The Religious Right, White Evangelicals and Rev. Moon
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Apr 03, 2008 at 02:47:43 PM EST
One of the more remarkable dimensions of the sprawling, diverse, and powerful political movement we generically call the Religious Right, is the empire of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church.  It is also one of its least well understood.

To read the purveyors of the 'Religious Right is dead, dying or irrelevant' narrative, one would think that the movement was limited to white evangelical Christians. Suffice to say that as central as that demographic has been, they are not now, nor have they ever been the only element of the Religious Right -- one of the most significant political movements in American history.  The movement, whatever its ups and downs, has built not only on demographgics, but via a formidable array of media, academic, and political institutions, and the grooming of a generation of leaders and activists who will continue to contest for power long after the founding generation of Religious Right leaders passes from the scene, and even as some organizations of the Religious Right go with them.

For those tempted by the sketchily-supported Religious Right is dead, dying or irrelevant narrative: consider the Moon organization before you buy.

Daily Kos front pager Darksyde today highlights the weird Religious Right elephant on the table of American journalism -- Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times newspaper. The quarter century old propaganda sheet has lost some three billion dollars while providing political leverage to its friends and allies (mostly in the far religious and political right) in the most important political capital in the world. The American press corps has credulously treated it as a serious newspaper, while also generally ignoring how the paper functions as a horizontally and vertically integrated element of the Moon empire. In turn, the Moon organization rarely gets any kind of ongoing scrutiny.

Fortunately, Talk to Action contributor John Gorenfeld has a breakthrough book out on the Moon empire, Bad Moon Rising, from which Darksyde quotes in his post today.

It is sometimes difficult to get our minds around the impact of The Washington Times and other elements of the seemingly obscure and hard to understand Moon organization.  It is also hard to imagine that the lions and lionesses of mainstream journalism take the Moon owned, controlled and bankrolled media empire as if they were legitimate news organizations. Darksyde picks a good example out of John's book to illustrate the point:  Did you know that the malicious rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim owes much of its currency to the Washington Times - related internet (formerly print) news magazine, Insight??

And that that Insight magazine story was picked up by major media -- especially Fox News -- before it was debunked by others?

Meanwhile, Insight continues to be published by the Washington Times, helping to shape our national discourse, and along with the Times itself, occasionally releasing nasty "news" viruses into the body politic that falsely frame, and deeply distort the normal functions of electoral democracy. The Moon media empire, is a vital cog in the Religious Right (You know, the movement said by various pundits to be dead, dying or irrelevant.)  

My point is this:

It is silly and frankly dangerous to make the same errors of underestimation, misunderstanding and premature declarations of death that have marked purportedly informed discussion of the Religious Right for many years. It is these very errors that paved the way for political successes far greater than the Religious Right could have achieved if only other sectors of society had  smarter and better - informed analyses to work with.

The media share some of the blame, but so do organizations and leaders who have yet to come up to speed on the Religious Right, and still get surprised when for example, a state legislature or a school board push and indeed implement religious right programs such as intelligent design; Christian nationalist revisions of American history; or abstinence only sexuality education (that has been repeatedly proved does not work.)

A dead political movement can't do stuff like that... can they?

I believe that there is much that could be done to thwart the Religious Right in general, and on many particulars. But the counter productive Religious Right is dead, dying or irrelevant narrative is an obstacle to the rational gathering and sifting and analysis of facts, and therefore is an obstacle to good reporting; good political analysis, and appropriate political action.

So today, my hat is off to Darksyde and to John Gorenfeld, who are dedicated to bringing us better information and analysis about the Religious Right. (Oh yeah, and to Bill Berkowitz who this past week has a detailed discussion of the relationship between the Moon organization and George H. W. Bush's brother Neil.)




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Bravo and deep thanks to John Gorenfeld and Bill Berkowitz.

by nogodsnomasters on Thu Apr 03, 2008 at 06:41:25 PM EST

The article referred to by this link is only an opinion piece - it has nothing to do with actual data. It is like the banker setting his clock by the butcher's clock - who sets his clock to the baker's clock; who, by the way, sets his clock to the banker's clock. Now no one really knows what time it is. A very simple look at the last 50 years tells us abstinence education is the only thing that has ever worked. Just half a century ago, abstinence was the value of the day for the majority of Americans - regardless of left leaning or right leaning political views. Parents and teachers alike held these values and students in much greater numbers than today practiced these values. Since the new "values" of sex outside of marriage and condom distribution being made equal to modern holiness have taken over, so have life crippling Sexually Transmitted Diseases in skyrocketing percentages. Do you really trust your kids to a condom when they are surrounded by an astronomical proportion of their compatriots who are infected with genital warts and aids and some new and horrible STD we just have not heard of yet? A condom doesn't even protect from pregnancy that well - let alone from all these STD's . I will definitely teach abstinence at every turn. A monogamous marriage relationship is the only way to go.

by Adam on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 12:29:22 PM EST
a Reuters news wire story citing authoratative data.

The opinion involved here, is yours, and it is backed up by nothing.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 03:29:28 PM EST
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