The Christian Right


"Five years ago, the Christian right was in a tenuous position. Its standard-bearer, the Christian Coalition, was under investigation by the IRS and the Federal Election Commission, and many of its state chapters were nearing collapse. Its lead organizers were fleeing so fast that one former field director called the organization "defunct"...

"Now, five years later, thanks to George W. Bush, the Christian right is on top of the world. Bush has not only bucked up the movement by ceding huge swaths of his domestic and international policy to this lobby, from his efforts to block abortions and gay marriage to his expenditure of significant political capital to support abstinence education, church-based social services and socially conservative judges. He has also revived the movement by injecting tens of millions of federal dollars directly into the coffers of the Christian right's grassroots organizations, while at the same time starving their most vigorous political opponents of funds--singling out family planning and AIDS organizations for special punishment...

"When Bush political adviser Karl Rove was asked by The New Yorker's Nicholas Lemann how he defined the Democratic base, Rove responded, "someone with a doctorate." And so, according to the ruthless logic of Rove's "strategy" shop, mainstream scientific, professional and policy organizations, whose constituencies tend to lean Democratic, have been removed from influential federal advisory positions and replaced by idealogues [mindless follower of a doctrine or myth according to the dictionary]. The American Medical Association no longer advises US delegates to UN summits on children's issues; Concerned Women for America does instead. Experts from the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, no longer sit on the presidential AIDS advisory council; they have been replaced by a former beauty queen who lectures on abstinence and an antigay evangelical barnstormer from Turning Point ministries. Screening by the American Bar Association of judicial nominees has been replaced by advice from the far-right Federalist Society...

Organizations which have criticized the administration's policies have come under federal audit... "it's extremely unusual [until now] for federal audit powers to be used in such a targeted way, or to be triggered by policy disagreements. Guinane notes that organizations in sync with administration policy have not faced financial audits, even when they appeared to be in open breach of the law...

"No direct funding from the [administration's] faith-based office has gone to a single non-Christian religious organization, whether Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or Sikh" (Esther Kaplan. "Follow the Money." The Nation, Nov. 1, 2004: 20-23).


"Students who learn creationism rather than evolution in science courses in school districts in Kansas and Georgia will now have a revised SAT exam made especially for them. The Swift Report says that students "will no longer be tested on their ability to comprehend passages from scientific texts that are based on the controversial theory of evolution..." ("No Comment." The Progressive, Feb, 2005: 11).


"Students at one of North Carolina's larger Christian schools are reading "Southern Slavery, As It Was," a booklet that explains a biblical justification for slavery and "asserts that slaves weren't treated as badly as people think," reports the News & Observer. The story includes excerpts from the booklet, which called slavery "a relationship bassed upon mutual affection and confidence"" ("No Comment." The Progressive, Feb, 2005: 11).


Pat Robertson

"..just another Southern-fried Elmer Gantry bigot with a slick line of Lordy-Jesus hoodoo who could hypnotize a couple of million American goobers into turning over their bank accounts..." (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 238).

"The Wall Street Journal.. described [him as] "a paranoid pinhead with a deep distrust of democracy"...

"..described by one civil liberties organization as "the most dangerous man in America"" (239).

Robertson has "a hidden history of mixing God, gain and Republican campaign.. self-dealing and worse...

"..how the Operation Blessing funds were used in Africa...

"Through an emotional fundraising drive on his TV station, Robertson raised several million dollars for the tax-free charitable trust. Operation Blessing purchased planes to shuttle medical supplies in and out of the refugee camp in.. Zaire. However... except for one medical flight, the planes were used to haul heavy equipment for something called African Development Corporation, a diamond-mining operation.. owned by Pat Robertson" (240).

"..there is evidence Robertson used Christian Coalition mailing list [illegally] to help political candidates, especially one name Bush... Unprecedented and illegal, said the Federal Elections Commission...

"..staged 1992 "interview" with Bush broadcast on the 700 Club.. a prohibited campaign commercial" (244).

"Christian Coalition president Reed personally destroyed documents subpoenaed by the government... Obstruction of Justice...

"When Liebert complained to Robertson about financial shinanigans at the Coalition, "Pat told me I was unsophisticated"" (245).

