The Christian Right, Calvinism, and Free Market Ideology
In an interview with Doug Henwood of Left Business Reporter, Henwood explained how the work of historian Richard Hofstadter puts these relationships into a context which makes the legacy of anti-Roosevelt rhetoric in the Christian Right come more sharply into focus:
Richard J. Meagher shows how this works in a specific issue: taxes. In PRA's Public Eye magazine, Meagher wrote an article titled "Tax Revolt as a Family Value: How the Christian Right Is Becoming A Free Market Champion."4 Meagher writes:
The result, says Meagher, will be "closer ties between economic conservatives in the Republican Party and the religious conservatives who make up the Party's voting base." Meagher reports that "some conservative activists feel that economic issues like the estate tax may be the key to maintaining a conservative electoral majority in the years to come." 8
Thus Calvinism plus Social Darwinism begat the anti-Roosevelt Free Market ideologues who begat the New Christian Right. This is one way Christian Fundamentlaists and evangelicals can find common cause with uber-libertarians such as Grover Norquist, who once said he wanted to starve the federal government to the size where it “could be drowned in a bathtub.” Norquist also has denounced recipients of federal funds as “cockroaches,” 9 and he suggested his allies “crush labor unions as a political entity.” 10
I am sure Christian Right readers of Talk2Action can help point me to the passages in the Bible where those sentiments can be found, yes?
1 Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, translated by Talcot Parsons (New York: Routledge,  1999). See also, Chip Berlet, "Calvinism, Capitalism, Conversion, and Incarceration,” The Public Eye, Political Research Associates (18)3, (Winter 2004), http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v18n3/berlet_calvinism.html.
2Chip Berlet and Pam Chamberlain, Running Against Sodom and Osama: The Christian Right, Values Voters, and the Culture Wars in 2006. A Report from Political Research Associates, October, 2006, http://www.publiceye.org/christian_right/values-voters/vv-toc.html.
3 Interview with Doug Henwood, based on comments made on LBO listserve.
4 Richard J. Meagher, 2006, "Tax Revolt as a Family Value: How the Christian Right Is Becoming A Free Market Champion," The Public Eye magazine, (Winter), pp. 1, 8-14, http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v21n1/meagher_tax_revolt.html
5 Meagher, citing Atwood, Aaron, "Death Should Not Be a Taxable Event," Focus on the Family CitizenLink.org, http://www.family.org/cforum/news/a0037747.cfm, 9/15/06.
6 Meagher, citing Perkins, Tony, "Death and Taxes," Tony Perkins' Washington Update, http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA06D33#WA06D33, 9/15/06.
7 Richard J. Meagher, 2006, "Tax Revolt as a Family Value."
9 Norquist “crush” quote from Henderson and Hayward, “Happy Warrior"; Norquist “bathtub” quote from Ed Kilgore, “Starving the Beast: If President Bush keeps listening to Grover Norquist, Republicans won't have a government to kick around anymore,” Blueprint Magazine, The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) (June 30, 2003), http://www.ndol.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=127&subid=170&contentid=251788 (accessed June 16, 2006). Cockroach quotes appear in both.
10 Kilgore, “Starving the Beast.”
Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates
The Public Eye: Website of Political Research Associates
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