I’m actually surprised they [FIC] haven’t made an attempt to debunk the Courant’s poll on politics and religion.

–“CGG” at CT Local Politics

I hate to disappoint our fans at CT Local Politics, so let’s take a look at what CGG is talking about: 

Connecticut voters want God off the campaign trail, out of the voting booth and away from the halls of government.

That’s according to a new poll on religion and politics sponsored by The Courant.

The next paragraph tells us that 44 percent of state residents say religion has too much influence on politics. But take a closer look at the response to that question. 32 percent said religion’s influence on politics was “about right” and another 17 percent said there was “too little” religious influence on politics. So most state residents answering the question–49 percent–did not think religion had “too much” influence on politics. That’s a pretty big number for a state that’s supposed to be oh-so-beyond the lure of those dreaded (cue scary music) evangelicals.

FIC’s lack-of-response-until-now may have “surprised” CT Local Politics, but Genghis Conn’s own knee-jerk reaction was all too predictable:

Therefore the activist, evangelical, socially conservative religion that has such strength elsewhere has not managed to take hold here. If it had, the “Family” Institute of Connecticut would have more members and influence. As it stands, the FIC seems more like a foreign infection rather than a homegrown organization. Indeed, its founder and former president, Brian Brown, is a Californian.

Sigh. Where do I even begin?

FIC was founded in 1989…by a group of state residents. The first dozen or so years it was virtually unknown. Then they hired Brian, under whose leadership we generated the 100,000 pro-family signatures in 2003, the rally of 6,000 people at the state capitol in 2004, another rally of 3,000 people protesting the passage of civil unions in 2005 and so forth. In other words, it was under the “Californian” that FIC rose to the level of members and influence that it now enjoys.

One measure of Brian’s success is that the Courant deemed my succeeding him to be front page news. As I recall, the reaction to the Courant story from Genghis and CTLP was…silence. And Genghis had this to say about FIC Action Committee’s support of Minnie Gonzalez in March, 2006:  “Teaming up with the FIC seems like the kiss of death. Have those people ever been successful at anything?” After Minnie won that battle, the reaction from Genghis and CTLP was…silence. (And, now that I think about it, I set Genghis straight a week ago on his sneering “you’re out of the mainstream” defense of a pro-abortion headline in the Courant and his reaction has been…silence.)

We’re not quite as obsessed with measuring “influence” as CTLP (we hope to have it, of course, but we’ll speak the truth in season and out). Yet CTLP’s judgment in the matter of FIC does seem to rely on ignoring–not “debunking,” but flat-out ignoring–anything that contradicts their foregone conclusions about us. (The 3,000 people who protested at the state capitol in April, 2005, a few days after the civil union bill was passed? Never happened.) 

We know better than to expect a fair assessment of FIC from CT Local Politics. But the above history is worth keeping in mind the next time the self-appointed gatekeepers of Connecticut’s “mainstream” begin bloviating about “foreign infections.”

6 Responses to “Politics, Religion, FIC and CTLP”

  1. on 28 Aug 2007 at 6:22 pmChris

    Didn’t Minnie Gonzalez vote for gay marriage this year?

  2. on 28 Aug 2007 at 7:50 pmNaCN

    I too found the analysis at CT Local Politics lacking. The author also states, without offering any evidence in support, that “the Republican Party in Connecticut has suffered especially from the influence of evangelical Christians in the rest of the country.” Hmm. Seems to me that Nancy Johnson lost to Chris Murphy in the last election specifically because she was not socially conservative. Consider that her district also voted a new republican into the state senate. A socially conservative one at that. Supported by FIC no less. I guess all those voters were just foreigners.

    And while we’re on that subject, I note that the CT Local Politics blog states that “successful Republican candidates . . . Nancy Johnson, Rob Simmons and John Rowland stressed fiscal conservatism and left religion and social conservatism almost entirely out of their messages.” Perhaps that is part of the reason why these “successful” Republicans are no longer in office?

  3. on 29 Aug 2007 at 3:42 amPeter

    Didn’t Minnie Gonzalez vote for gay marriage this year?

    Only to allow it out of committee. She emphasized in her remarks that she would still vote against it on the floor of the House…a vote that never happened because proponents of same-sex “marriage” chose not to force a vote when they realized they would lose.

  4. on 29 Aug 2007 at 6:05 amChris

    Sounds to me like Minnie voted for it so she can say some years down the road that she indeed voted for it. Trying to have it both ways…

  5. on 29 Aug 2007 at 6:35 amPeter

    Sounds to me like you’re trying to change the subject of this thread…

  6. on 30 Aug 2007 at 10:30 amAdam

    Looks like everyone is picking and choosing what part of the data they want to look at. According to the courant poll “68 percent said they don’t like it when politicians rely on their religious beliefs to make public policy decisions, and 54 percent said their own religion plays no role in deciding whom to support in an election.” Both decent majorities.

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