Home/Daniel Larison/No Segregation Metaphors, Please!

No Segregation Metaphors, Please!

“The Republican leadership spent $1 million on helping Chafee, and then it wonders why conservatives don’t think they’re wanted in this party,” Mr. Shaftan said. “They think the leadership wants them to come out every year, shine your shoes, then go sit in the back of the bus, take their Bibles and read them and shut up.” ~The Washington Times

The exploitation of religious conservatives is very real and very tiresome, but could we possibly avoid the “back of the bus” remarks?  There is nothing sillier than conservative white people appropriating the legacy and rhetoric of the civil rights movement (and there is almost nothing sillier than the mandatory MLK lovefest that breaks out among conservative columnists every January), yet we run across this kind of thing all too often. 

Ditto with the slightly different, but de rigueur invocations of the abolitionists every time someone wants to talk about religion in politics.  (Indeed, the abolitionists are as good of an argument against having religion influence politics in this country as you will ever find.) 

Besides, the metaphor’s all wrong.  It’s far too generous to the GOP.  Like women used to have to do in Borat’s version of Kazakhstan, religious conservatives can only travel on the outside of the bus.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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