The birth of The Christian Right can be traced to a 1979 meeting where televangelist Jerry Falwell was urged to create a "Moral Majority" organization. Since then they have come to be an immense power in American culture and politics. We don’t think they’re doing the work Jesus taught us to do. While throwing around terms like “Family Values” and “Christian Nation” they subjugate women, and cast aside the poor, the sick, the alien, the oppressed, and anyone else that doesn’t fit in their exclusive club.
Here's a loose timeline of their activities:
The Organizations of The Christian Right
The Christian Coalition of America
The Christian Coalition of America (CCA), a 501(c)(4) organization, is the successor to the original Christian Coalition created in 1989 by religious broadcaster and former presidential candidate Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson, and is a US Christian advocacy group, which includes Christian fundamentalists, neo-evangelicals and conservative charismatics. In 1990, the national Christian Coalition, Inc., began producing voter guides which it distributed to conservative Christian churches. 40 million guides were distributed in the 1992 and 1996 presidential election years. Complaints that the voter guides were actually partisan led to the denial of the Christian Coalition, Inc.'s tax-exempt status in 1999. Later that same year, the Coalition prevailed in its five year defense of lawsuit a brought by the Federal Election Commission. They continue to publish Voter guides to this day which they distribute to churches. While they use clever wording, they are obviously partisan.
The Family Research Council
The Family Research Council is a hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Council opposes abortion for any reason, believes homosexuality should be against the law, and believes global warming is a hoax. FRC was listed as a hate group after it falsely linked gay males to pedophilia. It basically lobbies the government to make laws that govern our personal and private lives. The Council is a Christian Right-wing organization that has a heavy influence on the Republican Party, hence all the abortion laws they propose.
Council for National Policy
Tim Lahaye founded the Council for National Policy and and Kenneth Cribb is the current President. Tim LaHaye (born April 27, 1926) is an American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker. He is best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins (for more on 'the rapture' check this article out). He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction. The CNP is a conservative organization for social conservative activists. Described by The New York Times as a “little-known group of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country,” the organization is perhaps the most powerful among the ranks of The Christian Right. Members include the likes of James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, Phyllis Schlafly, and Edwin Feulner Jr. What makes this group particularly dangerous is that they support theocracy and Dominionism as national policy. They are also incredibly secretive and that’s scary.
The American Family Association
Classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Family Association is headed by Tim Wildmon. AFA is just like every other conservative Christian group. It opposes abortion and gay rights, as well as other public policy goals such as deregulation of the oil industry and lobbying against the Employee Free Choice Act. The group has actively boycotted just about any business that disagrees with them. In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, the AFA released a video in which “God” tells a student that students were killed in schools because God isn’t allowed in schools anymore and blamed the shootings on abortion and lack of prayer in schools. AFA is against all other religions and has an obsession with Christmas, often boycotting companies that do not mention Christmas in their advertising.
James Dobson is a Family Talk radio personality. A frequent guest on Fox News, he is perhaps the most influential religious leader on the Christian-Right even though he has never been ordained. Dobson believes that women should only focus on mothering (and probably cooking too) and is totally against gay rights. He supports private schools and special tax privileges for religious schools. He opposes sex education and only supports abstinence as the only technique for pregnancy prevention. Dobson started all of the anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-education speeches that are now commonplace in the Republican Party. [Note from The Christian Left: This is the saddest entry for us. Some of us used to really enjoy James Dobson. It's unfortunate that he joined the extreme right. Maybe he'll see the light some day.]
American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)
The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) is a conservative Christian, pro-life group that was founded in 1990 by Pat Robertson. It was conceived as a counterweight to the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization which Robertson maintains is "hostile to traditional American values." The name and acronym, ACLJ, was intentionally chosen for its similarities to the ACLU. It has attracted much media attention for its lawsuits, such as its campaign to oppose changes to the constitution of United States that would permit abortion and its attempts to block the construction of an Islamic cultural center near the former site of the World Trade Center. Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow quickly established the organization as a key player in the right-wing movement, litigating a variety of cases at all levels, including the Supreme Court. The ACLJ has been particularly active in fighting marriage equality and defending the Pledge of Allegiance, while Sekulow has maintained very close ties to the Bush White House and played a central role in pushing for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito.
Salem Communications (NASDAQ: SALM) is a U.S. radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book publisher specializing in evangelical Christian and conservative political talk radio. It owns 99 commercial radio stations, 65 of which are in the top 25 markets. Salem is the fifth largest U.S. radio station owner after Clear Channel, Cumulus, CBS Radio, and Entercom. The company focuses on acquiring radio stations with powerful transmitters, unlike most Christian broadcasters who tend to purchase many low-power translators. Salem owns more AM than FM stations, and covers one-third of the U.S population.
Salem Communications was founded by Stuart Epperson and Edward Atsinger III and, unlike many Christian broadcasters, is a for-profit corporation. Also, unlike their non-profit counterparts, Salem stations transmit high-powered signals in commercial radio bands. The founders of Salem Communications support various religious causes. Epperson was recently reported in Time magazine as one of the "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America." In 2004 he co-chaired Americans of Faith, a religiously-based Republican electoral campaign. Both founders have served on the Council for National Policy. They gave $100,000 to the Bush presidential reelection campaign and $780,000 to the 2000 "California Defense of Marriage Act" (Proposition 22) ballot measure. On air personalities include, Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Cal Thomas.
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense." While The Heritage Foundation isn't a Christian organization per se, they are in bed with The Christian Right and cooperate with its organizations on a regular basis. The Heritage Foundation is extremely powerful and has its hands in every level of government. For more information read the Wiki article.
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We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.