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SueInCa On March - 10 - 2010

My first goal in this series is to define the Christian Right and provide some of their history.  The Christian Right has been insinuating themselves into public discourse since the late 70’s.  By the end of the 80’s it was generally assumed that the Christian Right consisted entirely of evangelical Protestants, however, many members of the Christian Right were not evangelical Protestants and many evangelical Protestants were not members of the Christian Right. The Christian Right drew support from politically conservative Catholics, Jews, Mormons and sometimes secularists. While some people may generalize that all evangelicals were grouped in with the Christian Right, that is not the case. In fact, there are many evangelical Protestants that have showed little interest in the Christian Right’s political goals. At this point I bet you are becoming a bit confused, but I promise I will clear it all up as I go along.

In my research I ran across a paper written by Harvey Wacker, Professor of the History of Religion in America at the Duke University Divinity School.  I found his detailed description to be fairly hard to follow but I will try to translate. In the simplest way possible think of two circles over lapped.  On one side you have Evangelicals on the other side non-Evangelicals, in the middle that intersects the two circles you have the Christian Right.  For the most part the Evangelicals do share the religious views, but not necessarily the political views of the Christian Right.  On the other side you have the non-Evangelicals who do not share the political or religious views of the Christian Right.  However on both sides you have individuals who are more stringent in their moral views or have decided they no longer share the political views of their group and align themselves with the Christian Right.  Some famous examples of these non-Evangelical members are Joe Lieberman and Bart Stupack.  Their political party, while Independant and Democrat respectively, does not mean they share all the party political views and in some cases they more closely align themselves with the Religious Right/GOP.  In the past 25 years or so Evangelicals have flocked in large numbers to the mega churches of the Christian Right, however I have found no research to imply that Catholics have converted as well.  The Catholic church has a group that label themselves “Charasmatic” and they could conceivably be the people who align themselves with the Christian Right(see link below).  In the 1990’s the Christian Right’s numerical strength leveled off but it’s influence in grass roots, national, state and local elections, or in setting political policies has remained in the forefront.  With the election of Barack Obama, their numbers seem to have increased again, however I found this interesting report in The Telegraph from almost a year ago.  It states that the Christian Right conceded defeat when Obama was elected.  I would be skeptical of such an admission being entirely truthful from the Christian Right but it is worth a read.

Catholic Charismatic Renewal

US Religious Right Concedes Defeat

The Christian Right emerged from both long-range and short-range changes in American life. The long-range lay in the growth of biblical higher criticism in the seminaries, the teaching of human evolution in public schools, and, after World War II, the real or perceived threat of Communism, and when Communisim no longer became a critical issue, the GLBT community. The more immediate beginnings of the Christian Right lay in the enormous cultural changes of the 1960s—civil rights, Vietnam protests, the alternative youth culture, the women’s liberation movement, the sexual revolution, and the rise of ancient religions from obscurity.  On the subject of obscure religions, I like to think an enlightened generation became more open to customs that in the past were foreign to us, we began to question authority and that certainly did not fit in with the Christian Right’s doctrine.  These transformations seemed to play out in the Supreme Court decisions that banned official prayer and Bible readings in the schools, legalized first trimester abortion,  and regulated government involvement in private Christian academies.  The Christian Right responsed quickly to counter these developments led by figures like Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Dobson. The intention of these leaders was to defend their traditional Christian values. These values were; authority of the Bible in all areas of life, faith in Jesus Christ and the “born again” experience and biblical values in sexual and marital arrangements.. What differentiated these Christian Right leaders from other Christian leaders was their linking of traditional Christian values with a simpler small-town life, a life they felt was being pushed in to the past. The Christian Right proved so successful in translating its concerns to a wider audience that in 1976 the founder of the Gallup Poll pronounced that year the “year of the evangelical”.  National magazines(Time and Newsweek) ran cover articles on the insurgence of Evangelical Protestant Christianity, and even though many evangelicals did not share the goals of the Christian Right, as is usually the case with the national media they failed to note that distinction.

