All I can say is if evangelicals want to make Islamofascism the war chant of the conservative movement they’re guaranteeing themselves a lot of years in the political wilderness:
Following last month’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, conservative Christian power-broker Gary Bauer sent an e-mail to supporters.
…[In it, he] turned his attention to a different threat, one social conservative leaders hope will shake their constituents from their apathy about the 2008 presidential race.
“The war against Islamofascism is in many respects a ‘values issue,'” Bauer wrote. “That may seem like an odd statement at first glance, but, as I have often said, losing Western Civilization to this vicious enemy would be immoral.”
“Odd statement?” I’ll say.
Another evangelical leader expanded on the subject:
It’s the ultimate life issue,” said Rick Scarborough, president of the Texas-based conservative Christian group Vision America. “If radical Islam succeeds in its ultimate goals, Christianity ceases to exist.”
That might sound alarmist, but Scarborough’s words illustrate how many conservative Christian leaders view matters of national security as a battle between good and evil – nothing short of a clash of civilizations.
First, the issue is entirely bogus–but that certainly never stopped a Republican from using such issues to score points with voters. Second, evangelical voters certainly care about domestic issues, moral values, Church-State issues, abortion, gay marriage, etc. But Islam, jihadism? C’mon. That’s a huge stretch. How are you gonna get evangelicals to come to the ballot box by painting Muslims as the boogeyman? How do you get Osama bin Laden to become the Willie Horton of the next campaign? Barring a major domestic terror attack it ain’t gonna happen.
So I say to Gary Bauer, keep it coming, Gary. We need more of that hysterical overreaching from you and your fellow evangelicals. Not only will it turn non-evangelicals off big time. It won’t move your own voters.
This sense is reinforced by the closing paragraphs of the article:
[John] Green, of the Pew Forum [on Religion and Public Life], said if radical Islam does become a major campaign issue, it will help the GOP nominee because voters tend to view Republicans as stronger on national security. But he isn’t sure it will motivate conservative Christian activists.
“If you get off into issues of taxes or foreign policy, their eyes glaze over,” Green said. “If politics is going to be about those things, they’d rather be back at their churches saving souls.”
Another influential conservative activist, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, said it’s unclear whether conservative Christian voters understand the threat of radical Islam well enough for it to become a factor in the election.
“We’ve got a year to make sure they know what’s going on,” said Weyrich, a Romney supporter. “If they do, probably this will be the motivating issue. If they don’t, you can forget it. I think the election goes to Hillary (Clinton).
Amen to that, brother.