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The Real Origins Of The Religious Right


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http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133.html#.U5OWZ3KSyug

 

 

 

One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.
 
But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism.

 

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It's something, however, that has exercised my mind recently - why religious conservatism seems to go along with political conservatism.  I can't comment on other countries, of course, but it seems true here.

 

I managed to cause a minor upset some weeks back when talking to my wife's cousin.  He looked something up on the Daily Mail using his smartphone.  The Mail is a U.K. conservative newspaper.

 

I happened to mention that I did not read the Mail.  He told me that it was the newspaper of choice amongst the believers in his home town.  I then expressed the view that the only reason of which I can conceive to read this particular publication was on the principle of "know thine enemy".

 

This brought the conversation to a somewhat embarrassed change of subject.

 

No, it was no surprise to me that the Mail is popular amongst conservative Christians - the viewpoints I've heard discussed amongst them for a long time would fit well into its' columns.  But why?  It's as if conservative Christianity has completely emptied itself of any consideration of social justice.  This is not down to any one political incident, I suspect, but something deep rooted in the fundamentalist mindset.

 

And it is rather disturbing.

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As one who used to be part of the religious right, it is appalling to know that the movement was rooted in racism. I wouldn't have believed that at the time, because racism never made any sense to me, and surely God's people wouldn't be like that. After all, didn't we all know that "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight"?

 

The Christian circle I came from voted conservatively on the basis of opposing abortion and homosexuality and believing this is a "Christian nation," and not at all with a racist agenda. Although I obviously no longer ascribe to the Christian right at all, I never would have supported any racist component.

 

As a side note, I'm still partly confused by the "conservative" label. Even when I was a conservative Christian, I believed strongly in reducing pollution and waste. To me it seems that that should be a conservative agenda, because after all, isn't it about conserving our natural (God-given, I used to think) resources? As an advocate of Godly stewardship (when I was a believer), it seemed to be the proper stance not only as a Christian, but also as a conservative. The fact that many conservatives don't give a rat's ass about conserving our natural resources makes absolutely no sense to me.

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I'm reminded of the studies that keep popping up about religious conservatism correlating with lower IQ, low tolerance for ambiguity, and a need for clear cut answers. It saddens me. 

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I'm sure I don't know with any degree of certainty the reason conservative politics and conservative

religion (fundamentalism) go together hand and glove in America. But the South has always been

conservative politically, I think because of it's endorsement of slavery. That is, that view has

tainted its politics ever since. And the Protestant churches in the South were supportive of slavery because their money came from slave owners and the remainder of the brainwashed white citizens. No

inconsistency seen to have occurred to them. And the Democratic Party served the South's interests

until the Civil rights movement of the 1960's, at which time the Democrats supported and pushed through Congress Civil Rights legislation.

 

The South suddenly changed its political party support from Democratic to Republican because of the

Republican's opposition to the Civil Rights movement. The position of the republicans, plus its support of the evangelical movement put it squarely in line with the culture of the South. The Republicans

have since then preached very conservative politics and fundamentalists religion to maintain the

support of the South and other people who, though they man never been in the south, share that kind of

thinking.Even though many may think that Xtianity and anti civil rights are inconsistent with each

other, the fact is that they are consistent with the South's culture, which is the controlling factor.

Sorry if many of you feel this is basic, but I thought it is responsive to the previous posts. bill

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It's something, however, that has exercised my mind recently - why religious conservatism seems to go along with political conservatism.  I can't comment on other countries, of course, but it seems true here.

 

 

People who are religious and uneducated serve as a constant pool of "Useful idiots" . Any political party that throws ethics away can stay in power by appealing to fundies for free votes.

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I'm sure I don't know with any degree of certainty the reason conservative politics and conservativereligion (fundamentalism) go together hand and glove in America. But the South has always beenconservative politically, I think because of it's endorsement of slavery. That is, that view hastainted its politics ever since. And the Protestant churches in the South were supportive of slavery because their money came from slave owners and the remainder of the brainwashed white citizens. Noinconsistency seen to have occurred to them. And the Democratic Party served the South's interestsuntil the Civil rights movement of the 1960's, at which time the Democrats supported and pushed through Congress Civil Rights legislation.

