America’s Post-Religious Right

The intensity of current political fights over parental rights in public schools, free speech on college campuses, abortion, and other culture-war touch points is, in Nate Hochman’s analysis, a product of “the decline in organized religion.” Pointing to a drop in church membership among Republicans that appears to have coincided with the rise of Donald Trump’s political fortunes, Hochman suggests that the former president tapped into a grassroots “energy” that was “primarily a reflection of the nonreligious right.” The future of American conservatism, he argues, may in part depend on how much the religious right, which came more slowly to support Trump, is willing to concede to its secular partners.

Today’s culture war is being waged not between religion and secularism but between groups that the Catholic writer Matthew Schmitz has described as “the woke and the unwoke.”

Rather than invocations of Scripture, the right’s appeal is a defense of a broader, beleaguered American way of life. For example, the language of parental rights is rarely, if ever, religious, but it speaks to the pervasive sense that American families are fighting back against progressive ideologues over control of the classroom. That framing has been effective: according to a March Politico poll, for example, American voters favored the key provision of Florida’s hotly debated Parental Rights in Education law, known by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, by a margin of 16 percentage points.

Support for the initiative crosses racial lines. In a May poll of likely general election voters in six Senate battleground states—Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—the conservative American Principles Project found that Hispanics supported the Florida law by a margin of 11 percentage points and African Americans by a margin of four points.

The upshot is that this new politics has the capacity to expand the Republican tent dramatically.

Read more at New York Times

More about: American politics, Conservatism, Donald Trump, Religion and politics

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan