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Religious Right and Christian Right in American Religion

Find out more information on specific groups on the Religious Right (Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family) and general issues supported by them, like opposition to other religions, opposition to modern society, opposition to other Christian groups, "Family Values" and more.
  1. Religious Violence Myths
  2. Religious Violence Causes
  3. Religious Intolerance
  4. Palestine & Israel
  5. Islamism, Islam, Politics
  6. Islamic Extremism
  7. Christian Extremism
  8. Southern Baptists
  9. Religious Right News
  10. Religion in America
  11. Books: Religious Right
  12. Books: American Religion
  13. Christian Right Agenda (4)
  14. Christianism, Nationalism (72)
  15. Christian Identity (9)
  16. Reconstructionism (9)
  17. Family Values (9)
  18. Christian Coalition (4)
  19. Focus on the Family (3)
  20. Promise Keepers (3)

Evangelicalism as a Threat to Public Order
One of the central, defining characteristics of evangelical Christianity in America has been a conservative focus on social order and stability. What many do not realize is that evangelical Christianity started out as an insurgent form of Christianity which was perceived by defenders of the status quo as serious threat to public order itself.

Theocracy vs. Democracy in the Bush Administration
Does the Bush administration believe in democracy, or does it have a stronger and more fundamental belief in theocracy? It would be nice if they were firm supporters of democracy, but there is a great deal of evidence that the ultimate commitments of many administration officials have rested more with theocracy. Are we governed by politicians who don't believe that the people are sovereign?

Segregation & Christianity: Christian Opposition to Integration
One of the central organizing features of conservative evangelical Christianity is the perceived need for absolute standards of social order. They see all around them dangers to the social structures which uphold democracy, liberty, and especially Christianity. Whatever appears to threaten social stability and order is thus an offspring of Satan.

Pluralism & Individualism vs. Authoritarianism
The Christian Right in America today tends to behave as though there is only one valid way to be a Christian and, if people aren't sensible enough to accept this voluntarily, then Christian values will have to be imposed through force of law. It's common to argue that this is un-American, but what many may not realize that it can be described as un-Protestant as well.

The Fundamentalist Impulse in Islam & Christianity
It's common for people to discuss fundamentalism in both Christianity and Islam as if the phenomenon "fundamentalism" were essentially the same in both of these religions. That, however, isn't true - not only are the religions themselves very different, but their fundamentalist strains developed in very different contexts. This is key to understanding their fundamentalisms.

Should Christians Rule or Serve?
The political efforts of Americas Christian Right can be explained in a simple and disturbing way: Christians should rule. Why should Christians rule? Because as Christians they are assured that they alone will be saved by God and spend eternity in heaven. They have the wisdom and grace of God through Jesus and thus can discern what God wants for humanity and what is best for everyone.

Christian Theocrats Involved With ABC Mock-u-Mentary About 9/11?
Quite a lot has been written about all of the factual errors in the ABC movie "The Path to 9/11." The mere existence of historical errors or inconsistencies isn't normally a problem, but there are two important factors at work here: they all serve to make Clinton look worse and Bush look better than they really were and it was originally marketed as being strictly true to life.

Christian Right Propaganda Posters
As outrageous as the Christian Right's overall agenda is, their specific arguments and beliefs can be worse. I have written many articles exploring the arguments and beliefs advocated the Christian Right in order to reveal just how awful, and awfully absurd, they can be. Mere words, though, cannot always convey the true absurdity of a position....

Fear at the Root of Fundamentalism? Fear of Women, Knowledge
Many critics have noticed that fundamentalist religion spends a lot of time reacting out of apparent fear. Rather than simply and confidently laying out a positive program of beliefs, too often fundamentalism is more concerned with raising an alarm over alleged dangers lying in wait all around us. If fundamentalism is indeed based on fear, what might this tell us?

Evangelical Christianity & Personal Certainty
One of the most fundamental characteristics of evangelical Christianity, something which often goes unnoticed, is the driving need for certainty. Whatever the issue, evangelical Christians appear to experience horror at any uncertainty or shades of grey.

Values Voters: Evangelicals, Religious Values, and Government
Conservative evangelical Christians are using the label 'values voters' to describe those who vote on the basis of religious values. At least, that's what they would like everyone to think - the label sounds nice and broad, but it incorrectly assumes that all religious believers not only have the same values, but also the same ideas about how those values should be reflected in public policy.