"..his palling around with Zhu Rongji, the communist dictator who gleefully jails Christian ministers...

".. associations with deceased Congo strongman Mobutu.." (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 247).


"It is hard to believe that George W. Bush has ever read the works of George Orwell, but he seems, somehow, to have grasped a few Orwellian precepts. The lesson the President has learned best--and certainly the one that has been the most useful to him--is the axiom that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. One of his Administration's current favorites is the whopper about America having been founded on Christian principles. Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones...

"Our constitution makes no mention whatever of God. The omission was too obvious to have been anything but deliberate...

"In the eighty-five essays that make up The Federalist, God is mentioned only twice (both times by Madison, who uses the word, as Gore Vidal has remarked, in the "only heaven knows" sense). In the Declaration of Independence, He gets two brief nods: a reference to "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God," and the famous line about men being "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." More blatant official references to a deity date from long after the founding period: "In God We Trust" did not appear on our coinage until the Civil War, and "under God" was introduced into the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy hysteria in 1954...

"IN 1797 our government concluded a "Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, or Barbary," now known simply as the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 of the treaqty contains these words:

"As the Government of the United States... is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion--as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquillity of Musselmen--and as the said State never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

"This document was endorsed by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering and President John Adams. It was then sent to the Senate for ratification; the vote was unanimous. It is worth pointing out that although this was the 339th time a recorded vote had been required by the Senate, it was only the third unanimous vote in the Senate's history. There is no record of debate or dissent...

The Founding Fathers were not religious men, and they fought hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "a wall of separation between church and state."...

"...the key Founding Fathers were not Christians at all. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine were deists... [as were] John Adams... George Washington and James Madison...

"Madison believed that "religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize." He spoke of the "almost fifteen centuries" during which Christianity had been on trial: "What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution"...

"Tom Paine [was a] deist in the tradition of Voltaire... The Age of Reason, his virulent attack on Christianity. In it he railed against the "obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness" of the Old Testament, "a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind." The New Testament is less brutalizing but more absurd... a "fable"...

"...the Machiavellian principle that if one aspires to influence the masses, one must at least profess religious sentiments... "A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law"...

"...Jefferson... the Revelation of St. John he dismissed as "the ravings of a maniac."... [Jefferson] was a secular humanist... note his respect... for the sensibilities of the "infidel"...

"John Adams... "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!"...

"Like Jefferson, every recent President has understood the necessity of at least paying lip service to the piety of most American voters... But there is a difference between offering this gesture of respect for majority beliefs and manipulating and pandering to the bigotry, prejudice and millennial fantasies of Christian extremists" (Brooke Allen. "Our Godless Constitution." The Nation, Feb. 21, 2005: 14-20).


"In the fall of 1974, in Kanawha County, W. Va., Christian fundamentalists enraged at the imposition of "blasphemous" textbooks in the public schools demolished a wing of a school board building with fifteen sticks of dynamite. When the board insisted on keeping the books in the curriculum, homes were bombed and school buses shot at. "Jesus Wouldn't Have Read Them," read one of the slogans of a movement whose leader, a preacher, would soon face charges of conspiracy to bomb two elementary schools" (Rick Perlstein. "Tribal Warfare in America." Columbia Journalism Review. Posted November 16, 2004).


"general lump of ignorant, intolerant voters called "the religious right," or the "Christian Right," or "neocon Christians." ...

"..now, 40% of the electorate, and they support Bush 3-1. And as long as their clergy and their worst instincts tell them to, they will keep on voting for him, or someone like him, regardless of what we view as his arrogant folly and sub-intelligence. Forget about changing their minds. These Christians do not read the same books we do, they do not get their information from anything remotely resembling reasonably balanced sources, and in fact, consider even CBS and NBC super-liberal networks of porn and the Devil's lies. Given how fundamentalists see the modern world, they may as well be living in Iraq or Syria, with whom they share approximately the same Bronze Age religious tenets...

"...their lives are completely focused inside their own religious community, and on the time when Jesus returns to earth---Armageddon and The Rapture...

"...an increased stifling of personal liberty, beauty, art, and self-realization in America. They wait in spooky calmness for Jesus. They believe that, until Jesus does arrive, our "satanic humanist state and federal legal systems" should be replaced with pure "Biblical Law." This belief is called Christian Reconstructionism...

