, found that they had more in common with each other than they did with “progressive” Americans, more even than with progressive coreligionists. This was also, remarkably, true of most Protestant fundamentalists, those whose identities were formed earlier in the twentieth century by sectarian strife and doctrinal dispute. Many fundamentalists, for example, believed that the election of JFK signaled the end times in 1960. And yet, the vast majority of fundamentalists eventually came around to the view that conservative Catholics were their spiritual allies against the secular humanists who ushered in legal abortion.

Recent Dish coverage of the culture wars here.