THE RISE AND FALL OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
The Framers of the Constitution of the United States certainly understood the principle of freedom of religion. Their first-hand experience of oppression by state churches in Europe directed them to the premise of the First Amendment in possession of far more than a superficial understanding of the concept. They certainly understood how persecutions in Anglican and Puritan England, as well as other European nations whose governments were dominated by the State Church (whether Catholic or Protestant), led to the flight of thousands to the New World. As a result, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention instituted safeguards that endeavored to pre-empt the pitfalls of even well intentioned men who would seek to change their nation for the better or even rescue it from a downward slide into a complete moral morass by incorporating a state religion. They further understood that the old adage “religion and politics make strange bedfellows” is true, and any attempt to infringe upon individual liberties by legislating or dictating according to any specific religious organization would never provide any permanent solution to society’s problems. Thus, in lieu of a theocratic system of governance, the Founding Fathers of the United States established a constitutional republic based on the rule of law that would exercise the will of the majority while protecting the constitutional rights of the minority. The paradox of the situation (and that which led to the epistemological upheavals of the late Twentieth Century) was the fact that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1789 established the legal foundation of the new nation based on English Law. English law, stemming from the Glorious Revolution in 1688, (1) was primarily derived from the Biblical model found in the Old Testament. As a result of this heritage, the values of the framers of the constitution were by and large Judeo-Christian values (even if only by default). When the Secular Humanism and Pantheism of the Twentieth Century assaulted the largely Judeo-Christian culture of the United States, the Constitution itself became the object of a new subjective interpretation by an increasingly liberal court system. The resulting conservative vs. liberal controversies directly influenced the Church, and Christians began to become more politically active in order to preserve the precepts of the Constitution in the face of the mounting onslaught of the agents of change.
THEOCRACY VS. CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC
In spite of the fact that conservatives in the late 1960s claimed to possess a superior level of expertise in understanding the historical aspects of patriotism and the intent of the framers of the Constitution, a movement began among a small group of religious conservatives to not only legislate their religion, but to also establish the United States of America as a bonafide theocracy. The event that fueled the political possibilities of this concept was a speech by Richard Nixon on November 3, 1969 that pleaded for the support of the “great silent majority” of Americans in his efforts to end the war in Vietnam. (2) This “great silent majority” immediately became a major political and marketing focus group. The company or political party that could succeed in harnessing the votes and/or economic power of this mythical segment of the population would certainly dominate as the new policy-making body of the nation. However, very few realized that a small number of theocratic Dominionists (see chapter 5 for a discussion of Dominion Theology) led by R.J. Rushdoony would seize the opportunity to exploit the political power of “Silent Majority” to transform it into what has become today’s “Religious Right”.
Rushdoony, a Reformed Presbyterian theologian, introduced the idea of Christian Reconstruction in his book, By What Standard. The principle of Christian Reconstruction makes the false assumption that the United States was once a truly Christian nation. Most of those who wish to reconstruct Christianity point to the era of the 1950s under Dwight Eisenhower. (3) Even though Rushdoony was considered a radical even by Fundamentalists, his perseverance was rewarded in later years with the addition of noted followers such as Gary North and the growth of dominion philosophies within the Second and Third Waves of the Charismatic Movement. While Fundamentalists soundly rejected Rushdoony’s theology, high-profile evangelicals and Charismatics such as North and Pat Robertson embraced the Dominionist concepts. These concepts are even today displayed by Rushdoony’s publication, Chalcedon:
• Not only would prayer and the Ten Commandments be in the schools, but so would the teaching of creationism instead of “values clarification”, social Darwinism, and culturalism…
• Abortion and pornography would be outlawed
• All forms of child exploitation, particularly child sexual abuse, would be outlawed
• Gays would be driven back into the closet
• The Federal Government would be cut down to size, rendering it much less obtrusive
• The so-called walls separating church and state would once again function to protect churches against interference from the state, rather than vice versa
• Judicial appointments, often used to expand the role of the federal government would be more representative of the Framer’s intent of a limited central government and a broad state’s rights
• Through a combination of increased executions and tough sentencing, crime would be reduced to 1950s levels and the streets would once again be safe for citizens and children. (4)
While most Fundamentalists agree with most or all of the above, to have these principles legislated upon a secular population would be very much akin to the edict of compulsory church attendance by Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great. Worse yet, even more extreme versions of the Dominionist line are succinctly and alarmingly voiced by the following quotations from Charismatic/Dominionist individuals:
