Running Against Sodom and Osama

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The Christian Right, Values Voters, and the Culture Wars in 2006

A Report from Political Research Associates by Chip Berlet and Pam Chamberlain October, 2006

Table of Contents:

-What Culture War?
-Running Against Sodom
-The FRC Action Values Voter Summit Washington Briefing
-Family, Faith, & Freedom: To Protect the Children
—–Families At Risk
—–Faith Under Fire
—–Freedom at Risk
-Swimming in Subtext
-Midterm Election Partisanship
-Micro-targeting in the Pews
-Gay Bashing on Liberty Sunday
—–The Durability of the Christian Right
—–Fissures and Wedges
—–An Effective Progressive Response
-About PRA

-The New Christian Right Leadership Network
—–Family Research Council Action
—–Focus on the Family Action
—–Americans United to Preserve Marriage
—–American Family Association Action
-The Christian Coalition
-Christian Right Roots: Marshner and McGraw
—–Connie Marshner
—–Onalee McGraw
-Mitt Romney, Massachusetts and Beyond
-Social Dynamics
—–Demonization; Apocalyptic Demagoguery
—–Why This Shrill Rhetoric Now?
—–Values Voters and Right-Wing Populism
-Islam and Xenophobia
-Struggling with Satan
—–Katherine Harris
—–End Times


With its eye on the 2006 mid-term elections, a coalition of Christian Right groups has launched a national campaign against same sex marriage featuring nasty, alarmist, and often bigoted rhetoric that demonizes gay men and lesbians. Speakers at various recent electoral mobilization events have warned of sinister forces threatening America from without and within. The external threat is said to be from Islamic terrorists and “Islamofascists,” who embrace a culture of death as symbolized by the attacks on 9/11. The same culture of death poses an internal threat through gay rights, abortion, and pornography. Godly Christians must confront these threats in order to protect families, and especially children.

These sets of beliefs are not new, but there are times when they are submerged into the Christian Right subculture, and there are times when they surface as part of a public campaign. Although leaders of the Christian Right almost universally deny it, the goal of this revived public campaign is to elect Republicans to office in 2006, 2008, and beyond. The enemy being denounced is sometimes generic: gays, liberals, secularists, the left-leaning media, Hollywood; and sometimes specific: Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Rosie O’Donnell, the ACLU; but the actual target is the Democratic Party and its candidates.1

If they could help achieve firm Republican control of both houses of Congress and the White House, Christian Right strategists envision the appointment of proper conservative federal judges to replace aging liberal “activist” ones. They foresee this victory resulting in the eventual banning of same sex marriage, the rollback of gay righe33ts, and the outlawing of abortion. The ultimate goal for many in this aggressive dominionist effort is to “restore” America as a Christian nation.2

Polls show that most Americans—indeed most Christians—seldom rank abortion, gay rights, and other social issues high on their list of priorities.3 When Christian evangelical “values voters” think about values, they don’t limit themselves to gay rights and abortion; they also think about such issues as the economy, education, health care, poverty, and the environment. In terms of foreign policy, all Christians are pulled in two directions by different theological emphases on military strength and the pursuit of peace. So too, theological considerations apply when Christian evangelical voters evaluate particular candidates on a range of issues. Not all evangelicals are conservative politically or theologically; and some evangelicals who are theologically conservative (or even fundamentalist) are politically liberal or progressive.

This is easier to understand when looking at the difference in voting patterns between White Christian evangelical voters and Black Christian evangelical voters. More than 90% of Black evangelical voters have picked Democrats in recent Presidential elections. Many are opposed to same sex marriage and abortion, but their other values—the economy, social justice, health care—outweigh the gender-related social issues.

Be this as it may, highly-motivated core groups of predominantly White evangelical voters mobilized around social issues by a coalition of the Christian Right and the Republican Party can tip the vote tally in a handful of key states. There is a Culture War in America, but most voters are non-combatants. It is a guerilla war in which Christian Right institutions help win national elections for Republican candidates through micro-targeted grassroots mobilizations of voters. To be precise, there is compelling statistical evidence that the Christian Right is able, in some elections, to shift a small but decisive number of White Christian evangelical voters in specific states towards the Republican Party.4

We suggest that in this election cycle, Christian Right strategists have selected certain social issues with care, foregrounding those that resonate with conservative evangelical “values voters;” and are micro-targeting those voters in key states. Highly respected demographer John C. Green explains, “White evangelicals are the most likely to have social issue priorities.” The way voters concerned about values lean in any specific election after weighing social and economic issues “may simply be differences in values prompted in large measure by campaigns where the GOP stresses morality with success and the Democrats fail to stress the economy effectively.”5 In 2004, there was even evidence that in some states, Black evangelical “values voters” were pulled into the voting booth for Republicans through this strategy. The same small trend may be occurring with Hispanic voters.6

This report takes you inside recent Christian Right electoral mobilization events to explore the messages and strategies of a new coalition that is claiming leadership of the Christian Right; explains how their micro-targeted election mobilizations work; and explains why the Christian Right will continue to play a major role in U.S. political and cultural life for decades to come.

What Culture War?

Some dismiss the idea of a Culture War that pits Christian dominionists against secularists.7 Others suggest that “values voters” span the political spectrum, and thus may not be a critical factor in future elections.8 One extensive recent poll found that “Social issues such as abortion and same sex marriage rank last in importance to the vast majority of Americans when deciding how to vote.”9 The poll also established that:

  • “An overwhelming majority of Americans, including at least three-quarters of every major religious tradition, say issues like poverty and health care are more important than hot-button social issues.”
  • “When people think about “voting their values,” more people think of the honesty, integrity, and responsibility of the candidate than any other values.”
  • “Americans overwhelmingly agree that too many religious leaders focus on abortion and gay rights without addressing more important issues such as loving our neighbors and caring for the poor.”

In the lead up to the 2006 election, the White House has been said to be worried that Republican voters might not be motivated enough to go to the polls.10 There have been reports of declining support for the Republicans within evangelical ranks. Some Christian Right leaders have grumbled that the Republicans have not delivered on enough of the promises made after the 2000 and 2004 elections when they helped elect George W. Bush.11

Can the Christian Right legitimately take credit for Bush’s 2004 victory? Didn’t the pundits declare false the initial reports that “Moral Values” voters were Christian Right activists who had swarmed to the polls for the Republicans? They did, and it is true that the initial reports of a broad national trend were wrong in making certain sweeping assumptions. Since 2004, however, sophisticated studies of the exit polls in past elections have revealed that in some states, the voters who said they were concerned about “moral values,” and who were also conservative Christian evangelicals, did indeed vote in significantly higher numbers for Bush, and almost certainly helped provide a margin of victory in key states such as Ohio.

According to John C. Green and religion professor Mark Silk, regional variations in how voters ranked their concerns over social issues demonstrate that “moral-values voters were more important to the president’s victory than the national totals imply.” And in Ohio especially, Christian evangelicals and “regular worship attenders and less regular attenders were both more likely to be Bush moral values voters.” Green and Silk conclude that as “Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell hoped, the coalition of the moral has expanded beyond evangelicals, but for the most part more in the evangelical heartland than elsewhere.” This group of “religious folks were more likely to choose moral values in the Bush regions than in the Kerry regions.”12

In a more extensive study in the British Journal of Political Science, political scientist Geoffrey C. Layman and John C. Green found the following:

“ [T]he usefulness of the culture wars thesis varies by policy, religious and political context. The culture wars strongly influence mass political behaviour when religious perspectives are logically related to policy issues, communal experiences encourage these connections and electoral actors emphasize and differentiate themselves on such matters. Outside of these contexts, the culture wars have little political impact….The culture wars are waged by limited religious troops on narrow policy fronts under special political leadership, and a broader cultural conflagration is just a rumour.13

There may be no broad Culture War sweeping the country, but there is a very real guerilla Culture War in which Christian Right institutions help win elections for Republicans by targeting key states with grassroots mobilizations of voters. In 1991 the Christian Coalition described the strategy of mobilizing small but decisive numbers of voters as the “15% solution,” referring to the share of voters generally needed to tip an election. Realizing that they do not have to convince a majority to agree to them, they focused on mobilizing enough Christian voters to make a difference.14

Running Against Sodom

Same sex marriage is the current hot button topic in which, through the Christian Right, “religious perspectives are logically related to policy issues” as Layman and Green put it. These topics vary over time across a range of conservative social issues, although the two main themes since the late 1970s have been anti-abortion and antigay. Since the early 1980s, after helping elect Ronald Reagan by using abortion as a wedge issue, Christian Right strategists have grazed across conservative social issues linked to “moral values.” They carefully track what topic and what type of rhetoric raises more money in targeted direct mail campaigns, and what turns out voters to the polls. For example, Republican strategists will take a close look at the voting patterns in the eight states that will vote on marriage restrictions this November.

In 2003 there was a similar antigay campaign launched, aimed at influencing the 2004 Presidential election.15 Antigay campaigns are a recurrent theme in the Christian Right, and have been used for electoral voter mobilizations before.16 Christian Right leader James Dobson, founder and current chairman of the board of Focus on the Family, campaigned actively in 2004, citing the “assault on marriage” that he saw as being waged by those who supported same sex marriage. Republican strategist and Bush advisor Karl Rove was reported as making the mobilization of conservative Christian evangelicals a key priority for the campaign.17 Given the initial uncertainty over the influence of the Christian Right in the 2004 elections, it was not clear if Rove would once again encourage a high visibility Christian Right pre-election campaign using social issues. We now know the Christian Right efforts in 2004 had an effect, and we know this tactic of demonizing same sex marriage is being employed once again.

The Christian Right’s anti-gay strategy, framed as “an assault on the family,” is directly aimed at electing Republican candidates in the 2006 midterm elections. This same strategy could be used for the 2008 Presidential race, because it has worked before in concert with statewide ballot initiatives and candidate framing issues.

The decision about this will not be based on the overall outcome of the 2006 midterm elections, but on sophisticated analyses by Republican strategists of exit polls and other data that will reveal whether or not the grassroots micro-target techniques were effective in specific states. If it turns out that antigay rhetoric pulled some conservative evangelicals into voting booths in targeted races, then the reliance on antigay rhetoric will be continued through 2008. If not, then other issues will be field tested to identify the most effective hot-button social issue.

Micro-targeting is the technique used by Republicans to mobilize grassroots voter participation on Election Day.18 As journalists Mike Allen and James Carney explain:

Republicans hope to close the deal in tight races with a get-out-the-vote strategy that was developed in the wreckage of the 2000 presidential campaign. Bush’s team was led then, as it is now, by Rove, Bush’s political architect and now White House deputy chief of staff, and [Ken] Mehlman, then White House political-affairs director.

The G.O.P. says their volunteer forces in ‘04 proved to be more effective than the paid workers contracted by Democrats, unions and Democrat- oriented fund-raising groups.19

At the Christian Right’s “Values Voter Summit” Washington Briefing held in Washington, DC, in late September 2006, several speakers openly touted the fact that the Christian Right had played a major role in electing Bush in 2004. It was clear from conversations with attendees that many felt the statewide initiatives to block same sex marriage had drawn many evangelical voters to the polls, and that the vote for Bush in some cases came along for the ride. Judge Charles W. Pickering, Sr., made this same point when he said that Bush might not have won Ohio if the Marriage Amendment had not been on the ballot. Pickering, who Bush unsuccessfully tried to appoint to the federal appeals bench in 2004, said there was a culture war in America, with the battle over the confirmation of federal judges a central front. One conference workshop (discussed in detail later in this report) was based on applying micro-targeting techniques to local churches.

State ballot initiatives are one way to generate grassroots interest in a national election. In the 2006 elections, according to the Associated Press, “The fate of hundreds of ballot initiatives will be decided. Several states will vote on proposals to ban same-sex marriages and raise the minimum wage. Republicans hope the former will boost turnout in crucial congressional races, and Democrats have similar plans for the latter.”20 In the 2006 elections, eight states will vote on marriage restrictions banning same sex marriage, and Republican strategists hope this will pull conservative voters to the polls. The states are Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Professor Mark Rozell, quoted in Religion News Service, said both the Republicans and the Democrats realize that moral values and religion help shape how elections turn out:

“We have motivated groups, both on the right and the left, trying to mobilize their constituencies, in large part because they believe values matter but they also understand that the two political parties are very closely competitive in Congress right now,” said Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

“Affecting a few electoral outcomes could be the difference between Democratic and Republican party control.”21

In 2004, The Nation columnist Katha Pollitt warned progressives that they should not be complacent about values voters because the Christian Right has so far been unable to push its full agenda through a Republican-controlled Congress. That is “like saying the left got nothing from FDR because it didn’t get socialism,” she quipped.22The Bush administration has placed representatives of the Christian Right throughout the Executive Branch, affecting social, economic, scientific, and foreign policy.

