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Thread: The Rise Of The Religious Right - A History

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    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    The Rise Of The Religious Right - A History

    https://billmoyers.com/story/new-pod...hadow-network/

    Bill Moyers interviews Anne Nelson, writer of the book "Shadow Network: Media, Money And The Secret Hub Of The Radical Right". She follows the rise of the religious right due to the leadership of Paul Weyrich who developed the tactic of politicizing the churches to support right wing politics and impose right winged politics on this nation. Anne Nelson seems to have a couple of you tube lectures laying out how the religious right has managed to create the religious right, and impose it's theocratic plans on all of us.

    It is an interesting interview with a lot of history explained on how we got to where we are now.
    Cheerful Charlie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    https://billmoyers.com/story/new-pod...hadow-network/

    Bill Moyers interviews Anne Nelson, writer of the book "Shadow Network: Media, Money And The Secret Hub Of The Radical Right". She follows the rise of the religious right due to the leadership of Paul Weyrich who developed the tactic of politicizing the churches to support right wing politics and impose right winged politics on this nation. Anne Nelson seems to have a couple of you tube lectures laying out how the religious right has managed to create the religious right, and impose it's theocratic plans on all of us.

    It is an interesting interview with a lot of history explained on how we got to where we are now.
    I'll have to give that a listen. Does she connect the modern religious right to the socio-political events of the early 1900's, including the revival and height of the KKK in the 1920's? There was a confluence of factors including mass influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe (including many intellectuals with socialist leanings), post-industrial modernization causing rapid cultural changes (think women's dress and dancing in the "roaring 20's), rural flight into the cities, floundering rural economy, laws making high school compulsory, and the teaching of evolution.

    The 1925 Scopes trial was a byproduct of these things an was about more than teaching evolution. It was the start of a culture war and one of the first attacks by the an emerging Christian right against modern culture, science, ethnic & ideological pluralism, etc.. The arguments by William Jennings-Bryant were the same blend of xenophobia, racism, anti-science, and anti-urbanism/modernism the Christian right spews today. That same year, the KKK was at it's historical high with almost 4 million official members, they marched on Washington, and strongly supported both the 1925 Anti-immigration Act and Jennings Bryant. In sum, all of the core elements of political activism rooted in Biblical literalism, white supremacy, xenophobic nationalism, rural "family values", anti-intellectualism, opposition to "loose morals" and women's changing roles, etc. were present at least a century ago. The only major difference was that the Christian right was aligned more with the Democrats since they were the dominant party of the rural south. In the 60's when the GOP instituted it's "Southern Strategy" of courting the votes of rural, white, southern racists, the Christian right and the KKK moved with the south in general from the Dems to the GOP. Looking at his Wiki, that's about the same time that Weyrich got involved with politics.

    The modern Christian right may have learned not to openly support the KKK and use more coded language to promote its xenophobic white supremacy, but it's roots are clearly deeply intertwined with the KKK and they values almost identical.

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    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Not really. She starts with Paul Weyrich, a evangelical leader. What he did starting in the seventies was to help bring the evangelicals, who tended politically right to become politically active to engineer a take over of the GOP and eventually the Senate, Presidency and House. He married the religious right and political right. There was plenty of American conservatives, but after Goldwater's smashing defeat, the GOP was discouraged and ripe for take over.His great plan was to organize the religious right to move into politics. Weyrich was wildly successful. If there was a political master mind that made the GOP what is today, and what made American politics what it is today, Nelson gives him that credit.

    Of course there may be a reckoning coming. Right winged politicized churches have been driving disgusted millennials and younger cohorts out of the churches and creating the massive Nones phenomenon.
    Cheerful Charlie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Not really. She starts with Paul Weyrich, a evangelical leader. What he did starting in the seventies was to help bring the evangelicals, who tended politically right to become politically active to engineer a take over of the GOP and eventually the Senate, Presidency and House. He married the religious right and political right. There was plenty of American conservatives, but after Goldwater's smashing defeat, the GOP was discouraged and ripe for take over.His great plan was to organize the religious right to move into politics. Weyrich was wildly successful. If there was a political master mind that made the GOP what is today, and what made American politics what it is today, Nelson gives him that credit.

    Of course there may be a reckoning coming. Right winged politicized churches have been driving disgusted millennials and younger cohorts out of the churches and creating the massive Nones phenomenon.
    I can see that his efforts to control a particular party were important. But I balk at the arguments I've heard elsewhere that political/theocratic fundamentalism is something relatively new in the US. Christian conservatives have always sought to control government, they just weren't as directed at controlling one particular party. Also, the timing was critical, b/c he began his efforts exactly when the GOP itself had consciously decided to actively court the southern white supremacy vote, which highly overlapping with Christian right. And southern racists who were overwhelmingly christian conservatives were seeking to flee from the Dems b/c the Dems were fully embracing the Civil Rights movement. Seems odd to talk about the religious takeover of the GOP without the major role that the "Southern Strategy" played in that.

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