Kenneth Copeland, one of the leading figures in the evangelical (Charismatic) world, writes, “This country belongs to God ... He’s the One who brought the United States of America into existence. He had a special purpose for it ... He raised it up, and it’s not going to be taken away from Him.”(5)
Bill Hamon, pastor of one of the largest evangelical churches in the country, writes, “A new government must be established, a new way of life for ... millions of people.”(6)
Malcolm Smith writes: “... the Church ... (must) presently overthrow these (secular) powers of darkness and establish His kingdom on earth.” (7)
Pat Robertson himself said, “…we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation who know there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.” (8)
In a speech in 1984, Robertson declared, “I want you to imagine a society where the church members have taken dominion over the forces of the world…the people of God inherit the earth…and they are going to because I am persuaded that we are standing on the brink of the greatest spiritual revival the world has ever known.” (9)
These remarks run contrary to the thesis of Paul Marshall in his book, God and the Constitution-Christianity and American Politics. Mr. Marshall contends that all the rhetoric of Christians who would establish the United States as a bonafide theocracy is fabricated from a plague of paranoia among “secular elites”, or is simply a bogus claim used by these same “secular elites” to aid in achieving their goals. He gives no credibility to the idea that there exists within the “Evangelical Community” a well-funded, highly-motivated group of individuals who are “promoting a theocratic crusade for a ‘Judeo-Christian America’” (10) He contends that “American evangelicals are still much more concerned with passing peacefully through the world than they are in changing it” (11). He is only marginally correct in this assessment. As was noted in an earlier chapter, Christians and other conservatives do not (as a rule) organize as well as liberal groups who are more attuned to a “group-think” mentality. Most notably, Fundamentalists are more likely to fit into the “just passing through” model, but the broader evangelical community is becoming dominated by the Charismatic/Dominionist element. In the late 1970s, factors listed by Marshall himself—“the liberalization of abortion, the apparent exclusion of God from the public schools, family breakdown, gay rights, and the attempts by federal agencies to control religious bodies” (12) resulted in a widespread reaction by religious conservatives to form a political alliance. He has further underestimated the extent to which the Dominionist philosophy has permeated the evangelical psyche through Charismatic publications that dominate “Christian” bookstores, contemporary “Christian” music, and “Christian” broadcasting.
The fact of the matter is that the Christian Reconstructionists do not accept the eschatology of dispensational Fundamentalists. The Christian Reconstructionist believes that there will be no immanent, Premillennial Rapture of the Church, but rather, “the Church must first set up Christ’s Kingdom on earth-- then Christ will return”. (13) The aspect of this belief system that is so crucial to the politics of the Religious Right is the fact that Reconstructionism argues that Christ’s Kingdom will not be built by mere evangelism, but through the implementation of Biblical Law. This Biblical Law is far more than simply the establishment of national law based on Biblical principles. The “Law” of Reconstructionism is pure Old Testament Law that “includes the death penalty for practicing homosexuals, abortionists, heretics, blasphemers, and even disobedient sons”. (14) With the success of Reconstructionist philosophies within the Charismatic Movement, many in the secular world have come to cast all Fundamentalists and Evangelicals in the Dominion/Reconstruction mold of Pat Robertson. To that end, the American Atheist Flashline reported:
“This is a time when, according to men such as Pat Robertson, Christians must strive to ‘take dominion’ of the earth, families, and social-civic institutions in preparation for Christ’s arrival and mythical events such as the Rapture and Judgment. ‘Dominionism’ as an eschatological philosophy is often ignored or misunderstood by political secularists: it provides a powerful incentive for evangelicals and fundamentalists to organize at the local, state and national level, and energizes those enthralled in an apocalyptic belief system. Many Christian activists believe their purpose is to purify society and pave the way for the ‘Kingdom’.” (15)
Not surprisingly, the secular world does not fully grasp many of the concepts of fundamental Christianity. However, the diversity within the factions of those that would call themselves “Christian” are not only very significant spiritually, but also dictate a plethora political philosophies. In spite of these philosophical or doctrinal differences between Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Dominionists, Charismatics, Mormons, and conservative Roman Catholics-- those holding these diverse convictions and philosophies agreed in the late 1970s to seek common ground on a purely political level in order to forge a moral baseline for change. This unique cooperation among conservative religious groups served to unify the “Silent Majority” into the “Religious Right”. In spite of the lessons that should have been learned from history, the “Religious Right” came into existence based on the concept of a religious/political movement that would “change America”. Not only was the long-term success of this concept doomed from its very inception, the politics of the Religious Right would build an organizational infrastructure that would serve as the primary catalyst for OUTCOME-BASED RELIGION.
