Christian Right

Irony Alert: The AFA Is The Epitome Of The 'Ugliness Of Christian Activism'

Is it possible that Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, has never heard AFA spokesperson Bryan Fischer’s radio show?  Of course not. But that leaves only less charitable explanations for the level of a) cluelessness and b) disingenuousness revealed in the October issue of AFA’s magazine.

In his column, Wildmon describes a disagreement he had with Christian author Os Guinness during a recent interview:

He said that Christian young people are leaving the faith because of the “ugliness of Christian activism.” I asked him for an example of what he was talking about, and he cited a video that went around the Internet a couple of years ago that included clips from President Obama’s comments which would lead the viewer to believe Obama is a Muslim. Os said basically that this video was slanderous.

I told him I believed his example to be weak because that video was not produced by an mainstream pro-family or Christian group. My personal opinion is it is Obama himself who has created the suspicion among one out of four Americans that he is a secret Muslim. I have no idea if he is or not. I just know that many of his statements and actions have been extremely positive and sympathetic toward Islam.

So, Wildmon has “no idea” if Obama is a secret Muslim, but says the idea that he might be was not put out there by a “mainstream pro-family or Christian group.” 

Now, where in the world would people get the idea that Obama might be Muslim? 

"Is President Obama ... taking advantage of that doctrine of taqiyya?" Fischer asked. "Is he pretending to be a Christian, falsely and taking cover under the doctrine of taqiyya because his role as the president is advancing the cause of Islam? I mean, who knows?"

Tim Wildmon, meet Bryan Fischer, who has told his listeners that he believes the discredited right-wing theory that Obama’s wedding ring contains an inscription reading “there is no God but Allah” which, Fischer says, the mainstream media has ignored because it could raise the possibility “that Barack Obama may, in fact, be a closeted Muslim.”

There’s more. Fischer  says President Obama is heading “the most virulently anti-Christian, anti-Christ, anti-God administration we’ve ever had in American history” and is leading “a purge of Christians from the military.”  Fischer has accused President Obama of having a “visceral dislike of America” and a desire to destroy America.  Fischer says “whether he’s a Muslim or not, we may not know that until it’s too late to matter, but he clearly has Muslim sympathies, far more sympathetic to Islam than he is to Christianity…”  In the same show, Fischer said an Egyptian foreign minister claims that Barack Obama confided that he is a secret Muslim. 

For good measure, Fischer has also accused CIA Director John Brennan of being a devout Muslim who is funding terrorism.

Back to Wildmon, who says later in his column,

To be fair to Os, his main point in our conversation was that as Christians we should be doing “the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way.” Meaning, we need to be honest and treat our philosophical and political detractors as the Bible commands us to treat any other person – with love and respect.

I agree with that.

Wildmon also asserts that “there is nothing ugly about the Christian activism that American Family Association engages in.”

Really? Honesty, love and respect are not exactly hallmarks of the Bryan Fischer oeuvre. In fact, as our in-depth report on Fischer and our ongoing coverage of his rantings document, AFA spokesman and radio host Fischer is one of the biggest purveyors of dishonest, divisive, disrespectful, and outright bigoted rhetoric in the public arena today. 

Right Wing Round-Up

Gingrich's Lone Religious Right Supporter Being Wooed By Perry

As we noted last week, Rick Perry gathered with a whole range of Religious Right leaders at the ranch of right-wing megadonor James Leininger over the weekend and details continue to emerge about what took place during the event, like Perry vowing to them that there would be no revelations about his past that would ever embarrass them.

We are also seeing more reports about which leaders were in attendance:

The meeting received little public attention, though the 200 or so in attendance included luminaries of the Christian right such as Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, California pastor Jim Garlow, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Washington-area Bishop Harry Jackson, who presides over one of the largest African American churches on the East Coast.

It is especially interesting to see that Garlow was present at the gathering, given that he had pretty much been the only Religious Right leader supporting Newt Gingrich's presidential bid.

The fact that Garlow traveled to Texas to participate in this meeting with Perry seems to suggest that even Gingrich's most ardent supporters know that his campaign is dead in the water.

If Dominionism Doesn't Exist, Someone Forgot To Tell The Dominionists

Thanks to the presidential campaigns of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, there has been a lot of attention focused lately on dominion theology and its role within the Religious Right political movement.

This, in turn, has led to a number of pieces asserting that there is no such thing as "dominionism" and claiming that it is nothing more than a conspiracy-theory/scare-tactic dreamed up by the Left.

