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Earlier this month DefCon exposed that Focus on the Family's "Stand For the Family Events" were flopping, big time.

An event in Pittsburgh at a 17,000 person venue only drew 3,000. An event scheduled at an 18,000 seat arena in St. Paul was moved to a much smaller auditorium at the last minute. And Nashville's 10,000 seat event was cancelled, moved instead to a local church where the admission was free of charge.

In today's Washington Post, Alan Cooperman highlights these numbers again, pointing out just how ineffective the religious right has been this year in their attempts to use the "gay issue" to impact the elections.

Cooperman's story, entitled "Religious Conservatives Cheer Ruling on Gays as Wake-Up Call" highlight's yet again the political nature of the religious right's extreme agenda.

Of course, we're not only the only ones aware of this obvious connection. Religious conservatives have picked up on it too. Stories about the backlash from the "social conservative base" have filled this fall's newspapers. What's been missing from a great deal of the coverage however is that this backlash has come despite the best efforts of the religious right leadership to again frame 2006 in the context of hollow issues like gay marriage. The body is no longer following the head.

We can see this in scores of polls that show "social conservatives" are actually concerned with Iraq, while Tony Perkins circulates newsletters highlighting again the unparalleled importance of defending marriage.

It's even more apparent when Dobson, Perkins, and Gary Bauer hold events in three states where gay marriage is a prominent topic and no one shows.

And it's undeniable when you witness the desperation in Dobson's pleas for his followers to continue to act on the issues he has chosen.

DefCon formed to combat the influence of the religious right. Our fight is nowhere near over. But my hope is that after the dust has settled our leaders look back and see that despite their best efforts the religious right at the end of the day couldn't control the herd.

After all, thanks to David Kuo, we know our leaders aren't catering to them because they actually believe their extreme rhetoric.

Originally posted to DefCon Clark on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 10:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Missouri (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, Joy Busey, sbdenmon

    One of the interesting aspects in my town in outstate Missouri, Warrensburg, are the number of vote NO on Amendment 2 lawn signs.  This is the Stem Cell issue.

    Interestingly, there are rarely (and I emphasize rarely) paired with Talent signs.  I think the people who put them in their lawns are getting them from the local churches and not through the Republican Party.

    I wish I had a better sense of how fired up the religious right is in my town.  

    The wise are driven by reason; ordinary minds, by experience; the stupid, by necessity, and brutes by instinct. Cicero

    by MoDem on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 10:08:52 AM PDT

    •  In South Carolina (0+ / 0-)

      I have seen the opposite.

      The Marriage YES! signs are almost always paired with Gresham Barrett/Mark Sanford/Karen Floyd signs. They are all over the local Republican headquarters.

      However, while I have seen plenty of these on the highway, I have seen very few of the combination in people's yards.

      What is even more suprising is the number of "Dumb Amendment" signs I have seen in this conservative corner of the state.

      Maybe it's because people think it's a done deal, or maybe it's because people don't care as much. Or maybe it's because it's so blatantly a GOTV tactic that people just aren't paying attention. The environment has changed enough so that one local Democratic candidate for state house in a tight race actually said that we already had a law defining marriage as one man and one woman and we didn't need to be playing politics with the state constitution.

      It will still pass, but it won't be the GOTV motivator that the Republicans hoped for.

  •  It's hard to get worked up... (8+ / 0-)

    Over gay marriage when there is a disastrous war going on and you are wondering how you are going to pay off your medical bills.  At least that is what I am hoping.  Plus, maybe, the fact that Canada has legalized gay marriage and so has MA and the world has not ended tends to take some fire out of the words.  I would love to see that monolithic New Life Church and the even more monstrous FotF building in Colorado Springs become empty shells.

    God does not bless a nation that tortures.

    by RichM on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 10:10:30 AM PDT

  •  The St. Paul event was on a Tuesday, and the (8+ / 0-)

    Nashville event on a Monday.  News Flash - People have to work for a living, especially those raising familes.  Dobson a little out of touch, ya think?

    Republican Debate Handbook: Obfuscate, misdirect, insert talking points here

    by bherner on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 10:15:20 AM PDT

  •  People have decided that they love their kids (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, docangel, boofdah, cfk, carolita

    MORE than they hate gay people they most likely don't even know?

    Economic issues, food, healthcare, education do matter eventually, even to the SAVED???

    hope so

    •  It's about sacrifice. (0+ / 0-)

      If sacrifice was good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for my kids.  Or Nicaraguan kids.  Or whatever.

      Some fundamentalists actually act as though this is their internalized value.  They need FotF rhetoric to provide a comforting veneer of family values.

  •  Looks as though (9+ / 0-)

    the Nashville Municipal Auditorium has replaced Dobson with: "Sesame Street Live : Super Grover! Ready for Action"

    lmao...a very fitting substitution.  

