By Stephen D. Foster Jr. | 17 May 2016
In a glorious segment of Full Frontal on Monday, host Samantha Bee took aim at the religious right-wing movement and absolutely destroyed her target.
After taking a brief shot at Ted Cruz and his failed quest to capture the evangelical vote that came out overwhelmingly for the “thrice married foulmouthed tit judge who likes Planned Parenthood and thinks Corinthians is a type of car upholstery,” Donald Trump instead, Bee explored how the religious right took over the Republican Party.
It all began 50 years after humiliating evangelical failures to ban alcohol during Prohibition and to defeat the science of evolution during the Scope’s monkey trial. Bee played a video of Christians condemning involvement in politics. And then something happened in the early 1970s when Heritage Foundation co-founder Paul Weyrich called upon the Republican Party to reach out to conservative “Christians,” whom political Morton Blackwell described as “virgin timber on the political landscape.”
“Well, technically virgin, if you don’t count butt stuff,” Bee quipped.
Bee then explained that it was a court case that pushed evangelicals to get involved in politics during the early 1970s. However, she was quick to point out that the case wasn’t Roe v. Wade.
In 1971, Bob Jones University, whose “Christian” founder once declared that “if you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God,” claimed it had a sincere religious belief against interracial dating so strong that the school refused to accept black students unless they were already married. This violated IRS regulations so the IRS informed the school that it would lose its tax-exempt status. The school retaliated by filing a lawsuit which they would finally lose in 1983 when the Supreme Court sided with the IRS. Bob Jones University would not allow interracial dating for another 17 years until the restriction became so embarrassing they struck it down in 2000.
Evangelicals looked around for another issue to use as a rallying cry and decided to focus on abortion while also trying to establish school prayer while trying to get rid of sex education.
Bee then issued a disclaimer:
“Please understand when I say the religious right, I’m not talking about people of faith — hashtag #NotAllChristians — but a political movement to harness voting evangelicals to the conservative Republican cause.”
When Bee resumed her epic history of the religious right, she noted that evangelicals abandoned Jimmy Carter, “the devout baptist farmer who taught Sunday school and helped the poor,” and threw their support behind a “divorced movie star who hung out with Hollywood Jews, sinners, and believers in evolution.” That man was Ronald Reagan. The year was 1980.
And that led to a video of Reagan attending a sermon by televangelist James Robison in which he smeared liberals as perverted communists.
According to Bee, that’s when “the Christian Right and the Republican Party locked eyes and leaned in for their sloppy 35-year tongue kiss.”
She went on to point out that the GOP’s 1972 platform “didn’t contain a single reference to God of religious issues.”
Bee showed a list, which featured the GOP elephant mascot being raped from behind by a cross, of all the issues Republicans now focus on to please their evangelicals masters, which includes opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. “I hope they sanded that,” Bee said of the cross as the audience laughed.
During the final stretch of the segment, Bee pointed out that evangelicals have been losing ground for the last 15 years, especially on the issue of LGBT rights, which is why they have gone full circle by focusing once again on their racist roots by supporting Donald Trump.
Here’s the video via YouTube.
Of course, the rise of the Christian Right as the base of the Republican Party will also be the GOP’s downfall as their base gets older and dies off. Donald Trump appears to be their last desperate gasp to hold on to whatever political relevance they once had. But in order for the religious right to lose that effort, Americans needs to vote in November to overwhelmingly reject Trump, his evangelical supporters, and everything they represent.
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