ORIGINS OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
If one were to trace the origins of today’s Religious Right as a political subculture, many contributing factors and philosophies could be traced as far back as the entrance of political personalities into the fray surrounding the Scopes trial in the 1920s. The founding of Fundamentalist colleges and universities in the late 1920s through the 1940s produced a generation of Fundamentalists who were more politically astute than their predecessors prior to World War II. Further contributions could also be gleaned from 1950s and 1960s radio ministries such as Carl McIntire’s TWENTIETH CENTURY REFORMATION HOUR that utilized the airways to assemble Fundamentalists in the war against atheistic Communism. This battle against Communism was then later personified in Barry Goldwater, and Christian Fundamentalists not only became major contributors in Goldwater’s failed presidential bid of 1964 but also deserted en mass from the Democratic Party for the Republican Party. These unorganized, disenfranchized Fundamentalists-- viewed as radicals working outside of the Republican power base –were not perceived as a serious threat to anyone, whether Democratic or elitist Republican. However, the degradation of conservative values in the 1960s further intensified the desire of those working outside of the political arena to become politically involved (if not to restore that which was lost) to at least end the downward cultural spiral to total degeneracy.
THE MORAL MAJORITY
One such Fundamentalist outsider was Rev. Jerry Falwell, who issued an invitation to Cal Thomas to become the Vice President for Communications of his planned political organization by conveying that he would “help change the direction of America”. (16) Not one true born-again Christian would argue that the direction of America needed to be changed—the drug culture, the sexual revolution, Rowe vs. Wade, the introduction of Eastern Mysticism into mainstream thought, homosexuality, and the list of issues indicating a downward moral slide initiated in the 1960s goes on and on. Nor would you get an argument from many that Dr. Falwell’s motives were anything but noble. As a matter of fact, as many of the high-profile TV preachers succumbed to slander and disgrace during the decade of the 80s and beyond, Dr. Falwell has remained above reproach in his personal life, and his actions are not dictated by greed, avarice, or secularism. (This is not to say that this author is in agreement with all of Dr. Falwell’s methods, religious associations, etc.; but even the most his most prolific skeptics must admit that Dr. Falwell has maintained personal integrity in an atmosphere of hostile media who would “dig up any dirt” against him if any dirt existed to be found.) Dr. Falwell’s answer to the adverse direction of America was to form a grass-roots organization that would politically tap into the mystical “Silent Majority”. Falwell, along with co-founders Robert Billings, Paul Weyrich, Richard Viguerie, Howard Phillips, and Ed McTeer felt that this great silent majority was conservative, family-oriented, and religious. While their organization would be political, most of its members consisted of Fundamental or Evangelical Christians, conservative Jews, conservative Roman Catholics, and Mormons who were committed to moral change in America. This organization was, of course, the Moral Majority—founded in 1979 (17).
The Moral Majority clearly presented their platform:
1. They ascribed separation of church and state
2. They were pro-life
3. They were pro-traditional family
4. They opposed illegal drug traffic
5. They opposed pornography
6. They supported the State of Israel
7. They supported a strong national defense
8. They supported equal rights for women
9. They believed the Equal Rights Amendment was the improper vehicle to obtain equal rights for women
10. They encouraged their state organizations to be independent and indigenous
The Moral Majority also very clearly articulated what THEY WERE NOT:
1. They were not a political party.
2. They did not endorse political candidate
3. They were not attempting to elect “born again” candidates
4. Moral Majority, Inc. was not a religious organization attempting to control the government.
5. They were not a censoring organization
6. Moral Majority Inc. was not an organization attempting to deprive homosexuals of their civil rights as Americans
7. They did not believe that individuals or organizations that disagreed with the Moral Majority belonged to an immoral minority (18)
For the purposes of this discussion, the most interesting
aspect of this platform is the fact that it is based on a conservative political
worldview with a definite Christian Fundamentalist influence. There was the
denouncing of Dominionist philosophy in the platform, and there were no statements
of a new religious order. The Moral Majority began as just what it stated.
It was a conservative organization that set out to change the direction of
America based on what it perceived were the intrinsic Judeo-Christian values
once held by a majority of Americans.
It was Falwell and the Moral Majority that finally “pulled off the upset”—and this was a big upset. Not only did an organization led by a political outsider—not to mention the fact that this man (in the eyes of the secular individual) was a disenfranchised, fanatical, Fundamentalist, Baptist Preacher—organize those who in the past were fragmented and unorganizeable, but transformed millions of “rugged individualists” into an army with the political power to dislodge the President of the United States. In the 1980 presidential election, “white, evangelical voters (ostensibly led by the Moral Majority-ed.) accounted for 2/3s of Reagan’s ten-point lead over Jimmy Carter.” (19). The media went into a virtual “feeding frenzy” over the contribution of Falwell and the Religious Right that resulted in changing the course of the presidential election. Falwell and his followers were euphoric. After such an upset, could the moral victories not be on the heels of this change? Those on the left also went into a panic. What would happen to the legacy of Roosevelt, Kennedy, LBJ, and even Jimmy Carter if these religious radicals were successful? Could all the years of blood, sweat, and tears, be nullified by this group of fanatical religious upstarts?
