Sometime around 1979, Jerry Falwell helped create the “Moral” Majority. Despite the separation clause in the US Constitution, the group’s goal was to push a Christian agenda in US politics. Although the organization was dissolved in the late 1980s, it was followed by Pat Robertson’s and Ralph E. Reed, Jr’s Christian Coalition in 1988.
Capitalizing on the fight against abortion, the group’s political clout reached its zenith in the late 1990s during the Clinton administration and during George W. Bush’s successful campaign for president. In Bush, the group had a president who gladly did its bidding. Bush repaid the group with his federal funding of “faith-based” organizations and his denial of federal funding for contraception and abortion.
Since Bush left office the group has taken a backseat to Tea Party Republicans. But it has left a substantial legacy which, in many ways, has become even more entrenched today.
You can see that legacy in the religious zeal with which the Republican faithful have purged their ranks of political moderates, aka RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). In this religious-based mentality, there is no place for compromise. It’s a mentality in which everything is as black and white as good and evil.
Ironically, the “Christian” right perverts the very tenets of Christianity – those of understanding, forgiveness and help for the poor. Instead, the leaders of the group have pushed an agenda of intolerance, hatred and even war. I’ve heard these leaders pray for the death of Supreme Court Justices so Bush could annoint, I mean appoint, another right-wing conservative to the Court. I’ve heard these leaders call for political assassinations of those with whom they disagree. And I’ve heard these leaders justify wars against people of other faiths.
Unfortunately, these leaders were given a forum for their ideas through syndicated “Christian” radio. Their zeal and anger have been parroted and amplified by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and most every host on Fox News Channel. Now the “faithful” are demanding a crusade against government and those they consider non-believers such as Muslims, the poor, the elderly, immigrants, unions, teachers, firefighters and, of course, Democrats.