 

The South suddenly changed its political party support from Democratic to Republican because of theRepublican's opposition to the Civil Rights movement. The position of the republicans, plus its support of the evangelical movement put it squarely in line with the culture of the South. The Republicanshave since then preached very conservative politics and fundamentalists religion to maintain thesupport of the South and other people who, though they man never been in the south, share that kind ofthinking.Even though many may think that Xtianity and anti civil rights are inconsistent with eachother, the fact is that they are consistent with the South's culture, which is the controlling factor.Sorry if many of you feel this is basic, but I thought it is responsive to the previous posts. bill

This may come as a surprise, but in both the House and the Senate, a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats. Granted, none of the Republican votes for the bill came from the south, but then again only a measly 8 southern Democrats voted for it.

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It's something, however, that has exercised my mind recently - why religious conservatism seems to go along with political conservatism.  I can't comment on other countries, of course, but it seems true here.

 

 

People who are religious and uneducated serve as a constant pool of "Useful idiots" . Any political party that throws ethics away can stay in power by appealing to fundies for free votes.

 

 

I have one issue with that - by no means all religiously and politically conservative people are uneducated - I can think of a man who teaches in a university, another who is a capable mathematician etc.

 

Perhaps idiocy is not a matter of education or I.Q, however.  More an issue of willful blindness (which, ultimately, is the nature of religious and social prejudice, I suppose)

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Citsonga: That is indeed surprising. ct it is so surprising that I am going to check it out. You know:

Trust but verify. No offense intended. But this, if true, will destroy my whole world view- well nearly

so. bill

 

 

The statistics are surprising, but the fact is that 1 senator and 7 congressmen from the democratic party from 11 Southern states voted in favor of the civil rights act of 1964

and zero senators and congressmen from those states voted for the Act from the

republican party. The the numbers of pro votes by democratics was not high in favor of it but it wasn't ZERO. AND THAT'S THE NUMBER THAT IMPRESSED THE SOUTH. And I'd wager those 8 favorable votes cost the democratic party the South. SO, ALTHOUGH MY WORLD VIEW WAS

slightly SHAKEN, IT HAS NOT CHANGED. bill

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^^^ Right. My point was simply that it wasn't quite the partisan vote that many on the left now would have us think. A higher percentage of Republicans voted in favor of the bill than Democrats, which is the opposite of the narrative that's often put out there. Don't get me wrong, though; I'm not a Republican and I couldn't vote Republican with how the party is today. I just don't want to blindly follow a narrative that is contrary to the facts.

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http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133.html#.U5OWZ3KSyug

 

 

 

One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

 

But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism.

 

 

Can we stop calling the the religious RIGHT.

 

What exactly are they right about. Yes I know it is a term of direction and not justification but its a shame the word is the same.

 

Right implies that the rest of us are wrong and I am sure they love that term.

 

Personally I am left handed and oppose them using the right side for this purpose it should only be for a place to hold my other hand.

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So are all the people who think that the religious right emerged as a political movement sprang out of Roe v. Wade under 50 (and too willfully ignorant to investigate something so recent), or are people my age already becoming senile?

 

It's not so long ago that a whole bunch of people shouldn't remember that evangelical christians did not start to organize into any sort of political movement before the late 70's.

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As a side note, I'm still partly confused by the "conservative" label. Even when I was a conservative Christian, I believed strongly in reducing pollution and waste. To me it seems that that should be a conservative agenda, because after all, isn't it about conserving our natural (God-given, I used to think) resources? As an advocate of Godly stewardship (when I was a believer), it seemed to be the proper stance not only as a Christian, but also as a conservative. The fact that many conservatives don't give a rat's ass about conserving our natural resources makes absolutely no sense to me.