THE CHRISTIAN COALITION
The re-election of Reagan in 1984 led many to believe that
the Democratic Party was on the verge of collapse, and any politician who
dreamed of national success must meet with the approval of the “Religious
Right” or be doomed to failure. However, the handwriting was on the wall for
those who were not illiterate. The Religious Right began its wild successful
ride with Fundamentalist Falwell in the lead, but a decade later the fallacy
of political ties with those who lacked doctrinal purity was taking its toll.
The growing number of Dominionists, Charismatics and Roman Catholics within
the ranks of the Religious Right leads one to speculate that Falwell had no
choice but to get out. Things had gotten out of hand, and the Dominionist
philosophy was beginning to defy not only the First Amendment, but the entire
Constitution of the United States. With these factors looming, Dr. Falwell
announced on June 11, 1989 that the mission of the Moral Majority was accomplished,
and that he would be devoting his time and energies shepherding his flock
in Lynchburg. The disbanding of the Moral Majority also would set someone
up for a major financial windfall. The millions of contributors on the mailing
list of the Moral Majority would channel their efforts (and their money) to
a new cause, and Pat Robertson was the man perfectly positioned to snag Falwell’s
falling mantle. He immediately founded the Christian Coalition and named Robert
Reed as its director. With Falwell removed, the more moderate Robertson with
no Fundamentalist stigma attracted a broader base of contemporary Charismatics
and evangelicals. Under Reed’s leadership, the Christian Coalition forsook
all remaining vestiges of separation from the world, and took the strategy
more akin to the New Evangelical ploy of infiltration (see chapter 3). Though
Ralph Reed left the Christian Coalition to gain notoriety as the catalyst
to Saxby Chambliss’ 2002 US Senate victory in Georgia, he certainly fell from
grace with Robertson, who until the very end took the theocratic hard line:
"When I'm elected President of the United States and America is converted into an authoritarian Christian theocracy, Ralph Reed will be the first opponent removed from the spotlight. (20)
THE DEATH OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
The goal of the Religious Right from the early 1980s was nothing short
of a complete takeover of the Republican Party. As of September of 2002,
“Christian conservatives held a majority of seats in 36% of all Republican
Party state committees, plus large minorities in 81% of the rest, double
their strength of just a decade before.” (21) While these numbers certainly
seem impressive, one must but wonder that if this is indeed the case,
why have none of the goals of the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition
been met? What is the real impact of these conservative Christians upon
American politics? Better yet, how has the Religious Right political machine
impacted modern culture? Exactly what has been accomplished from 22 years
of effort to “change America”? Why have the well-funded Dominionists not
transformed our Constitutional Republic into their “heaven-on-earth” theocracy?
Would the reaction to the September 11 terrorist attack on the United
States result in a national religious revival, transform the culture,
and result in the establishment of Robertson’s theocracy? The answers
to all of these questions may be centered in the course of events since
1998 that may have in effect written the obituary of the Religious Right.
While the Religious Right apparently had the left running for cover
in the early 90s, the picture did not appear to be rosy by 1998. In February
of that year, Dr. James Dobson of “Focus of the Family” told a meeting
of the Council on National Policy in Phoenix, Arizona that Christians
had not only been betrayed by the Republican Party, but the religious
right social agenda had been sidetracked or placed on the backburner by
the GOP leadership in Congress. He then threatened to leave the GOP and
form an independent third party. In addition, Gary Bauer (a candidate
for President in 2000) of the Family Research Council, reported to the
New York Times in March of 1998, “There is virtually nothing to show for
an 18-year commitment”. (22) While this debate was escalating to a fever
pitch, the controversy between the leaders of the Religious Right and
the GOP elite was interrupted with the White House sex scandal between
President Bill Clinton and intern Monica Lewinski.