That the current Christian Right set of issues and frames might well have been crafted by Republican strategist Karl Rove is a reasonable suspicion, and whether or not Rove actually helped devise the strategy, it is congruent with what the White House sees as advantageous. Leaders of the Christian Right certainly have access to key Republican politicians in Washington, DC. Just prior to the 2006 midterm elections, James Dobson of Focus on the Family told the Values Voter Summit audience that he had just spent two weeks in the nation’s capital meeting with Congressional leaders.23 It is unlikely that many Democrats were on his dance card. MSNBC reported that Ralph Reed, “former executive director of the Christian Coalition and an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia … got 18 [White House] meetings, including two events with Bush, between 2001 and 2006.24

It would be easy to picture Rove as the mastermind of all of this, but although he is skillful, the strategy was formulated by key right-wing strategists in the late 1970s in a multi-faceted plan that brought Ronald Reagan to office.25 Rove came up through the political institutions created in part by this network that built the New Right as a coalition that included the growing Christian Right. Sara Diamond points out that this overall strategy relies on loosely-structured projects, in which a specific set of institutions and leaders on the political right agree to a handful of hot button issues on which to focus, and a few key frames through which issues are presented.26With this type of symbiotic project—linking a Christian Right social movement to a Republican political movement – the actual implementation requires no central coordination. Participating groups agree to be on the same page, but they get to write their own text, often using the rhetorical style of right-wing populism.27 Jean Hardisty refers to this process as “mobilizing resentment,”28

While the Christian Right likes to pretend this is not about partisan politics, the reality is quite different. Even the ultraconservativeWashington Times reports the obvious:

Mr. Dobson and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins sought to rally the troops for the midterm elections by reminding them that Republicans helped get two new conservative justices on the Supreme Court and that Democrats are still blocking legislation and President Bush’s judicial nominations.


Mr. Dobson evoked applause and cheers when he reminded the crowd that “we do have two new very, very exciting Supreme Court justices,” referring to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.


The crowd was urged not to be convinced of reports that Republicans will lose control of Congress.


“Don’t believe everything you’re hearing out there,” Mr. Dobson said.29

Rather, Dobson, Perkins and other Christian Right leaders reserved to themselves the right to tell the attendees at the Values Voter Summit exactly what to believe.

The FRC Action Values Voter Summit Washington Briefing

Built around the slogan “Family, Faith, and Freedom,” The Washington Briefing: 2006 Values Voter Summit used the Culture War as a central theme.30 These sorts of Christian Right pre-election voter mobilization conferences used to be hosted by the Christian Coalition, with the title “Road to Victory.” Now that the Christian Coalition has unraveled as a national group, a new coalition has stepped in to fill the void. The conference was coordinated by FRC Action, the political action arm of the Family Research Council, with Tony Perkins at the helm. Co-sponsors included the political action arms of three other Christian Right groups: Focus on the Family Action (Dr. James Dobson), Americans United to Preserve Marriage (Gary Bauer), and American Family Association Action (Donald Wildmon). Most of these groups have close historical ties. Dobson’s Focus on the Family created the FRC to lobby Congress. Gary Bauer ran the FRC from 1988-1999. The wild card in this coalition is Wildmon, known for his inflammatory anti-gay rhetoric and occasional detours into veiled anti-Semitism. His American Family Association is located in Mississippi, and Wildmon’s participation pulls this coalition further to the right.31

Parts each pep rally, church service, and TV show, the September 2006 event held in Washington, DC attracted over 1700 Christian Right grass roots activists from 48 states. The audience, primarily conservative Protestant evangelicals, was a mix of heartland cultural warriors, grassroots Republican political activists, and local church staff, including ministers and lay ministry workers. They were rewarded for their attendance with a series of speeches from their leaders. In fact, one of the purposes of the event was to signal a passing of the torch, from older figures like James Dobson and New Right strategist Paul Weyrich to their successors, men like Tony Perkins and Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund. The event also showcased 2008 Presidential hopefuls like governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and Virginia Senator George Allen, who had the chance to float some political trial balloons over the crowd.

A majority of attendees were White, with a sprinkling of African-Americans, many of them pastors. Only a tiny handful of Latinos or Latinas were present. There were roughly equal numbers of men and women in the audience, with somewhat fewer women onstage; yet the fact that there were women, and even a women’s panel, is an ironic testament to the cultural shift leveraged by the feminist movement.

There were a few Catholics and Jews. If there were Muslims, secularists, or mainstream Christians present, they kept a low profile, with the exception of the tall, lanky Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. A well-known critic of the Christian Right, Lynn walked through the crowd trailing event staff like a file of ducklings. And it was a crowd that hissed every time Lynn’s name was mentioned; booed when the American Civil Liberties Union was trashed; and groaned at the mere mention of the city of San Francisco. The otherwise polite and attentive crowd was treated to one speech after another in the hotel ballroom, in a didactic style and hierarchical format typical of Religious Right rallies—tightly orchestrated logistically, skillfully crafted in framing and messaging. Top down/bottom sore…even in upscale convention seats.

The visual aesthetic was slick, modern, and high tech, including two huge projection screens and a booming sound system. Two side stage areas were designed to mimic television news stage sets, one with stools for interviews, another with a table for panel discussions. The proceedings comfortably accommodated the over 100 members of the media with plenty of riser space at the back of the room for network and cable cameras, and even a bloggers table with high speed Internet connections. A “Radio Row” of live broadcasting of reports and interviews sent to Christian stations was set up on a dais in the exhibit space. Tables in the exhibit area sprouted audio CDs and DVD videos.

There were special pay-per-meal breakfasts and luncheons where focused pitches were made. There was a breakfast for pastors hosted by FRC Action, and a breakfast hosted by American United to Preserve Marriage. Day two of the meeting dawned with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) breakfast, where there was much food, little tolerance for same sex marriage, and no room to get in. An overflow crowd of 250 sat through what was essentially an extended advertisement for the Alliance Defense Fund, which seeks to position itself as the major adversary to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Another luncheon was designed to introduce Donald Wildmon and his Tupelo, MS-based American Family Association, but by a show of hands, the majority of diners were already on his mailing list. The four cosponsors positioned themselves as the unified national voice of the Christian Right.

Family, Faith, & Freedom: To Protect the Children

Tony Perkins established the main frame of the event, using scare tactics when he said, “we are facing threats from within and from without.”32 Against these threats conference organizers promoted a variety of ideas under the event slogan: “Family, Faith, & Freedom.” Although these three values seem benign, the framing strategy constructed by the FRC painted a dire picture in which same sex marriage and abortion are threatening America from within, while terrorism is threatening the family from without—a frame that points to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, while leaping over criticism over the war in Iraq, other specific military interventions and the economy.

Here is how it works:

Family is most important societal unit, sanctioned by God, limited to “traditional” heterosexual forms and designed for the procreation and protection of children.

Faith guides our lives, and defines our politics.

Freedom requires eternal vigilance and support for the war on terror.

Let’s review what specific speakers actually said, and what they implied. The two main thematic areas we will dissect are domestic, primarily gay rights but also abortion; and foreign policy, centered on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and “Islamic fascism.” 33 We’ll examine the messages, frames, and their subtexts, to understand what resonates for supporters of these groups and, potentially, other “values voters.”

Families At Risk

Echoing many at the Summit, George Allen (R-VA), running in a close race to maintain his Senate seat, said, “The most important institution in our society is the family.” Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced that the “culture of America is under attack” by same sex marriage.34 According to Romney:

Now my state’s Supreme Judicial Court, about a year ago, struck a blow against that family unit, in my view. It said that our Constitution, written long ago by John Adams, requires people of the same gender to marry.

Every child has a right to have a mother and a father….the impact on children will be felt not just in a day or two or a year or two but over generations as we think about the development and nurturing of children.

And as a way to explain his exclusive support of heterosexual marriage Tony Perkins said, “Marriage gets benefits because it benefits society.”

According to these speakers, same sex marriage is the major threat to the institution of the family. Gay men and lesbians threaten the family by raising children in homes without both a mother and a father. Gay adoptions and foster care are also unacceptable. “The ultimate child abuse is placing a child in a gay home,” said Jennifer Giroux of Citizens for Community Values. Tony Perkins observed, “There’s nothing in American politics today that brings people together than [sic] the defense of marriage.”

Some speakers implied that just being gay is an insult to people with values and is the embodiment of evil. Two African-American pastors spoke about their views on homosexuality. Startling statements came from the Rev. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. “I believe it’s from the pit of hell itself that this movement is inspired, that it has a satanic anointment,” said McKissic.35 Citing a passage from the Book of Daniel which states that the anti-Christ will have no desire for a woman, he asked rhetorically, “Could it be that the antichrist himself may be homosexual?” Linking his tirade to defense of the Christian family, McKissic told the crowd, “I don’t think there is any issue more important than how we are going to define the family.” He said that television shows portraying homosexuality in a positive light have put us “on the road to Sodom and Gomorrah,” and “God’s got another match…He didn’t run out of matches.” 36

Bishop Wellington Boone, from Norcross, GA, equated being gay with being weak on values: “Back in the days when I was a kid, and we see guys that don’t stand strong on principle, we call them ‘faggots.’ We say you sissified out. You a sissy. That means you don’t stand up for principles. God hadn’t called us to be sissies, we’re called upon to stand up, called up on a principled level.”37 Standing for the traditional family is supporting Christian values.

The Summit maintained a much stronger focus on same sex marriage than it did on another topic that conservatives often cite as a threat to the family: abortion. Surprisingly, speakers did not often refer to abortion as a direct reason for voting. Instead they used it as way to talk about other issues, such as the opportunity for evangelism or their dissatisfaction with activist judges.

Georgette Forney, “abortion recovery” advocate, spoke about the Silent No More awareness campaign, which encourages women who regret having had abortions to speak out. She praised the many types of recovery programs as chance to practice evangelism, noting that they are all Christian based. “It is the opportunity to reach out and find people who are out there and don’t know of God’s love and meet them where they are in their pain,” she said.

When right wing pundit Ann Coulter referenced abortion, she implied that the killing of seven reproductive health providers was a restrained response to court rulings unfavorable to anti-abortion activists:

For two decades after Roe, no abortion clinic doctors were killed. But immediately after Planned Parenthood v. Casey, after working within the system did not work, produced no results…for the first time an abortion doctor was killed. A few more abortion clinic workers were killed in the next few years. I’m not justifying it, but I understand when you take democracy away from people, some of them will react violently. The total number of deaths attributable to Roe were seven abortion clinic workers and 40 million unborn babies.38

These critiques of abortion were met politely but without the enthusiasm and energy the anti-gay comments were able to generate.

Faith Under Fire

A common theme of the conference was the centrality of Christian values in American culture. “Christians create a core of conviction in this society,” said Tony Snow, White House press secretary.

According to many speakers the ability to practice one’s religion in the United States is being threatened by secularist movements. Panelists and a special exhibit booth addressed the alleged “War on Christmas,” which refers to disputes over the boundaries of bringing the religious aspects of the holiday into the classroom and shopping mall. References to IRS examinations of church political practices and other enforcements of the separation of church and state were seen as attempts to limit religious expression.

Judging from the strength of the attendees’ applause, many felt their ability to express their faith in everyday life was being threatened by secular forces. They were, therefore, appreciative of speakers who acknowledged their faith and its link to political power.

Bishop Wellington Boone asked, “How can someone who doesn’t feel a need for God lead me?” It is the Christian’s duty to participate in the democratic process. When Mike Pence (R-IN) reminded the audience that “God placed the miracle of democracy on these shores,” he asked the audience to translate “timeless principles into timely action” by voting.