Our colleague Peter Montgomery addressed this effort to downplay dominionism in an excellent piece he wrote for Religion Dispatches yesterday, but Religious Right activists continue to claim that there is no cause for alarm whatsoever.

Today, John Aman, Director of Communications at Truth in Action Ministries, went a step further, writing a piece for the Christian Post claiming that dominionism doesn't even exist:

I had never even heard the term until 2005 when a Christian Science Monitor reporter asked me about it in connection with our Reclaiming America for Christ conference.

The reason I was so clueless is because, as Joe Carter explains in First Things, it’s a label used exclusively on the left. Berkeley-educated sociologist Sara Diamond, the author of several critiques of Christian civic engagement, including Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right, invented the term in the 1980s.

Dominionism, Carter explains, is a term “never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.”

It is, however, a handy way to smear evangelicals like Bachmann and Perry who bring biblically informed moral convictions into public debate.

...

The truth is that dominionism is a sham charge-one reserved for Christians on the right.

Really? Maybe someone ought to tell that to all the dominionists who have suddenly started downplaying their dominionism. 

And I guess someone ought to really tell C. Peter Wagner to change the name of his book:

And perhaps Aman ought to talk to Janet Porter, since she lost her radio program because of her well-documented dominionism

As it happens, Porter was once the National Director for the Center for Reclaiming America, the sister organization to Coral Ridge Ministries ... which just so happens to be the former name of Truth in Action Ministries, where none other than John Aman serves as the Director of Communications.

Right Wing Round-Up

Gary Glenn Is Running For Senate

Last month we took note of reports that anti-gay activist Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan was considering running as a Republican challenger to incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow. 

Now Glenn has made it official that he will seeking the GOP nomination:

The Michigan leader of the conservative American Family Association announced Tuesday that he is running for the Republican nomination in the race to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, while another prominent GOP figure withdrew his name from consideration.

Gary Glenn, the association's state president, said federal election law requires him to file a formal declaration of candidacy this week because he has raised more than $5,000 and launched a campaign website. The Tupelo, Miss.-based association is a strong force on the Christian right and has been active in fighting gay marriage, adoption by gay couples and individuals, and sexually oriented material.

You can see Glenn's campaign website here.

I wonder how long it will be before Glenn receives Mike Huckabee's endorsement given that Huckabee believes that "if we had leaders like Gary Glenn across America, our work wouldn't be so hard."

WND Blames Progressives For Norway Attacks

WorldNetDaily columnist David Solway believes that progressives are the ones that really should be held responsible for the terrorist attacks in Norway…which targeted progressives. Like the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who said that the right-wing terrorist’s political outlook was “accurate” but strongly disagreed with his violent methods, Solway argues that more people will take up Anders Behring Breivik’s staunchly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and illiberal views because of progressives’ support for diversity and immigrant rights:

The consequence should have been entirely predictable. In failing to meet the threat of cultural subversion, the European left has facilitated the emergence of the illiberal and xenophobic branch of the far right. For as violence begins to move in from the car-burning and no-go Muslim enclaves in the margins toward the city center, as Shariah courts begin to pepper the landscape, as in the U.K., as Muslim immigrants continue to swell the welfare rolls, as rape statistics skyrocket and honor killings multiply, and as the authorities prove themselves increasingly helpless and vacillating – or even worse, as colluding – the reactionary and militant right will earn more and more legitimacy among the masses. The anemic lack of both fortitude and foresight among the political classes can only energize the factions of militant, far-right extremism.

The same applies to the Islamophilic and ever-compliant media, operating in tandem with a complacent political establishment. Their reluctance to honestly analyze the explosive matrix of a worsening situation, heaping the blame on straw men like the Christian right or conservative political figures rather than isolating the real cause of their distress, namely, the leftist collaboration with a clamorous Islamic demographic gradually infiltrating our democratic nations, will infallibly result in a growing army of Anders Behring Breiviks and in more Norways to come.



Most of us would surely agree that terror is not an acceptable answer to terror. The problem is that a soft response to an undeniable menace will often generate a hard response – and just as often an irrational one. As we have seen in Norway, vigilantism can take strange forms. The aggrieved are as likely to strike at their own countrymen whom they regard as traitors or dupes and who embrace a sedative political philosophy resulting in the loss of national identity and the steady advance of alien cultural norms and practices.

