Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, known as the "anti-gay" bill. She really had no choice in the matter. A slew of major business interests made it clear that Arizona would not profit from enacting such openly discriminatory law. Apple, American Airlines, Marriott, Delta Air Lines, and the Arizona Super Bowl Committee all weighed in unequivocally on the issue: Discrimination is bad for business, and inclusiveness is good.
On the surface, this may look like one in a series of familiar political battles. If the GOP is anything, it is consistent in trying to legislate its version of Christianity, primarily in anti-gay and anti-woman forms. Savvy political minds, however, will notice something more profound. This story is the smoking gun that exposes the real agenda behind the marriage of the Republican Elite and Right Wing Christianity.
To understand the connection, we need to begin at the end. We need to look at the results of the GOP agenda, and observe that politics is always, always, always about money. Since Ronald Reagan's election, the economic thrust of the Republican platform has been pro-business. More precisely, it's been pro-BIG-business. Deregulation, tax loopholes, union busting, and eroding worker rights are the game, and the prize is the greatest income gap between the rich and poor in over a century. Republicans have been busy for decades, and the result of their policies is evident.
Of course, the GOP has also been busy with their religious agenda. Morality is always a central issue, whether it's about portraying poor people as lazy malcontents or liberals as traitors. Every election, the conservative base has been energized by promises of ending women's right to reproductive healthcare and preventing gays from attaining equality under the law. Since the Tea Party coup of 2010, many states have followed through with these promises. Religious bullying is legal in Michigan. Abortion services are nearly impossible to find in many states. Creationism is constantly insinuating itself into science curricula. Fetal personhood bills have popped up (and been defeated) at both the state and national level.
The thing is, there's an apparent contradiction here. I just asserted that politics is always about money, and here I am detailing all the GOP efforts to enforce their version of morality, which has no apparent fiscal motivation. Why are they pushing this agenda so hard, and where does the money trail lead?
The answer is that conservative social agendas are a means to an end. Very wealthy corporate moguls couldn't care less what you or I do in the bedroom, but they care very much about how we vote, and they care about maintaining power. Keeping women from getting contraception and abortion services preserves poverty and under-education. Under-education makes it easier for FOX News to peddle blatant lies. Anti-gay rhetoric energizes Republican voters and solidifies the voting base.
Until it doesn't. And that's what just happened in Arizona. As soon as religious discrimination became fact instead of fantasy, and the economic impact of actually following through began to sink in, conservatives did the Olympic Backpedal all the way to the podium. Spurred by Big Business interests, even the bill's authors were calling the whole thing a "mistake."
And thus, the real values of GOP lawmakers are revealed. All the bluster about God and Country sounds great on stumps, but when the rubber meets the road, business makes the rules. Giant corporations have been happy to play the game as long as it fattens their coffers, but the moment a social justice issue threatens to do real damage to their bottom line, they can't back away fast enough. It's all about money. Always has been. Always will be.
The spin will be inevitable, and it will continue the familiar narrative: Those godless heathen liberal commies are subverting the will of Jesus, and Christians should galvanize themselves and double down on the religious agenda. The problem is that there isn't enough God in politics, and the evidence is that they couldn't get God's sexual preference made into law. But for anyone who's willing to read the writing on the wall, it's clear that God is only important to lawmakers when Big Business says it's important.
There is a "higher power" at work here, but it's not Jesus, and its goals are not nearly as inscrutable. Watch in the coming months as more and more corporate "persons" change their tune and suddenly "support diversity." Watch how quickly similar laws will die in committees, even in southern Red States like Georgia. Connect the dots, and you'll understand where the real "moral values" in politics lie. Profit is king. That which promotes it is good, and that which hinders it is bad. Jesus said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits." Indeed, ye shall.