Freedom at Risk

At the Values Voters Summit, defending freedom meant supporting the war on terror. Overlooking the enormous problems in Iraq and Afghanistan, speakers encouraged the crowd to rally against a common enemy, terrorists, wherever they are found. In an astonishing declaration that provoked loud applause, author and radio host William Bennett said, “When four Americans are burned, torched, stomped on, and hung and the city cheers, you take out the city. You level Fallujah.” He suggested the country’s leadership has sometimes been too tentative. “The discussion that is taking place, it is culturally weak…. We are probably going to have to talk more about the more we have to do to win this third world war. These should be the terms of discussion…. You’re either on offense or you’re on defense. And right now, the good guys are too much on defense.” Quoting Alexander Hamilton, Bennett said, “When the government and the military appear anywhere in the world, they should appear like Hercules…. America, along with the rest of civilization, in this war, is our mission.”39

James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, said of George W. Bush “When it comes to the war on terror, he gets it.”40 Dobson told the crowd that they should face the fact that millions of Muslims want to kill Americans.41 “When the point of negotiation is that the other person wants to kill you, there’s not a whole lot to talk about. We’re in a war, and it’s time that we recognized it.”42 According to a report in Agape Press, Wildmon’s news outlet, in a neat linkage of freedom to family, “Dobson said he views the war on terror as a family issue because without security for today’s children and those in future generations, there is no future for the family.”43

Gary Bauer, president of American Values and leader of Americans United to Preserve Marriage, described how passengers of United Flight 93 heroically ran toward the cockpit on 9/11. As a way to protect our freedoms he reminded the audience, “All you have to do is run to the voting booth.”44 Agape Press reports that Bauer suggested that “the left-wing appears to hate conservatives and George W. Bush more than they hate al Qaida [sic], the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden.”45

Ann Coulter picked up on this theme, suggesting that “the Democrats hate George Bush because he is fighting the war on terrorism.” Tony Perkins linked liberal evildoers with Islamic militants.46

This linkage of liberalism with a failure to confront terrorism is effective. Cass R. Sunstein in the New Republic points out that “by stoking fear, Republicans gain an edge over Democrats.” Sunstein reports:

The London air terrorist plot has touched off endless debate, much of it centering on politics: Will it help Republicans or Democrats in 2006 and beyond? Republicans say that national security is a winning issue for them; Democrats say the same thing. Social science evidence strongly suggests that the Republicans are right, because the politics of terrorism touches a chord that produces much more support for them than for Democrats: our own mortality. A crucial question is whether Democrats will be able to change the underlying dynamics.47

Swimming in Subtext

The event was overripe with subtle undertones of meaning. These subtext messages to the audience appeared designed to direct, motivate, and reassure the audience. Here is a sample:

  • Godly Christians must be involved in politics to take back America from the Godless secularists and liberals. Godly Christians must vote, and vote for candidates who win our approval and these candidates must come to us; we do not go to them begging. We may not always agree with the Republican leadership, but we need them on our side to win our cause. Aware of being criticized for being too partisan toward Republicans, Tony Perkins issued a statement claiming that, “The Washington Briefing…was not an opportunity for us to endorse candidates but rather an opportunity for candidates to endorse us and our values.”
  • Our version of Christianity is correct, dominant, triumphant, defines the political center, and is politically powerful. Every other worldview is wrong, and unconnected to the real God. This is a struggle between good and evil. Our opponents are witting or unwitting agents of Satan. Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris—famous for her role in the 2000 Florida Presidential election fiasco and now an elected U.S. Representative running for the Senate48—planted herself firmly in the dominionist wing of the Christian Right.49 At the final banquet of the conference, Harris emphasized the importance of the proper candidates winning in November, and suggested it was a battle against “principalities and powers.” Many in the audience surely recognized this as a Biblical reference to “spiritual warfare”— in their view a struggle with the demonic agents of Satan.50 Just in case they missed the point, the emcee closed the banquet by reminding the audience that they were engaged in “spiritual warfare.”
  • Our faith, our moral superiority, and the fact we are persecuted by our opponents justify hatred of the enemy, and even violent resistance. Our God may be merciful, compassionate, and the God of justice; but our God is a zealous and vengeful God, and we are his agents on earth. Sin invokes punishment. This worldview emerged from several speakers. Colin Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring, a 501 (c) (4) anti-immigration group, reinforced his interpretation of this dual nature of a Christian God when he said that mercy and justice must be blended in public policy. He described amnesty for undocumented immigrants as “sin without consequences” and that “Amnesty is therefore not Christian.”
  • We need a Christian counter-culture to overcome the depravity of secularized modern life. One of the most secularized arenas for evangelicals has been Hollywood. For instance, Donald Wildmon’s AFA was founded to address immorality in the entertainment industry. At the Summit, an especially high energy panel, “Hollywood in the Heartland,” introduced the audience to the work being done by Christian film producers and the alternate infrastructure that will support this counter-culture. Ted Baehr, who runs the Biblically based film review service, MovieGuide, highlighted the work he and others have undertaken to steer Christians towards more acceptable, family friendly popular culture. Rev, Tommy Tenney previewed his new film, a reworking of the story of Esther, “One Night with the King,” and the audience learned that Hollywood has specific Christian movie studios, like FoxFaith.
  • We will win, because God is on our side.

Midterm Election Partisanship

The Values Voter Summit was clearly part of a larger plan by the Christian Right to help elect Republican candidates to office in the midterm election. The highly-visible event was staged to position the Christian Right as a viable electoral player with a powerful self-image. The Christian Right sees itself as still on ascendancy in U.S., but it feels the need to work hard to hold onto the power it has and to make future gains. Part of this involves staging local events around the country

Just prior to the midterm elections, Focus on the Family Action also ran three “Stand for the Family” political action “rallies designed to educate and motivate pro-family conservative Christians in three states where there are important races on November’s ballot”: Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Tennessee.51 On September 20, 2006, Max Blumenthal, reports:

A day before appearing at the summit in Washington, Dobson held a stadium-sized get-out-the-vote jamboree in Pittsburgh, disguised as a supposedly nonpartisan “Stand for the Family” rally, on behalf of one of his staunchest backers, Senator Rick Santorum, who trails his Democratic opponent, State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. There, Dobson took to the podium to warn wavering “value voters”: “Whether or not the Republicans deserve the power they were given, the alternatives are downright frightening.”52

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council President, was emcee for the evening, held because “the values vote is crucial this November because of the internal and external threats facing our nation.” According to Perkins, “It’s important for Christians to vote because that’s how we register our opinions by who we vote into office. People who either reflect our values, or people who abhor our values.”53

Dobson invited Christians to the event stating that the main issues for 2006 are preserving the family, protecting children and pursuing peace through strength. “We’re here to do something about the dangers and threats that are out there.”54 The other two rallies were held in St. Paul, Minnesota October 3rd and Nashville, Tennessee October 16th.55 Although smaller than originally hoped by organizers, they still drew thousands of committed activists in each state.

Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service has launched an investigation of partisanship—aimed at progressive Christians. The target is the All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, which is well-known as a voice of progressive Christian values that extends throughout the Los Angeles area. The investigation, which threatens to pull the church’s tax-exempt status, is based in part on a sermon by the Rev. Dr. George F. Regas in 2004, titled “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush.”56

Micro-targeting in the Pews

One of the most extraordinary partisan moments came in the workshop “Voter Identification and Turnout: A Church Plan,” run by Connie Marshner. Not a name known to most on the political Left, Marshner was one of the earliest key architects of the “pro-family” movement that helped mobilize the Christian Right, which in turn became a major sector of the New Right coalition.57

Marshner announced at the start of the workshop that in 2000 she had used the set of techniques in her 17-page workshop handout to help re-elect Rick Santorum (R-PA), one of the staunchest allies of the Christian Right in Congress.58

She outlined her very practical nuts-and-bolts techniques, which she plainly stated was based on first obtaining the list of members of a church, parish, temple – or mosque if there are any pro-life Muslims, she added with a smile. She explained that if your pastor does not want to have the church involved in politics, this is a people-to-people campaign that does not expose the church to IRS sanctions regarding tax exempt status, a dubious claim at best.

The process starts with anonymous cold calls to members of the church to determine their voting leanings. Marshner suggested the caller be someone from outside the congregation who could pose as being from a polling company. Here is the script: “Hello, I’m with ABC Polls. We’re calling in your area to find out the level of interest in the upcoming [U.S. Senate/House of Representatives/state assembly/town council/school board/etc.] election.” Responses would be tabulated and as Election Day approaches only congregants supportive of the “pro-life candidates,” as Marshner put it, would be contacted for the get-out-the-vote campaign.

Someone in the audience asked what to say if the person being called wanted to know where the caller got their name and phone number.

Say you got it from the list of registered voters, advised Marshner, it is a public record.

What if the number is unlisted?

Here Marshner seemed to suggest that the good Christian folks in the room just tell a fib. And not surprisingly, there were some grumbles from the crowd. Sensing discontent, Marshner said individuals should leave it up to their conscience on how to answer the question. Perkins indicated he was “upset” with Marshner’s suggestions and denounced any dishonesty in the session.59

Gay Bashing on Liberty Sunday

Another pre-election event strategically tied to the Summit was a nationally simulcast rally dubbed “Liberty Sunday.” This FRC-sponsored event was promoted at the Values Voters Summit, with which it shared some speakers, and targeted a similar audience: churchgoers with conservative social values. Some 1,000 people filled the Tremont Temple Baptist Church, where the event was held, while simulcasts were aired in churches across the country and beamed into homes through Christian satellite television, radio, and Webcasts.60

The event was billed as “Defending Our First Freedom.” Promotional materials used the slogan, “Preserving the light of the Church,” along with an image of the famous Old North Church, where lanterns were hung to warn colonists of the arrival of British troops.61 Liberty Sunday took place October 15, 2006 in Boston, which, the organizer FRC reminded the audience, is the “Cradle of Liberty” and the home of religious freedom in America. A welcoming video showed scenes of Plymouth Rock and a replica of the Mayflower and reminded the audience that Colonial Governor William Bradford had a vision, in his words, to “advance the cause of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the earth” by settling in the New World. Boston is also the capital of the only state to have legalized same sex marriage, and the Tremont Church was the site of protests at a Focus on the Family “ex-gay” event held almost a year before Liberty Sunday.

The FRC promised to “tackle one of the most divisive debates in the culture wars,” same sex marriage. FRC head Tony Perkins claimed that same sex marriage threatened freedom of religion as guaranteed by the Constitution by limiting freedom of religious expression. Sky Angel Christian satellite broadcasting published a pre-event interview with Perkins by conservative author Nancy Christopher, in which Perkins claimed:

“What we’ve seen in the last two years since Massachusetts [approved] same-sex marriage is the evidence of what we were projecting would happen, that there was a coming conflict between the homosexual agenda and Christianity that was vibrant and active in the public square.”

According to Perkins, a “hate crimes bill” making it a crime to speak out against homosexuality is imminent if Christians don’t continue to be engaged in this issue.

“The ability to preach the Gospel is at risk because the Gospel fully preached is offensive,” says Perkins. “Same-sex marriage is the vanguard of the homosexual agenda. If it becomes the law that you cannot speak anything that offends, it’s just a matter of time before the Gospel itself will be unwelcome public speech.

Stating the obvious, Christopher commented that it is “certainly no coincidence that the event is being held less than one month before mid-term elections, being that there are eight constitutional amendments related to marriage on the ballot across the country.” 62

Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appeared in person, introduced by his wife, Ann, who revealed that she is a direct descendant of Colonial Governor William Bradford.

Sky Angel is also broadcasting two specials on same sex marriage after Liberty Sunday and before the midterm elections, “No Tolerance for Truth,” about the danger of school programs normalizing homosexuality, and “Veil of Deception: The Impact of Same Sex Marriage on American Youth”:

Veil of Deception investigates the impact of same-sex marriage on today’s youth. It aims to show concerned citizens how critically important it is to stand up and oppose efforts to legalize same-sex marriage for the sake of the children. The special also reveals homosexual activism in schools and communities across America, how experimentation is encouraged to children, and how parents, community leaders and teachers are speaking out. 63

At Liberty Sunday, the audience was presented with a line of reasoning that would make sense to them and to their fellow parishioners.

Catholic Action League Executive Director CJ Doyle asserted:

“When religious freedom is imperiled, it never begins with a direct frontal assault on the liberty of worship. It always begins with the attempts to marginalize the church and to narrow the parameters of the church’s educational and charitable activities, and that is exactly what is happening in Massachusetts right now.”64

Former Boston mayor Raymond Flynn added,

“But because the church has been diminished in the civic arena, this other side is more powerful and more influential, and those are the consequences of losing your strong moral voice.”65

James Dobson appeared by video and made the case for the importance the battle over same sex marriage:

“We are at a crisis point in this nation. What will happen on November 7 will have profound implications for the future of our country.”

Dobson said the idea of marriage originated in the garden of Eden and warned that if same sex marriage is permitted,

“The family as we know it will die and with it will go everything else that sits on that foundation.”