I believe that [Bruce] Thornton, for all his astuteness, is quite wrong when he writes that "[t]his is not to suggest that anything is responsible for the Oslo bombing other than the actions of the bomber." In today's politically correct world, such disclaimers are perhaps understandable to avoid charges of insensitivity or racism. Nonetheless, it needs to be said that the Norwegian authorities and a fellow-traveling electorate are profoundly complicit in creating a situation that must inevitably culminate in violence. If the political climate does not change to favor the ascension of the moderate right, the tragedy that unfolded in Norway will spread to other European countries in the course of time. The simple truth is that there can be no solution to the dilemma unless we first recognize that the responsibility for this deteriorating state of affairs lies chiefly with the intellectuals, journalists and governing elites of the multicultural left who have brought it to pass.

Porter Brings Religious Right Leaders, Dominionists And Prophets Together For Israel

Janet Porter of Faith2Action has started a new website, IsraelYoureNotAlone.com, and has managed to gather a whole host of names for a Wall Street Journal ad condemning President Obama’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Porter, who last week blamed the deadly tornadoes in the South on Obama’s approach to Israel and legal abortion, garnered signatures from Religious Right luminaries like Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, Lou Sheldon, Mat Staver, Tim Wildmon, and Roy Moore, along with dominionists like herself such as Jerry Boykin and Rick Scarborough, and New Apostolic Reformation ‘prophets’ like Rick Joyner, Che Ahn, Mike Bickle, and Chuck Pierce. Other prominent Religious Right signatories include Gordon Klingenschmitt, Don Feder, Rob Shenck and Paul Blair.

Many Christian Right leaders believe that Israel must refuse territorial compromise and a two-state solution in order to accelerate the End Times. The ad warns, “We believe Israel's ancient prophets who warned of dire consequences to any nation who would divide your land.”

Porter sent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 10,000 yellow roses to protest Obama’s “horrendous treatment” of Netanyahu, and Glenn Beck recently announced that he will hold a rally in Jerusalem to fight against the two-state solution.

View the ad here [pdf]:

Barton Reverses Himself On Sharia, Says He Didn't Mean To Approve Use Of Islamic Law

David Barton’s interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show was filled with the usual gimmicks and distortions we have come to expect from the Right’s favorite pseudo-historian, but also came with a big surprise: Barton told Stewart that he supported the right of a Muslim-majority jurisdiction that could hypothetically want to implement Sharia law. This clearly contradicted Barton’s past opposition to Sharia law, yet it helped Barton represent himself on The Daily Show not as a partisan Christian Right activist but as someone who generally supports religious influence in government:

Stewart: Do you feel like the majority in a locality should be able to determine…
Barton: Yes, yes, and here in New York City, there’s schools that are 100 percent Hasidic Jewish, and I think they should be allowed to have Hasidic Jewish practices there because all 100 percent kids are…
Stewart: So you would allow, like, let’s say Dearborn, Michigan was majority Muslim…
Barton: And it is.
Stewart: Are you all right with Sharia law and the whole business…
Barton: Sure, sure.
Stewart: Well, that’s consistent.
Barton: But for somebody from the outside to come in and say “I don’t like this, you can’t do it” that’s what I have trouble with.

Now, Barton is walking back from his comments during his WallBuilders Live radio show with Rick Green. Barton and Green explain that he didn’t realize Stewart asked him about Sharia law. Rather, Barton says he answered a different question that Stewart did not ask, and has therefore been completely consistent:

Maybe antics like this are why real historians don’t take Barton seriously.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Hate Watch: David Barton – Extremist 'Historian' for the Christian Right.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled an earlier decision that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. The Religious Right is, naturally, elated.
  • WorldNetDaily is treating Peter LaBarbera's rantings as "news."
  • Understatement of the day: "So maybe the Christian Right isn't so dead after all."
  • "Morally-Sensitive Parents" are encouraged to keep their kids out of school tomorrow to avoid the "Day of Silence."
  • From the Family Research Council's latest prayer update: "Pray that God will stir his people to participate in these budget-abortion battles, which could determine whether America live or dies -- both morally and economically. May God activate his people to be faithful citizen stewards. May their positive impact be felt on the front lines. May righteousness prevail in each individual budget battle and the larger spiritual, moral and ideological war for the soul of our nation! "
  • Finally, this is a real thing:

