The Religious Right: Then and Now

If asked for an example of what the “Religious Right” represents today, I would point my finger at Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

Started by megahuckster and rapture pusher John Hagee, this group is dedicated to rallying evangelicals together for the cause of Israel…so Jesus can one day return!

As we all know, if there’s no Israel, there’ll be no second coming (obviously). So these vangies have dedicated their lives to a foreign power in the hopes of being redeemed in a second life.

It would be a farce if there weren’t so many Middle Americans who bought this scam – hook, line, and sinker.

Slate’s write up of this year’s CUFI conference perfectly encapsulates all of the idiocy and lack of seriousness of the modern Religious Right:

Hagee had set the theme: This year’s CUFI conference, followed by its members’ lobbying trips to Congress, would pressure the Obama administration not to broker an early cease-fire in Israel. The people of Israel would not suffer so that “John Kerry could win his Nobel Peace prize.” (Hagee made that joke again at an evening, music-and-dancing stuffed CUFI celebration, which started with a taped message from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.) American evangelicals needed to imagine themselves as Israelis, praise the “miracle” of the Iron Dome missile defense system, and understand that the Jews had a biblical mandate to the entire Holy Land.

“I’ll bless those that bless you and I’ll curse those that curse you,” said Hagee, quoting from the book of Genesis. “That’s God’s foreign policy statement, and it has not changed.”

And it should come as no surprise that the Jewish Director of CUFI, David Brog, would add another ingredient for why so many Christians support Israel—Holocaust guilt:

Brog had obviously answered countless versions of the question, usually from more hostile inquisitors; in the response I got, he insisted that CUFI’s members, like many evangelicals, “have a profound sense of guilt in the Christian Era, and how the Holocaust happened and Christians didn’t do anything about it.”

Yep, even goofy evangelicals out in the heartland are to be blamed for the 6 million. Thankfully, they can now show penance through fanatically support of Israel. Even Sheldon Adelson and his wife concede that these gentiles would be on their side when the next Holocaust breaks out:

That was backed up by the speeches, and by the hallway conversations. Israel was one war away from destroying Hamas—unless John Kerry stopped it. Iran was one missile away from a second Holocaust—unless the Obama administration acted. On Monday night, Hagee gave a special award to Republican super PAC donor Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who turned and thanked the mostly Christian audience for backing Israel.

“If you had been there during the Holocaust, you would have stood up and fought for the Jewish people,” said Miriam Adelson. “And maybe the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened.”

“I’ve never had a greater warm feeling than being honored by Pastor Hagee,” said a beaming Sheldon Adelson…

To wrap up this landmark event, here’s Lindsey Graham telling the audience just what will happen if America turns its back on the promise land:

“Here’s a message for America: Don’t ever turn your back on Israel, because God will turn his back on us,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. “More Germans died in World War II than American soldiers. That didn’t make the Germans right.”

It’s quite clear that these people absolutely suck and we have nothing in common with them. The rest of the facets of the Religious Right outside its Israel cheerleading are equally as bad. From opposing evolution for it promoting racism to being “pro-life” on entirely egalitarian grounds, there isn’t much that is “Right” about the Religious Right.

Which brings us to the irony of how this movement was formed over the issue of school integration and how religious groups were trying to keep their schools all-White. Believe it or not, but there was once a time when the Religious Right was actually Right.

In a revealing article published by Politico, the roots of the Religious Right are traced back to a federal lawsuit in the 1970s against the private, arch-Conservative Bob Jones University that mandated the school desegregate immediately or face the suspension of federal funding. Bob Jones refused to admit Blacks to its campus—citing their founder’s stance that the Bible mandated segregation for their discriminatory posture.

This brought the attention of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, who found the seed for awakening America’s dormant religious class for political action. The result was the Moral Majority that became a major political force in politics for the next 30 years. While it had evangelical super star Jerry Falwell as its public face, the rest of the founders of the movement were not evangelicals.

Weyrich was Catholic at the time (later converting to Orthodoxy); Richard Viguerie and Tony Dolan were also Catholic; Howard Phillips was Jewish. Only Falwell was an evangelical, and this is likely why he served as such a good face for an organization created by Catholics.

The Moral Majority was able to build an effective coalition between the Catholics and the Evangelicals over a shared animosity towards recent court decisions. The evangelicals were mad over forced integration, the Catholics were mad over legalized abortion. Before Roe v. Wade, hardcore Protestants gave little attention to the issue of abortion—with some denominations saying it was ok because life begins at birth rather than at conception. This changed once they aligned with the Catholics in the Religious Right and became the most vociferous critics of the practice.

As time went on, the Religious Right stopped fighting against integration and other racial issues and focused exclusively on abortion, gay marriage, and Israel. Or in other words, all issues that are of little concern to Identitarians. What once was a promising movement that seemed able to fight some aspects of White dispossession has now turned into a massive misdirection for Middle Americans to focus on issues of little importance.

But then again, how can you compete with charismatic snake oil salesmen who promise salvation with every donation?