30 Issues: Religion and the Right

True/False: Republicans Are Pandering to Religious Bigotry

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jeff Sharlet, journalist and author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, Azi Paybarah, WNYC reporter and blogger, and conservative columnist and author of Paranoid Nation Matt Towery, talk about religion, the Republican Party, and whether or not some candidates are pandering to religious bigotry.


Azi Paybarah, Jeff Sharlet and Matt Towery

Comments [29]

David Bell from Philadelphia

I am responding to Rami Friedman's comment on the social ills of homosexuality:
Firstly, is Rami a Lady or Gentlemen? I will just address you by your name. Dear Rami, if you knew me , you surely couldn't see me as a deteriorating factor in society. My sexuality is such a limited aspect of my sexuality. My art work of several mediums expressed in the beautiful houses in the city I live are a fine and nobel contribution to our world, and far more beautiful and magical is the impact my work and the months of me being in my clients homes has a wonderful impact on my clients and their families and myself. My work is truly a calling. My work is a sort of a prayer,,,a symbol. All those who came before me and went on their way. Now I am on this stage for a little while creating, restoring, designing, building, decorating. As that wonderful German theologian Bonhoffer stated that we are co-creators in this rather merky muck called life. I know that when some people think of 'gay', only the act of sex comes to their minds. I call it the "ick" factor. I can tell you Rami, I have always felt comfortable being singularly homosexual. But my craft is more my impramatar. It's others who see only one thought.I am a co-creator with my Heavenly Father. We all are. We can all be made Holy in the smallest most delicate ways. Words can so hurt. Rami, you need to walk in someone else's shoes and think before you belittle others. Your words really saddened me.

Feb. 09 2013 01:46 AM
Rami Friedman from Westfield, NJ

Many devout people of several faiths believe that sex outside marriage is wrong and leads to social decay, because procreative marriage is the best potential environment for raising children. Homosexual behavior is one of many behaviors that can contribute to that decay. Therefore, it is wrong to suggest that all people or politicians that want to discourage homosexual behavior are bigots. You can disagree with our thesis; maybe you believe the world's children would be better served with even freer sexual mores. But please stop maligning the motives of conservatives every time you disagree with our positions.

Oct. 15 2010 01:45 PM

@Mike C. from Tribeca:

"Please ask your guest to stop calling the proposed downtown community center a mosque. Thank you."

Would you prefer "islamist arc de triomphe"?

Actually, I expect that the three public principals (immam faisal; daisy con; and, sherrif el-gamal) of this project will be long gone and much enriched well before any of the $100 million is spent on this "kultural" center.

In later years these goniffs and their crime will be celebrated in a re-make of the " اللدغة ", exposing the entire enterprise to be the "Free Jack Henry Abbott" Movement of our time.

Time for another cup of tea.

Oct. 15 2010 01:08 PM
Karol from NYC

Meanwhile, the religious candidate in 2008, the one who talked nonstop about his Christian faith was...Barack Obama.

Oct. 15 2010 12:22 PM
Chriss from Montclair

Mecham just dropped a big 'ol stink bomb!!

Right, everyone against Obama is a racist. That sums it up.

And his dismissive-- "anyone who doesn't agree is living in another world" beginning is just plain dumb.

I'll pass on the Jackson interview...

Oct. 15 2010 11:45 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

One of your guests just stated that a woman's right to choose is no longer an issue that "wins or loses elections"? Now that's good pandering! The truth is the G0P simply doesn't like to bring up the subject so as not to antagonize women voters.

Oct. 15 2010 11:41 AM

We are mistaking a dependent variable for an independent variable. Politicians and reporters constantly refer to "public perception" as if they played no roll in shaping it. The guest claims that Republicans are merely responding to strong anti-muslim sentiment, but guess what? It's these self-same conservative politicians whose rhetoric inflamed public opinion. You can't set a house on fire and then claim it's not your fault because the fire provides its own heat. You lit the match, Republicans. G.W. Bush kept this in check. You have not.

Oct. 15 2010 11:37 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Please ask your guest to stop calling the proposed downtown community center a mosque. Thank you.

Oct. 15 2010 11:36 AM
Matthew from Brooklyn

The modern GOP is based on uniting plutocracy with racism, nativism, and fundamentalism: it depends on scapegoating, whether pinkos, black/brown people, gays and lesbians, immigrants, and now, Moslems. Nixon's Southern Strategy, which successfully captured the formerly "Solid South" of white segregationists -- long reactionary Democrats -- is the quintessence of this, the foundation of the party of hate in the service of money.

Oct. 15 2010 11:33 AM
Amy from Manhattan

No, Mr. Towery, it's *not* accurate to call it a mosque, any more than it's accurate to call the Jewish Community Center a synagogue. It will have a small prayer space & will be primarily a cultural center.

Oct. 15 2010 11:33 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

I've been wondering since the primary why the NY Post is so critical of Palladino, and thanks to your guests I now understand why. Rupert Murdoch is obviously trying to show that Palladino is an apparition, and the rest of the Republican Party is gloriously sane and god-fearingly pragmatic.

If you believe that, there's a lovely old bridge a few blocks from my apartment that I can sell you at a reduced price.

Oct. 15 2010 11:30 AM
Steve from NYC

When has the Republican party NOT pandered to the religious and cultural fears and ignorance of their members? Without pandering and demonizing Muslims, homosexuals, Hispanics -- essentially anyone who is "different" -- Republicans would have a tough time winning public offices. If so-called "Christians" truly believed in the teachings of Christ and embraced compassion for their fellow human beings, the Republican party as we know it today would disappear.

