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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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Mother Jones religion issue


The Mother Jones religion issue is now up on and can be
accessed here (use the code MJ5RES to access the full text of articles that
fall behind the pay wall):

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, several of the writers in the package will be taking
part in an e-conference to be held on the new blog site Talk To Action:
Richard Reynolds
Communications Director
Mother Jones magazine
222 Sutter St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA  94108


The Great Debate of Our Season
Mother Jones on the Christian right¹s campaign to remake the U.S. government

In a special December issue, Mother Jones magazine examines the contentious
debate over the role of religion in government. ³It¹s been more than 200
years since the founders established the separation of church and state,²
observe the editors in introducing the package. ³The assault on that
principle now under way promises to alter not only our form of government
but our concept of religion as well.²

³Original Intent,² by Susan Jacoby

Jacoby, the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, leads
the package off by detailing the conscious and radical decision by the
framers of the Constitution to create the first secular government in the
world. Jacoby spotlights Antonin Scalia¹s dissenting opinion in the recent
Supreme Court decision on courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments. She
dubs Scalia¹s opinion ³a revealing portrait of the historical revisionism at
the heart of the Christian conservative campaign to convince Americans that
the separation of church and state is nothing more than a lie of the
secularist left.² 

³A Nation Under God,² by John Sugg

Sugg describes the Christian Reconstruction movement as ³the spark plug
behind much of the battle over religion in politics today.²
Reconstructionists believe that Christian crusaders must conquer and convert
the world, by sword if necessary, before Jesus will return. In this
worldview, says Sugg, Christians are asked not just to live right or help
their neighbors, but to take over the institutions of government.

³A Higher Frequency,² by Adam Piore

Piore tracks the rise of Salem Communications, a Christian radio empire
Stuart Epperson and Edward Atsinger III built through force of will and
grassroots organizing. Today the company owns 103 stations in the nation¹s
largest markets and broadcasts to more than 1,900 affiliates. Salem provides
the Christian right with a powerful platform from which to share
information, mobilize allies, and galvanize public opinion.

³Professing Faith,² by Karen Houppert

At Baylor University, the nation¹s largest Baptist college, the rise of
Christian fundamentalism led to a pitched battle between moderate and
fundamentalist Christians for the soul of the university. In the course of
the struggle, writes Houppert, ³one university president fell, the theory of
Intelligent Design was wedged into the curriculum and then railroaded out,
the faculty went to the mat to defend its academic freedom policy, [and]
alumni groups splintered.²

³Rendering Unto God,² by Michael Reynolds

In recent years a little-known group known as the National Christian
Foundation has emerged as a major funder of the evangelical movement. The
Atlanta-based group has funneled nearly $1 billon to ministries, schools,
conservative think tanks, and political activists around the country.
Literature urges donors, who usually remain anonymous, to ³invest dollars
into God¹s Kingdom, rather than surrender those dollars to the federal

³Death Row Conversion,² by Sara Catania

When a parishioner ended up on death row, St. Francis of Assisi Church in
Raleigh, North Carolina, responded by becoming one of the most active
Catholic congregations in the country in opposing the death penalty.


³The Roman Inquisition,² by JoAnn Wypijewski

The pope¹s plan to ³purify² the priesthood denies that for centuries gay men
have found refuge in the church¹s ranks and rituals, observes Wypijewski.

³Smith vs. Darwin,² by James K. Galbraith

More than a century after Adam Smith laid down his vision of a world
governed by natural law, says Galbraith, economics remains stuck in a
³pre-Darwinian rut² that strangely parallels Intelligent Design. ³Economists
still don¹t understand variation,² writes Galbraith. ³[They] still ignore
the diversity of actual economic and social life.²


²Expanding Universe: The religious right¹s orbits of influence,² by
Frederick Clarkson

A two-page graphic spread details the intersecting galaxies of the religious
right, from the Christian Coalition of America to the Moral Majority
Coalition, Focus on the Family, and the Foundation for Moral Law.

³Sanctus Santorum,² by Will Bunch

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was the first member of Congress to visit
the media scrum outside Terri Schiavo¹s hospice. The senator told reporters
he happened to be in the neighborhood, reports Bunch. What he didn¹t reveal
was that he was in Tampa to attend a fundraising lunch organized by
corporate benefactor Outback Steakhouses, having flown in on the jet of
another major donor: Wal-Mart.

³So Help Us Our Guardian Deities²

From Ireland (the Most Holy Trinity) to Pakistan (Almighty Allah) to North
Korea (Comrade Kim Il Sung), Mother Jones lists the deities cited in the
constitutions of 11 other countries.

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Last updated: December-2005