Then in 1979 Jerry Falwell established this major group of U.S. Christians into a political sledgehammer. As founding pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., Falwell had been meeting with theologians and lawmakers to plan how Christians could fight back. What were they going to base their fight against?  Liberals, Abortionists, the ACLU, Feminists, gay rights activists and the non-believing American population( In recent years what they term as “radical Islam” was added to this list).  In that year, Jerry Fallwell and his allies launched the Moral Majority. Falwell not only drew preachers from behind their pulpits into the world of electoral campaigns, but he also brought conservative politics into the church. He helped persuade thousands of pastors nationwide to conduct voter-registration drives in their congregations, contributing to a flood of new voters on the GOP rolls.  Sermons in his own church included instructions to his flock on how to spend their Sunday afternoons, campaigning against the Liberal Left.  He literally had his members going door to door with an anti-liberal pro-Republican message.  The Moral Majority platform mixed traditional Christian values with a strongly conservative world view:  They advocated for prayer in public school and more money for national defense.

After years of planning and consolidation the Christian Right helped Ronald Reagan win the 1980 presidential race, Falwell credited the Moral Majority and became the mouthpiece for these newly empowered Americans.  Up to this point they had felt their beliefs were disrespected and Falwell’s moral majority empowered them to rise up as activists.  However, they soon learned the limits of their political might, abortion remained legal and gay couples were continuing to gain greater acceptance, the ACLU was still strong, women continued to make strides in the fight for equality and Liberals did not fade away into that “dark night”.

In the late 1980’s, activists began to question Falwell’s ability to focus on politics and not fundraising for his religious work.  Critics to his right, who advocated old-style isolation from the broader culture, attacked him.  In the late 1980’s Fallwell disbanded the Moral Majority and concentrated his energies on Liberty University which he founded.  He did not completely disappear, and GOP political candidates continued to seek his backing and treated him as an elder statesman in the party.  And he opened the door for the Christian Coalition and others to take up where he had left off, continuing the political activism he started.  Liberty University may be the single most important contribution to the Christian Right movement.  With a reported 7,700 students, his Liberty University curriculum reflects the minister’s classic fundamentalist beliefs in an inerrant Bible and the imminent return of Jesus Christ(The Rapture) following seven years of tribulation to establish a 1,000-year kingdom. The school annually turns out young Christians who go on to become active in politics.

With all of this going on, the mainline Protestant establishment and the secular media were surprised by this conservative Christian insurgence and were asking who were these people and what were their ultimate goals?  To answer these questions, you need to understand the world-view of the Christian Right. As close as I could come, the following are four principles by which they operate, I found this description in the paper referenced above by Harvey Wacker, Professor of the History of Religion in America at the Duke University Divinity School:

  • The assumption that moral absolutes exist as surely as mathematical or geological absolutes constitutes the first. These moral absolutes include many of the oldest and deepest assumptions of Western culture, including the fixity of sexual identities and gender roles, the preferability of capitalism, the importance of hard work, and the sanctity of unborn life. More importantly, not only do moral absolutes exist, they are clearly discernible to any who wish honestly to see them.
  • The assumption that metaphysics, morals, politics, and mundane customs stand on a continuum constitutes the second cornerstone of the Christian Right’s world-view. Specifically, ideas about big things like the nature of the universe inevitably affect little things, such as how individuals choose to act in the details of daily life. And the reverse. What one thinks about the nature of God, for example, inevitably influences one’s decision to feed—or not to feed—the parking meter after the cops have gone home. Contrary to the facile assumption of mainline Protestants, influenced by the Enlightenment, it is not possible for the Christian Right to draw easy lines between the public and the private spheres of life. (There is evidence that the Christian Right abandoned Jimmy Carter at precisely this point—when he announced that abortion should be legally protected in the public sphere, although he would not countenance it in the private sphere of his own family.)
  • The Christian Right further assumes—this is the third cornerstone—that government’s proper role is to cultivate virtue, not to interfere with the natural operations of the marketplace or the workplace. The Christian Right remains baffled by the secular culture’s apparent unwillingness, on one hand, to offer schoolchildren firm moral guidance in matters of sexuality, truthfulness, honesty, and patriotism while, on the other hand, proving ever-so-eager to engineer the smallest details of the economy. Why should conscientious, hardworking law-abiding citizens be penalized by mazes of government regulations? Why should the irresponsible, the lazy, and the unpatriotic be rewarded by those same public institutions?
  • Finally, the assumption that all successful societies need to operate within a framework of common assumptions constitutes the fourth cornerstone. Since the Western Jewish-Christian tradition has provided an eminently workable premise for the United States for the better part of four centuries, it makes no sense to undermine these premises by legitimating alien ones. The key issue is not so much what would be permitted as what would be legitimated. Many, perhaps most members of the Christian Right feel that it is one thing to permit dissidents to live in peace, quite another to say that any set of values is just as good, or just as functional, as any other set.