Right Wing Round-Up

Conservative Think Tank Blasts Texas' "Blatant Politicizing" of Education

The Texas State Board of Education’s right-wing spin on U.S. history has earned the state a “D” from a conservative education think tank. Mary Tuma of the Texas Independent notes that the Thomas B. Fordham Institute is a “national conservative group calls for a ‘radical’ overhaul of U.S. history standards at K-12 public schools nationwide,” but even the self-declared “right-of-center” group couldn’t deny the drastic manipulation of the education curriculum by the far-right SBOE. The new education standards, outlined in the Right Wing Watch In-Focus: Texas Textbooks, downplay the roles of the civil rights and labor movements, whitewash slavery and Japanese internment, utilize a Religious Right view of the Constitution and the nation’s founding, and embrace a partisan Republican reading of history (among other changes) in an attempt to remove the alleged “liberal bias” of history textbooks.

The Fordham Institute lowered Texas’ rating from a C to a D due to the SBOE’s “blatant politicizing,” saying that “history is distorted throughout the document in the interest of political talking points.” According to the report, the new Texas standards are “inculcated” with “right-wing policy positions” and promote the Religious Right’s interpretation of government as the “Biblical influences on America’s founding are exaggerated, if not invented.” The report states:

Texas’s heavily politicized 2010 revisions to its social studies curriculum have attracted massive national attention. Indeed, both in public hearings and press interviews, the leaders of the State Board of Education made no secret of their evangelical Christian right agenda, promising to inculcate biblical principles, patriotic values, and American exceptionalism. And politics do figure heavily in the resulting TEKS.



While such social studies doctrine is usually associated with the relativist and diversity-obsessed educational left, the right-dominated Texas Board of Education made no effort to replace traditional social studies dogma with substantive historical content. Instead, it seems to have grafted on its own conservative talking points. The lists of “historically significant” names, for example, incorporate all the familiar politically correct group categories (women and minorities are systematically included in all such lists, regardless of their relative historical significance). At the same time, however, the document distorts or suppresses less triumphal or more nuanced aspects of our past that the Board found politically unacceptable (slavery and segregation are all but ignored, while religious influences are grossly exaggerated). The resulting fusion is a confusing, unteachable hodgepodge, blending the worst of two educational dogmas.


Complex historical issues are obscured with blatant politicizing throughout the document. Biblical influences on America’s founding are exaggerated, if not invented. The complicated but undeniable history of separation between church and state is flatly dismissed. From the earliest grades, students are pressed to uncritically celebrate the “free enterprise system and its benefits.” “Minimal government intrusion” is hailed as key to the early nineteenth-century commercial boom—ignoring the critical role of the state and federal governments in internal improvements and economic expansion. Native peoples are missing until brief references to nineteenth-century events. Slavery, too, is largely missing. Sectionalism and states’ rights are listed before slavery as causes of the Civil War, while the issue of slavery in the territories—the actual trigger for the sectional crisis—is never mentioned at all. During and after Reconstruction, there is no mention of the Black Codes, the Ku Klux Klan, or sharecropping; the term “Jim Crow” never appears. Incredibly, racial segregation is only mentioned in a passing reference to the 1948 integration of the armed forces.


In the modern era, the standards list “the internment of German, Italian and Japanese Americans and Executive Order 9066”—exaggerating the comparatively trivial internment of German and Italian Americans, and thereby obscuring the incontrovertible racial dimension of the larger and more systematic Japanese American internment. It is disingenuously suggested that the House Un-American Activities Committee— and, by extension, McCarthyism—have been vindicated by the Venona decrypts of Soviet espionage activities (which had, in reality, no link to McCarthy’s targets). Opposition to the civil rights movement is falsely identified only with “the congressional bloc of Southern Democrats”—whose later metamorphosis into Southern Republicans is never mentioned. Specific right-wing policy positions are inculcated as well. For example, students are explicitly urged to condemn federal entitlement programs, including Texas-born Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” and to mistrust international treaties (considered threats to American sovereignty).



Slavery, so central to the history of Texas, is mentioned only in passing. And then, of course, the other seven strands “cover” the same period yet again. In the high school U.S. history course, the pattern is the same. Scattered examples and lists of names quickly move through late nineteenth-century politics, the emergence of the United States as a world power, Progressivism, and the 1920s; on to the civil rights movement, the Reagan era, 9/11 and beyond. Once again, the other strands revisit the same ground from different perspectives, adding more isolated factoids and ill-matched lists of names. Then, the government and economics courses (themselves subdivided into the usual strands) “cover” the subject yet again, each strand and course offering further fragments of material in a historically incomprehensible jumble.