The White House sex scandal reached a climax in February of 1999 when the US Senate acquitted President William Jefferson Clinton in the first impeachment trial of a US President in more than 100 years. In one fell swoop, this event signaled to the nation that the Religious Right possessed absolutely no influence in the outcome of critical moral issues that faced the nation. The impeachment was also a bit of a paradox, as a formidable enemy of the Christian Right, The National Organization of Women, also received a major blow to their credibility. NOW was caught between a rock and a hard place. A President who labored more for their cause than any of his predecessors was on trial as a direct result of sexual misconduct with a young woman. They could hardly condemn their champion on a political level, but at the same time could not demand acquittal without exposure of total hypocrisy. Both groups were losers. These two foes that dueled each other for over a decade on the moral battlefield both suffered near fatal wounds from this decision. It was the Clinton Impeachment results that led Religious Right advocate Peter Weyrich to declare that the “Culture War” was over, and the Religious Right was ready to surrender the political battlefield to the secularists. He bemoaned the fact that the majority of Americans were “no longer moral” and efforts to reclaim the culture through the political process had failed. (23) This same sentiment was echoed by Ed Dobson and Cal Thomas in their book, BLINDED BY MIGHT. Dr. Dobson summed up the situation by the statement:
“What started as legitimate and rational response to the threat of theological liberalism evolved into a political agenda motivated more by fear than conviction.” (24)Ed Dobson hit the proverbial nail on the head. The failure of the Moral Majority and the other major Christian Right organizations was a placation to political compromise rather than true Christian conviction.
THE ABSENCE OF CONVICTIONS
The very essence of politics is compromise…you scratch my back, I scratch yours….you give me this and I will give you that…I will surrender on this and you surrender on that…and so forth. On the other hand, the essence of pure religion is conviction. Those without convictions may think something is right or wrong. Those without convictions may feel something is right or wrong. Those without convictions may even believe something is right or wrong. However, those with convictions KNOW what is right or KNOW what is wrong. Conviction cannot compromise, and thus those with strong convictions tend to be forced outside of the political inner circles. Once one with strong convictions succeeds in gaining access to the political inner circles, that individual finds himself in the very precarious position of compromising his convictions for political gain. This was the position those in the Religious Right found themselves after the 1980 presidential elections. Jerry Falwell himself found himself in the middle of this very dilemma when Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor (O’Connor took a very weak stand on the abortion issue) to the Supreme Court. Reagan personally called Falwell and told him, “Jerry…I want you to trust my judgment on this one.” (25). From that point, a series of compromises began in order to gain or maintain political power—often at the expense of the former moral objectives. This scenario not only weakened the influence of those who were ostensibly the moral leaders, but also spread like an incurable cancer into the laity with the most dominate character trait of the 1990s, TOLERANCE.
The definition of the word “tolerance” has changed. In the past, the definition of tolerance was based on valuing and respecting the cultures, beliefs, behavior, and lifestyles of an individual without necessarily approving or participating in those same beliefs or behaviors. Tolerance differentiated between the individual himself and his behavior. In plain terms, tolerance used to mean that one “put up with that which he disliked or disagreed”. (26) However, the 1990s introduced a new definition of tolerance. This definition is based in the concept that since all truth is relative, there are many different truths. In addition, no one truth is superior to any other truth. All truths are equal. (27) For example, if a Fundamentalist Christian would defend an individual of the Wiccan religion by stating, “I disagree with your beliefs, but I will fight to the death to defend your right under the Constitution to practice your religion within the bounds of the law”…this is bigotry and intolerance under the new definition of tolerance. Under the new definition of tolerance, this same Fundamentalist Christian must praise Wicca as truth and praise those who practice Wicca for seeking their own truth. For if all truth claims are equal, all religions are equal. If all religions are equal, any Christian who quotes Jesus Christ when He said, “…no man cometh to the Father but by me” is an arrogant bigot. Once the new tolerance permeates the culture and the court system, the Christian will have no legal right to propagate his religion, carry out the “Great Commission”, or to even voice his convictions.
How could the situation deteriorate to this point? The reality of the situation was that the political activism that began among the new generation of Fundamentalists in the 1950s shifted from the right wing of Christianity into the center by the mid 80s. The Moral Majority was founded by the Fundamentalist, Falwell, with Fundamentalist-based goals. The political compromises and the absence of convictions necessary to gain entrance into the inner circle of the GOP gave an entrée not only to the likes of Pat Robertson with his Dominion Vision, but also to Robert Reed, who taught the Christian Coalition to “engage the world”. The Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition failed to build an independent moral base that would truly transform society. Thus “the Religious Right went wrong by forgetting its religious and moral roots and going for political power”. (28) As a result, the philosophies of the Postmodernism gained an entrance into not only the political aspects of the Religious Right, but also into the whole of the “evangelical population”.