With the election of George Bush, the Religious Right surged again.  When you look at their principles and then evaluate the Presidency of  George Bush you can see the hand of the Religious Right guiding his decisions.  They felt that without their support, he would not be in the position he was in, they were ready and waiting for their just reward and reward them he did.  Bush appointed staff throughout his administration that were fresh off the Christian Right farm.  Most notably interns and such from Liberty University.  But he did not stop there, John Ashcroft, AG was a very devout “born again” Christian.  We all know how he covered certain statues at the DOJ.  Donald Rumsfeld, SOD had no problem adding religious cover sheets on his war memos to the President and many Christian Right believers were assigned to the newly instituted Office of Faith Based Iniatives in the government, a result of an executive order by then President Bush.  And they took full advantage giving preference to like-minded believers.  In her book “Kingdom Coming,” Michelle Goldberg devotes a chapter to her research on the Faith-Based program. While she confirms many positive outcomes with clients, she concludes that there were myriad abuses in the program.  The chapter is entitled “The Faith-Based Gravy Train.” Her evaluation concluded that the federal government has become a major funder for the recruitment programs of the Christian Right.

Professor Wacker describes the Christian Right in this way:

The Christian Right has developed this sense that they are constantly under siege and are always defending their civilization from outside attack. Perils posed by the “mainstream media”, public schools, enemies of traditional family values are particularly sinister. They feel they are attacked constantly by the media and they especially object to the “perceived” way their children are treated in our schools. Their children are manipulated with the teachings of evolution, while “creationism” is not a part of the public school ciriculum, they are not allowed to pray in school, unless they do so privately. They claim the old-fashioned academic standards have been watered down and schools do not “clarify values” but rather teach students that their parent’s ideals are replaceable at will. They feel the traditional family is beseiged on all fronts, the media, schools and the government whose policies encourage abortion. They also believe that the ERA encourages divorce and fatherless families as it denies security to woman and corrodes the tether that has kept men bound to responsibilities of home and family.

In Glenn Greenwald’s book, A Tragic Legacy he addresses this mentality in terms of George Bush and his declining popularity:

The same people who had previously been writing books praising his greatness as a leader were denouncing him as a weak and stubborn failure, claiming his was a “closet liberal”.  This so-called conservative movement is also not responsible for the destruction brought on by the Bush White House and republican congress.  They claim the conservative movement is actually a victim because it’s lofty principles were betrayed and repudiated by the President and Congress from 2001 through 2007.  This, from the same Conservatives who were cheerleading the Bush administration and their ideas and policies until the wheels fell off and their ideas were repudiated.  Then they became the victims of their own actions.  They acted as though they stood by helplessly while Congress and Bush destroyed the country while the whole time they were anything but passive.

The Religious Right would have us believe that while they touted their direct access to a president who appointed people from their organizations up and down the White House staff that they had nothing to do with the utter failure of the Bush administration.

I wonder if many of these Christian Right leaders are now lamenting, “if only we had had more time”.  When I think of all the damage done to our country in 8 short years, I shudder to think what could happen if they come in to power again.

If we let our guard down and let these people slip under the radar, they will be back at it again in 2012.  They will use all their influence on the right to establish another candidate like George Bush.  All I can say is I will be waiting, watching and speaking out when that happens.

The second part of this series, The Mindset of the Religious Right will be posted on March 15, 2010.

