DANIELS: Conservatives Embrace Selective Stupidity

Lee A. Daniels | 1/15/2014, 3 p.m.
A virus has been sweeping through the ranks of the conservative movement in recent years — and it seems to ...
Lee A. Daniels

Following the Pew survey’s release, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank rhetorically asked whether the GOP’s “big tent [has] evolved into a house of worship” and suggested the findings indicate the GOP itself has increasingly become “a narrow group of conservatives who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible – or partisans who regard evolution as a political question rather than science.”

It’s that latter remark that offers a crucial insight. The GOP’s political leadership and operatives, sitting atop a party that is overwhelmingly White and becoming even more so, have become increasingly dependent on the religious fundamentalist group – White evangelical Protestants – in their midst. That’s why, as Milbank writes, the “Republican Party is achieving the seemingly impossible feat of becoming even more theological.”

That un-American development – the injection of an explicit religious creed into the political mainstream – is the opposite of how the 50 percent of Black Protestants who also believe in creationism have behaved. In sharp contrast, they’ve not tried to push their particular theological beliefs into the political realm. Instead, they, along with Black Americans and other Americans, have hewed to one of the pillars of the American political tradition: the separation of church and state.

That’s a conservative principle today’s conservative movement would do well to follow.

Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His latest book is "Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America."