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Religious Right

The religious right has morphed into a full-service political action committee, championing nuclear weapons, tax breaks for the rich and rigid immigration policies “in the name of Jesus.” Seriously? […] Read More

What, if any, relationship exists between the Christian Right’s public conflicts over policies and the growth of “nones” (people claiming no religious affiliation) in the U.S.? That question was the focus of research conducted by Paul A. Djupe, Denison University; Jacob R. Neiheisel, University at Buffalo; and Kimberly H. Conger, University of Cincinnati. Their research […] Read More

Randall Balmer’s recent analytical biography of Jimmy Carter, titled “Redeemer,” offers a thoroughly researched and insightful review of an evolution in the evangelical narrative that coincided with Carter’s presidency. With visible expressions in the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention and the rise and influence of the Moral Majority, which became the Religious Right, […] Read More

Almost always, Sightings takes off from the sighting of a particular recent news event. This time, for fun and games, we’ll make an exception and address a generic theme: the Religious Left. Several weeks ago, we commented on Jim Wallis, the leader of Sojourners (a progressive, Christian social justice organization), who is often cited as […] Read More

Through the years this Sightings column has never commented on presidential campaigns, and the contest held this year is no exception. Today, self-liberated from the practice of opting-out, we can survey the comments on “public religion” in the campaign and election just past. We usually footnote these columns with reference to newspaper and Internet coverage […] Read More

The latest round of the political WrestleMania gotcha match, otherwise known as the presidential campaign, finds the members of the tag team trying to “out-faith” each other while simultaneously painting their eventual opponent as “anti-faith.” They vow to protect the country from the consequences of a pervasive “attack on faith” by just about everybody except […] Read More

With one week before the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, more than 150 conservative evangelical leaders gathered on a Texas ranch in the latest effort to find a political savior. At the close of the two-day private meeting, the group emerged Saturday to announce its vote to back former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in the […] Read More

Southern Baptist preacher Robert Jeffress injected poisonous language into the public square, attacking the faith of one Republican presidential candidate and praising the faith of another. He called Mormonism a cult, a slam at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and cheered the evangelical Christian faith of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Introducing Perry, Jeffress told Christian […] Read More

Judging politicians by their preachers is a great temptation to which many succumb, adding more poison to the public square in at least two ways. First, it fosters the false fear that dogmatic preachers have undue influence over politicians – when they really don’t. Even the worst politicians are not religiously robotic. They compromise doctrine […] Read More

Weekly, year in and year out, we sight new evidence that defining what is “religious” and what is “secular” remains difficult in the United States. One way to trace some attempts is to read The Humanist, as we often do. “Cross Purposes,” in the current July-August issue, is an example. In it, Rob Boston plots […] Read More