Suggested Reading:

Glenn Greenwald – A Tragic Legacy – How A Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency

Michelle Goldberg – Kingdom Coming

Dr. Robin Meyers – Why The Christian Right is Wrong

Chris Hedges – American Fascists – The Christian Right and the War on America

Written by SueInCa

I am a soon to be 59 Nana to Anthony who is 11. I live in Benicia CA with my husband and Shih Tsu. I worked in Banking and the Financial Industry for 24 years in Fraud, Risk Management, Account Management, Program Management, Project Management and Customer Service. I was a Fraud Investigator for Credit Card and Merchant Business and investigated internal fraud and responded to Bank robberies. I was also management in most of these positions. Now I am content to find a part time job where I am just a worker bee, no more corporate BS for this gal. I also make jewelry. I can spend hours in a bead shop just touching all the fine baubles. Only another beader would understand that one.

58 Responses so far.

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  1. javaz says:

    More hypocrisy from a Conservative Catholic, William Donohue defends Glenn Beck for telling people to flee their churches if they see the words ‘social justice’ because those words are code words for communist, Nazi, socialism --

    Many are hammering Beck for saying,

    • bitohistory says:

      And the reply to Beck and William Donohue from Sojourners is an action alert. I don’t know how effective this will be since fux doesn’t even care if Beck has advertisers, but it feels good to send them a message.

      Whether you’re a church leader, a church member, or a church seeker, if you’re a Christian who believes in the biblical call to social justice, we invite you join us. Once you turn yourself in, you’ll get a chance to encourage your pastors, fellow church members, or fellow seekers to report themselves too. Send the message below


  2. javaz says:

    Sue, have you seen this about Dobson being forced out of Focus on the Family?

    A prominent friend and supporter of James Dobson believes Dobson was pushed aside by the new leadership of Focus on the Family, who want the powerhouse evangelical ministry to project a softer image on issues ranging from abortion to gay marriage to relations with President Obama.

    In a Feb. 6 Wall Street Journal story on the changes at Focus (for which Dobson also declined to comment), Daly said that “he has no use for the sharp personal attacks on politicians employed by Mr. Dobson. ‘I don’t see evil behind everything.'”

    The story continued:

    Mr. Daly said he preferred to build bridges with others. While Mr. Dobson blasted President Barack Obama for “fruitcake” ideas, Mr. Daly praised the president for his devotion to family and last summer attended a White House event celebrating fatherhood.


    • SueInCa says:

      Here is the WroldNet post by Ken Hutcherson. He is a bit of a nasty one there.


      • bitohistory says:

        Interesting, Sue. Is there any way we can help futher this fight? 😉

        (also noticed an ad for “Jessie Kelly for congress” on the page. That is my district! I’ve read about him in the local weekly. Quite the character.

        • SueInCa says:

          The best thing you can do is educate others. Stand up and speak out when they tell lies. And post articles about them in their hypocrisy. I read the info on Focus and maybe, just maybe they are softening their approach but I cannot imagine the millions of sheep that follow Dobson to be happy about it.

          I signed up for their emails and magazine to keep any eye on them. I will keep everyone posted here on what I see. I just might become the resident CR watchdog here.

          • bitohistory says:

            sue, what do you mean “just might become the resident CR watchdog here.” You have already enlightened me on much of their activities. You are the “Watchdog”!! And Thank You!

            • SueInCa says:

              Thanks. It is just fascinating to me and with the world in such chaos, it pays to watch these people. I would bet alot of the coups and unrest in other countries have their bullchit written all over it. I know for a fact with Somalia, Indonesia and Chile(Pinochet)coup against Allende

    • SueInCa says:

      He wants something, you can be sure. I don’t believe it for a minute. I am gonna tell President Obama to keep them out of the big house, or better yet, have a tea and invite Rev Wright. Let’s see how amicable he really wants to be.

    • bitohistory says:

      Softer image, same objective?

  3. BigDogMom says:

    Sue, I was thinking last night of my mother’s family in regards your article, and MsBadger hit on a few points that I were going over in my mind.

    I don’t have time to post right now, going to see my baby sister’s new house, she just closed on it yesterday, she will be picking me up soon.

    Here’s the short version of what I asking myself, my mother grew up in Wise, Va, heart of hillbilly country and really weird fundamentalist Christianity and out of the 6 the siblings my mother had, only 2 1/2, (the half being an uncle that didn’t become born again until late in life after hitting rock bottom, long story), went towards the extreme end of this religion.