Romney and Wellington Boone appeared at both the Summit and Liberty Sunday. Each varied his address little between the two events, and their different styles, although at opposite ends of the anti-gay spectrum, reinforced the same core message: a vote to ban same sex marriage is a vote of conscience and Christian principle.

The Liberty Sunday crowd was more racially integrated than that at the Values Voters Summit, with significant numbers of African-Americans and Latinos in the audience and a predominantly Black choir onstage throughout the event. The program drew on the multiracial coalition that has been built among conservative evangelical pastors on such issues as opposition to same sex marriage, with appearances by local Black and Latino ministers. Significantly, Tremont Temple Baptist Church was involved in the Underground Railroad and claims to be the first racially integrated church in the United States.

Some of the harshest anti-gay rhetoric came out of the mouth of Bishop Wellington Boone, the well-known Promise Keepers speaker from Georgia, who also appeared at the Values Voters Summit. In Boston Boone summoned the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and the African American freedom struggle as he dismissed any claim to civil rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender communities:

“I called this whole idea of trying to get rights and trying to get over there on the African-American side – I called it the rape of the civil rights movement and that’s an issue to me.” (Applause.)66

Having positioned himself as an arbiter of legitimate rights, Boone took up the sword of judgment. He eschewed the words “gay” and “lesbian” in favor of “sodomite,” remarking with approval that in colonial times sodomy laws invoked capital punishment for transgressors. Back then, he said, “The Bible was the book.” He added, to audience applause, “If God calls homosexuality an abomination, if he calls it vile affections, if he calls it wickedness, I can’t call it inappropriate behavior.”67

The FRC has successfully field tested the strategy of single issue simulcasts before. Liberty Sunday is modeled on a previous set of three simulcasts each titled “Justice Sunday,” which focused on mobilizing churches to support conservative appointments to the courts. Indeed, the Web address connects visitors to the website for Liberty Sunday.68


The Durability of the Christian Right

The strategy laid out at the Values Voter Summit and Liberty Sunday is for Christian Right activists to fly under the media radar and contact potential voters in the evangelical community who are already inclined to vote Republican, and motivate them to actually go to the polls on Election Day 2006 in order to preserve Republican control of Congress. The Christian Right—and Rove—hope that by micro-targeting constituencies in specific key states, they can make the difference. The bait they are using in this election is the issue of same sex marriage, both through a rhetorical framing approach and the use of statewide ballot initiatives. As of a few weeks before the election, public opinion seems to favor Democratic gains, however the Republican voter mobilization techniques could be effective in the typically lower-turnout midterm elections. There is no way to know at this point if that strategy will be successful.

Every few years—following an electoral defeat of Republicans, the collapse of a Christian Right organization, or the expose of a leader’s shady past, the death of the Christian Right is announced in the media. Reports of its death have been, as they say, greatly exaggerated. The Christian Right will survive and remain a powerful factor in U.S. social, cultural, and political life. That is because the Christian Right is a large and durable social movement, with a complex and diverse set of autonomous institutions that are linked to political campaigns through the Republican Party. The rising or falling fortunes of the Republican Party in any election cycle do not control participation in the Christian Right as a social movement. If one set of tactics fails, others will be field tested by skilled Christian Right leaders. Many of today’s tactics have been in use for decades. Win or lose, skilled Christian Right activists will emerge from the 2006 midterm elections with stronger grassroots organizations and longer lists of names of potential recruits.

Fissures and Wedges

Progressive social change activists can’t win the Culture War, because it is a guerilla action, with the central frames established by the Christian Right. George Lakoff correctly points out that if you stay within the frame established by your opponent, you are more likely to lose the debate.69

New frames can be developed by progressives that stress wedges in the current configuration of the coalition that emerged with the New Right. Possible fissures, or cracks in the cement that binds sectors of the political Right together, do exist: The Christian Right, as one sector of the U.S. Right, shares some positions with other conservative political interests.

Neoconservatives: The Christian Right has been building a coalition with the Neocons around the anti-terrorist (and anti-Islamic) aspects of the “clash of civilizations” thesis, but some neoconservatives are nervous about the anti-modernist theocratic aspirations of some Christian Right leaders. In addition some in the Christian Right are growing tired of war in the Middle East, their Holy Land.

Conservative Business Interests: Calvinism and capitalism have long been partners, but the way some in the Christian Right chastise unrestrained materialism makes some business entrepreneurs nervous.

Libertarians: The Christian Right can agree with economic libertarians on lowering taxes and government regulations and raising individual initiative and responsibility; but most libertarians want the Christian Right out of their bedrooms.

By reframing the debates and shifting the political terrain on which these debates occur, progressives can engage the multitude of Christian evangelical voters who are not consolidated around the issues outlined by the Christian Right. This recognizes that the Christian Right is a powerful force on the political and social scene, but that it is not nearly as powerful as it would have us believe.

An Effective Progressive Response

The Christian Right, although significant, is not a monolithic force and has its own internal issues. The leaders of the Christian Right sometimes argue for policy positions that make their own followers uncomfortable. This is especially true in terms of the quest for dominionism. While some Christian Right leaders envision a theocratic Christian nation, few rank and pew evangelicals allied with the Christian Right want a theocracy, much less a fascistic one.

Although they would love us to believe they represent all Christians, in reality the Christian Right does not speak for all Christians or even all evangelicals. The idea of God is too big to shackle to narrow minds.

The Christian Right is a primarily a White subset of evangelicals who embrace fundamentalist or dominionist beliefs and are currently being mobilized around certain issues framed as “values.” Many evangelicals, however, do not hold identical values to the ones touted at the Values Voters Summit or at Liberty Sunday. They may see God on their side, but sometimes they can be persuaded to vote in favor of issues important to progressives.

Certain groups of White evangelicals can be seen as potential swing voters, depending on the issues and how they are framed. For instance, the Summit called for support for Bush’s War on Terror based on patriotism and Christian principles; but the growing dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq across all segments of the population can become a wedge, which could be framed in effective ways to counter the arguments of the Christian Right.

The Christian Right has already attempted to lure Black and Latino evangelical Protestants with their campaign against same sex marriage and abortion. But these groups also share similar concerns as progressives on a variety of issues. Progressives of all races, and holding various beliefs, can and must reach out to all these groups.

Using phrases such as “religious political extremist,” “radical religious right,” or “Christofascists,” therefore, is counterproductive, because many evangelicals, not to mention Christians or religious people in general, find these terms offensive.

A shared respect for the Constitution could be one unifying principle. If progressives want to defend the Constitution, we must learn the religious beliefs of those evangelicals who dominate the Christian Right, treat them respectfully, and yet engage them in a critical public conversation over the appropriate boundaries for civic political debate set by the founders and framers of our nation.70

Demonizing rhetoric from the Left not only pushes evangelicals away from the Democratic Party, but also pushes them out of potential partnerships around progressive issues. And from a progressive standpoint, the issue is not electing Democrats, but holding all politicians accountable for advancing social and economic justice. ■


This report benefited from the suggestions and advice given by a number of colleagues, including Max Blumenthal, Rob Boston of American United for Separation of Church and State, Cynthia Burack and Sean Cahill of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, Peter Montgomery of People for the American Way, Adele Stan of the American Prospect, and S. Wojciech Sokolowski.

About PRA

Political Research Associates is an independent, nonprofit research center that analyzes and monitors the Right and other oppressive movements, institutions, and trends. PRA is based on progressive values, and is committed to advancing an open, democratic, and pluralistic society. It provides accurate, incisive research and analysis to activists, journalists, educators, policy makers, and the public at large.


The material in the Appendices is provided for those who are interested in further exploring a number of issues mentioned in the main report. Note that Eric Appleman of Democracy in Action has provided transcripts of several speeches presented at the Values Voters Summit, including Romney, Huckabee, Allen, Brownback, and Gingrich.71 Appleman’s photographs are also excellent and worth viewing.

The New Christian Right Leadership Network

Family Research Council Action

Focus on the Family was originally located in Southern California, far from the Washington public policy debates during the 1970s. Founder James Dobson created a Washington presence for his organization by starting a think tank/lobbying arm and calling it the Family Research Council. Incorporated in 1983, the FRC was at first a closely aligned with Focus on the Family, becoming more influential under the leadership of Gary Bauer from 1988 to 1990 when Bauer then left to become a candidate for President. Issues around tax-exempt status resulted in a separation between Focus and the FRC, and now both organizations have 501 c (4) spinoffs, Focus on the Family Action and Family Research Council Action, to allow them greater permission to lobby.

The organization has maintained its focus on its definition of family issues: opposition to reproductive rights, homosexuality, and support for strictly traditional gender roles. The current President is Tony Perkins, a former Louisiana legislator.

Perkins maintains a strong connection to FRC members through his daily web messages from Washington and a print distribution center in Holland, MI, the home of the FRC’s original benefactor, Edgar Prince. In the twenty years since its founding, the FRC has become the premier lobbying arm of the Christian Right in Washington, well positioned to sponsor its recent summit.


Focus on the Family Action

From an Arcadia, CA radio show that began in 1977, Focus on the Family has grown to become the largest Christian Right organization in the country, with a campus of buildings on 50 acres of land in Colorado Springs, CO, an annual budget of $130 million, and its own zip code. James Dobson is its founder, a Christian conservative trained as a child psychologist. While Dobson has always emphasized the evangelical nature of the group, its mission, according to its own 2000 strategy statement, was to motivate “the people of God to practical action in their communities and our nation in defense of righteousness.”

At two points in Focus’ history, it became clear that Dobson would need a separate organization to representing the group when it wished to lobby. First came the Family Research Council in 1983, but as that group developed its own identity, Dobson founded Focus on the Family Action in 2004 to represent his own advocacy interests and once again to protect the 501 c (3) status of his parent organization.

Focus on the Family Action takes a hard line on homosexuality, whether it be same sex marriage, the ex-gay movement, or normalizing homosexuality in schools. It holds positions against gambling, pornography, and activist judges, and in October 2006 it joined forces with FRC Action to produce a voter scorecard.

Americans United to Preserve Marriage

Gary Bauer, this group’s President, has been associated with a number of Christian Right organizations since he served in the Reagan administration. Assuming the post of President of the FRC in 1988, Bauer led the group through a major growth stage, leaving to run for President in 2000. Less successful in attracting popular support as a candidate than as a voice of Christian social conservatism, Bauer withdrew after faring poorly in the early primaries.

In 1996 he founded the Campaign for Working Families (CWF), a political action committee, directing individual campaign contributions to the group’s endorsed candidates. The organization claimed credit for helping many conservative victories in 2002. Positioning itself as “Pro-life, Pro-family and Pro-growth,” the CWF reassured contributors that, “Supporting CWF takes the guesswork out of identifying the true conservatives from the pretenders.”

Bauer’s own American Values organization was started to provide a forum for his personal views. It hosts his End of Day Report email and reprints his frequent op eds in places like the conservativeWashington Times. The American Values slogan is the model for the summit’s slogan, which is a shorter version of Bauer’s “Life, Marriage, Family, Faith, and Freedom,” reflecting the centrality of Bauer’s vision for America in the formation of the summit. Americans United to Preserve Marriage shares a street address, a web appearance, and much content with American Values.

American Family Association Action

Donald Wildmon is a United Methodist minister from Mississippi whose ministry has been to run his American Family Association since 1977. The AFA began as a conservative culture watchdog for the entertainment industry, believing in a direct correlation between the values represented by American TV, movies, and popular music and the decline of American moral behavior. From humble beginnings, the organization has grown to employ a staff of 150 and to claim over 3 million supporters.

The AFA is known for its campaigns against abortion, pornography, and gambling and its unapologetic stance against “the homosexual agenda.” It calls for boycotts of corporations that are “pro-homosexual,” like sponsors of the TV show “Ellen,” and the Ford Motor Company’s advertising campaign targeted to the gay market. “You have to use language that your audience understands,” Wildmon explained at the summit. “Politicians respond to votes; corporations respond to money.” The combination of AFA’s outspoken stance on pornography, abortion, and gambling, its nasty attacks on the “homosexual agenda,” and its hardball tactics have, in the past, isolated it from the other big Christian Right organizations. But Wildmon’s co-sponsorship of the 2006 summit, through his political action arm, AFA Action, indicates a shift further to the Right for this coalition.