Conservative Think Tank Blasts Texas' "Blatant Politicizing" of Education

The Texas State Board of Education’s right-wing spin on U.S. history has earned the state a “D” from a conservative education think tank. Mary Tuma of the Texas Independent notes that the Thomas B. Fordham Institute is a “national conservative group calls for a ‘radical’ overhaul of U.S. history standards at K-12 public schools nationwide,” but even the self-declared “right-of-center” group couldn’t deny the drastic manipulation of the education curriculum by the far-right SBOE. The new education standards, outlined in the Right Wing Watch In-Focus: Texas Textbooks, downplay the roles of the civil rights and labor movements, whitewash slavery and Japanese internment, utilize a Religious Right view of the Constitution and the nation’s founding, and embrace a partisan Republican reading of history (among other changes) in an attempt to remove the alleged “liberal bias” of history textbooks.

The Fordham Institute lowered Texas’ rating from a C to a D due to the SBOE’s “blatant politicizing,” saying that “history is distorted throughout the document in the interest of political talking points.” According to the report, the new Texas standards are “inculcated” with “right-wing policy positions” and promote the Religious Right’s interpretation of government as the “Biblical influences on America’s founding are exaggerated, if not invented.” The report states:

Texas’s heavily politicized 2010 revisions to its social studies curriculum have attracted massive national attention. Indeed, both in public hearings and press interviews, the leaders of the State Board of Education made no secret of their evangelical Christian right agenda, promising to inculcate biblical principles, patriotic values, and American exceptionalism. And politics do figure heavily in the resulting TEKS.



While such social studies doctrine is usually associated with the relativist and diversity-obsessed educational left, the right-dominated Texas Board of Education made no effort to replace traditional social studies dogma with substantive historical content. Instead, it seems to have grafted on its own conservative talking points. The lists of “historically significant” names, for example, incorporate all the familiar politically correct group categories (women and minorities are systematically included in all such lists, regardless of their relative historical significance). At the same time, however, the document distorts or suppresses less triumphal or more nuanced aspects of our past that the Board found politically unacceptable (slavery and segregation are all but ignored, while religious influences are grossly exaggerated). The resulting fusion is a confusing, unteachable hodgepodge, blending the worst of two educational dogmas.


Complex historical issues are obscured with blatant politicizing throughout the document. Biblical influences on America’s founding are exaggerated, if not invented. The complicated but undeniable history of separation between church and state is flatly dismissed. From the earliest grades, students are pressed to uncritically celebrate the “free enterprise system and its benefits.” “Minimal government intrusion” is hailed as key to the early nineteenth-century commercial boom—ignoring the critical role of the state and federal governments in internal improvements and economic expansion. Native peoples are missing until brief references to nineteenth-century events. Slavery, too, is largely missing. Sectionalism and states’ rights are listed before slavery as causes of the Civil War, while the issue of slavery in the territories—the actual trigger for the sectional crisis—is never mentioned at all. During and after Reconstruction, there is no mention of the Black Codes, the Ku Klux Klan, or sharecropping; the term “Jim Crow” never appears. Incredibly, racial segregation is only mentioned in a passing reference to the 1948 integration of the armed forces.


In the modern era, the standards list “the internment of German, Italian and Japanese Americans and Executive Order 9066”—exaggerating the comparatively trivial internment of German and Italian Americans, and thereby obscuring the incontrovertible racial dimension of the larger and more systematic Japanese American internment. It is disingenuously suggested that the House Un-American Activities Committee— and, by extension, McCarthyism—have been vindicated by the Venona decrypts of Soviet espionage activities (which had, in reality, no link to McCarthy’s targets). Opposition to the civil rights movement is falsely identified only with “the congressional bloc of Southern Democrats”—whose later metamorphosis into Southern Republicans is never mentioned. Specific right-wing policy positions are inculcated as well. For example, students are explicitly urged to condemn federal entitlement programs, including Texas-born Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” and to mistrust international treaties (considered threats to American sovereignty).