Nedd Kareiva, Stop the ACLU Encourage Christians to Harass Jews?
Stop the ACLU Coalition, a "coalition" that appears to consist of no one but Nedd Kareiva, has created what he calls the "Expose the ACLU Plaintiff" project - something which should probably be more accurately named "Harass and Intimidate the ACLU Plaintiff" project. Nedd Kareiva is starting with a Jewish family chased out of a Delaware school district for challenging school board prayers.

Christians Chase Jewish Family out of Delaware School District
Several times over the past couple of years I have written about the Indian River School District Board in Delaware. A Jewish family complained about the practice of opening meetings with Christian prayers; Christians responded with intimidation and harassment. They almost voted to change the policy, then backed away. Now the Jewish family has been chased out of the district.

Nationalist Christianism: Protofascist Christianity
The "traditional" Religious Right has been receding in importance and influence in America. The leaders and movements are still there, but it seems as though they are being eclipsed by a far more dangerous and virulent form of right-wing religiosity: Christian Nationalism.

Richard John Neuhaus: Freedom is Submission
What is human freedom? Many may be forgiven for imagining that freedom involves being able to act and think as they wish, but some disagree. Some seem to believe that human freedom can only exist when one submits to some outside authority which tells them how to act and think. If that's the case, though, then what's the difference between freedom and un-freedom?

Richard John Neuhaus: Revolution for Christian Fascism
The Christian Right is outraged that American courts are not allowing them to impose their beliefs on others. Many in the Christian Right believe that the courts are anti-democracy because they don't allow the people to vote on absolutely anything they want. According to this logic, court rulings against segregation and slavery are also anti-democratic.

Defining Theocracy Down: Is the Risk of Theocracy Overblown?
Quite a lot of liberals express concerns about whether America is heading in the direction of theocracy because of the theocratic goals and efforts of the Christian Right. Some believe that these concerns are overblown and that the risks are much smaller than the rhetoric makes out. Perhaps some rhetoric is overblown, but is the risk really so small?

Christians Suing for Ability to Discriminate, Be Bigots
Bigotry against gays, and attempts to discriminate against people for no other reason than because they are gay, is no better than bigotry against people for no other reason than because of their race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. This comparison infuriates Christian bigots who want to marginalize gays in society and they are fighting for the ability to discriminate.

What Does it Mean to be a Christian Nation?
America's Christian Right likes to talk a lot about how America is a 'Christian' Nation. Do you ever see them explaining exactly what they mean, though? No. The fact of the matter is, 'Christian' has a lot of different possible meanings, most of which are contradictory. Either the Christian Right is ignorant of this fact or, more likely, they are using the ambiguity for political purposes.

Individualism, Greed, and the Christian Right
Perhaps the most important catch-phrase of the Christian Right is 'family values' and a significant amount of their political, social, and cultural agenda is predicated on the defense of 'family values.' One of the problems with this is that the Christian Right has a very narrow conception of what qualifies as a threat to 'family values.' It's almost all about sex, never money or materialism.

America's Christian Right vs. Constitutional Liberty
A couple of years ago, a poll of Americans revealed that few knew what rights were guaranteed them by the Constitution and not many more actually agreed with what was there - a disturbing number thought that the First Amendment goes too far in what it protects. It's perhaps not strange that the Christian Right didn't greet these numbers with too much disappointment.

Obey God's Law, Not Man's Law
Apparently, American courts and politicians have betrayed God by putting their own liberal, atheistic preferences in front of His will and laws. They are guilty of "high treason against God's Law, the Constitution and the People," charges that are even more serious than those leveled by Ann Coulter! When Ann Coulter's allegations appear moderate and sensible, you know things are getting strange.

Christian Fascism Matters
Some might think that it's just a waste of time to critique and complain about the growth of Christian Fascism in America. Some may even doubt that it exists - but it's undeniable that there are Christians in America with clear fascist mindset. For them, a fascist, authoritarian government would be preferable to a liberal democracy.

Republican Reliance on the Christian Right
It's become a part of conventional wisdom that the Christian Right has become indispensable to the continued electoral and political success of the Republican Party - that Christian Right votes help the Republicans to win election after election. Maybe that's not true, however. Maybe there are other voting blocs even more critical.

