For most of the last several years I’ve been fairly ambivalent towards western religions. In general I don’t really care because it doesn’t affect me. I do like what are mostly preached as the “high-level goals” of these religions: love thy neighbour, don’t kill people, etc. It would be nice if most of the followers practiced what they had preached to them, but that’s another issue… I don’t mind at all some of the things they’re pushing to promote “family values” since I think “values” in general have deteriorated throughout the West.
What I don’t like with the “religious right” is how they are framing issues that aren’t related to morals as moral issues and family values. I think people in the US are finally backlashing against the lack of values all around them but the “religious right” is exploiting this to frame other issues under this umbrella.
The gay issue is the biggest example of this to me. They’ve now gone to banning gays or lesbians from adopting children and also from taking away current placements from these parents and banning gays from being sperm donors.
The next great recent example, of course, are churches kicking out people who didn’t vote for Bush.
My problem here is that the “religious right” is now taking it upon itself to enforce their own cracked-up version of morality on everyone. Why don’t they first focus on convincing the people who actually show up in their churches to be moral before trying to force it on everyone else? If Baptists, for example, came out and showed that their members have much lower instances of divorce, violent crime, adultery, etc, than the general population I might be willing to take a look at what they’re doing. But don’t legislate changes affecting everyone just because you can’t convince your own members to do what you want.