My comment, in response to Steve's comments on a previous post, was to be this:
I think what we need here is the distinction between people who are Christians and who vote Republican and the big-C, big-R Christian Right. I know plenty of the former, and they're solid people with no intentions of persecuting anyone, Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, whatever. But they're not the people with the desire and wherewithal to take back the country in the name of Jesus, the ones who blame hurricane Katrina on Teh Gays in New Orleans and who, yeah, would love to see the Middle East converted or paved over. What I'm saying is that, with any luck, this development in the Catholic church will lead to similar developments in other faiths such that Christian Republicans and Democrats can overpower the too-powerful big-C, big-R Christian Right.
And I totally agree with me. One of my biggest frustrations with the Catholic church (and with the American government, for that matter) has been the fact that I'm forced to identify with leadership I didn't ask for. I don't get to vote for Pope, but as a Catholic, I'm stuck with whatever he says, and other people's opinions of papal edict reflect on me as a Catholic. I didn't vote for our current president, but I'm stuck with whatever he says, and other people's opinions of American policy reflect on me as an American.
So I can completely understand that there are Protestants out there who aren't at all happy with the direction the Religious Right is taking. I haven't had the opportunity to ask, y'know, all of them, but I've talked to a number who say that while the Pat Robertsons, Jerry Falwells and even (to some extent) James Dobsons of the world are heavily influencing the direction of our country, their own personal views are far more moderate. A good many of them are even embarrassed to have their faith associated with wackos like Falwell and Robertson, but are unwilling to step back and allow the loony fringe to corrupt what is theirs. And that's as it should be.
So no, I don't think that majority of Republican Christians are evil, hateful, heathen-baiting persecutors of innocent children. I think that much of the Christian Right leadership has gotten so drunk on power that they've lost track of the original message and purpose of Christianity as Jesus appears to have given us (and no, "blessed are the homophobes" is not the missing beatitude). My hope is that as the Catholic church finds room for reason among the dogma, so will the other churches, and the Christians who really are right will be able to take back their faith.
That's enough on religion for one week. I'm not sure how I'm feeling about the whole thing, anyway, in a world that could cancel "Joan of Arcadia" and let bad things happen to good people.