Social Darwinism & American Evangelicalism
An important aspect of conservative evangelicalism today is a strident opposition to evolution and Darwin's theories about the development of life. This opposition is frequently defended by reference to alleged ills caused by evolutionary theory - with "Social Darwinism" often topping the list. It is curious, then, that evangelical churches have imbibed so deeply from Social Darwinian premises.

Gay Fetish of the Christian Right
Does the Christian Right ever get tired of complaining about and condemning homosexuality? The Christian Right has fetishized homosexuality: a fetish is an object that one obsesses about and treats as a symbol for a whole (with a foot fetish, the foot stands in for a whole woman). For the Christian Right, homosexuality "stands in" for all of modernity.

Authoritarian vs. Freedom: Deconstructing Christian Right Attitudes
The mindset of the Christian Right is, for the most part, fundamentally authoritarian in nature: it assumes the priority of government power and authority over the liberty and freedom of individuals. This means that, for the Christian Right, the burden is on those who would assert a liberty interest in some action, not on the state for restricting or banning that action.

Democracy and Terrorism: Two Faces of the Same Evil?
Is democracy no better than terrorism? That's a hard premise to defend, but it's precisely what some people believe - specifically, the people who don't agree that individual human being should have the right to make their own decisions about their lives. In America, it's the view of Christian Reconstructions and adherents of Dominion Theology who favor theocracy over democracy.

Back to the Bible? Bad Idea
Many religious conservatives, evangelicals, and fundamentalists promote the idea that society in general would be better off if we went 'back to the Bible' - that is to say, if we defined our social norms and laws to more closely match the norms and laws followed by the ancient Hebrews as depicted in the Bible. Is this a valid argument...?

Using Fiction to Promote Hate
On Jerry Falwell's talk show Listen America, Timothy LaHaye used stark language to describe the state of the nation: "We're in a religious war and we need to aggressively oppose secular humanism; these people are as religiously motivated as we are and they are filled with the devil."

Biblical Inerrancy as a Defense Against Social Change
Bibliolatry is a term used for the apparent worship of the Bible - the transformation of the Bible into an object of idolatrous worship. Many conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists seem to do it, but why? Generally speaking, they believe that a failure to properly venerate and follow the Bible is the source of all our social ills. They believe this today and they believed it 100 years ago.

Theological Dictators
The problem with religion often isn't really the doctrines - no matter how strange or authoritarian, you can find beliefs not much different in other belief systems as well. No, the real problem with religion seems to be the followers - specifically, those who insist that they are the ones with the Truth, that they know what is best for everyone...

The Christian Right and Civil Rights
While clerking for Justice Robert Jackson in 1952, former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote a memo arguing that the Court should not strike down Jim Crow laws, that the earlier decision Plessy v. Ferguson which allowed for "separate by equal" services and facilities was constitutional...

Evangelical Hatred of Islam Influencing America
any Muslims, both in America and elsewhere in the world, are concerned about the power and influence of evangelical Christians who have a clear and unambiguous hatred for Islam. Even though President Bush says many things about tolerance for Islam and how Islam is a religion of peace, he has long to provided support for those who say the opposite.

Absolute Truth vs. Religious Liberty
It's very common to find religious leaders claiming that they possess absolute truth and trying correct the errors of all those who disagree. Not all religious leaders feel that way, but it is pretty common and this sort of absolutism can be quite dangerous. When you are convinced that you possess absolute truth, it's not easy to allow others to wallow in error.

Same-Sex Marriage, Religion, and Ideology
Marriage in America is fundamentally a civil affair - marriages are defined and regulated by the states, not by individual churches and religious denominations. Given the religious diversity of America, there's no other reasonable option. So why do religious groups object to expanding civil marriage to gay couples? Because they simply don't realize, understand, or accept that marriage is civil.

The Christian Right and the Problem of Political Compromise
Politics has been called the art of the possible, which basically means that politics is all about compromise. Something is made possible because people are willing to compromise - without compromise, you either need a dictatorship that imposes things on everyone or you become an outsider to the political process. Unfortunately, it's difficult for religion to compromise.

Pat Robertson: A Failed Prophet
Some religious leaders seem to experience an overwhelming urge to make predictions about the future. I don't know why this is so, but perhaps they think that such predictions gives the appearance of a close relationship with God. Indeed, maybe they believe that they have such a relationship and really do have insight on the future. Why, though, don't they learn from their mistakes?

Use of Political Language by the Christian Right
Perception is often more important than reality - and can often determine our reality by changing how we act. Language frames our experience of reality, thus it determines our experience of reality. Use of the right words and phrases can turn a defeat into a perceived victory, a warrior into a perceived wimp, and stability into perceived chaos.