"Capital punishment, central to the Reconstructionist ideal, calls for the death penalty in a wide range of crimes, including abandonment of the faith, blasphemy, heresy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, sodomy, homosexuality, striking a parent, and ''unchastity before marriage'' (but for women only.) Biblically correct methods of execution include stoning, the sword, hanging, and burning...

"Incidentally, said Republic of Jesus would not only be a legal hell, but an ecological one as well---Reconstructionist doctrine calls for the scrapping of environmental protection of all kinds, because there will be no need for this planet earth once The Rapture occurs...

"Fundamentalists such as my family have no idea how thoroughly they have been orchestrated by agenda-driven Christian media and other innovations of the past few decades. They probably would not care now, even if they knew. Like most of their tribe (dare we say class, in a nation that so vehemently denies it has a class system?) they want to embrace some simple foundational truth that will rationalize all the conflict and confusion of a postmodern world. Some handbook that will neatly explain everything, make all their difficult decisions for them...

"The training of Christian cadres is far more sophisticated than the average liberal realizes. There now stretches a network of dozens of campuses across the nation, each with its strange cultish atmosphere of smiling Christian pod people, most of them clones of Jerry Fallwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.... The Bush administration also recruits from the faculties of these schools, i.e. the appointments of right-wing Christian activist Kay Coles James, former dean of the Pat Robertson School of government, as director of the U.S. office of personnel. What better position than the personnel office from which to recruit more fundamentalists? Scratch any of these supposed academics and you will find a Christian zealot...

"...The most significant thing about the Left Behind series is that, although they are classified as "fiction," most fundamentalist readers I know accept the series as an absolute reality soon coming to a godless planet near you. It helps to understand that everything is literal in the Fundamentalist voter universe....

"Now however, this apocalyptic belief, yearning really, drives an American Christian polity in the service of a grave and unnerving agenda. The psuedo-scriptural has become an apocalyptic game plan for earthly political action: To wit, the messiah can only return to earth after an apocalypse in Israel called Armageddon, which the fundamentalists are promoting with all their power so that The Rapture can take place. The first requirement was establishment of the state of Israel. Done. The next is Israel's occupation of the Middle East as a return of its "Biblical lands," which in the radical Christian scheme of things, means more wars. These Christian conservatives believe peace cannot ever lead to The Rapture, and indeed impedes the 1,000 year Reign of Christ. So anyone promoting peace is an enemy, a tool of Satan, hence the fundamentalist support for any and all wars Middle Eastern, in which their own kids die a death often viewed by Christian parents as a holy martyrdom of its own kind. "He (or she) died protecting this country's Christian values." One hears it over and over from parents of those killed" (Joe Bageant. "The Covert Kingdom: Thy Will be Done, On Earth as It is in Texas." CounterPunch, May 25, 2004).


"Efforts to include Christian "intelligent design" theory in high school biology classes have caused controversy in Dover, Pennsylvania. Intelligent design supporter and parent Ray Mummert said, "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture"" ("No Comment." The Progressive, May, 2005: 11).


The REAL Agenda of ProLife

"...both Merck and GlaxoSmithKline recently announced that they have conducted successful trials of vaccines that protect against the human papilloma virus. HPV is not only an incredibly widespread sexually transmitted infection but is responsible for at least 70 percent of cases of cervical cancer...

"The Christian right doesn't like the sound of this vaccine at all. "Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful," Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council told the British magazine New Scientist, "because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex"...

"What is it with these right wing Christians? Faced with a choice between sex and death, they choose death every time... Ah, Christian compassion! Christian sadism, more likely...

"As they flex their political muscle, right-wing Christians increasingly reveal their condescending view of women as moral children who need to be kept in line sexually by fear. That's why antichoicers will never answer the call of prochoicers to join them in reducing abortions by making birth control more widely available: They want it to be LESS available. Their real interest goes way beyond protecting fetuses--it's in keeping sex tied to reproduction to keep woemn in their place. If preventing abortion was what they cared about, they'd be giving birth control and emergency contraception away on street corners instead of supporting pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions and hospitals that don't tell rape victims about the existence of EC" (Katha Pollitt. "Virginity or death!" The Nation, May 30, 2005: 9).


