Michael McGough, writing in the Opinion section of the L.A. Times, observes that the shift in the Republican party during the past 20 or so years has made a curiosity out of what he calls “liberal Republicans” such as Sens. Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe. He also notes that such Republicans seem to have a tendency toward being Episcopalians, and dryly observes that there are parallels between the demise of these Republicans politically and what’s happening in the church itself:
My nostalgia for liberal Republicans is as much cultural as it is political. The pejorative term for them is “country club Republicans” who, like Leach and the first President Bush, often belonged to the Episcopal Church, a denomination disproportionately represented in power élites and in news coverage (what editor can resist a gay-bishop story?).
I may be the only one to see this parallel, but liberal Republicans have always struck me as the political equivalent of Anglo-Catholics: those high-church Episcopalians who in their liturgy with its “smells and bells” are more Catholic than the pope they don’t acknowledge. Liberal Republicans live a similarly paradoxical existence in the political world, espousing positions (at least on social issues) more common in the opposing party. We should pray –- in an Episcopal Church, of course –- for their resurrection.