The Conservative Divide

Researchers call it “internal consistency.” It is the quality of a theory whereby the basic principles lead to a predictable outcome consistent with those principles.

It is a quality profoundly lacking in the current version of American Conservatism, and in full display at the “Faith and Freedom Coalition” convention in Washington this week. There, among the “Christians” in attendance, was an attempt to bridge the divide among Conservatives between the Tea Party Christian version and the Christian Veneer version.

They are having a real problem pulling it off. The ideological battles are being fought from the restrooms (where the Christians put figurines of President Obama in the urinals) to the podium. The Christian Veneer advocates attempted to bring the fold into the version of conservatism that mouths compassion toward the poor and bemoans the deepening differences in the “Two Americas” of economic injustice, while at the same time advocating the same policies that have created a society with the greatest amount of economic inequality in modern history.

These are the same fellows that coined the phrase “compassionate conservatism” and then went on to start several wars and reverse a decades-long trend of decreasing poverty rates.

On the other side are the Tea Party Christians, who are unapologetic in their hatred and threats of violence. They demonstrate that the veneer of “compassion” among Christian conservatives is very thin indeed. If one wants to gain a vision of their America, take a tour of rural Texas sometime, where angry men armed with assault weapons hang out in fast food restaurants (the major employer in their communities) making thinly veiled threats of what they would do to anyone who wants to restrict their firepower.

Anger and hatred are the operative words for these conservative Christians: hatred of the government, hatred of immigrants, hatred of liberals, hatred of the President, hatred of “those people” …

It’s a scary proposition when the Coalition of Faith and Freedom produces little more than an argument between those who want to dress up their movement in empty words for the poor and those who would rather line them up and shoot them.

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