 

Of course if you are convinced that Jesus is coming back within the next few years, then it might not seem important to you.

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Perhaps the real 'seed' of the religious right was planted as far back as the 1890's?

 

http://cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=f&word=FIVEPOINTSOFFUNDAMENTALISM

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Bible_Conference

 

Imho, the combination of Dispensationalism and the Fundamentals laid the foundation.

 

Then, with the acceptance of Darwinian evolution by mainstream science and a growing skepticism and secularism in modern society, the diehards reacted to these alarming trends with a right-leaning politico-religious agenda.

 

Your thoughts?

 

Thanks,

 

BAA

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Perhaps the real 'seed' of the religious right was planted as far back as the 1890's?

 

http://cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=f&word=FIVEPOINTSOFFUNDAMENTALISM

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Bible_Conference

 

Imho, the combination of Dispensationalism and the Fundamentals laid the foundation.

 

Then, with the acceptance of Darwinian evolution by mainstream science and a growing skepticism and secularism in modern society, the diehards reacted to these alarming trends with a right-leaning politico-religious agenda.

 

Your thoughts?

 

Thanks,

 

BAA

I definitely think there is something in that.

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I know that the born-agains were happy to see Jimmy Carter elected in 1976 because he was "one of their own" until he quickly disappointed them.  I think Ronald Reagan was the first president that the early modern American Religious Right rallied behind, but it was different than today, with the embarrassing hoards of Republicans trying to bring the Christian god into every aspect of their politics and assigning him the champion of all their policies.  It was more subtle.  Reagan had a broader appeal.  The nut jobs nudged their way in rather than bulldozed like they do now.  I remember one bumper sticker that read, "The Moral Majority is neither."  They did not seem at all like a majority then.  Of course the Religious Right never won over more than a third of the electorate, but their influence became disproportionate.

 

As I recall, they also seemed to have a more limited agenda while they were nudging in.  I think one of their pet issues then was to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment.  Oh, yes, and then there was Anita Bryant and her shameful crusade against homosexuals.  I think she was a darling of the fledgling modern Religious Right.

 

It started to be mobilized in the 1970's, but its core constituency is from the current fundamentalist/evangelical movement that sprang forth a little more than a century ago.  Ripe for the picking, they just needed a nudge from being non-political to politically involved.

 

Of course there's been a sort of incestual coalition between priest and monarch for probably thousands of years, but the modern Religious Right is a particularly effective machine for pushing out its nut ball agenda.

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As a side note, I'm still partly confused by the "conservative" label. Even when I was a conservative Christian, I believed strongly in reducing pollution and waste. To me it seems that that should be a conservative agenda, because after all, isn't it about conserving our natural (God-given, I used to think) resources? As an advocate of Godly stewardship (when I was a believer), it seemed to be the proper stance not only as a Christian, but also as a conservative. The fact that many conservatives don't give a rat's ass about conserving our natural resources makes absolutely no sense to me.

 

Of course if you are convinced that Jesus is coming back within the next few years, then it might not seem important to you.

 

 

Yeah, but "No man knoweth the day nor the hour."

 

The variances among believers demonstrate anything but the unity that Jesus supposedly prayed for. I guess "nothing fails like prayer" applies to even the "Son of God."

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I'm sure I don't know with any degree of certainty the reason conservative politics and conservativereligion (fundamentalism) go together hand and glove in America. But the South has always beenconservative politically, I think because of it's endorsement of slavery. That is, that view hastainted its politics ever since. And the Protestant churches in the South were supportive of slavery because their money came from slave owners and the remainder of the brainwashed white citizens. Noinconsistency seen to have occurred to them. And the Democratic Party served the South's interestsuntil the Civil rights movement of the 1960's, at which time the Democrats supported and pushed through Congress Civil Rights legislation.

