Is the Religious Right Finished? Yawn. Not Hardly
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri May 11, 2007 at 01:09:39 AM EST
Nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas -- one time flack for Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority -- ought to know better.  And my guess is that he probably does. He dangles the provocative question in his headline, but never really answers it in his column.

The occasion for Thomas's eyebrow raiser, was the recent closing of televangelist D. James Kennedy's political operation, the Center for Reclaiming America, and the related Center for Christian Statesmanship. Apparently they were closed for budgetary reasons, while Kennedy's main broadcasting operations are not in doubt. But for how long, is a good question. D. James Kennedy, 76, has been in and out of the hospital in recent months. I do not think that the closing of this particular small, Washington lobby and resource agency indicates that the religious right is finished -- but it is certainly one indication that the religious right is in for a period of reorganization and retrenchment as the founding generation of religious right leaders begin to pass from the scene.

Considering the ages of some other leaders of the religious right, some of whom as one might expect, have had some serious health issues, the period of transition in the leadership of the relgious right is well underway.  Some of these, will no doubt continue to be politically active and effective for a long time; others probably not.

Paul Weyrich, 65   Free Congress Foundation

Don Wildmon, 69   American Family Association, Arlington Group

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, 70   Institute on Religion and Public Life; Institute on Religion and Democracy

James Dobson, 71   Focus on the Family

Lou Sheldon, 72   Traditional Values Coalition

Jerry Falwell, 73   Liberty University, Moral Majority

Richard Viguerie, 74   direct mail entrepreneur

Pat Robertson, 76   Christian Broadcasting Network, Regent University, Christian Coalition

D. James Kennedy, 76   Coral Ridge Ministries, Center for Reclaiming America

Beverly LaHaye, 78   Concerned Women for America

Robert L. Simonds, 81   Citizens for Excellence in Education

Tim LaHaye, 81   Left Behind series of novels (one of the founders of the Moral Majority and Council for National Policy)

Phyllis Schlafly, 82   Eagle Forum

Sun Myung Moon, 87   Unification Church, Washington Times

R.J. Rushdoony, deceased   Chalcedon Foundation

Bill Bright, deceased   Campus Crusade for Christ

Kennedy, although always part of the religious right, did not get operationally involved in politics until his first Reclaiming America for Christ in 1994. The huge political conference was a first for Kennedy, and replaced his annual fundraising cruise to the Caribbean that he called "The Bible Boat." Kennedy brought his constituency on a slower path to political mobilization, than had Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, although Kennedy was part of the Moral Majority and other early organization and other movements of the religious right. I think that a better way to look at it is that the conferences (which may continue) and the activities of the center are likely to be felt for a long time, and politically activated individuals will find no shortage of outlets for their activism; and no shortage of opportunities to exercise the skills they have acquired through years of political involvements and training.

Cal Thomas quotes a professor who makes a good point however,

Corwin Smidt, executive director of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., told the Herald that evangelical groups that are built around a single charismatic leader often struggle when the leader is gone. "These televangelists are able to generate a fair amount of money," he said, "but in terms of their institutional longevity, it's really at risk."

Of course, any organization that loses its founder, may very well go through a difficult transition period. Some organizations, and not just those founded by televangelists, or even of the religious right, that are built entirely around the personality and work of the founder, often struggle when the founder dies or retires. Some do not survive.

While there are many dynamic up-and-coming younger religious right leaders, it is clear that the political landscape will be shifting as the founding generation gradually departs from public life. Whether the religious right gets stronger or weaker; more divided or more unified during the transition, entirely remains to be seen.

on the part of a lot of people in my experience, to see politics as less dynamic than it really is. Things change.  This poses both challenges and opportunities.

That is one of the reason Talk to Action exists -- to learn enough about the religious right, so that both challenges and opportunities are properly understood. No serious tactical or strategic thinking is possible with out an understanding of the opposition.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri May 11, 2007 at 01:15:50 AM EST

The Religious Right will only come to an end when it finally decides to obey what the Bible says about the relationship of the Church to the World. When they do this they will see that the kingdom of God is not of this world; that the language of militancy in the Bible is metaphorical, speaking of a zeal for preaching a love they have never believed in, not a justification of political or "moral" force; and above all they will remember that they, if they are christians not merely nominals, are sojourners in the world, that they were never ment to be comfortable in the system that is the world for it is opposed to God and will never ever be brought to repentance by legal action. but they are discomforted by a world that has rejected its lipservice to christian morality (it was never genuine); and they desperately want the comfort of seeing themselves in the majority, but christ said his people would never be in such a position. they hanker for a past that never was The religious Right has sinned as Satan sinned. He wanted to rule like God does. So do these people. So they seek power and are corrupted by it both the search and suchas they have attained. they refuse to serve as christ served, they would rule as Satan seeks to. but this requires repentance of sin, and that requires honesty before God. yet when i was a fundamemtalist i was so obsessed with the commandments of God and what i thought they meant that the idea of being honest to God was totally lost to me. but as i discovered that the only cure to my agony was to be honest to GOd in prayer so my belief mismaned "fundamentalism" started to fall away. when they discover the real gospel proclaimed in the literal and infallible scripture which is the word of God they will cease to be "fundmanentalists" unfortunately the humilty this requires means the religious right may well be with us for many many years

by strefanash on Wed May 16, 2007 at 01:41:44 AM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (330 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (178 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (98 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (93 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (105 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (127 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (115 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (79 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (228 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (55 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (153 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (53 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (54 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (210 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (240 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (87 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (171 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (143 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (141 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (146 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (144 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (123 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (185 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (142 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (83 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (189 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (77 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (107 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (105 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.