As the emerging culture of tolerance captured a profound grip on society on a global level, the impact on the Church became a slow-growing, insidious, pulsating assault on the minds of even those in the most fundamental circles. It was this emerging Post-modern philosophy that handcuffed the Religious Right in its decisive battle in the Bill Clinton sex scandal situation. It was the Culture of the New Tolerance to which Peter Weyrich surrendered in 1999. It was the Culture of the New Tolerance that condemned Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham for their remarks following the September 11th tragedy.
Postmodernism is based on an epistemological shift instigated by those who moved in occult circles. For example, Jean Houston (Jean Houston gained national fame as the medium who enabled Hillary Clinton to receive advice directly from the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt), in a 1989 speech to The Association of Curriculum Supervision and Development (those who write school textbooks), advocated the end of the intolerant standards and values that we as Americans cherish and an acceptance of the more tolerant values of occult, shamanic pagan cultures. (Ms. Houston received a lengthy standing ovation for her 90-minute speech, WHOLE SYSTEM TRANSITION: THE MOVE TO A PLANETARY SOCIETY, to this organization.) (29) All of this meant that the Religious Right was forced to change directions if it was to survive. After the departure of Ralph Reed, the Christian Coalition began to falter. With Robertson the Dominionist back in control, the organization and the movement in general appeared to its constituency as increasingly intolerant to an “evangelical community” becoming increasingly inculcated with Post-modern philosophies. A new leader had to emerge to insure its survival.
GEORGE BUSH: THE NEW LEADER OF THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT
For the second time in the course of this manuscript, a basic question must
What do you mean by “born again”?
This question gets even more pertinent when asked to the Chief Executive of the United States of America. There were a few Presidents from the past that claimed to be “born-again Christians”. These include Abraham Lincoln, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Those who are familiar with the Word of God also realize that the Bible teaches that “by their fruits ye shall know them”, but most Christians are inclined to give an individual the benefit of the doubt—especially when that individual is one of such notoriety that the Christian community really desires to include him in Christian circles.
Such is the case of President George W. Bush. According to President Bush, his “discovery of God” began 15 years ago with the help of Billy Graham:
“Reverend Graham planted a mustard seed in my soul, a seed that grew over the next year…He led me to the path, and I began walking. It was the beginning of a change in my life.” (30)On the other side of the coin, there is a vast amount of largely circumstantial evidence that suggests that President Bush is, in fact, an occult member of the Order of the Illuminati. This is based on several key points:
1. The questionable history of the Bush family
2. Bush’s membership in the Society of Skull and Bones
3. Statements the President has made over the course of his campaign and tenure in office that would suggest Illuminist connections.
4. Unanswered questions surrounding the 9.11.01 terrorist attack
5. The appointment of Illuminist Henry Kissinger to lead the investigation of the Sept. 11 failures
The First Lady, Laura Bush, in an interview with Larry King debunked (in no uncertain terms) the President’s claim of a “born-again experience”. When Larry King suggested that President Bush was “a born-again”, Laura Bush replied, “I don’t know that he would say that”. She did state that religion had always been very important to the President, and that as a youth he was an acolyte in the Episcopal Church. She absolutely would not affirm any connection that the President may have to the Religious Right. (31)
Since the author of this book obviously has no access to the President of the United States, he cannot be interviewed to confirm or deny any of these statements or allegations. However, in an interview with this author mentioned in chapter 4, Dr. Bob Jones III was asked of his impressions of the of the President’s spiritual attributes. (President and Mrs. Bush visited Bob Jones University during the 2000 Presidential Primary, and spent time visiting with Dr. Jones III.) Dr. Jones indicated that he felt that President Bush was a truly born-again individual, but that his lack of spiritual growth was typical of one who was a product of apostate Protestant Christianity. When confronted with the statements of Mrs. Bush to Larry King, Dr. Jones expressed his sincere desire that Mrs. Bush was making politically or personally motivated statements to distance the President from the Religious Right and was intentionally avoiding the issue of his personal spiritual condition. From the emotions expressed in the interview, Dr. Jones obviously hopes and wants to believe that President Bush is born again, but he could no more see the President’s heart than could any other man. (32). It is not the intention of this author to make any judgment as to Mr. Bush’s eternal destiny or make an evaluation of the truth of his profession of faith. The position that every true child of God should take regarding the President should be based on the biblical command to pray for those who rule over us. The questions as to the President’s true nature most certainly exist, but regardless of the validity of his profession, the “greater evangelical community” has certainly bought it “hook, line, and sinker”.
