The undead religious right
The religious right, as you may have heard, is dead. Its death has been
pronounced every so often for years. Meanwhile, it manages to continue
exercising considerable influence over U.S. culture and public life.
Like Tupac Shakur and Johnny Cash, the religious right has led a pretty productive death.
course, activists and public figures use language differently than,
say, news writers. Often the goal is to make something so by saying so.
Therefore, "there were 100,000 marchers at the protest," not 30,000 as
the media reported. "The leadership has the votes lined up to pass the
bill," however implausible the math. And the religious right is dead.
linguist might classify this as a type of "implicit performative
utterance." A faith-based activist might put it under the umbrella of
"being prophetic," or maybe even "living into the already/not yet of
the reign of Christ."
I’m more inclined to call it "saying something that isn’t entirely true." So I enjoyed this bit from Frederick Clarkson:
a quiz called "Who thinks the culture wars are over?" Can you match the
prominent person with the specific quote echoing the "RIP religious
right" meme? I had some trouble—it’s a formula that hasn’t varied all
that much in recent years.