The Christian Coalition

After the televangelist Pat Robertson unsuccessfully attempted to secure the Republican Party’s nomination for the 1988 Presidential race, he began a new organization in Virginia Beach, VA, calling it the Christian Coalition. Its purpose was to mobilize Christian conservatives to vote based on their traditional values. His first Executive Director was Ralph Reed, who nurtured the organization from its humble beginnings in 1989 to the most powerful organization of its kind in the 1990s. Many see the Coalition as a deciding factor in bringing out the vote to support Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America and causing the 1994 Republican Congressional sweep. Reed’s hardball tactics earned him the reputation of being a tough, and sometime ruthless, tactician.

The coalition used the technique of distributing millions of voters guides directly to churches, eventually concentrating on selected states. This approach attracted criticism with opponents like American United for the Separation of Church and State claiming successfully that the organization had violated its tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. In addition, it sponsored annual “Road to Victory” conferences, which, in their heyday, offered political candidates a forum and provided motivation to attendees to get out the Christian Right vote. The group then began to suffer from management issues. By the time Reed resigned in 1987, the group had begun to lose ground.

Subsequent directors have not realized the results of the organization under Reed’s leadership, and no one has matched Reed’s charisma. Road to Victory conferences became biennial, finally ending in 2004.The current director, Roberta Coombs, has struggled with state affiliates that chose to disassociate themselves from the coalition in disputes over the direction of the group. While the Coalition still produces voter guides, its voice and influence have both receded as the better-funded groups of FRC Action and Focus on the Family Action have grown in importance.

Christian Right Roots: Marshner and McGraw

Looking back at the early days of the Christian Right shows how its roots are showing today. According to Jean Hardisty, “Much of the credit for crafting the antifeminist agenda belongs to…[Marshner, then with the] Free Congress Research and Education Foundation and Onalee Mcgraw of the Heritage Foundation.72

Connie Marshner

Connie (Connaught) Marshner began her conservative political career as a campus activist in the early 1970s joining the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of South Carolina. She moved to Washington soon after graduation, and her ambition and skills helped propel her quickly into responsible positions unusual for her age and gender. An early employee of both the Heritage Foundation and the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, at 19 Marshner met New Right mastermind Paul Weyrich and began to benefit from his mentoring.

Highly critical of the women’s movement’s growing influence on the culture and on public policy, and with the support of her male bosses, Marshner became a strategist for the anti-feminist backlash. She authored a series of issue pamphlets at Heritage on the conservative response to feminism, sharpening her arguments against women’s issues like child care and abortion. By 1979 she worked alongside Phyllis Schlafly, organizing women around traditional definitions of the family. Marshner created a network of evangelical women opposed to the ERA, abortion, gay rights and pornography, durable issues that live on in today’s Christian Right campaigns.

Her organizing skill crafted a walkout at Jimmy Carter’s ground-breaking White House Conference on Families, generating national attention about traditional values. As part of Heritage’s think tank support for the Reagan administration, Marshner crafted the Family Protection Act which, although it did not pass, embodied the New Right’s domestic agenda opposing a range of liberal and progressive issues such as abortion and gay rights. She admitted that some of its provisions were designed to provoke outrage among Democrats, which created an opportunity to attract moderates to the New Right’s agenda centered on preserving the traditional family.73

A Roman Catholic mother of four and author of books with titles likeDecent Exposure: How to Teach Your Children about Sex and Can Motherhood Survive: A Christian looks at Social Parenting, Marshner embodies, in her words, the “new traditional woman,” a self-sufficient career woman who values her faith and her family as much as she does her success in the working world. In 1984 she became executive vice president for Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation, editing Family Protection Report, a newsletter designed to keep track of the emerging Christian Right by focusing on family values. In 1988, Marshner was on the Executive Committee of the Council for National Policy.74

For years Marshner has worked behind the scenes, unknown to most but central to the rise of the New Right. She served on the Executive Committee of the secretive Council on National Policy, has advised various conservative campaigns, and worked for Morton Blackwell’s Leadership Institute, where she continues to share her framing and organizing skills. It was in this capacity that she appeared at the Values Voters Summit.

Marshner is helping coordinate an antiabortion political training program January 21-28, 2007 at the Leadership Institute, which is aimed at attracting organizers from around the world.75

Onalee McGraw

McGraw is best remembered as the author of the 1976 Heritage Foundation pamphlet, Secular Humanism and the Schools: The Issue Whose Time Has Come. In the tract, McGraw, “argued that humanistic education does not focus on ‘the traditional and generally accepted virtues’ stressed by the ‘Judeo–Christian principles taught by most families at home,’ but on theories of ‘moral relativism and situation ethics’ that are ‘based on predominantly materialistic values found only in man’s nature itself’ and ‘without regard for the Judeo–Christian moral order, which is based on the existence and fatherhood of a personal God.”76

This argument began to spread through the recruitment pool of what would become the Christian Right. Some find the roots of the Culture War in Kanawha County, West Virginia, where in 1974 a group of parents objected to new textbooks that explored ideas such as the feminist movement, homosexuality, and racial justice. According to Margaret Quigley, “the identification of sexual licentiousness and ´primitive´ music with subversion and people of color is an essential part of the secular humanist conspiracy theory, and one that has been remarkably consistent over time77.” Other analysts agree.78

Much of the type of demonizing rhetoric resurfacing today within the Christian Right was dismissed as marginal in the 1960s and early 1970s, even by Republicans, some of whom sought to distance themselves from ultra-conservative groups such as the John Birch Society (JBS) and Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (CACC), with their penchant for overblown rhetoric and conspiracy theories.79

The John Birch Society, founded in 1959, pioneered the post-McCarthy period attack on liberalism.80 For example, a 1974 JBS Pamphlet on the Kanawha County textbook battle ridiculed liberals for “considering it passé to have strong religious and patriotic convictions.”81

As Michelle Goldberg points out in her book Kingdom Coming, the Republican Party with pressure from the Christian Right has been busy “mainstreaming… Bircher ideology.” In some cases, Christian Right leaders first picked up their conspiracist ideas about liberal subversion from attending meetings and reading books and other literature produced by the JBS, CACC, and similar groups. In many ways the 2006 Values Voter Summit could easily have been transported back thirty years to 1976 as a national rally held by the John Birch Society.82

The demonizing rhetoric seen as so shocking today replays what was said back in the late 1970s, when some of the same participants in the Values Voter Summit, including Connie Marshner and Paul Weyrich, created the new Christian Right and helped construct the New Right coalition that came to power when it elected Ronald Reagan President.

Mitt Romney, Massachusetts and Beyond

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is playing a key role in promoting a national campaign by Christian Right activists to mobilize voters to elect Republican candidates in the 2006 mid-term elections. The campaign portrays gay marriage in bigoted terms as a contagion that will spread from his state, and which threatens to destroy the American family. This rhetorical frame appears designed to be used by leading Christian Right groups through the Presidential election in 2008, in which Romney is seen as a likely candidate.

An October 15, 2006 rally at Tremont Temple in downtown Boston, “Liberty Sunday,” was the first sign of this campaign for many Massachusetts residents; however this rally was just part of a coordinated national strategy that began to be implemented months ago. Prior to the rally, Romney appeared in a promotional video for the event and the related nationwide simulcast. The video was screened twice at the Christian Right “Washington Briefing: 2006 Values Voters Summit,” in late September, where Romney delivered a speech and was warmly greeted by over 1,500 attendees. That event, under the banner “Family, Faith, & Freedom,” also featured speakers who said:

  • Adoption of children by gay parents was the worst form of child abuse;
  • Calling gay people “faggots” was acceptable slang;
  • The killing of seven abortion providers in recent years was a restrained response given the millions of babies killed;
  • Opponents of the Christian Right agenda were siding with Satan.

This framing strategy also attempts to draw a connection linking “Family, Faith, & Freedom” in which gay marriage and abortion are threatening America from within, while terrorism is threatening the family from without—a frame that points to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, while leaping over criticism over the war in Iraq, and other specific military interventions in the Middle East.

While Romney claims he is resigned to following the law in Massachusetts, he is working to have same-sex marriage banned in other states as part of a Christian Right plan that has a dual strategy: build support for the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), and force states that have not explicitly banned gay marriage to enact such legislation or place it on a ballot initiative where possible under state law. In addition, if voters elect Republicans instead of Democrats in 2006 and 2008, Christian Right activists are being told, then with the ability to control Congress and appoint more judges to the U.S. Supreme Court, with its goal of rolling back gay rights and banning abortion, will be in reach.

While there is an attempt to portray these issues as non-partisan, numerous Christian Right activists make it clear that “values voters” who are concerned with “Family, Faith, & Freedom” should vote for Republican political candidates.

Although it is not fair to assume Governor Romney endorses all the bigoted and outlandish claims made by the Christian Right activists with whom he has associated himself, it is fair to ask him if he agrees or disagrees with specific claims that are centerpieces of this partisan political operation.

Note that Eric Appleman of Democracy in Action has provided a transcript of the Romney speech.83

Social Dynamics

Demonization & Apocalyptic Demagoguery

No matter their role in elections, the use of demonization and demagoguery by the Christian Right needs to be confronted. The use of demonizing rhetoric is easy to locate simply by reading magazines or browsing websites of major Christian Right groups.

For example, Family Research Council Vice President for Government Affairs Tom McClusky posted: “Brad Pitt Apparently Endorses Bigamy, Pedophilia and Bestiality.” McClusky was commenting on interview in Esquire magazine where actor Brad Pitt said his partner “Angie [Angelina Jolie] and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.”

This sensitivity to the issue of gay marriage is ridiculed by McClusky on his FRC blog where he wrote: “So until people and animals can marry or one man can marry multiple women or a forty year old man can marry a twelve year old girl—Brangelina will stand strong.”84

In the September 2006 edition of the Focus on the Family magazine,Citizen, the cover story, “See No Evil: 9/11 and the American Left, Five Years Later,” by Dennis Prager, accuses liberals of hating those who confront evil. According to Praeger: “A defining characteristic—not merely an unfortunate aspect—of the Left is its inability to recognize evil and its simultaneous hatred of those who do fight evil.”80

At the Values Voter Summit, there were several times when it was apparent that Dobson was passing the torch of leadership to Perkins. In both cases these are Christian Right leaders with more than a little baggage of bigotry. Max Blumenthal sketches some of the more troubling facts:

Dobson’s Focus on the Family, for example, published an article in itsCitizen magazine last February attacking the parents of federal judge Stephen Reinhardt (whose step-grandfather was a Holocaust survivor) for telling their son “tales of horrific violence” about the Holocaust “that lacked the redemptive power of Christ’s atonement.”

Perkins, for his part, paid $82,500 to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke for his phone-bank list and then spoke at a 2001 fundraiser for the Council of Conservative Citizens, America’s largest white supremacist organization. (When I asked Perkins about his links to Duke and the CCC, he replied tersely, “There are no links.”).86

Perkin’s denial of such well-documented criticisms is troubling.

Other leaders of groups sponsoring the Values Voter Summit have a history of bigoted statements. Blumenthal notes, “The Anti-Defamation League has repeatedly condemned [the Rev. Donald] Wildmon for his conspiratorial diatribes against ‘secular Jews.’”87

Think this is a partisan interpretation? Even some Republicans have condemned the nasty rhetoric coming from leaders of the Christian Right. Dick Armey, the former majority leader of the House of Representatives (from Texas), was asked by an interviewer why the Christian Right seemed to be gaining more power. Armey responded:

“To a large extent, because Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies,” Armey said. “I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid. There’s a high demagoguery coefficient to issues like prayer in schools. Demagoguery doesn’t work unless it’s dumb . . . These issues are easy for the intellectually lazy and can appeal to a large demographic.”88

Focus on the family complained that Armey, “once a stalwart ally in the culture wars, appears to be turning his back on Christian conservatives and their leaders.”89 In fact, Armey was turning his back on demonization and demagoguery.

Demonizing rhetoric can lead to hate and provoke aggression and violence.90 The human rights group Faith in America warns against the possible outcome of religiously-based bigotry toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons:

Religious groups in some parts of the world are teaching young men and women that we are an abomination before God. Unfortunately that leads to hate and even violence against us. By saturating minds with misinformation, these young people may eventually come to believe the world would be better off if we were all dead. We could be talking about Jihad camps in the Middle East. Sadly, it’s happening in America.”91

“We have already seen too much violence, often justified in the name of God, aimed at blocking gay rights and reproductive rights,” says Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, executive director of Political Research Associates. Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest with a parish in Massachusetts was troubled by the level of hateful rhetoric at the Values Voter Summit which she attended.

Demonization is especially powerful when combined with a dualistic worldview and apocalyptic and millennial expectations.92

Why This Shrill Rhetoric Now?

