The First Step

TimeWatch Editorial
November 22, 2016

According to the Free Encyclopedia, TPM or the Talking Points Memo is a liberal web-based political journalism website created and run by Josh Marshall , a journalist, liberal blogger and historian. It debuted on November 12, 2000. The name is a reference to the memo (short list) with the issues (points) discussed by one's side in a debate or used to support a position taken on an issue. By 2007, TPM received an average of 400,000 page views every weekday. An article published on the TPM website on July 21, 2016, entitled, “Behind the Religious Right's Efforts To Strong Arm Donald Trump,” is a rather revealing description of a powerful source of influence exerted upon the President Elect and the platform of the Republican Party during the 2016 election. Hidden beneath the surface, there is an element of control that is driving the agenda. It should not be the least bit surprising that that controlling force is at work, what is perhaps amazing is that there is a subtle exposure of its existence.

We have already dealt at length with the fact that Russia has been involved in influencing the direction and items of discussion that have been taken place during the primaries and the election, however the internal matters that have to do with the Republican Platform and the President’s agenda have been sourced from another angle. In the opening paragraph of the above mentioned article entitled, “Behind the Religious Right's Efforts To Strong Arm Donald Trump,” the TPM or Talking Points Memo website is the following.

“The religious right hasn’t got much play on the big stage of the GOP convention. To find the heart of the social conservative movement in Cleveland this week, you had to head to a luncheon at a steakhouse a few blocks away. The lunch, sponsored by the Family Research Council Action and the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, served as a shadow convention of sorts. While many elected officials have shunned speaking slots at the convention, the stage at the two-hour luncheon featured three current or former governors, a senator, two U.S. representatives and a barbershop quartet. Their message, delivered in harmony: The thrice-married, dirty-mouthed New York-based reality TV star at the top of the Republican ticket has put nary a dint in their long-term political and policy agenda.” “Behind the Religious Right's Efforts To Strong Arm Donald Trump,” Talking Points Memo website, July 21, 2016

The question then would be what is the long term political and policy agenda of the Religious Right? Sara Diamond in an archived article entitled “On the Road to Political Power and Theocracy” on “the Political Research Associates website,” makes the point that,

“Since 1975, leaders of the Christian Right have built one organization after another, with the avowed purpose of winning state power, i.e. the power to influence, if not dictate, public policy. Leaders of the Christian Right worked hand-in-glove with the Reagan and Bush administrations to wage murderous wars on civilians in Central America and southern Africa. Meanwhile, the North American left cackled along with the rest of the country at the ridiculous TV preacher scandals, which diverted people's attention from the really important players in the Christian Right. While everyone else was laughing, the Christian Right grew into the most formidable mass movement on the political scene today. We will enter the new millennium with the Christian Right in positions of state power.” Sara Diamond, “On the Road to Political Power and Theocracy” the Political Research Associates website

Doug Banwart in the Western Illinois Historical Review, Vol. V, published in the spring of 2013 describes the beginning of an organization called the Moral Majority. This organization came into being with a very specific agenda.

“Jerry Falwell, the leader of a movement called the Moral Majority that arose in the late 1970s, was mad and he was going to let everyone know it: “We’re fighting a holy war,” he said at his Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1980. “What’s happened to America is that the wicked are bearing rule. We have to lead the nation back to the moral stance that made America great...we need to wield influence on those who govern us.” Falwell was spearheading a coalition of conservative, evangelical voters angered about a variety of social issues and other ills that plagued America.” Doug Banwart in the Western Illinois Historical Review, Vol. V, published in the spring of 2013

So what are the results of their efforts? They are revealed in the election of the President Elect. As stated in Peter Montgomery ’s article published on the Right Wing Watch Website on November 9, 2016, he says the following.

“For years, pundits have been predicting or declaring the end of the Religious Right as a political force. Some thought that Donald Trump’s Republican primary victory over a number of evangelical candidates was another sign of deep divisions in the movement that would doom it to declining influence. Well, not so fast. Among the notable aspects of the 2016 presidential election campaign was Trump’s ardent courting of conservative evangelicals: He named one of their own as his running mate; he let them write their agenda into the Republican Party platform ; he promised them the Supreme Court of their dreams; he pledged to make conservative Christians more politically powerful by eliminating legal restrictions on politicking by churches and other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations; he met with hundreds of Religious Right leaders and made repeated visits to their conferences and campuses.” Peter Montgomery, “The Revenge of the Religious Right?” Right Wing Watch Website, November 9, 2016


The Religious Right organizations must therefore be intensely happy. At last they have been able to accomplish the first step that is necessary for the end game that they have long lusted after.

Be warned, be ready!

Cameron A. Bowen

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