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -- Galileo Galilei

    by Dittoz on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 10:16:21 AM PDT

  •  Nice info (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, carolita

    Dobson and Perkins are one-trick ponies who have run out of gas.....

  •  Maybe his radio ratings will tank, too (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docangel, boofdah, cfk, sbdenmon, cwaltz

    I'd love to see the Dobson house of cards collapse.

    "I'd rather ride the buses in the minor leagues than practice law for a living."--Tony LaRussa

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 10:26:41 AM PDT

  •  I'd bet that many of his sheeple (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rusty Pipes, Ckntfld, boofdah
    haven't completely given up on Dobson, but are rather suffering fatigue from getting whipped into action so often over issues that are not front and center to their daily lives.

    I fear that they're just putting their "hate activism" on hold, not abandoning it.

    My religious wingnut mother, for instance, went into a rant recently about how global warming was not real, and they didn't need to worry about it anyway, 'cause Christ was gonna come soon.

    Democrats promote the Common good. Republicans promote Corporate greed.

    by murasaki on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 10:36:43 AM PDT

  •  Dobson deserves empty audiences (14+ / 0-)

    While I believe that there are millions of good people who have fallen under the spell of the James Dobsons, D James Kennedys, Jerry Falwells, Pat Robertsons, and the like I remain optimistic that these less than holy leaders have run their course.

    Of course their are others ready to step up and continue their hucksterism but I think the good people have had their run of Christian/Nationalism
    where hard right policies and the church's policies melded into some kind of Robo-Christianism that turned away from the real teachings of the church.

    First, I am not a very high on organized religion but I was brought up by a family that had seen hard times in it's existence with a mother who was orphaned at 8 years old who became the pass around kid for extended family to raise. My father, left a farm in South Georgia at the age of 14 to go to Atlanta to work on automobiles (his life-long passion) and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) soon after to ensure a steady paycheck that he sent most home to his family of 9 other siblings much like those immigrants who come across our southern border to do the same.He later fought fires in Oregon with the CCC before joining the Army Air Corps during WWII.

    My family tended to go to the closest church to their front door. I was taken along many a Sunday.

    There were Baptist preachers within my family too as I grew older.

    These churches were always the ones that the working folks and or in my hometown the "mill people" went to they were not the type where the rich and the powerful went unless there was an election.

    This is my "church" background I apologize for taking you through that to get to my point.

    I believe that the Dobson Robertson ChristianNationalism model began to be questioned was when someone from their camp created the "WWJD" campaign and produced those bracelets that people wear.

    It is that question WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?

    It caused people to think

    Should our church spend great sums of money on politics? "WWJD"  we all know the answer

    Should our church be more involved with electing Republicans or feeding the poor? "WWJD"   we all know the answer

    Abortion is bad but should our church focus on that issue or help house the homeless? "WWJD" we all know the answer

    Should our church spend it's energy and money campaigning against Gay's "WWJD"  we all know the answer

    Should we spend millions of dollars on television outreach preaching these point more often that we spend our energy trying to help those less fortunate? "WWJD"  we all know the answer

    I could go on but I think I make my point.

    When good Christians answer these questions it weakens their bonds to the leaders of their church who are more like right wing politicians waving a flag which hides the greedy contemptuous actions they espouse in the name of their God.

    These people are ripe for a change and their millions could shift the majority permanently away from the Republicans.

    The transition will not be quick, easy, or a 100% conversion, but there are disillusioned souls out there looking for programs that are w
    WHAT JESUS WOUD DO.

    The Democratic party for all of our differences looks more like that party than Republicans ever did, even though we are made up of many groups that have been demonized in the eyes of these Christians.

    We are for helping people and achieving the common good, providing health care, a social safety net, equal rights and protections for all, and freedom of and from religion and we're patriotic people who love our country as much as any of them.

    When they look in the mirror and ask themselves would Jesus be a Democrat the answer is yes.

    Political pardons are unacceptable Mr Bush,and so is hiding your daddy's secrets behind exectutive orders,free the truth now.Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

    by wmc418 on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 11:06:40 AM PDT

  •  Out! Out! Demons of stupidity! (0+ / 0-)

    Let us hope we can say buh bye to these demons of stupidity.

  •  Hallelujah! (0+ / 0-)

    This is great news. Glad to hear it. Couldn't happen to a more deserving idiot. Maybe there's only so much fear their followers are willing to gobble up.

    BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what? QUESTION: The attacks upon the World Trade Center. BUSH: Nothing! Except for...

    by DrReason on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 01:48:00 PM PDT

  •  My pro-life friends... (5+ / 0-)

    Some friends of mine who are pro-life are also moved by reports that 660,000 Iraqis have died during our military action there.

    I know that the evangelical leaders have blown off that statistic--like it means nothing--but my pro-life friends have not.  I think many of these people are very sincere, but you can only lie to them so much...and they will begin to turn.