The use of inflammatory rhetoric is a practiced political tool, but it might be instructive to examine why such shrill language is in such widespread usage among Christian Right spokespeople. Several possible explanations exist.

Some of the speakers at these events, generally clergy, regularly use vivid images and alarming claims in their speech. This is in keeping with evangelical preaching, which uses a style of delivery that plays to the emotions of the congregation and relies on creating catharsis and a resulting spiritual renewal. It reflects a dualistic worldview that sees the world divided absolutely into good and evil people and ideas. On the one hand, this can create the impression of sticking to principles, valuing the earnest conviction of those few who dare to speak the truth. In the case of the Summit or Liberty Sunday, such rhetoric could reassure some listeners that the Christian Right is not selling out to the Republican Party and remains firm in its standards. This approach can marginalize the speakers, though, pushing them to the edge of what their sympathetic audience tolerates and rendering them buffoons in the eyes of the public at large. It also can make those who sound a little less extreme appear more moderate, even as they continue to advocate hate.

Another reading of the demonization of gay men and lesbians, liberals, and feminists is that the speaker fears the power of these groups. This dehumanizes them and makes it possible for listeners to judge members of these groups negatively, as one- dimensional embodiments of evil ideas, not as human beings. But this can backfire as it did in the 1990s when the contradiction between Christian love for everyone and harsh judgment for sinners became intolerable. The realization paved the way for the construction of the idea of calculated compassion, which emerged as a core principle in the ex-gay movement.

The use of hardened language has been a successful technique in the past for mobilizing “values voters.” Choosing to use it again may indicate a deliberate tactical decision to go with what has worked before.


United States Total Pentecostal Charismatic
% Total population 23 5 18
% Of Protestants 28 10 18

Another reason the Christian Right as a social movement will have influence for many years is that its recruitment pool is expanding. While membership in mainline Protestant denominations continues to decline, the reverse is true in high demand fundamentalist and orthodox evangelical congregations.93 These congregants are a principle target of Christian Right para-church ministries and political action projects. The term para-church simply means an evangelical organization functioning outside of any one church.

A study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows that relatively conservative and orthodox forms of Christianity are on the rise in the United States and around the world. The Pew study uses an umbrella term, “Renewalist,” to cover a range of Pentecostal and charismatic Christians.94

Pentacostal refers to members of specific Protestant denominations and church networks tied to fundamentalism and similar movements of orthodoxy within Protestantism. Pentecostal denominations include the Assemblies of God, the Church of God in Christ, and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

Charismatic refers to a way of practicing Christianity that features the power of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, with practitioners usually Protestant, but also Catholic.95

The chart, based on data in the the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Spirit and Power report, shows how significant this sector is in the United States .96

According to the Pew report:

U.S. renewalists, like renewalists around the world, also often stand out for their moral conservatism. Eight-in-ten U.S. pentecostals say that homosexuality is never justified, for instance, and nearly six-in-ten charismatics share this view. Among the public as a whole, by contrast, roughly half say homosexuality can never be justified.

…more than half (52%) of American pentecostals say that the government should take special steps to make the U.S. a Christian country, compared with only 25% among Christians overall.97

These are religious populations where socially and politically conservative voting patterns dominate. A study by Baylor University suggests that there may even be an undercount of persons identified as evangelical in the United States.98

At the same time, groups such as the Rightist Institute on Religion and Democracy receive funding from conservative foundations to assist local and national activists in their attempts within their mainline Protestant denominations to pursue more conservative social and political agendas.99

These projects of “renewal” especially target the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal (Anglican), denominations, but others such as the United Church of Christ are also experiencing these divisive campaigns. Opposition to gay marriage and the ordination of gay ministers and Anglican priests is a major issue in this schismatic campaign.

Values Voters and Right-Wing Populism

In October 2006 Michael A. Fletcher wrote an article for theWashington Post titled: “‘Values’ Decline as Issue in Ohio’: Economic Woes Boost Democrats.” Fletcher wrote:

Two years ago, exit polls found that “moral values” edged out the “economy and jobs” to top a list of concerns that Ohio voters said most influenced their Election Day choices. The exit polls found that at least a quarter of voters identified themselves as born-again Christians, and three-quarters of their votes went to Bush.100

Contrary to the misleading headline, values, as an issue, were not declining in Ohio, what was happening was a shift in which values were seen as a priority, even within the White Christian evangelical voter base.

As for the economy—it depends on what you mean by the word economy. Thomas Frank, in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas, nimbly navigated the conservative scene on the ground in Kansas, but slipped when he implied that people in the White working class who vote against their apparent economic self interest did so because they didn’t really understand the complex issues, or were easily swayed by fundamentalist preachers and opportunistic politicians. Some, we are led to believe, are simply addled.101

There is no evidence that White evangelicals are any more stupid or crazy then the rest of us—at least in terms of percentages of the populations being studied. Nor are they simply the manipulated puppets of a Karl Rove strike force.

Large groups of White evangelicals are mobilized through the rhetorical style of right-wing populism.102 Jean Hardisty refers to this process as mobilizing resentment.”103

The common styles and frames use by a wide range of right-wing political organizers include:

  • Dualism
  • An Apocalyptic Style
  • Conspiracism
  • Populist Antielite Rhetoric
  • Authoritarian Assertion of Dominance104

All of these appear across wide segments of the Christian Right.

Populist antielitism as a rhetorical style often takes the form of attacks on liberals, secularists, intellectuals, the news media, and Hollywood.105 Allegations that these elites are part of a vast conspiracy against the common people are frequently interwoven into the fabric of the stories that are told—sometimes with references to Satanic End Times plots tied to prophecies in the book of Revelation.106 Linda Kintz, discussing dualistic apocalypticism argues the “resonance of traditionalist conservatism, both religious and secular, is the apocalyptic narrative, whose influence on the myths of American history is not new,” and she adds it “depends on fear, and because fear is undependable, it must be sustained.”107

Right-wing populism often is based on racialized, patriarchal, and heterosexist narratives that buttress a sense of privilege and entitlement among a targeted audience of straight White Christian men. It tends to frame economic questions in terms of hard working producers pitted against parasites above and below.108 This technique was used to mobilize poor and working class Whites against newly-freed Black former slaves after the Civil War.109 It was utilized by George Wallace in his first Presidential Campaign, and later borrowed by Richard Nixon and the Republican Party to create the “Southern Strategy.”110 It exists in stories of “welfare queens” where race need not be mentioned.111 Ironically, today antielite populist rhetoric is used by Republicans to invert the historical account and claim that the Democratic Party is the enemy of true civil rights.112

There is also a natural historic congruence between the Calvinist-based theology of many White evangelicals, and the ideology of Free Markets and less government regulation fostered by the Republican Party.113 Doug Henwood points out that despite accurate criticisms of some of his overly-broad conclusions, the work of historian Richard Hofstadter helps explain this connection:

Hofstadter underscores the radical departure of the New Deal from the individualist roots of historic American social and political movements for something much more collective. That kind of collectivism, which lasted into the 1970s, is exactly what the New Right has been trying to reverse all along, and they’ve accomplished a good bit of the task.

Hofstadter’s emphasis on the individualism of American white Protestantism is highly relevant now – it illuminates what’s the matter with Kansas, since American white Protestants love “The Market” as an instrument of reward and discipline. That love is not some recent confidence trick perpetrated by Karl Rove, but has deep roots.114

Margaret R. Somers and Fred Block identify this as part of the growth of “market fundamentalism” as an ideology promoted by conservatives. They studies two examples of legislation—in 1834 and 1966—in which “existing welfare regimes were overturned by market-driven ones.” They concluded that “Despite dramatic differences across the cases, both outcomes were mobilized by “the perversity thesis”—a public discourse that reassigned blame for the poor’s condition from “poverty to perversity.”115

…[S]tructural blame for poverty is discredited as empiricist appearance while the real problem is attributed to the corrosive effects of welfare’s perverse incentives on poor people themselves—they become sexually promiscuous, thrust aside personal responsibility, and develop longterm dependency. This claim enables market fundamentalism to delegitimate existing ideational regimes, to survive disconfirming data, and to change the terms of debate from social problems to the timeless forces of nature and biology.116

Many White working class voters, and even White middle class voters can be persuaded at times to vote against their arguable economic self interest, by appealing to their sense of morality by casting “family values” and “moral values” in terms of societal struggles over issues such as gay rights, gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, and pornography.

In any election, sometimes social issues trump economic issues sometimes economic issues trump social issues—and how Republicans and Democrats are perceived by Christian evangelical voters who are weighing the pull of those two sets of issues can determine the outcome of an election.

According to sociologist S. Wojciech Sokolowski:

What is at stake here is not reason vs. irrationality or stupidity but different cognitive frames that manifest themselves, among other things, by a preference for bucolic rural life or for urban diversity. Both are pre-rational, that is, they frame and direct the rational thought process.

So if we drop the charge of irrationalism, Hofstadter’s thesis that traditional American culture tends to be anti-urban and rather local, with all the accoutrements of that localism—navel gazing, suspicion of outsiders, suspicion of high culture, suspicion of big organizations and government, love of small business, religiosity, etc.—still stands.117

Sokolowski stresses the interplay of factors with a basic right wing frame, the “perception of imminent danger,” which creates a need to organize for “safety and protection.” According to Sokolowski, this fear factor activates a strong response when added to the constellation of other beliefs of the right: “the Manichean dualism of good and evil, right and wrong, us and them; the vision of apocalyptic battle between good and evil; the need for vigilance and unquestioned support of ‘our’ side and a militant posture toward ‘them.’” Sokolowski explains that “only within the context of their perception of an imminent threat do their activities and rhetoric appear as rational defensive reactions rather than wanton aggression.”

And it is this very unique way of perceiving the world that drives the Christian Right to engage in a guerilla culture war against mainstream society—seen as increasingly sinful, secular, cynical, and threatening.

Islam and Xenophobia

At the Values Voters Summit, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney made a relatively obscure reference that implied secular liberalism was to blame for both domestic and foreign policy errors. Romney said, “Let me just underscore something I said that came from David Landes: culture makes all the difference.” Landes is the author The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor.118 According to Landes, “If we learn anything from the history of economic development it is that culture makes all the difference … what counts is work, thrift, honesty, patience, tenacity” (pp. 516, 523). Landes has been criticized for promulgating a highly Eurocentric view of the world,119 and his work has been absorbed into the “Clash of Civilizations” thesis of Samuel Huntington and the neoconservatives.120

And this brings us back to the Culture Wars and its intersection with Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis, which provides grounds for a coalition between the Christian Right and the Neoconservatives over Middle East policy, the war on terrorism, and suspicion of Islamic movements. This binds both sectors of the Right to support of the Bush Administration.

Respected sociologist Amitai Etzioni criticized Huntington as a “systematic and articulate advocate of nationalism, militaristic regimes, and an earlier America in which there was one homogenous creed and little tolerance for pluralism.”121 Others describe this tendency of Huntington’s as xenophobic and Eurocentric.

Struggling with Satan

Katherine Harris

One speaker at the Values Voter Summit conference was former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (an elected U.S. Representative now running for the Senate). Harris, famous for her role in the Florida Presidential election fiasco in 2000,122 explained she was an evangelical Christian, and placed herself in the dominionist sector. A major influence on her theological views was Francis A. Schaeffer, the intellectual godfather of the Christian Right,123 a fact she only recently revealed.124 Schaeffer, the pop theologian whose writings are used to justify a range of Christian nationalist or theocratic forms of dominionism, urged Christian to engage in civil disobedience against immoral civil authority.125Harris studied with Schaeffer at his institute in Switzerland.

At the Summit, Harris mentioned the struggle with “principalities and powers,” a Biblical reference to “spiritual warfare” between the people of God and the demonic agents of Satan.126 Many in the audience would hear that as a reference to the struggles in the End Times prophesied in the Bible’s book of Revelation.

End Times

It is the view of many premillennial dispensationalists that we are in the End Times and thus true Christians must struggle with the literal forces of Satan. According to certain readings of the book of Revelation, during the End Times elite political and religious leaders are expected to betray true Christians; and their claim to be seeking world peace and cooperation should be viewed with suspicion. During the End Times, the rise of a false religion will sweep the globe. Some evangelicals (mostly premillennialists) believe during the End Times they will have to engage in “spiritual warfare” and physical resistance to the powerful Satanic forces of the Antichrist.127

No obvious mention of a specific theological End Times belief system was needed. It simply was read into the rhetoric by those so inclined. Thus speakers used coded language to hit theological hot buttons of many in the audience who hold expectant millennialist views—and the leadership of the event avoided potential criticism of pandering to apocalyptic beliefs.