"...almost all abusive marriages are hierarchical.

"The religious right pushes a retro father knows best paradigm. Traditional gender roles are not only being promoted by Bush judicial nominees like J. Leon Holmes and William Pryor but also through family and marriageg services like financial counseling (Crown Financial Ministries); marriage and child-rearing education (Focus on the Family and Family Life); and premarital counseling required by states providing the Covenant Marriage option.

"Clearer heads are having their say, though. With organizations like Christians for Biblical Equality and the Willow Creek Association, evangelicals are challenging the right's views on gender roles, saying that just as Christians erred in their interpretations of slavery and segregation, they are erring in their interpretations of marriage" (Letters. The Nation, July 11, 2005: 2).


"We're doing the will of God, they thunder, pointing to the holy word in Leviticus 18:22, which declares homosexuality an "abomination." We are not moral relativists, they cry, but Biblical literalists.

"Wait though--the wrath of Leviticus is deep and wide. Chapter 11, verse 10 tells us that eating shellfish is also an abomination. And in 11:6-8, so is touching anything made of pigskin--someone call the NFL! Leviticus 19 says that planting two different crops in the same field is forbidden by God...

"Extremists who insist that every word of the Bible must be accepted literally can't pick and choose which scriptures must be obeyed. I suspect they spend more time thumping the Bible than reading it... much less understanding it" (Jim Hightower and Philip Frazer, eds. "The great corporate jobs-for-subsidies con-job." Hightower Lowdown, July 2005).


“Christianity persecuted, tortured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars, and nursed furious hatreds and ambitions. It sanctified, quite like Mohammedanism, extermination and tyranny. . .” (George Santayana)


“Man is kind enough when he is not excited by religion” (Mark Twain).

“Until this awful blasphemy [the Incarnation] is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world” (John Adams).


"The nexus of evangelical Christianity and Republican politics is a force that is transforming the US, and not for the better.

"As someone who firmly believes that church and state should be separate entities, I find it disgusting that GOP, in the minds of some Republicans, now stands for God's Own Party...

"But the biggest question I have regarding Christian Republicans is, how does one claim to be a good Christian and still follow a political party that is very selective about which parts of the Bible it follows? The answer might be found in a recently-released documentary, Theologians Under Hitler, produced by Methodist Pastor Steven Martin. It will be aired on public television in the coming weeks...

"It looks at three prominent German Protestand theologians--Gerhard Kittel, Paul Althaus and Emmanuel Hirsch--and how their writings were used to legitimize the Nazi Party during its rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

"This is history worth discussing. To talk about how German churches helped Hitler come to power, you have to talk about how church and state became one in Germany.

"In the aftermath of World War I, when Germany was a beaten, exhausted nation, a new vision of Christianity started to emerge. It was a vision that championed a nationalist agenda. The idea of the resurrection of Germany merged with the image of the resurrection of Christ. It was a seductive image, especially when one considers the depth of Christian faith in Germany and its attractiveness as a antidote to a chaotic modern world.

"The German Christian movement was the result. The Nazi swasticka started to appear on church altars. The idea of volk espoused by Hirsch--a united, racially pure Germany--tapped into the long-simmering anti-semitism of Germans. It didn't take much of a leap to equate the elimination of the Jews with the fulfillment of God's plan.

"What made it possible was theologians such as Kittel, who advocated for a Christianity divorced from its Jewish roots, or Althaus, who linked Hirsch's volk and Hitler's ideas together in his writings. Given the respect that people have for church leaders, having people like Kittel, Althaus and Hirsch supporting Hitler made Nazism respectable...

"...the combination of church and state perverts both church and state...

"That's why the Founding Fathers made sure separation of church and state was put into the Constitution. They had enough knowledge of the religious extremists of their era to know that no faith or religious sect should be allowed to dominate a free people...

"Too many liberals don't take the prospect of a fundamentalist theocracy seriously, or think that the Christian Right and its followers can be reasoned with. Reason is an impossibility when dealing with people who openly seek your destruction in the name of the God they believe in" (Randolph Holhut. "Taking Theocrats Seriously." The Progressive Populist, Dec. 15, 2005: 2, 20).


Colby Glass, MLIS