One thing we can generally predict about human behavior is that when people are unhappy, they go on the hunt for someone to blame.
Taking a lot of heat for today's discontents is the so-called "religious right."
Just consider books, some hot sellers, of recent years: Jim Wallis' "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It"; "How the Republicans Stole Religion: Why the Religious Right is Wrong About Faith & Politics and What We Can Do to Make It Right" by Bill Press; and, more recently, Victor Gold's "Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy-Rollers and the Neo-Cons Destroyed the GOP" and Christopher Hitchens' very subtle "god (CQ) is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything."
Take your pick. The religious right is either destroying the Republican Party, the two-party system, the country or, according to Hitchens, by even having the temerity to suggest there is a Creator, and that life has rules, religious people are a danger to life itself.
Hitchens is the least of my concerns. There is no subtlety here that might seduce the uninformed. We just have the newest of a long historical procession of those who claim there is no truth (except, of course, that laid out in Hitchens' book) and that religion and morality and decency have nothing to do with each other.
Hitchens provides his own proof of the dubiousness of the latter claim with his tasteless and impolite screed about Jerry Falwell, published the instant the reverend breathed his last breath, noting that his death had "zero significance" and calling him a "credulous idiot."
What I am concerned about, however, are the more subtle attacks on the religious right, coming from the Christian left, that can have, and may be having, appeal to those who simply don't appreciate the facts.
I am talking about a distorted portrayal of conservative Christians as a detached and fanatic lot, who care only about a couple free-floating issues, abortion and sexual behavior, and who could care less about anything else going on in the country.
"Why this obsession with abortion and sexual behavior?" they ask. "How about poverty? How about the environment?"
Regarding poverty, the Rev. Wallis says, "This is the big issue of God's heart, if we take the Bible seriously." Poverty, according to Wallis, is the "silent tsunami" and "nobody pays attention to it."
Nobody pays attention to it?
Due respects to Wallis, but you just have to wonder where he has been for the last few decades.