A significant number of conservative Christian Evangelicals are Christian Zionists who view Islamic terrorism, the struggles in the Middle East, and Israel through the lens of apocalyptic millennialism, in which (all too often), Islam is portrayed as a false religion in league with the Satanic Antichrist in the End Times.128


1 This list was compiled by the authors from statements made at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC, September 21-24, 2006, which they attended.

2 Dominionism is a tendency within the Christian Right to assert that Christians are mandated by God to take control of secular political institutions. See: Frederick Clarkson, “The Rise of Dominionism: Remaking America as a Christian Nation,” ThePublic Eye Magazine, Winter 2005; Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006); Chip Berlet, 2006, “The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy,” The Public Eye online,

3 Robert P. Jones and Dan Cox, American Values Survey: Initial Report, Center for American Values, a project of People for the American Way (PFAW), (Washington, DC: PFAW, 2006).

4 John C. Green and Mark Silk, “Why Moral Values Did Count,” Religion in the News, 2005, (Spring),; Geoffrey C. Layman, and John C. Green, “Wars and Rumors of Wars: The Contexts of Cultural Conflict in American Political Behavior,” British Journal of Political Science 36(1), (January 2006): 61-89.

5 Interview with John C. Green, October 10, 2006.

6 Ruy Teixeira, Center for American Progress, Public Opinion Watch, June 29, 2005,; Marisa A, Abrajano, Micharl Alvarez, and Jonathan Nagler, “The Hispanic Vote in the 2004 Presidential Election: Insecurity and Moral Concerns,” paper, December 22, 2005,; Bob Cusack, “Bush seeks ‘major shift’ with blacks,” The Hill, February 9, 2005,

7 Robert E. Denton, Jr., “Religion and the 2004 Presidential Campaign.” InAmerican Behavioral Scientist 49(1), (September 2005): 11-31; citing The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, “How the Faithful Voted: Political Alignments & the Religious Divide in Election 2004” Nov. 17, 2004,; David E. Campbell and J. Quin Monson. “The Religion Card: Evangelicals, Catholics, and Gay Marriage in the 2004 Presidential Election,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Sept. 1-4, 2005, CARD.pdf; Robert E. Denton, Jr. “Religion, Evangelicals, and Moral Issues in the 2004 Presidential Campaign,” in The 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective, ed. Robert E. Denton, Jr. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005); John C. Green, Mark J. Rozell and Clyde Wilcox, eds., The Values Campaign? The Christian Right and the 2004 Elections (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2006).

8 Adelle Banks, “With Election Looming, ‘Values Voters’ Are Back in the Spotlight,” Religion News Service, Wednesday, September 20, 2006,

9 Robert P. Jones, Ph.D. and Dan Cox, American Values Survey: Initial Report,Center for American Values, a project of People for the American Way (PFAW), (Washington, DC: PFAW, 2006.

10 Mike Allen and James Carney, “The G.O.P.’s Secret Weapon,” Time Magazine, October 9, 2006, online edition,,9171,1541295,00.html.

11 Rose French, 2006, “Evangelical voters more jaded in 2006,” Associated Press, September 22,; Chris Kromm, “Religious Right Falters on Eve of Elections,” 2006,; Paul Krugman, “Things Fall Apart,” op-ed column, The New York Times, October 2, 2006,

12 John C. Green and Mark Silk, “Why Moral Values Did Count,” Religion in the News, (Spring 2005),

13 Geoffrey C. Layman, and John C. Green, “Wars and Rumors of Wars: The Contexts of Cultural Conflict in American Political Behavior,” British Journal of Political Science (36)1, (January 2006), pp 61-89, quote from p. 61.

14 Greg Goldin, “How the Christian Right is Building from Below to Take Over Above,” The Village Voice, April 6, 1993, at

15 Esther Kaplan, “Onward Christian Soldiers: The Religious Right’s Sense of Siege is Fueling A Resurgence,” The Nation, July 5, 2004. See also Kaplan, With God on Their Side: George W. Bush and the Christian Right (New York: New Press, 2005).

16 Didi Herman, The Antigay Agenda: Orthodox Vision and the Christian Right(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).

17 David D. Kirkpatrick, “The 2004 Campaign: Evangelical Christians–Warily, a Religious Leader Lifts His Voice in Politics, The New York Times, May 13, 2004, A22, Online archive.

18 Scott Helman, 2006, “Healey Campaign Uses Data Strategy,” Boston Globe, October 2, pp. B1, B3.

19 Mike Allen and James Carney, “The G.O.P.’s Secret Weapon, Time Magazine, October 9, 2006, online edition,,9171,1541295,00.html.

20 David Espo, “Dems Positioned to Challenge GOP Control,” The Associated Press, October 7, 2006,

21 Adelle Banks, “With Election Looming, ‘Values Voters’ Are Back in the Spotlight,” Religion News Service, Wednesday, September 20, 2006,

22 Katha Pollitt, “Earthly Rewards for the Christian Voter,” Subject to Debate column, The Nation, December 6, 2004,

23 Notes from attending the Values Voters Summit.

24 MSNBC, “White House Logs Show GOP Activists’ Access: Conservative Norquist Visited 97 Times Between 2001 And 2006,” Sept 21, 2006,

25 Sara Diamond, Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States (New York: Guilford Press, 1998); Jean Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999); William Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway Books, 1996).

26 Sara Diamond, “The Personal Is Political: The Role of Cultural Projects in the Mobilization of the Christian Right,” in Unraveling the Right: The New Conservatism in American Thought and Politics, ed. Amy E. Ansell (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1998), pp. 41-55.

27 Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (New York: Guilford Press, 2000).

28 Jean V. Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999).

29 Amy Fagan, “‘Values voters’ told to know the enemy,” The Washington Times
September 23, 2006,

30 For more information about the Values Voter Summit from reporters and analysts who attended the event, see: Max Blumenthal, “With the Party of Dobson,”The Nation online, September 27, 2006,; Sarah Posner, “The Religious Right Goes to Washington,” Alternet, September 30, 2006,;Bruce Wilson, “Politicizing Churches: Full Court Press,” Talk2Action, September28, 2006,; American United for Separation of Church and State, “‘Values Voter Summit’ Supports GOP, Americans United Charges,” Friday, September 22, 2006,; Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “Speaker At ‘Values Voter Summit’ Recommends Church-Based Organizing Plan Based On Deception,” September 25, 2006,; People for the American Way, Rightwing Watch online, Values Voters Summit collection, 2006,; “Clark,” Defcon, Campaign to Defend the Constitution, online blog, Septmeber 22, 2006, “Off-To-See-The-Wizard,”; Chip Berlet, “New Front in the Culture War: Gay Rights Sacrificed on the Altar of the Mid-Term Elections,” September 25, 2006,; Bill Lee, “Family Research Council Action: 2006 Values Voter Summit Series,” September 30, 2006; Eric Appleman, collection of photos and reports, September 22, 2006,; transcripts of some speeches include Romney,, Huckabee,; Allen,, and Brownback,

31 Institute for First Amendment Studies, “Religioius Leaders Denounce Wildon’s Anti-Semitism,” Freedom Writer, June/July/August 1989, at

32 Blumenthal, “With the Party of Dobson.”

33 While a few scholars have studied the relationship between militant Islamic movements and neofascism, the use of the term “Islamofascism” or Islamic Fascism represents a form of political propaganda. See: Chip Berlet, “Terminology: Use with Caution.” In Fascism, Vol. 5, Critical Concepts in Political Science, ed. Roger Griffin and Matthew Feldman (New York, NY: Routledge, 2003), online draft version at

34 Quotes in this section are based on Democracy in Action, Eric Appleman, transcript of the Romney speech at FRC Action’s Values Voter Summit, September 22, 2006, See also: Stuart Shepard, “Values Voters Energized for November,” Focus on the Family, CitizenLink, September 25, 2006,

35 McKissic’s remarks are quoted in Rob Boston, “Is The Antichrist Gay? ‘Values Voters’ Bash Gays At Conference” Church & State, forthcoming.

36 People for the American Way, “Values Voter Summit: Is the Anti-Christ Gay?,” Right Wing Watch online, September 24, 2006,

37 Transcribed from a recording of this presentation obtained by Political Research Associates.

38 Transcribed from a recording of this presentation obtained by Political Research Associates.

39 Bruce Wilson, “Bill Bennett, God-Man: ‘When 4 Americans Are Hung…. You Level The City,’” September 23, 2006,

40 Jim Brown, “Dobson, Bauer Comment on ‘War on Terror,’” Agape Press, September 29, 2006,

41 Frank James, “James Dobson: ‘Millions of Muslims Want to Kill Us,’” Chicago Tribune blog, September 23, 2006, See also, Amy Fagan, “‘Values voters’ told to know the enemy,” The Washington Times,September 23, 2006,

42 Brown, “Dobson, Bauer Comment on ‘War on Terror.’”

43 Ibid.

44 Blumenthal, “With the Party of Dobson.”

45 Brown, “Dobson, Bauer Comment on ‘War on Terror.’”

46 Blumenthal, “With the Party of Dobson.”

47 Cass R. Sunstein, “Mortal Combat: By Stoking Fear, Republicans Gain an Edge Over Democrats,” The New Republic online, August 23, 2006,

48 Andrew Gumbel, “Something Rotten in the State of Florida,” Common Dreams, September 29, 2004, originally from The Independent,

49 “Katherine Harris,” interview, Florida Baptist Witness, August 24, 2006,

50 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters, (Downers Grove Intervarsity Press, 1992); Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right (Boston: South End Press, 1989).

51 Pete Winn, “‘Stand for The Family’ to Encourage Values Voters,” CitizenLink, Focus on the Family, posted September 29, 2006,; Staff Reports, “Pittsburgh Site of ‘Stand for the Family’ Rally,” CitizenLink, Focus on the Family, posted September 21, 2006,; Jessica Stollings, “‘Stand for the Family’ Rallies Kick-Off Next Month,” Family News in Focus, Focus on the Family, posted August 21, 2006,

52 Blumenthal, “With the Party of Dobson.”

53 Jessica Stollings, “Stand for the Family Rally in Pittsburgh,” Family News in Focus, Focus on the Family, posted September 21, 2006,

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid.

56 Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry And President Bush,” sermon, All Saints Church, Pasadena, California, October 31, 2004,

57 Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment, p. 74. Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (New York: Doubleday, 1992), pp. 241-247, (on ironies concerning woman leaders, pp. 298, 324, 455); and Martin, With God on Our Side: pp. 161-167.

58 name=”P181_55644″>58 One of the authors attended the workshop.

59 David D. Kirkpatrick, “Christian Conservatives Look to Reenergize Base,” New York Times, September 25, 2006.

60 Brandie M. Jefferson, “Liberty Sunday Hits Gay Marriages: Romney in Boston Sees Religious Expression Threat,” the Associated Press, Worcester Telegram & Gazette online, posted Monday, October 16, 2006, Event organizers made the dubious claim that they “might have reached close to 80 million people” with the broadcast. Maria Cramer, “Broadcast condemns same-sex marriage,” Boston Globe 10/16/06 p.B1.

61 The Old North Church itself objected to the use of the image of its building to promote the event. See Michael Paulson, “Group to Rally Opposition to Gay Marriage: Romney to Speak at Event Targeting Evangelical Voters,” Boston Globe, October 15, 2006,

62 Nancy Christopher, “One: Man, Women-In defense of marriage and religious liberty” Sky Angel, Liberty Sunday articles,

63 Nancy Christopher, “Former self-professed liberal warns against the promotion of homosexuality to our youth: Two specials examine the teaching of homosexuality in our schools,” Sky Angel, Liberty Sunday articles,

64 CJ Doyle, transcribed from an audio recording. Transcription also available from Family Research Council here:

65 Raymond Flynn, transcribed from an audio recording. Transcription also available from Family Research Council here:

66 Bishop Wellington Boone transcription also available from Family Research Council here:

67 Ibid.

68 Chip Berlet “Justice Everyday,” DEFCON, Campaing to Defend the Constitution, January 6, 2006,

69 George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, [1996] 2002); _____, Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate (White River Jct., VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2004).

