Brian Birdnow

A generation ago in 1983, the well-known British popular music icon David Bowie perfectly captured the angst common to many liberals during the glow of the Reagan Age when he lightheartedly remarked in his hit song Modern Love”.

God and Man, No Confession

God and Man, No Religion

God and Man, Don’t Believe

In Modern Love

Bowie’s genial reference reflected the liberal take on the Reagan Era as a period of mindless materialism, and served as a generally good natured urging of his fellow citizens to once again reflect spiritual concerns and to subordinate the desire to buy, sell, get and spend to more transcendent ideals.

This past Friday, January 3rd, Dana Milbank the resident Republican baiter and all-around wise guy at the Washington Post turned David Bowie’s chidings upside down by criticizing the Republican Party for being overly pious and too “Christian”, which, of course, like the greeting “Merry Christmas” is now considered controversial to the sophisticates of Georgetown and Fairfax County. As Milbank puts it, “Has the Republican big tent evolved into a house of worship?” He goes on to point out that studies show the Democrats are growing more liberal and secular, while the Republicans are growing more conservative and religious. Significantly, Milbank says not a discouraging word about the Democrats drift toward a polyglot agnosticism as Party principle. He does, however, save his scorn for the Republicans, which he dresses up as a grave concern for the GOP plight that he observes. He states, “…the GOP has gone toward becoming a collection of older, white, evangelical Christians defined as much by religion as politics.” He then moves on to his favorite themes, chortling heartily at the so-called scientific illiteracy of Republican Party members who question Darwinian concepts of evolution through natural selection. Leave it to Dana Milbank to take a deep question and reduce it to a comic book style fantasy.

Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.