 

The South suddenly changed its political party support from Democratic to Republican because of theRepublican's opposition to the Civil Rights movement. The position of the republicans, plus its support of the evangelical movement put it squarely in line with the culture of the South. The Republicanshave since then preached very conservative politics and fundamentalists religion to maintain thesupport of the South and other people who, though they man never been in the south, share that kind ofthinking.Even though many may think that Xtianity and anti civil rights are inconsistent with eachother, the fact is that they are consistent with the South's culture, which is the controlling factor.Sorry if many of you feel this is basic, but I thought it is responsive to the previous posts. bill

This may come as a surprise, but in both the House and the Senate, a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats. Granted, none of the Republican votes for the bill came from the south, but then again only a measly 8 southern Democrats voted for it.

 

 

 

That is not a surprise, because the major shift in the south from solid Democrat to solid Republican only started after that, and in reaction to bills like that. Texas was still mostly Democratic in 1980. 

 

The Republicans voting for things like the Civil Rights Act were mostly Northerners and Westerners, where desegregation had been the norm for decades. 

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I'm sure I don't know with any degree of certainty the reason conservative politics and conservativereligion (fundamentalism) go together hand and glove in America. But the South has always beenconservative politically, I think because of it's endorsement of slavery. That is, that view hastainted its politics ever since. And the Protestant churches in the South were supportive of slavery because their money came from slave owners and the remainder of the brainwashed white citizens. Noinconsistency seen to have occurred to them. And the Democratic Party served the South's interestsuntil the Civil rights movement of the 1960's, at which time the Democrats supported and pushed through Congress Civil Rights legislation.

 

The South suddenly changed its political party support from Democratic to Republican because of theRepublican's opposition to the Civil Rights movement. The position of the republicans, plus its support of the evangelical movement put it squarely in line with the culture of the South. The Republicanshave since then preached very conservative politics and fundamentalists religion to maintain thesupport of the South and other people who, though they man never been in the south, share that kind ofthinking.Even though many may think that Xtianity and anti civil rights are inconsistent with eachother, the fact is that they are consistent with the South's culture, which is the controlling factor.Sorry if many of you feel this is basic, but I thought it is responsive to the previous posts. bill

This may come as a surprise, but in both the House and the Senate, a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats. Granted, none of the Republican votes for the bill came from the south, but then again only a measly 8 southern Democrats voted for it.

 

 

 

That is not a surprise, because the major shift in the south from solid Democrat to solid Republican only started after that, and in reaction to bills like that. Texas was still mostly Democratic in 1980. 

 

The Republicans voting for things like the Civil Rights Act were mostly Northerners and Westerners, where desegregation had been the norm for decades. 

 

 

It was a surprise for william7davis, which is the individual I said that to. ;) 

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I can't comment on the history of U.S. politics, but it's probably fair to say that premillenialist dispensationalism is the driving doctrinal force behind fundamentalism here, and fundamentalism is mirrored by social and political conservatism.

 

Part of that, I think, is a longing in that movement to return to 19th century roots, as that was its' time of growth and influence.  Now, they can only bemoan empty pews and secular indifference.  The blame for that is placed on the social and political developments of the 20th century - which, perhaps, is why quite a few of (certainly the older) Christians I know practically live in the 19th century (no T.V's; radio just about accepted; some without telephones etc).  Conservatism relates to the past and equates, in their minds, with a sense of security.

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I can't comment on the history of U.S. politics, but it's probably fair to say that premillenialist dispensationalism is the driving doctrinal force behind fundamentalism here, and fundamentalism is mirrored by social and political conservatism.

 

Part of that, I think, is a longing in that movement to return to 19th century roots, as that was its' time of growth and influence.  Now, they can only bemoan empty pews and secular indifference.  The blame for that is placed on the social and political developments of the 20th century - which, perhaps, is why quite a few of (certainly the older) Christians I know practically live in the 19th century (no T.V's; radio just about accepted; some without telephones etc).  Conservatism relates to the past and equates, in their minds, with a sense of security.

 

Hey, no TV is actually a good idea. But yes, US "conservatism" is deeply rooted in the psychological need for the return to a mythical, Edenic past. 

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