70 Adapted from Chip Berlet, “Prophecy Belief and Constitutional Boundaries,” blog entry, DEFCON, Campaign to Defend the Constitution, October 14, 2006,

71 Romney,; Huckabee,; Allen,; Brownback,; and Gingrich,

72 Jean Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999) p. 74. Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (New York: Doubleday, 1992) pp. 241-247, (on ironies concerning woman leaders, pp. 298, 324, 455); and William Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway Books, 1996) pp. 161-167. On conservative women generally, see Rebecca E. Klatch, Women of the New Right (Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 1987); Elinor Burkett, The Right Women: A Journey Through the Heart of Conservative America (New York: Touchstone, 1998).

73 “The New Right’s Plan for ‘82,” Washington, D.C. City Paper, November 27, 1981.

74 The CNP executive committee in 1988 was composed of: Ambassador Holland H. Coors; Rich De Vos; Thomas F. Ellis; Edwin J. Feulner, Jr.; Nelson Bunker Hunt; Robert H. Krieble; Connaught Marshner; Howard Phillips; Judge Paul Pressler; Ed Prince; Michael A. Valerio; Richard A. Viguerie, and Paul Weyrich; this list from the program brochure, CNP meeting August 12-13, 1988, New Orleans, Louisiana, on file at PRA. On CNP generally, see David D. Kirkpatrick, “Club of the Most Powerful Gathers in Strictest Privacy,” New York Times (August 28, 2004): 10, online archive; Russ Bellant, “The Council for National Policy: Stealth Leadership of the Radical Right,” Front Lines Research, Planned Parenthood, 1:2 (August 1994), online archive; _____, The Coors Connection: How Coors Family Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism (Boston: South End Press/PRA, 1991), pp. 26-27; 36-46; Jeremy Leaming and Rob Boston, “Behind Closed Doors: Who Is The Council For National Policy And What Are They Up To? And Why Don’t They Want You To Know?”Church & State, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, (October 2004),

75 Frederick Clarkson, “Secret International Antiabortion Political Training Institute in the U.S.,” Talk2Action, September 21, 2006,

76 Onalee McGraw, Secular Humanism and the Schools: The Issue Whose Time has Come, pamphlet (Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 1976).

77 Margaret Quigley, unpublished working paper, 1992.

78 Chip Berlet and Margaret Quigley, “Theocracy & White Supremacy: Behind the Culture War to Restore Traditional Values,” in Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash, ed. Chip Berlet (Boston: South End Press, 1995), pp. 15-43, originally published in The Public Eye magazine, December 1992, pp. 1-7, online at; Linda Kintz, Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions that Matter in Right-Wing America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press,1997); Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (New York: Guilford Press, 2000). Ann Burlein, Lift High the Cross: Where White Supremacy and the Christian Right Converge (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002).

79 Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, pp. 200-202.

80 Ibid. pp. 175-185, 196-198, 339.

81 William P. Hoar, “Parents Revolt: When Textbooks are Propaganda,” pamphlet, circa 1974, reprint of article in American Opinion magazine, (John Birch Society), November 1974, pp. 1-16, quotes from p. 1.

82 Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006), 10-11, 160-164; Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, pp. 339; Council for National Policy, “Presentation of Thomas Jefferson Ward to Dr. Schwarz, Christian Anti-Communism Crusade: CNP-21,” videotape, (by the author, 1987), in the archive of Political Research Associates; CNP lists colleted by Institute for First Amendment Studies, and others, archived at Public Eye website, Political Research Associates (PRA),; Phyllis Schlafly, “Global Governance: The Quiet War Against American Independence,” videotape, (Alton, IL: Eagle Forum, 1997), distributed by Jeremiah Films, Hemet, CA.

83 Romney speech:

84 Family Research Council website,, accessed September 26, 2006.

85 Dennis Prager, “See No Evil: 9/11 and the American Left, five years later,”Citizen magazine, Focus on the Family, September 2006, pp. 18-21.

86 Max Blumenthal, “With the Party of Dobson,” The Nation online, September 27, 2006,

87 Institute for First Amendment Studies, “Religioius Leaders Denounce Wildon’s Anti-Semitism,” Freedom Writer, June/July/August 1989, at

88 Pete Winn, “Armey Lashes Out Against Dobson, Values Voters,” Focus on the Family, Citizen Link, September 28, 2006,

89 Ibid.

90 Gordon W. Allport, The Nature of Prejudice (Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1954); Lise Noël, Intolerance: A General Survey, translated by Arnold Bennett (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1994); James A. Aho, This Thing of Darkness: A Sociology of the Enemy (Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 1994); Colette Guillaumin, Racism, Sexism, Power and Ideology (London: Routledge, 1995); Elisabeth Young-Bruehl The Anatomy of Prejudices (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1996).

91 Faith in America, “Religious groups in some parts of the world…,” flyer, 2006,

92 Mason, Killing for Life; Lee Quinby, Anti-Apocalypse: Exercises in Genealogical Criticism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1994). See also, Kathleen Stewart and Susan Harding, “Bad Endings: American Apocalypsis,” Annual Review of Anthropology 28 (1999): 285-310; Charles B. Strozier, Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994); Barbara A. Rossing, The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation(Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 2004).

93 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals, by the author, October 2006,; Laurie Goodstein, “Conservative Churches Grew Fastest in 1990’s, Report Says.” New York Times, September 18, 2002, A22; based on research by the Glenmary Research Center,; Chip Berlet, “Religion and Politics in the United States: Nuances You Should Know,”The Public Eye, Political Research Associates, Summer 2003, pp. 13-16,

94 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Spirit and Power.

95 Ibid., iv-v, p.1.

96 Ibid., p. 2.

97 Ibid., p. 9.

98 Baylor Institute for the Study of Religion, American Piety in the 21st Century: New Insights to the Depth and Complexity of Religion in the US (Selected Findings from the Baylor Religion Survey), by the author, September 2006, Find more Baylor Religion Survey data at The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA),

99 Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), See articles critical of IRD: Fred Clarkson, “The Battle for the Mainline Churches,” The Public Eye, Summer 2006, pp. 10-14,; _____, “‘Liberal’ Church Ad Attacked by Rightwing Agency,” April 06, 2006,

100 Michael A. Fletcher, “‘Values’ Decline As Issue In Ohio’: Economic Woes Boost Democrats,” Washington Post, October 11, 2006, A01.

101 For examples, see Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? pp. 160-161, 205, 213, 226, 238-251.

102 Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, pp. 1-18. See alsoMargaret Canovan, Populism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981); Michael Kazin, The Populist Persuasion: An American History (New York: Basic Books, 1995).

103 Hardisty, 1999, Mobilizing Resentment.

104 Chip Berlet, “Mapping the Political Right: Gender and Race Oppression in Right-Wing Movements” in Home-Grown Hate: Gender and Organized Racism, ed.Abby Ferber (New York: Routledge, 2004), pp.19-47, list from pp. 24-25. See also, Joanne Ricca, no date, “Politics in America: The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement,” Wisconsin State AFL-CIO,; Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, pp. 6-13.

105 To trace the chronological evolution of the idea of populism as a style of politics, see: Ernesto Laclau, Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism (London: NLB/Atlantic Highlands Humanities Press, 1977); Canovan, Populism; Peter Fritzsche, Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990); Hans-Georg Betz, Radical Right-wing Populism in Western Europe (New York: St. Martins Press, 1994); Kazin, The Populist Persuasion; Hans-Georg Betz and Stefan Immerfall, eds.,The New Politics of the Right: Neo-Populist Parties and Movements in Established Democracies (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998); Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America .

106 Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America; Chip Berlet, “When Alienation Turns Right: Populist Conspiracism, the Apocalyptic Style, and Neofascist Movements,” in Trauma, Promise, and the Millennium: The Evolution of Alienation, ed. Lauren Langman and Devorah Kalekin Fishman (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), pp. 115-144; Brenda E. Brasher and Chip Berlet, “Imagining Satan: Modern Christian Right Print Culture as an Apocalyptic Master Frame.” Paper presented at the Conference on Religion and the Culture of Print in America, Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America, University of Wisconsin–Madison, September 10-11, 2004; Chip Berlet, “Dances with Devils: How Apocalyptic and Millennialist Themes Influence Right Wing Scapegoating and Conspiracism,” The Public Eye, Fall 1998, pp. 1, 2-22.

107 Linda Kintz, Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions that Matter in Right-Wing America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997), pp. 8-9; citing O’Leary.

108 Canovan, Populism, pp. 54-55; Kazin, The Populist Persuasion, pp. 35-36, 52-54, 143-144; Catherine McNicol Stock, Rural Radicals: Righteous Rage in the American Grain (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), pp. 15-86; Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, pp. 4-6.

109 Stephen Kantrowitz, Ben Tillman & the Reconstruction of White Supremacy(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2000), pp. 4-6, 109-114, 153.

110 Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995); Thomas Byrne Edsall and Mary D. Edsall, Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics (New York: Norton, 1991). See also Clarence Y. H. Lo, Small Property Versus Big Government: Social Origins of the Property Tax Revolt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).

111 Lucy A. Williams, Decades of Distortion: The Right’s 30-year Assault on Welfare (Somerville, MA: Political Research Associates, 1997),

112 Bill Fletcher, Jr., “Race, the Democratic Party, and Electoral Strategy,” The Black Commentator 201 (October 12, 2006),

113 Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, translated by Talcot Parsons (New York: Routledge, [1930] 1999). See also, Chip Berlet, “Calvinism, Capitalism, Conversion, and Incarceration,” The Public Eye, Political Research Associates, (Winter 2004): pp. 8-15,

114 Interview with Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer (LBO), based on comments made on LBO listserve, October 16, 2006.

115 Margaret R. Somers and Fred Block, “From Poverty to Perversity: Ideas, Markets, and Institutions over 200 Years of Welfare Debate,” American Sociological Review 70(2), (April 2005): 260-287. See also, Alexander Hicks, “Comment on Somers and Block, Free-Market and Religious Fundamentalists versus Poor Relief,”American Sociological Review (71)3, (June 2006): 503-510; Margaret R. Somers and Fred Block, “Reply to Hicks: Poverty and Piety,” American Sociological Review71(3), (June 2006): 511-513.

116 Ibid.

117 Interview with S. Wojciech Sokolowski, based on comments made on LBO listserve, October 16, 2006.

118 David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999).

119 Joel Mokyr, “Eurocentricity Triumphant,” review of Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, in The American Historical Review 104(4), (October 1999): 1241-1246.

120 Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Touchstone, 1997).

121 A. Etzioni, “The Real Threat: An Essay on Samuel Huntington,” Contemporary Sociology, 34(5), (2005): 477–85, quote from p. 485.

122 Andrew Gumbel, “Something Rotten in the State of Florida,” Common Dreams, September 29, 2004, originally from The Independent,

123 Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, revised edition (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982); and a sermon by Schaeffer based on his book delivered in Florida,; Francis A. Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop,Whatever Happened to the Human Race (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Co.,1979). For secondary sources on Schaeffer, see Martin, With God on Our Side, pp.156-160, 194-197, 238, 239, 321-323; Carol Mason, Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative of Pro-life Politics (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell U Press, 2002), pp. 108-118; Some Christian Right leaders who cite Schaeffer have moved far beyond anything he actually suggested.

124 “Katherine Harris,” interview, Florida Baptist Witness, August 24, 2006,

125 Clarkson, “The Rise of Dominionism”; _____, 1997. Eternal Hostility: The Struggle between Theocracy and Democracy (Monroe, ME: Common Courage); Sara Diamond, “Dominion Theology: The Truth about the Christian Right’s Bid for Power,” originally in Z Magazine, 1995,; Berlet, “The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy.” A few websites reporting this story have confused generic dominionism (Schaeffer) with Christian Reconstructionism (R.J. Rushdoony). While Christian Reconstructionism is the most militant form of dominionism, it is a common error to imply that all dominionists are Reconstructionists or desire a full-blown totalitarian theocracy. On the Internet, many errors concerning definitions of dominionism can be traced to a seriously flawed article, “Dominionism: (A.K.A. Christian Reconstructionism, Dominion Theology, and Theonomy),” on the website of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance,

126 Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Diamond, Spiritual Warfare.

127 Paul S. Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap/Harvard University Press, 1992); Robert C. Fuller, Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

128 Boyer, “John Darby Meets Saddam Hussein; Martin, “The Christian Right and American Foreign Policy”; Oldfield, “The Evangelical Roots of American Unilateralism; Michael Northcott, An Angel Directs The Storm. Apocalyptic Religion & American Empire (London: I.B. Tauris, 2004); Chip Berlet and Nikhil Aziz, “Culture, Religion, Apocalypse, and Middle East Foreign Policy,” IRC Right Web, Silver City, NM: Interhemispheric Resource Center, 2003,