Slavery, so central to the history of Texas, is mentioned only in passing. And then, of course, the other seven strands “cover” the same period yet again. In the high school U.S. history course, the pattern is the same. Scattered examples and lists of names quickly move through late nineteenth-century politics, the emergence of the United States as a world power, Progressivism, and the 1920s; on to the civil rights movement, the Reagan era, 9/11 and beyond. Once again, the other strands revisit the same ground from different perspectives, adding more isolated factoids and ill-matched lists of names. Then, the government and economics courses (themselves subdivided into the usual strands) “cover” the subject yet again, each strand and course offering further fragments of material in a historically incomprehensible jumble.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Pat Buchanan says that with the vote to repeal DADT, "the world has turned upside down."
  • FRC says you should donate to their organization because God "has called us to shape public policy as it pertains to the family and human life, based on Biblical principles [and] He has called FRC to serve and to lead, even when others attack us for speaking the truth."
  • Nobody seems to be able to understand just what Newsweek was thinking when it made its "Faces of the Christian Right" list.
  • Peter LaBarbera says he'd still love his children if they were gay but it wouldn't stop from pursuing his anti-gay agenda.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from - who else? - Bryan Fischer: "President Obama wants to give the entire land mass of the United States of America back to the Indians. He wants Indian tribes to be our new overlords."

Right Wing Round-Up

The Never-Ending Rise and Fall of the Religious Right

As we have stated again and again and again over the years, the media seems to have basically two ways of writing about the Religious Right:  1) they are dinosaurs on their way to extinction, or 2) they are galvanized, unified and motivated to reshape America.

And which of these narratives the media is presenting at any given time depends largely on how the Republicans did in the most recent election.  Thus after the 2008 election in which Barack Obama and the Democrats won significant victories, we saw articles like this in Newsweek:

The End of Christian America
The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become.

...

This is not to say that the Christian God is dead, but that he is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time in recent memory. To the surprise of liberals who fear the advent of an evangelical theocracy and to the dismay of religious conservatives who long to see their faith more fully expressed in public life, Christians are now making up a declining percentage of the American population.

That was in April 2009. 

Today, of course, Republicans recently won significant victories in the last election, so now Newsweek is running this new cover story:

One Nation Under God
Powerful new rhetoric on the religious right pits Obama and big government against ‘God’s America’—and promises to galvanize Christians in 2012.

...

Though [Glenn] Beck may not be every conservative Christian's idea of a leader, many moderate conservatives agree that the old-guard religious right—represented by Pat Robertson and James Dobson—and their social priorities have ceased to hold much sway in Washington. Further, they believe that something like Christian patriotism, what in theological circles is often called “American exceptionalism,” has replaced abortion and gay marriage as the rallying cry of the religious right

...

Evangelicals characteristically see themselves as a persecuted group whose values are under assault by the mainstream culture, and Beck has most successfully (and visibly) reframed those values in terms of patriotism. The enemy is no longer “moral relativism,” a term that encompasses sexual promiscuity, divorce, homosexuality, and pornography. It’s socialism, the redistribution of wealth, immigrants—a kind of “global relativism” that makes no moral distinction between America and every other place. Beck speaks frequently about God’s special destiny for America. “We used to strive in this country to be a shining city on the hill,” he said at the “Restoring Honor” rally in August. “That’s what the Pilgrims came here for. That’s what they thought this land was. It’s what our Founders thought ... It is the shining example of a place where people work together in peace and friendship and worship God and make things better together.”

Sarah Palin, arguably the other emergent leader of the religious right, echoes this rhetoric. “Molding the crooked timber of humanity requires the grace of God,” she writes in her new book, America by Heart. “We have to know what makes America exceptional today more than ever because it is under assault today more than ever.” With this rhetoric, Beck and Palin are tapping a deep place in the American Protestant psyche ... But Beck’s gift, and Palin’s, is to articulate God’s special plan for America in such broad strokes that they trample no single creed or doctrine while they move millions with their message. Jerry Falwell had a similar gift, and in 1980 his Moral Majority helped make Jimmy Carter a one-term president—and elect Ronald Reagan in a landslide.

Newsweek has even produced two companion pieces - one, a photo-essay entited "Faces of the Christian Right" and another article examining possible GOP presidential candidates in terms of their appeal to the Religious Right.

Just last year Newsweek reported that we had "entered a post-Christian phase" in America where religion was going to play less and less of a role in politics. 

And today Newsweek is reporting that the influence of Christian conservatives remains substantial and that they are rallying around the idea of "American exceptionalism" to press their political agenda and have lots of Republican presidential hopefuls to choose from.  

What an amazing turnaround!