Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gary Bauer: The Quintessential Evangelical Warrior in the Culture War

Would You Say A Prayer For This Man?

Analysis of Gary Bauer, evangelical Christian

The following is from the Pew Research Center's Pew Forum's biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life. D. Michael Lindsay, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Rice University discussing his research on evangelical power in the White House during the Reagan years when Gary Bauer was domestic policy adviser to Reagan.

I knew that that ( a division of attitudes between evangelicals) existed, but I did not realize that within the same White House you could actually have significant division. For example, one of the persons I interviewed for the project was C. Everett Koop (surgeon general under President Reagan). He told me about how in 1986 he became increasingly convinced that AIDS ought to be treated as a public health crisis.Now, when Koop was nominated in 1981, many evangelicals were very excited about this. He was a symbolic appointment; and although he didn't have experience in public health, he was a world-class surgeon at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He eventually got confirmed, even though the public health community was not very excited. But evangelicals were thrilled, and for five years he had a very good relationship with the evangelical community.

Then in 1986 he began to say the White House ought to treat AIDS as a real public-health concern. But remember, in 1986, most evangelicals saw AIDS as God's punishment against a homosexual lifestyle. One who held that position was Gary Bauer;5 he was serving as President Reagan's domestic policy advisor. In a matter of a few months, Bauer and Koop began to lock horns. Koop would try and get a meeting with the president; Gary Bauer's staff would get the meeting removed. And in fact, when I did the interview with Dr. Koop -- he has an institute up at Dartmouth now -- he didn't have very nice things to say about Gary Bauer. There are these tensions -- and they last.

They last.

Gary Bauer's profile is a classic description of a politically right-wing evangelical:

Repeal of Roe vs. Wade and abolishment of funding for Planned Parenthood
Against euthanasia, but supports the death penalty
Supports a Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage

Prefers abstinence programs to comprehensive sex education programs
Against embryonic stem-cell research

Wants to "bring the message of freedom to the Arab world"

Supports the war in Iraq
Against illegal immigration and supports English-only policy

Supports tax cuts

Bauer is past-president of the Washington lobby Family Research Council and is on the Board of Christians United For Israel, headed by John Hagee. Chairman of Campaign for Working Families, President of American Values. On the home page of the American Values website:

American Values is a non-profit organization committed to uniting the American people around the vision of our Founding Fathers. We are deeply committed to defending life, traditional marriage, and equipping our children with the values necessary to stand against liberal education and cultural forces.

Liberal education and cultural forces. hmmm...

Here are some other ideas about American Values. I culled them from Flickr.

Just a thought.

In honor of the great Bob Hope who passed on this day in 2003:

"I do benefits for all religions - I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality."


Anonymous said...

Mr. Vojir:

Gary Bauer sounds like an interesting person. I would have liked to have heard more from Dr. Koop & Mr. Bauer about what that "conflict" was all about. So intense that feelings are still very strong after all these yrs.

I was puzzled by the "beauty is only skin deep" picture. Where did that fit in? Do American Values and/other Right Wing groups have a position on how American women should look as well as act? Are you infering that the "Right" supports a Stepford approach? A calvinist, "Plain-Jane" model?

I am not real familiar with your blog sir, you set up this interesting page; presented some interesting sub-topics about a Conservative Lobby and it's leader, but you wrote very little. I found your snapshots interesting, but preplexing. It seemed like a tease. Like the cover of a really juicy tabloid. One buys the magazine and finds their subject of interest is barely covered (scuse the pun). Just a few sentences. Being the Domestic Policy Advisor to Reagan sounds pretty important. Like he was the "Haldeman" for Pres. Reagan. I have no idea of how you assessed his preformance or if any books have been written about this Presidential Advisor. I've read about Reagan's kitchen cabinet, and some of the members of his cabinet & Admin; but very little about Mr. Bauer. He must have kept a low profile. I guess I'm intrigued and frustrated because I think lots more info could have been written here. It would have been really helpful to see how Dr. Kop's AIDS agenda has stacked up after all these years.

This is a preface to an introduction.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you want more writing. Sometimes I don't have enough time for researching the material.

Here's the way I go about my blog: I do the small history section for that day first. That itself can take about an hour. Most of the time, I find out that something in history on that day is tied to what's happening. I also go to Flickr for inspiration on the subjects. I often find interesting tidbits in the "comments" section of the photo. Then I go back to the news and see if I'm inspired there. For today's post, I noticed the Pew Forum article about it's research on evangelicals and the Bauer thing hit me: some of my posts have been about the poor manner in which the Christian communities responded to the AIDS crisis.

I don't usually do a collection of photos at the bottom of the post, but this time I found some very interesting things when I typed in "American Values" to search on Flickr.

The "beauty" picture was triggered by a previous post that concentrated on the DADT hearings, finding out what Donnelly (president of the Military Readiness group)said before the hearings about feminists.

The definition of "American Values" has been a muddled mess for years, with the Religious Right saying one things and many people saying another. I particularly liked the last one: "Immigration is an American experience - Acceptance is an American value" BTW for that subject, Flickr came up with over 10,000 photos.

And, yes, the Right has supported a Stepford approach - good thinking on your part. There are millions of people (women included) who want to see "the little woman" back in the home making cookies and babies. The Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints episode was an extreme example. One thing I wondered about but have been unable to find anything: were the children tested for fumarase deficiency? This causes retardation, autism, and Down syndrome. The last FLDS group tested wound up 5-10 times more likely to have it than the rest of the country (because of extreme in-breeding - one of the big reasons first cousins cannot wed).

Hope this answer some of your questions about the blog. I will not be posting anything for tomorrow because I usually take off one day out of the week. Blogging can literally take over your life, so I need some time to get out in the world: I go to a beer bust on Sundays (fundraisers for non-profit groups) and it is what I call my "Infusion of Humanity."

Thanks again.

Dan Vojir