Counter-Evangelism: Home > Religious Right
The religious right wing
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2003 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
Here in New York and its suburbs, a lot of people find it hard to believe that the religious right wing could possibly be as powerful as it in fact is. Every time they hear of a religious right victory, they are shocked. If they then hear of a religious right defeat, or if the religious right hasn't made national headlines for a couple of months at a stretch, then a lot of people assume it must be dead. Then, next time it wins yet another victory, they are shocked again. They wonder: how could anyone but a total nutcase advocate such nonsense?
To most Americans outside the Bible Belt, the mentality of the religious right wing is utterly foreign. Here in New York, even our local evangelicals and Pentecostals tend not to support the religious right, because most of our local evangelicals and Pentecostals are nonwhite, whereas the religious right is in bed with the Republican Party, which is perceived as representing only white people. Insofar as we do have a religious right wing here, it consists mostly of conservative Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews.
However, the Bible Belt is a very different world.
Some people think the religious right is dying because some well-known religious right leaders, such as Jerry Falwell, have given up on political activism. But theirs was only a strategic retreat. These leaders realized that their political victories were limited because there weren't enough hardcore Christian voters (and because not enough other voters were fooled by stealth strategies). Therefore, the key to longterm success for the religious right would be to devote time and energy not to political activism per se, but rather to evangelism -- increasing the number of hardcore Christians. They could then win more political victories later.
Indeed, they are succeeding at increasing the number of hardcore Christians. See Hardcore Christianity is NOT dying. It's GROWING!
Below is a collection of links about the Religious Right and some of its opponents.
- The religious right wing itself (and some critiques)
First, some of the more typical people and groups:
- The Christian Coalition, founded by Pat Robertson, who also founded the 700 Club TV show, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and Regent University. See also Stealth: The Christian Coalition Takes San Diego (an analysis of the CC's tactics), PFAW profile, QRD profile, the The Anti-Pat Robertson / Christian Coalition Site, Hands That Prey On Sunday Morning, Every Knee Shall Bow, and a Rebuttal to the "Contract With the American Family"
- Family Research Council, run bu Gary Bauer, founded by James Dobson, who also runs Focus on the Family. See also PFAW profile, QRD profile, and WCLA profile.
- "The Family" - a secretive group of religious right wing politicians and other power brokers
- Meet 'The Family' by Anthony Lappé on Alternet
- Harper's magazine article Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover among Americs's secret theocrats by Jeffrey Sharlet
- Q&A with Jeffrey Sharlet by Leslie Synn on mediabistro
- Eagle Forum, run by Phyllis Schlafly (who is Catholic, not Protestant fundamentalist). See also PFAW profile and QRD profile.
- Concerned Women for America, run by Beverly LaHaye. See also PFAW profile and QRD profile.
- American Family Association, founded by Donald Wildmon. See also PFAW profile, BARF profile, QRD profile, the Donald Wildmon Monitor, and Heart of the Beholder.
- Traditional Values Coalition, run by Lou Sheldon. See also QRD profile.
- Reclaiming America, run by Jemes Kennedy, who also runs Coral Ridge Ministries.
Now for some more extreme groups and individuals:
- Operation Save America / Operation Rescue, now run by Flip Benham, founded by Randall Terry, who is now seen as fallen due to personal problems. See also BARF profile.
- God Hates Fags and God Hates America, run by Fred Phelps. See also Fred Phelps Information Page (on Baptist Watch).
- Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetuation of the Ten Commandments, including:
(I'm not yet certain whether the above site is for real or a parody.)
- What the Declaration of Independence says must be done to fix America, advocating overthrow of the U.S. government by Christian fundies
- Freedom to Practice Idolatry, an article denouncing the First Amendment
- Bob Enyart, a radio talk show host who was once jailed for beating his stepson
Among the scariest religious right wingers are the Christian Reconstructionists, who advocate the restoration of Old Testament "Biblical civil law," including death by stoning for "practicing homosexuals," heretics, "blasphemers," and even disobedient teenagers. For more about what the restoration of "Biblical civil law" would mean, see this collection of Reconstructionist quotes and this article by a Christian critic of Reconstructionism. Below are some Christian Reconstructionist websites (and some critiques):
- National Reform Association, the oldest Christian Reconstructionist organization. Site includes:
- Purpose and Mission Statement ("The civil government of our nation, its laws, institutions, and practices must therefore be conformed to the principles of Biblical law as revealed in the Old and New Testaments.")
- Should Civil Government Enforce the Sabbath? ("Christians must emphatically reject the notion that the basic principle of civil government is the democratic ideal and must resist the current tendency, especially among middle-class Christians, to view "democracy-American style" as the Christian way to run a nation.")
- Defense of the State's Duty to Confess Its Allegiance to Christ
- Media House International, including:
- Theonomy FAQ ("8. We want civil government to punish evil doers according to biblical sanctions. We want all moral laws of the Old Testament to be enforced according to biblical standards.")
