Ask A Genius 465 – Spirituality as a Political Tool (2)

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 465 – Spirituality as a Political Tool (2)

December 6, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]

Rick Rosner: Let’s talk about the whole deal, the use of Evangelicals in politics.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: The political use of religion.

Rosner: There is a better word than “use.” The energizing of the base.

Jacobsen: The zeal?

Rosner: It feels like, with the Evangelical voters, this has been going on for the last 150 years, but it hasn’t been. Because this has only happened for the last 30 years. Because conservative think tanks have been thinking about how to get leverage over the American populace, how do they get voters to vote in their people.

Before, in America, you had a more benign form of evangelism. “Christianity close to home” would be a good phrase for it. The 50s and 40s in the, at least, idealized form of America.

You have a bunch of towns each packed with a bunch of churches. Each person went to a church or a synagogue. Each worshipped in their own way, but each in their own Judeo-Christian values and each more or less worked out for each other.

In more sinister cases, they became busybodies on people’s behavior that fell short. It was a more benign form of pervasive religious values, not particularly coercive but with some aspects of coercion.

It is not strident and not feeling threatened and not trying to opposed religious values of others. When necessary, it is not seriously impinging on politics; this is where the conservative side has been piling up now, and a large number of the Evangelical voters.

Any mainstream politician, liberal or conservative, has to claim to be religious. It is a very brave and exceptional politician who doesn’t claim to be religious. It is a rare group of voters that will vote that person in.

The dog whistling in politics every time a politician makes a public statement. The religious voter understands the statement in its nuanced meaning but the non-religious don’t because it is a dog whistle to the religious. It can be used cynically.

The American version of this isn’t new. There is always the potential for it, as long as there has been religion or politics. Although, you have instances of it. There has been the potential for it as long as there has been religious and politics.

Jacobsen: It goes back to Constantine.

Rosner: We don’t burn people at the stake. It has been done at the cross-purposes of politics and religion. By embracing science, you don’t necessarily avoid; you open yourself up to a whole different set of tragedy.

The atomic bomb is one.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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