Oct. 15 2010 11:28 AM
The Truth from Becky


Oct. 15 2010 11:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Why did Paladino go to the ultra-Orthodox when he wanted to counter accusations of anti-Semitism (which, by the way, I hadn't heard about--what did he say that led to that?)? Does he really think they're representative of Jews as a whole? Are they the only Jews he thought would share his views? Or did he just want to appear w/people that voters could tell were Jews just by looking at them?

Oct. 15 2010 11:22 AM

Hal: I hope to see the day when religious organizations' tax-exempt status is revoked. A girl can dream!

Oct. 15 2010 11:21 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

And then there's Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, who in the recent debate said she was for teaching "creationism" partly because of her Catholic values, whereas in truth the Catholic church accepts evolution as a fact and "creationism" is a dogma of fundamentalist Protestants.

That's not only pandering, but it shows a dismal lack of knowledge on her part of her own church.

Oct. 15 2010 11:21 AM

Regarding the recent Paladino press conference: it absolutely blows my mind in this day and age that some people simply accept the fact that female reporters were not allowed to DO THEIR JOBS and attend (in addition to the offensive content of the speech itself, of course). I wonder if this would have been ok if the religious sect in question decided they did not want people of certain races in their houses of worship?

Oct. 15 2010 11:18 AM
JT from LI

@James Shaw
Science is the thing that allowed you to make your comments (computer, internet, encryption, etc.) It allows you to hear the show (electronics in the studio that allow the transmission and in your radio that allow you to hear it.) It's probably kept you and your loved ones healthy to some extent (x-rays, MRI, medicine, nutrition, environment, etc.) It's helped get you around (cars, airplanes, bicycles, elevators, etc.)

In other words, science is all around you and has made your life better. You don't think so, move to the woods and see how much you like it. Oh, wait, you'll need science to build shelter, cook food, generate heat, clean your water, etc.

Oct. 15 2010 11:15 AM
bernie from bklyn

james shaw- yes, you shouldn't believe anything that a Ph.D from an ivy league university says. what do they know, right?
listen to your preacher when he tells you about the evolution lies or sean hannity's elightened conclusion regarding global warming and how it isn't actually happening. and oh yeah- the world is flat, right?

Oct. 15 2010 11:13 AM
Amy from Manhattan

From the 2nd opening clip: "The politicians won't take a stand. But we Americans...." So now politicians aren't even Americans?

Oct. 15 2010 11:12 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

Why do neither the Democrats/Republicans nor the media talk about the mosque in the Pentagon (along with Christian and Jewish chapels)? This has been there before 9/11...and it's a very good thing!

Oct. 15 2010 11:12 AM

It's time to start treating religious organizations like any other free market enterprise and make them pay taxes. If we can't make organized religion go away, at least we can make it pay.

Oct. 15 2010 11:11 AM
Mary-Louise from Astoria

I'm 100% behind Carl Paladino on this one: no mosque should be built over the ashes of 9/11 victims. The boundary line must be drawn around where the dust cloud settled.

Oct. 15 2010 11:10 AM
James Shaw from New Canaan

What exactly is "Science"? You mean guys who work for universities? Corporate R&D? Why should I believe anybody who's getting a paycheck from a college or a corporation?

Oct. 15 2010 11:06 AM
JT from LI

The religious right needs to think about long term solutions to the issues they oppose. For example, instead of protesting abortion clinics they should work on the issues that might naturally cause abortions to decline, namely poverty and education. They aim for high visibility targets that don't really do much other than get publicity for their organizations and make them feel like they're doing something, but realistically they don't accomplish much.

I also think they need to realize that many candidates pander to them to get votes. Just claim you're against abortion and you'll automatically get certain votes not matter how inane your other positions are. Too many on the right are single issue voters, usually abortion.

Oct. 15 2010 10:48 AM
Gerald Fnord from Palos Verdes, Ca

I'm in fact _glad_ that the Religious Right have not been getting 'value for money' (literal and figurative) from the Republican Party; I'd hate to live in the theocratic Paradise for which they, true gluttons for other people's punishment, do so fervently long.

Then again, if the Republicans _had_ in fact pushed the theocrats' agenda, the widespread revulsion at the both of them would have made the congressional elections of 2006 look like a minor reversal.

Example: It is near-dogma on anything heard on Christian Radio that discusses it that modern birth-control pills actually murder a full-fledged (and roughly 64-celled) human being, and must be banned if God is not to withdraw this Gardol (Shield (tm) from Murka...they'd also like to ban an awful lot of the sex-acts that we straight people do with each other as 'sodomy', just as the Founders wanted when they were inspired by God to write our founding documents.

Oct. 15 2010 10:43 AM
John from Reality

True or false?


Oct. 15 2010 10:34 AM

all these religious people are crazy!

people are better served having faith in science rather than voodoo and myths.

Oct. 15 2010 10:14 AM
bernie from bklyn

does anyone else see the humor and irony of paladino making his ridiculous "gays are brainwashed" statements alongside the leaders of our two hasidic communities?
is there any one community in nyc that is more brainwashed and/or cult-like than the hasidim in w'msbrg/crown heights & boro park?
and for some reason, politicians give credence to what these hasidic cult leaders have to say and bow to them come election time because of their fear of losing votes. this is a vote you should not want.
the hasidic community must be exposed....why is every journalist afraid to do that? why do we NEVER hear about the abuse, misogyny and inbreeding that really takes place in these communities?

Oct. 15 2010 09:41 AM

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