Since the President of the United States is a professing conservative Christian, the political prominence of the key leaders of the Religious Right –James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Billy and Franklin Graham--has diminished. The response to terrorism since 9.11 and well-placed use of religious language by Bush has endeared him to the rank and file of the Religious Right. The annual Christian Coalition “Road to Victory Conference” in Washington, DC, attended by thousands of Christian and pro-family citizens, was kicked off with a speech by none other than President George Bush. (33) When a group of ecumenical leaders visited with the President at the White House, they asked the President what they could do to help him. President Bush replied, “You can pray for me, for our country, for my family.” A member of this group wrote that the Bush “believes in efficacy of prayer and needs wisdom, and guidance, and grace.” (34) Gary Bauer remarked, “I think that Robertson stepped down (as head of the Christian Coalition) because the position has already been filled...Bush is the leader right now”. (35) World Magazine quoted a Bush aid described as a “strong evangelical”, “I believe that President Bush is God’s man at this hour, and I say this with a great deal of humility.” (36)
If George W. Bush is then the new defacto leader of the Religious Right, where will he lead them? Perhaps a short review of history will indicate the future direction under the leadership of the President:
• 1927—The repercussions of the Scopes Trial ignite Fundamentalists to political activismThe obvious pattern that emerges from this sequence of events is the distinct slide to the left within the political movement of the Religious Right. This slide can be condensed as follows:
• 1950—A new, more politically-astute generation of Fundamentalists make initial political advances
• 1964—Fundamentalists abandon the Democratic Party in support of Barry Goldwater
• 1979—Founding of the Moral Majority by Fundamentalist Jerry Falwell
• 1980—Moral Majority credited with winning the White House for Reagan
• 1980-1987—Dominionists within the Religious Right rise to power on the Second and Third Waves of the Charismatic Movement
• 1989-- Moral Majority folds, Christian Coalition founded by Dominionist, Pat Robertson
• 1989-1997—Ralph Reed’s leadership of the Christian Coalition sought to re-engage the outside world, and thus allowed the philosophies of Post-modernism into the organization
• 1998—James Dobson and Gary Bauer threaten to form a Third Party
• 1999—The results of the Clinton Impeachment trial signal the impotence and failure of the Religious Right to influence the moral direction of America
• 2000—Candidate George W. Bush becomes the darling of the Religious Right
• 2002—President George W. Bush becomes the defacto leader of the Religious Right.
1. Political activism was begun by true Fundamentalist ChristianityWith President Bush in the lead, the center of the Religious Right will not hold. The Dominionists who are still there will not be there much longer. Dominionism continues to grow among Evangelicals and is a very real threat to the Church, but the secular philosophies of Dominionists will be deemed far and away too intolerant to survive politically. Any vestige of Fundamentalism will again withdraw with Ed Dobson to the true mission of the Church. The Catholics and Charismatics will only remain until they realize that pro-family, anti-abortion legislation will not fly in the Postmodern culture of tolerance. In conclusion, as this scenario becomes reality, there will only be more questions as to Bush’s true spiritual position, and other questions as to who actually conceived the plan to eliminate the “Great Silent Majority”—of late known as the Religious Right.
2. After the conception of the Moral Majority, the political compromises opened the door of power to Charismatic and Dominionist interests.
3. Ralph Reed’s Christian Coalition vanquished all vestiges of Fundamentalism and re-engages the outside world
4. George W. Bush, at best a conservative product of apostate Christianity—at worst a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing Illuminist-- takes the Religious Right the final, fatal step to the left. This step initiates the long-predicted DEATH OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT as a viable political entity.
THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND OUTCOME –BASED RELIGION
After all has been said, one question still remains:
What relationship do the workings of the political subculture of the Religious Right have on Outcome-based Religion?
In spite of the fact that “religion and politics make strange bedfellows”, they indeed became bedfellows with the formation of the Moral Majority. Even though Falwell and company may be to the left of center in Fundamentalism, the impact of the Moral Majority stretched from the far right of Fundamentalism, through the Southern Baptist Convention, permeating into the moderates and New Evangelicals, Charismatics, conservative Roman Catholics, and even into conservative Judaism, and finally into cultic Mormonism. The common thread of rescuing the nation from total moral morass ran deep through all of these religious bodies, and each began to concentrate on the common ground to achieve the political goals of the new Christian Right. Once these commonalities were seen, new fellowships that arose within the ranks of the culture warriors created a common bond that dismissed doctrinal differences between the participants.