- Puritan Storm (lots of charming literature, such as Enforcing the Crown Rights of Christ and Imprecatory Prayer: The Church's Duty Against Her Ememies)
- Chalcedon Foundation, the leading think tank of Christian Reconstructionism. Lately, especially since the death of founder R.J. Rushdoony, they've been trying to look more moderate. But they've changed only their emphasis, not their underlying views. With a little digging, one can still unearth such articles as these:
See also IFAS profile, BARF profile, QRD profile, and the November 1998 Reason magazine article Invitation to A Stoning: Getting Cozy with Theocrats. and ensuing letters in which Reconstructionists attempt to whitewash their views. (They're not trying to impose "Biblical civil law" immediately but only in a future "covenantal" society with a fundamentalist Christian majority, which they hope to attain via evangelism -- and by having lots of babies and homeschooling them.)
- Theonomy, Theocracy, and Common Grace ("The Constitution ought to be self-consciously theonomic" and should contain a "formal recognition that the Triune God revealed in the Bible is the one true God.")
- Stoning disobedient children
- Women and Suffrage (they're against women having the right to vote)
- The Age of M.A.I.D.S. (decrying "our collective failure to follow God’s Law and utterly outlaw public homosexuals")
- Ritualistic Abuse: Fruit of Neo-Paganism (promoting the long-discredited "Ritual Abuse" scare and equating RA with Neo-Paganism and occultism in general, as well as, of course, "Satan worship")
- Institute for Christian Economics, run by Gary North, another leading advocate of Christian Reconstuctionism. See also BARF profile.
- The Virginia Trinitarian Pro-nomian Alliance, including such statements as: "Toleration is the enemy of truth, and no individual or nation can tolerate falsehood, or they will be destroyed by that falsehood. ... Nor can a republican form of government grant suffrage to anti-Christian factions and expect the protection and positive sanctions of the Triune God," and "Probably the most dangerous enemies to The United States of American are elected officials, civil servants, judges, lawyers, and business CEOs who are unwilling or unable to take a Trinitarian Oath."
- I Smell A Rat! -- advocating "a Constitutional amendment to renew the national covenant and restore the religious test oath, in which officials must swear to govern according to the Bible." (Note: Unlike most other Christian right wingers, this site admits that many of the Founding Fathers were not Christian. See the FAQ and Constitutional Defects.)
- Southern California Center for Christian Studies and its degree-granting division, Bahnsen Theological Seminary, named after Greg Bahnsen, one of the early leaders of Christian Reconstructionism. Observe that they are training pastors and thereby seeking to gain influence.
- The Patrick Henry Institute, including the Center for Biblical Law and Economics. See also its Links page for still more Christian Reconstructionist groups.
- Institute of Christian Political Thought and Christian Heritage Party (U.K.)
Christian religious right wingers are not confined to the United States. Below are some non-U.S. Christian religious right wingers, besides the above-mentioned Institute of Christian Political Thought in the U.K.,
- John Christopher Sunol in New South Wales, Australia. Fortunately, he does not appear to have accomplished much except to have made some dedicated enemies, some of whom have put up websites such as the following:
- Right-Wing Christian, Mr. John Christopher Sunol and The Cult of the Prophet Sunol on the website of Australian Gay Youth Resources
- Another copy of The Cult of the Prophet Sunol
- The Sadness of John Christopher Sunol
- Posts about John Sunol on "Trephination"
- John Sunol, Fundamentalist Christian Spammer
- More later.
Informative sites by opponents
- Newswire on Secular Web (formerly Internet Infidels). Lots of up-to-date news on church-state separation issues.
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- People for the American Way (PFAW)
- Biblical America Resistance Front (BARF)
- The Radical Religious Right (and another copy here) on the Queer Resources Directory (QRD) site. Lots of links to good source material.
- Institute for First Amendment Studies (IFAS). See especially the Freedom Writer and the Electronic Activist (contact info for U.S. senators and representatives).
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State (including a page on the Religious Right)
- Humanist Society of Gainesville. See especically Legislation of interest to humanists.
- The Interfaith Alliance. Religious people against the religious right.
- Political Research Associates. See especially The Culture Wars Are Not Over.
- How To Win: A Practical Guide to Defeating The Radical Right
- First Amendment Cyber-Tribune
- Project Tocsin (California)
- Alliance for Tolerance and Freedom (Pennsylvania)
- Texas Freedom Network
- Baptist Watch (and another copy here)
- How much difference is there between Osama Bin Laden and Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell? Not much. This quiz consists of a bunch of quotes. You are asked to guess whether they are from Bin Laden or Robertson/Falwell.
- Fundie Vision (links to fundamentalist propaganda and spoofs thereof)
- The Anti-Pat Robertson / Christian Coalition site, including this page of quotes from Pat Robertson and other Religious Right leaders
- The Donald Wildmon Monitor
- Quotations from Contemporary and Historical Christian Leaders on WeirdCrap.com
- Politics of Christian Domination - in-depth article
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