Running Against Sodom and Osama: The Christian Right, Values Voters, and the Culture Wars in 2006, a newly released report from Political Research Associates, lays out the Christian Right’s midterm electoral strategy of demonizing gay men and lesbians and defining same sex marriage as a domestic threat parallel to the external one posed by “Islamofascists.”
The report reveals that a new coalition, led by the Family Research Council and allied groups, has emerged to replace the ailing Christian Coalition and lead the Christian Right in the 2006 elections and beyond. Its strategy is to mobilize voters to support Republican candidates by using scare tactics, linking the internal threat of same sex marriage and the external danger of Islamist terrorists though a call to defend “Family, Faith, and Freedom.” This campaign hopes to make a difference in certain key races by micro-targeting conservative Christian voters with nasty, and often bigoted, rhetoric. Particular attention is being given to eight states with November ballot initiatives that would ban same sex marriage.
The report takes the reader inside two key pre-election mobilization rallies, the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. and Liberty Sunday in Boston, held in September and October, to analyze the messages and tactics used to animate conservative Christian voters. It chronicles the appearances of Presidential hopefuls, candidates in tight races, and a parade of right-wing icons ranging from Tony Snow and William Bennett to Ann Coulter.
Report co-author and Senior Analyst Chip Berlet observes, “The goal of their campaign is clearly partisan: they know that their political clout relies on Republicans remaining in power.” He adds, “The Christian Right is testing mobilization techniques and, whatever the outcome of the midterms, will emerge more prepared for the 2008 presidential.”
Christian Right leaders James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, and Donald Wildmon have created this coalition through their lobbying organizations, Focus on the Family Action, Family Research Council Action, Americans United to Preserve Marriage, and the American Family Association, and they are joined by Alan Sears and his Alliance Defense Fund.
“At the Values Voters Summit, James Dobson passed the torch of leadership to Tony Perkins,” explains Pam Chamberlain, the report’s co-author. “Watch for his face in the media and be aware of his alarmist rhetoric.”
Running Against Sodom and Osama reviews sophisticated analyses of evangelical voting patterns in order to clarify the confusion over the electoral impact of “values voters” in the 2004 presidential race. It is available online at PRA’s website.