    So, I was asking myself, they were all brought up going to revivals and watching the snake people with their mother and aunts, so what caused some to stay with this extreme religion and some to go to the other end, towards a more liberal churches. Each one of my aunts, uncles and mother have a unique story once they left the home, this may be one of the causes, but I’m not so sure now…will get back after I think about this some more….. 😐

  4. Kalima says:

    All I can say is wow Sue, first for all of your hard work and research, then for showing the very profound problem you have had and are having with these mostly wacky people. They just don’t seem to be wired properly at all and their beliefs are just cultish, making absolutely no sense or resembling anything remotely Christian to the rest of us Christians.

    An eye-opener and thank you. I look forward to learning more in your following articles.

    • SueInCa says:

      Thanks Kalima, I appreciate it.

      You know I have only been following this for awhile but the more I heard over the past year and then learned how these people spouting off had a vested interest in whatever they were pontificating on, I got more curious.

      This is a good example. CNN did a segment this morning on these kids(more than likely great group of kids as far as I know) who were going to spend a w/e living like the homeless. This was presumably so they could get a feel for what the poor go through. They made up their cardboard houses and prepared to spend the next 30 hours living there and fasting so they would know what it was like to go hungry. Good so far, right? Wrong, after a few hours in the cold, their leader brought them inside because it was too cold for them. Experiment over, right? Wrong because the next day they were still on the fasting thing and standing on a street holding up signs, For a dollar they will plant a fork in the ground to stop hunger around the world. Maybe these kids were doing this on their own to show they understood the plight of the less fortunate, no again. The sponsor of this little game was World Vision. They put kids on display in a deceptive way to draw donations to their organization. They were using these kids as props to generate money. It would have been much more effective if the grownups in the room had stood up and said, let us do it and then truly done so.

      Don’t get me wrong, I want the hungry to eat as much as anyone else, but World Vision is not the organization they portray themselves to be. I fell into the trap. I gave my monthly stipend of $16(back in 1983) to feed, clothe and educate a hungry child. I was told I would get regular updates as to how my adopted child was doing. Got the introductory letter about my child and then not a thing more. Because I felt guilty, I did not stop my donations. I mean who wants to deprive a child? After about 6 years, yes years, I got tired of trying to get info from them and regretably stopped my donations. I never had received anything to indicate where my donation was going. For all I know Richard Halverson(The Family I now Know) was paying his rent at C Street with my money.

      I heard a comic, Sam Kennison, do a piece on this and other groups like this, he said………..”Cmon you know the film crew has a sandwich, you would think they would feed the kid, but the director is saying, no no don’t feed him yet, it only works if he looks hungry”.

      I know there are plenty of good organizations out there, but people like this just make me furious.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        That’s quite a story, Sue! And here’s the truly, terribly tragic thing about it: They give legitimate Christian charities a bad name. Not only are they doing something unethical, they are besmirching the names of honest, hardworking smaller groups, and potential donors can (somewhat) justifiably say, “I’m not giving-- those guys are crooks.” To me, that is a serious crime!

        • SueInCa says:

          It just makes me want to grab them and shake them. I would love to attend one of their churches and record what goes on but they check at the door for cameras and audio equipment. Can you imagine? I wonder what they are so afraid of?

  5. Khirad says:

    You’re gonna think I’m just making a quick quip here, but I became enthralled that the comparison to what happened in Iran is not mere hyperbole or fashionable retort. The growth of political Islamist clerics over the past century in Iran has many similar characteristics. Replace Liberty University with hardline clerical seminaries in Qom, add the same “threat” of secularism and liberal attitudes (because, in a sense the Christian Right sees these as ‘foreign’ as well), and,

    Critics to his right, who advocated old-style isolation from the broader culture, attacked him.

    That really caught my eye; same thing happened with the traditional Quietists to the right (still seen in Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf and many still in Qom) whom thought Khomeini’s political Islam (influenced by his mentor and a line of debate going back 300 years) was too radical and that all governments were illegitimate since the 12th Imam went into occultation (this is different from Sunnis wherein politics and religion are intertwined from Islam’s very inception).