James Dobson's Theocratic Vision for America
Some people object to saddling the Christian Right with the label 'theocratic,' arguing that they don't really want to impose a full-fledged theocracy. There are, however, degrees of theocratic states. It's possible for a state to be more or less theocratic just as it is more or less democratic. A state may be imperfectly democratic; another may be imperfectly theocratic.

The Christian Right as a Revolutionary Movement
America's Christian Right is frequently described as 'reactionary' because of how they seek to turn the clock back on American culture and politics - they are 'reacting' to changes in modernity. In many ways, though, they are more revolutionary than reactionary because they are trying to create a new type of society which has never existed before.

What the 'Left Behind' Series Really Means
The Left Behind series of books is extremely popular among conservative and fundamentalist Christians in America. This means that the ideology of the books is becoming part of the ideology of Christian America. Everyone should care about what that ideology is and what it means for America's future.

Sex, Violence, and American Family Values
Which is a greater problem facing American society: out-of-control sex or out-of-control violence? I don't suppose that either can be called "out of control" in America today, but there is certainly greater harm being caused by violence today than by sex. Why, then, are the defenders of 'family values' focused almost entirely upon sex and sexuality?

Salem Communications: Impact of Religious Broadcasting on America
Observers have wondered about the ability of the Christian Right to become so powerful in such a relatively short span of time. The key appears to be effective use of the media, especially radio. Right-wing Christian programs reach an incredibly large number of people, reinforcing messages they hear elsewhere and effectively shutting out alternative viewpoints.

Controlling Women, Controlling Sexuality: Christian Attacks on Women
An important basis of the Christian Right's assault on modernity is its concern with sexuality, sexual education, and people's sexual behavior. This isn't just one feature of an assault on modernity; instead, it is in many ways a central foundation for everything they see as wrong with the modern world. This has been true since the very beginning of American fundamentalism.

Muscular Christianity: Promoting Masculine Christianity
Because churches had become so associated with women and feminization, in the late 19th century Christian men began seeking changes in the nature of Christianity and Christian churches which reflected 'masculine' values. In America, this early form of Muscular Christianity used sport as a conveyor or moral values, like manliness and discipline.

Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and Dominionists: An Informal Guide
Evangelicals (conservative), fundamentalists, and dominionists are all Christians who loosely make up what is called the 'Christian Right' in America. They all believe slightly different things despite making common cause on certain issues. What are the differences and how can you tell them apart?

Intellectual Diversity and Questioning
It's common to at least pay lip service to the values of intellectual diversity and challenging one's beliefs. How many people actually accept, respect, and defend these values - even when their own beliefs are being challenged? Not enough, sadly. This contradiction has driven many attacks on universities, both from the left and the right.

Christian Values Ignored by the Christian Right
America's Christian Right likes to portray itself as the defender of Christian values and Christianity in general. Christianity is, however, a very complex religious tradition with a wide array of values and beliefs. Every group must necessarily pick and choose what they will emphasize, leaving some things by the wayside. What does the Christian Right ignore?

Cultural Power and American Fundamentalism
Sociologists, historians, and other researchers generally recognize the complex interaction between religious doctrine and culture: each influences, changes, and reacts to the other. Religious believers tend not to understand this, though, imagining that their doctrines are independent of (if not prior to) the culture around them. This prevents them from better understanding their own beliefs.

Marriage, Violence, and the Bible
For many Christians, the Bible has traditionally been a source of information on how to live. Both God and the various characters in biblical stories are models for how to behave and how to relate to others. In some ways, though, these role models are actually quite bad and encourage the persistence of violent, dysfunctional relationships.

Evangelical Christians and American Politics
Conservative evangelical Christians disingenuously argue that their primary concern is that religion play a respected role in policy debates. The truth is that they are primarily concerned with having policies based on their religious beliefs be enforced through public law. The experience of Jimmy Carter reveals the difference here.

Overview of Major Figures, Groups, and Issues
The term "radical/religious right" refers to groups which, despite other ideological differences, share in common that they pose a threat to liberty, democracy and pluralism. They are "radical" in that they advocate extreme and dramatic changes in society. They are "religious" in that they tend to base their ideologies upon religious doctrines...