    Maybe that process has started.

    •  These are the real (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, boofdah, ladybug53

      pro-life people.

      Get the broom and sweep 'em up and sweep 'em out

      by BoxerRebellion on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 11:10:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm reading these comments and (0+ / 0-)

        I realized, I don't want these radical people joining or aligning themselves with the Democratic Party.  After all, Social shifts do occur within the two parties.

        But let the Republicans have these, what I call, non-Christian Christians.  They are gullible and have simple minds (and I once prided myself on not being very judgmental - not anymore!!!).

        -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

        by MarciaJ720 on Sat Oct 28, 2006 at 05:05:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A vision for the Democratic Party (0+ / 0-)

          ...no simple minds.  We only want sophisticated people.  Simple people need not apply.  

          With respect, I think that is elitist and ultimately keeps us in the minority.  We cannot be all things to all people, but we need to build a coalition of a majority of Americans.  Presuming that the far right will never join and the multi-national business types will never join, we can and must appeal to simple Christians who go to church but cannot see a way to uphold their sense of morality and support the Republican Party.

        •  If you think (0+ / 0-)

          we can ever have a true American majority without some of the evangelicals, I must disagree. What the Democratic party must do is convince the above-mentioned people that we respect their opinions for themselves. We don't demand moral prudity for any under our label, nor will we turn away people who choose to have opinions divergent with the majority of our party. Hell, just considering ourselves Democrats we understand that we don't choose to walk in lockstep with anyone. But we are a pro-choice party. You are free to choose to be personally anti-abortion, while I choose to be pro-choice. Just don't try to dictate your morality to the group as a whole. Choice really does mean choice.

          There will always be the moronic, thinking-challenged group. These are also the people who refuse to accept that African-Americans deserve full citizenship, or the way to wealth is by imitating the rich. How long has that been going on - yet it continues. They can just go play with themselves. Never again, should they be taken seriously as a political group. Yes, we need to watch them, but as far as catering to them?
          No more than I would cater to the neo-Nazi party.

          Get the broom and sweep 'em up and sweep 'em out

          by BoxerRebellion on Sat Oct 28, 2006 at 01:53:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Anti- Discrimination Is A Winning Issue (0+ / 0-)

    Too bad we can’t see how to skewer Republicans on the lying homophobic hatred they have subjected this country to.  The Foley affair proves what Republicans really think about Gay people - Republicans support and hire people based on merit and value to the party, not on sexual behavior.  

    We should be ashamed that the language of persecution and hate that saw Gays executed in Hitler’s Concentration Camps, still causes us to equivocate thereby allowing Republican victories.  Indeed, even homophobia’s most outward proponents like Rick Santorum, and George Felix, employ Gay people, thereby directly supporting "the lifestyle" they campaign against as an abomination and sin.  

    Are we such true believers that we cannot see that Republicans themselves have exposed their big lie and given us the ammunition we need to reverse this travesty?  We can literally defeat Republicans by revealing what’s actually behind the curtain.

  •  Dobson is so 2004. (0+ / 0-)

    I think the "market" for this brand of pay-to-pray events is probably over-saturated and passe.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens on election day, but I do think that some of the faithful have started to question the commericialization of religion and politics and the priorities of Corporate religion, particularly when faced with insufficient response to the needs of those who are affected by poverty, the "compassionate conservative" non-response to hurricane Katrina, the Kuo book and comments of people like Tucker Carlson about the DC elite's disdain for "values" voters - which they are starting to see, and the fact that families are struggling more to make ends meet, while Dobson and his ilk charge money to participate in these events.

    Also, I think the fact that 20 states have enacted anit-gay marriage laws or constitutional amendments blunts some of the impact of the New Jersey court ruling, except maybe in New Jersey. The bogeyman of gay marriage has been blunted, because it's more of a localized issue.

  •  Whistling past the graveyard (0+ / 0-)
    The FOTF/FRC Religious right machine is nowhere near dead...Do you have 3.5 million listeners every day? I don't think so.FOTF Action/FRC Action never expected to draw 17,000 people at these venues--they were charging $7 for adults, $4 for children at the door. It was the money that moved them to the church--or broke the hall down to a sizeable area. This was about moving the local, regional pastorate into the spotlight  while bringing in media. Look at where they went--PA, MN, TN. At the same time their affiliates were working Missouri and South Dakota--that being Ricj Scarbrough, Alan Keyes and Archbishop Burke in MO on stem ce cell referendum. Meantime, NJ courts give them a boost with ruling--good for mobilizing in the eight states where marriage amemdnments are on the ballot.. Keep in mind Dobson/Perkins (neither of whom are ministers of any praciticing faith) and their minions are in Rove's machinery. And please always remember these folks are not simple theocrats. but politcical operatives.
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