    And of course, this would give birth to a new form of Revolutionary Shi’ite theology, wherein emphasis on the Mahdi’s return is stressed in a messianic, evangelical spirit interpreted and experienced directly by laymen (this is what Ahmadinejad represents, much to the chagrin of the clerical establishment).

    I could go on, and also talk about the history of the rise of Hindu Nationalism in India, which also bears similarities, particularly considering paramilitary organizations loosely affiliated with parties (RSS < Shiv Sena < BJP).

    There are lessons in all these other countries, as well as Western history itself. These people scare and befuddle me, because what they are advocating in their Jesus Camps, is essentially a return to the world before the Age of Reason and the Renaissance. In fact, correct me, but many "non-denominational" evangelicals see themselves in the mold of the original Christian community and disciples, before St. Peter founded Holy See. In other words, Christian Wahhabists.

    Good idea on books. I've considered listing a Bibliography myself a few times.

    • SueInCa says:

      I do not have a real depth of knowledge about Iran but I have a friend who immigrated to the states with his family when the Shah was deposed. His father worked in the Shah’s regime therefore they decided to leave the country to insure their safety.

      The way you describe it, is a good parallel to the Christian Right here in the US. I am not a religious scholar, by any means, but I see how people use religion to control others or to persuade others into their way of thinking. I also hold no illusions that the US Government, as is usual, have meddled quite a bit over the years with Iran.

      • Khirad says:

        I was mostly just focused on the actual radical religious political movement in Iran and the chilling comparisons here.

        If there is a lesson to be made from the Pahlavis: religious freedom is a must. The shahs tried to minimize and outlaw conservative religious belief. This only backfired.

        • SueInCa says:

          My friend, Saeed was very modern. He told us stories of the Shah, pretty amazing. We called Saeed Mr. GQ lol. He was the picture of neat, well dressed professional banker and he was the nicest person I ever worked for. We were always amazed that when they came to the states, his family settled first in Oklahoma.

  6. msbadger says:

    Good article, and I look forward to further installments. As to a comment; well, I’m feeling rather badgerish tonight, so I will make a short statement… I think these folks have quite a few problems! First, they are not really adults. They want everything their way, and everyone else to go along. They are selfish and self-referential, greedy, malignant narcissists. They are also nihilists, as the whole End Times/Rapture crap illustrates nicely. And they are really not completely sane. Their ability to feel no shame and to ignore massive amounts of cognitive dissonance, and their lack of empathy for those unlike themselves, are signal sociopathic symptoms. Sorry if this is harsh! I’m just utterly fed up with the results of their illness in this country. They are no different from the Fundamentalists in the Middle East. Thanks for letting me vent!

    • SueInCa says:

      Ms Badger, no offense taken, I happen to agree with you whole heartedly. In fact, I am having some difficulty in writing this series and not letting my personal feelings drift to the top. In the 3rd and 4th installment, The Players and Their Influence on Society, it will probably come out more because I absolutely “detest” their false sense of “giving to the community at large” only to have the ultimate goal of lining their pockets and “forcing their Jesus message” on the world, the fundamental doctrine of a message I do not agree with.

  7. BigDogMom says:

    Sue, excellent article on the “Do as I say, not as I do” Christian Right.

    These people have come to truly believe that their form of Christianity is the correct one, that they are the chosen ones to spread the gospel of Christ, or at least their warped version of it.

    These people are religious zealots, no different than the Taliban or Al Qaeda, forcing their views on how things should be on to us.

  8. KQuark says:

    Sue excellent post and I will have much to say with this series. I hope you don’t mind that I changed the thumbnail graphic. I wanted to feature your article and square images get cut off in the feature image box.

    • SueInCa says:

      You are the master, I follow your lead. Thanks for fixing. I am surprised I even figured out how to add a pic…..

      • KQuark says:

        Your graphic was awesome and I tried to find the closest thing to it. I tried to blow up yout image but it just got too grainy and distorted to show in the “feature box”. FYI for future features, the “feature box” is 530W X 300H. Most of the time I just set my landscape image to 530 pixels wide and it will center in the “feature” box vertically. Unless the image is very square it usually comes out well though it often cuts off the top and bottom a little.

        • SueInCa says:

          Got it. I wrote it down so I don’t forget. But the other two were fine, right?