Don Wildmon's American Family Association
Don Wildmon's American Family Association has been increasingly on the forefront of the Radical Religious Right and the efforts to impose a very conservative, evangelical Christian morality on America. His organization began in the late 1970s with attempts to remove Playboy magazine from convenience stores...

James Dobson and Focus on the Family
Too few people have ever heard much about either James Dobson or his organizations. Those who have, especially those who avidly follow him and his advice, are unaware that he is not at all what he seems to be. The reality of James Dobson is very little like the carefully crafted public image which he jealously guards.

Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition
Is Pat Robertson really as dangerous as some people claim? Between his media empire and his control of the Christian Coalition, he can reach more people directly than most elected politicians. His reach and influence are not constrained by US national borders, either. His business dealings involve many countries, and his media broadcasts extend across the world.

Religious Right: Values Action Team
The Values Action Team: a group of American Senators and Representatives beholden to the money and the principles of the Religious Right. Where did they come from and why was this group formed?

Christian Identity and Christian America
The Christian Identity movement is perhaps one of the most dangerous theological doctrines in America today. It is made all the more dangerous by the fact that so few people even realize that it exists, much less what exactly it represents. Christian Identity is the dominant theology of many active right-wing Christian groups, including many if not most Ku Klux Klan organizations.

Jack Chick and Chick Tracts
Who is Jack Chick? Details are sketchy, but he does appear to be a real person, alive and well in California, creating tracts now for nearly forty years. He appears to have undergone a very intense conversion experience which would explain why he not only devotes so much energy into converting non-Christians but why he also seems to expect similar experiences in others.

Southern Baptist Convention: Issues and Controversies
Many have come to expect the worst from conservative, evangelical Christian organizations in America - and rarely do they disappoint. One in particular is the Southern Baptist Convention, the administrative body for Southern Baptist churches in the United States.

Recently Reviewed Books on the Religious Right
The Relgious Right has become a powerful force in American politics and society over the past 30 years. It has influenced presidential elections, sponsored constitutional amendments, and worked towards re-creating the United States along a more evangelical, fundamentalist Christian vision. Reviewed here are some recent books about the movement, groups and people.

Born Again Fundamentalism Christianity Exposed
Exposes the teachings of Born Again Fundamentalist Christianity as false and misleading. Identifies the errors, inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible which render it a document full of errors and not the word of any deity.

Why the Religious Right is Wrong
Is the separation of church and state really just a myth, something the founders never actually intended? Was the United States founded as a "Christian Nation," thus meaning that the current trend towards secularism represents an unacceptable break with our own history? According to the Religious Right, the answers to these questions are an unqualified "Yes."

Religious Right is Wrong
Is the separation of church and state really just a myth, something the founders never actually intended? Was the United States founded as a "Christian Nation," thus meaning that the current trend towards secularism represents an unacceptable break with our own history? According to the Religious Right, the answers to these questions are an unqualified "Yes."

Coping with Apologists
A few strategies for dealing with conservative biblical apologists...

Disney Boycott
History, contributers, and rationale for the really stupid boycott of all things Disney by conservative Christians.

Sewers of False Christianity
Ranting and raving against most Christian denominations. This author really hates it when people are not part of his particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity.

Do Unto Others
What if nonbelievers and opponents of the Religious Right did what right-wing Christians do?

Fundamentalism vs. "The Wisdom of the World"
"Fundamentalists scoff at "the wisdom of the world", but the wisdom of the world has a far better track record than the "wisdom" of the Bible."

Pentacostalism Profile
Pentacostalism is a very prominant denomination of the Religious Right, and it is a good idea to learn more about them.

Reclaiming America For Christ?
Florida Televangelist D. James Kennedy wages a 'Spiritual War' against church-state separation, religious pluralism and individual rights

Persecution Complex
Are Christians really being persecuted in America, or is it a myth?

The Sin Strategy
Religious Right and Republican allies hope congressional sermonizing on homosexuality and other 'moral' issues will pay off at the polls.

Top Books on America's Christian Right
With deep roots in American history and culture, the Christian Right is more a political movement than a religious movement. The Christian Right is animated by a political agenda which is concerned with specific political and social issues. To better understand this, it helps to better understand the unique social, political, and cultural...

Oppression Social Cooperation
Too often, people overlook the important role played - often voluntarily - by individual citizens in their own oppression. No government and no private organization can permeate every aspect of society; so if people are afraid, it's because they and their fellow citizens are cooperating.

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