The War Against Evil never ends (not unlike the "global war on terror")
Gary Wills in A Country Ruled by Faith New York Review of Books 11/16/06 issue (accessed 10/30/06) provides a survey of the influence of the Christian Right in the Cheney-Bush administration:
Bush promised his evangelical followers faith-based social services, which he called "compassionate conservatism." He went beyond that to give them a faith-based war, faith-based law enforcement, faith-based education, faith-based medicine, and faith-based science. He could deliver on his promises because he stocked the agencies handling all these problems, in large degree, with born-again Christians of his own variety. The evangelicals had complained for years that they were not able to affect policy because liberals left over from previous administrations were in all the health and education and social service bureaus, at the operational level. They had specific people they objected to, and they had specific people with whom to replace them, and Karl Rove helped them do just that.
It is common knowledge that the Republican White House and Congress let "K Street" lobbyists have a say in the drafting of economic legislation, and on the personnel assigned to carry it out, in matters like oil production, pharmaceutical regulation, medical insurance, and corporate taxes. It is less known that for social services, evangelical organizations were given the same right to draft bills and install the officials who implement them. Karl Rove had cultivated the extensive network of religious right organizations, and they were consulted at every step of the way as the administration set up its policies on gays, AIDS, condoms, abstinence programs, creationism, and other matters that concerned the evangelicals. All the evangelicals' resentments under previous presidents, including Republicans like Reagan and the first Bush, were now being addressed.
We still hear it said, including by Democrats, that the Christian Right thinks that the Cheney-Bush administration has let them down. And that may be true of many of the rank-and-file. But the leaders are still enthusiastic for the Republican Party this year.
Part of the reason that's so often said is surely that Democrats have been pointing out for years that the Republicans use the Christian Right to get votes and then give their concerns a low priority. That really has not been the case in this administration. Christian Right leaders complain a lot, including about the administration's service to their desires. Part of that is the good old Southern whiny-white-folks tradition. But a large part of it is keeping the pressure on.
After all, the Christian dominionists want a lot more than just federal-funded abstinence-and-proselyizing programs.
Wills discusses Gen. Boykin, whose god is bigger than the Muslims' god, and the very problematic nature of promoting religious wars, or, as Wills calls it, faith-based war:
There is a particular danger with a war that God commands. What if God should lose? That is unthinkable to the evangelicals. They cannot accept the idea of second-guessing God, and he was the one who led them into war. Thus, in 2006, when two thirds of the American people told pollsters that the war in Iraq was a mistake, the third of those still standing behind it were mainly evangelicals (who make up about one third of the population). It was a faith-based certitude.