          • KQuark says:

            Yup. You can only use one image for the thumbnail so the other images you use can be any size you want. Another tidbit is the width of the posts are 600 pixels wide so when I do have a large image like a map or something I import it at full size and then resize it while writing the post. That way when someone clicks on the image it automatically links them to the full image.

  9. javaz says:

    Have you seen this, Sue?
    Is this part of the difference between religious left and religious right?

    “Both the communists, who are on the left — they say — you know, these are communists. And the Nazis are on the right,” Beck said. “That’s what people say. But they both subscribed to one philosophy, and they flew one banner. One had the hammer and sickle; the other was a swastika. But on each banner read the words, here in America, of this — ‘social justice.’ They talked about economic justice, rights of the workers, redistribution of wealth, and surprisingly — I love this — democracy.”

    Beck’s linking of socially conscious churches to communism and Nazism hasn’t sat well with some Christian groups.

    Bread for the World, a Christian group devoted to eradicating world hunger, has started a petition to demand that Beck stop spreading “misinformation and fear” through his radio and TV broadcasts.

    “Economic and social justice are central to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” the petition reads. “Quit using your bully pulpit to spread misinformation and fear by comparing faithful Christians who care ‘for the least of these’ to Nazis and communists.”

    The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a group advocating — among other things — nuclear disarmament and responsible environmental policies, has started a campaign to raise money towards a video rebuking Beck’s assertion.

    “We are launching a campaign to reclaim love of neighbor, especially the least, last, and lost, as an Evangelical Christian value. We believe love is central to everything Jesus taught, and we think Glenn Beck needs to hear about it,” the group stated on its Web site.

    Beck has been railing against “progressive” churches for some time now. Last December, he said churches where preachers supported health care reform had been “infiltrated” by un-American ideas.


    • BigDogMom says:

      “I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them … are going to come under the ropes in the next year,” Beck said. “I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

      This man is over the top, I wonder what’s going to happen to him once people stop watching and listening to his shows…will he go out kicking and screaming or just crash and burn.

      • SueInCa says:

        Did he mention what to do if you see the word “polygamy”?

      • KQuark says:

        But Beck probably believes the words “greed is good” are in the bible.

        That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

        Now here are a few passages of the way Jesus felt about the poor.

        Luke 6:20

        And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

        Mark 10:21

        And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

        Luke 18:22

        And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

        That sounds exactly like redistribution of wealth to me.

        This is a good link that takes on the current right wing preachers that are preaching that Jesus was rich.


        • SueInCa says:

          They have to accept the New Testament because of the Messiah, but they use the old Testament to actually portray him. It works better with the “fear factor”

          • bitohistory says:

            I always wonder where their beards are. Does it not say in Leviticus something about not rounding/shorning my childrens heads? How many laws are in that book??
            And do they eat shrimps? 😆

            • SueInCa says:

              Now Bito you should know by now that they do nothing by the rules. They interpret what they want and what they do not, then set it down as doctrine. With all the waves they have been through, the original faith has been watered down through the years.

    • KQuark says:

      Wow good find. I can’t start to say how wrong Beck is. For one thing true Communism is anti-religious so his assumptions are wrong to start.

      Then implying Jesus would not want social justice and redistribution of wealth is just as wrong.

      In many ways Nazis said they were religious but they were anti-religious as well, because they demanded that people have more loyalty to the state, personified by Hitler, than to their religion.

      • BigDogMom says:

        KQ, I just love how Beck interchanges three different ideologies, Communism, Fascism and Socialism, as if they were one in the same.

        • PepeLepew says:

          I can think of a certain HP troll who does that constantly.

          • Khirad says:

            Oh yes, Pepe, we know who you are talking about.

          • SueInCa says:

            I used to be able to tell that, but alot of new folks when I peruse the comments now. I don’t post so just look once in awhile.

            If they only understood that Communism and Socialism in their purist forms are fine, Fascism not so much. But try to get them to explain it, it is pretty funny to see them stutter, especially in person. I always call them on “losing their constitutional rights” they can never point to any. the boogyman is just there under the bed, around the corner, in the closet LOl

        • KQuark says:

          His ignorance abounds. But it’s been a major them of conflating Communism, Socialism and Fascism as the same philosophy on the right. It’s typical right leaning mentality where if they don’t like the truth they just attempt to revise it.