The key issue with the rise and fall of the Religious Right as it pertains to Outcome-based Religion is the same as with the Charismatic Movement---the diminishment of the importance of doctrine. When church growth is the desired outcome, why not utilize associations of high profile Religious Right leaders and organizations, even if supposedly inconsequential doctrinal differences exist? Secondly, the philosophies of Ralph Reed that expedited the embracing of Post-modern tolerance as its primary character trait depicts those who would separate from the errors of the “Seeker-friendly” marketing tactics as the intolerant bad guys. After all, look at the size of the church, the number of conversions, the excitement of the praise service, and the needs that are met. These things designate the biblical separatist as the intolerant, arrogant, bigot who believes that Christians should uphold old-fashioned, out-dated, Fundamentalism.
Finally, with the rise of the Religious Right, false doctrines crept into the true Church under the guise of Biblical teachings. The “Christian Bookstore” carries authors who are Charismatic, Dominion, and Post-modern under the “Christian author” heading. Well-known “Christian Psychologists” introduced the shamanistic methods of Jungian and Freudian Psychology into the Church while utilizing “Christian” terms. “Contemporary Christian Music” infiltrated conservative and fundamental churches with false doctrines embedded within the lyrics. These factors have brought the true church into a very precarious position. This position makes the call for all Christians to carefully evaluate all aspects (religious, political, or secular) of our Post-modern world in the light of the Word of God. At the very real risk of becoming labeled as intolerant, Christians must apply the words of the Apostle Paul as written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to each of our lives:
“He that is spiritual judgeth all things.” (37)
1. Titus, Herbert W. “America: A Cradle Christian”, Chalcedon Report,
October 16, 2002.
2. Nixon, Richard. “Silent Majority Speech”, November 3, 1969. http://watergate.info/nixon/silent-majority-speech-1969.shtml
3. Edwords, Frederick. “Getting Out God’s Vote”, The Humanist Magazine, May/June, 1987.
4. Doner, Colonel V. “Christian Activism Loses Its Way in the Kulture Smog”, Chalcedon Report, October 16, 2002.
5. “Getting a Grip on America”, Believer’s Voice, April, 1990.
6. Saloma, John S. Omnibus Politics, New York, Hill and Wang, 1984, pg.60.
7. Shearer, S.R. Antipas, Vol. 1, No. 1, pg. 13.
10. Marshall, Paul. God and the Constitution : Christianity and Politics, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland, 2002, pg. 6.
11. Ibid., pg 14.
12. Ibid., pg. 16.
13. “Chalcedon Profile”, Institute of First Amendment Studies, 1998, pg. 1. www.berkshire.net/~ifas/fw/9501/chalcedon.html.
15. “For the Religious Right—A New Strategy Within the GOP”, American Atheist Flashline, March 1, 1998, pg. 6. http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/bauer.htm
16. Dobson, Ed. Blinded by Might: Why the Religious Right Cannot Save America, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1999, pg. 18.
17. “Moral Majority Files”, Groupwatch, Interhemispheric Resource Center, Albuquerque, NM. www.pir.org/gw/mm.txt
18. Dobson. Pgs. 41-43.
19. Diamond, Sara. “The Christian Right Seeks Dominion”, 1995. www.publiceye.org/eyes/sd_theo.html
20. “Ralph Reed Condemned by Pat Robertson”, NRA Christian Bible Choir. http://choir.faithweb.com/ralphreed_condemned.html
21. Martin, Rod D. “The Quiet Revolution”, WorldNet Daily, Sept. 30, 2002 www.worldnetdaily.com/commentary.asp
22. “For the Religious Right—A New Strategy Within the GOP”, pg. 2.
23. Fritz, Sara. “Culture Warrior Circles Wagons After Religious Right Defeat”, The State Newspaper, Columbia, SC, April 14, 1999, pg. D1.
24. Dobson. pg.35
25. Wallis, Jim. “Seduced by Power”, Sojourners Newsletter, Nov/Dec 1999, pg. 2. www.sojo.net/magqazine/index.cfm/action/sojourners/issue/soj9911/article/991110.html
26. Marshall. pg.119.
27. McDowell, Josh. The New Tolerance, Tyndale House, Wheaton, IL, 1998, pg. 18.
28. Wallis. pg. 4.
29. Houston, Jean. “Whole System Transition and the Move to a Planetary Society”, Audio Tape of speech given to The Association of Curriculum Supervision and Development, 1989.
30. Milbank, Dana. “Religious Right Finds Its Center in the Oval Office”, The Washington Post, December 24, 2001.
31. “Interview with Laura Bush”, CNN-Larry King Live, Transcript from December 18, 2001 pg. 10.
32. Jones, Dr. Bob III. Personal Interview, Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC, April 17, 2002.
33. Invitation, Road to Victory Conference, October 11-12, 2002, Christian Coalition of America. http://cc.org/events/information.html.
37. I Corinthians 2:15.