          George Orwell is probably shouting from his grave watching this version of the GOP.

    • SueInCa says:

      If I were Beck I sure would not be labeling these churches as being infiltrated by unAmerican ideas. The Mormons have problems of their own with Joseph Smith. I also answered your question below.

    • SueInCa says:

      Yes Javaz, these are what I would call progressive or peace churches. The Lutheran, UCC, Methodist, Presbyterian and other more liberal churches that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Christian Right. Mormons would normally fall in to the Christian Right, except for the polygomy, and Beck is a Mormon. Even some Baptist, Assembly of God, Catholic churches would fall in to the category he is railing against. They are working toward social justice and the CR does not care about justice unless they are talking about their own beliefs, then that is social justice in their minds. The CR does do work with the poor, but generally on a large scale basis like Operation Blessing where no one actually knows how much of every dollar goes toward their administration costs. We know it went toward diamond mines in Africa with Robertson.

  10. Blues Tiger says:

    Great article Sue!!! Looking forward to the rest of the series…

  11. javaz says:

    Excellent first installment, Sue, and educational in explaining the start of the religious right into our politics.

    I do not understand their desire for a stronger national defense.
    What are they expecting the US having to defend?

    Plus, it’s clear from your article that the religious right have established rules for women -- blaming the women’s movement for lessening the roles of men and encouraging divorce makes little sense.

    And isn’t Sarah Palin one of them?
    Isn’t it hypocritical for the religious right to support Sarah Palin since her place should be in the home with her children while her husband is the provider, but yet she’s the provider and a ‘career’ woman that most likely hires nannies to care for her children.

    I would think some of the main reasons the religious right turned against GW Bush, was that the Republican Party had full control yet failed to overturn Roe v Wade, put prayer back in public schools and remove evolution from public schools and substitute creationism.

    I wonder the reasons that the religious right hold Bush responsible for the failure to implement their plans, yet remain attached to the GOP.

    Thank you, Sue, for a thought-provoking article and I look forward to your next segment.

    • SueInCa says:

      Javaz in addition to what TB said, their morality is the only morality. If they do it, ok, if others do it, not ok

    • Blues Tiger says:

      javaz, They believe America and the blessings bestowed upon it are Pre Ordained… The support for Military Defense is directly correlated to their beliefs that America has been chosen to stand against the Anti Christ in the Battle of Armageddon…

  12. Chernynkaya says:

    Oh, Sue-- this is great! I can’t wait for the next installment.

    Here’s the deal-- I can actually sort of understand the concerns of the RR after the 60’s. I used to be much more involved in a religious community; during that time, I occasionally felt that our society was becoming too promiscuous in many aspects (not only sexual). But those were fleeting thoughts, and I got over it! The BIG difference for me, was that I never wanted to involve the government in my religious (or even moral) beliefs. It is one thing to lament the breakdown of basic morals; another to demand that the government regulate them. The RR wants this country to be a Christian country--by fiat. And not just a Christian country, but THEIR brand of Christian country.

    But, let me play the Devil’s advocate here (pun intended!). Right now, we are all seeing that greed has become a problem, and it affects us personally and publicly. Some of us would like to see the government regulate financial markets to inhibit that greed for the communal good. Isn’t that,to a degree, regulating morality? I think it is, and I think it is necessary. What is the height of hypocrisy and irony is that the RR is AGAINST this type of regulation, even though I could argue that it is a moral imperative. They want to pick and choose their morality. And they never seem to protest the immorality of war either. They never decry the fact that people aare dying from lack of access to medical care.

    Anyway, that’s my first comment and I am sure as I re-read I’ll have more!

    • SueInCa says:

      What you have done is to hit the nail on the head about their hypocrisy. They believe in unfettered capitalism to the max, otherwise how could they defend their mega churches, schools and religious complexes? They have the theme park in Florida and another in either Tennessee or Kentucky. And you provided a video of the Crouches campus in SoCal. They want none of that disturbed.

      For them to want regulation in the business world, they might have to be subject to some of that regulation and it is not to their liking.

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