Who are they and what are they doing to America?
In the past three decades, there has been a major shift in the Republican Party. While the Republicans have represented the economic conservative side for some time, they only recently became the party of socially conservative policies. This is in large part due to their absorption of the Religious Right Party. The Religious Right, a faction of the conservative movement, is a group of individuals who feel that government and religion should be one. Mostly Christian, the Religious Right base their political policies solely on religious beliefs. They believe the United States was founded as a Christian nation, and that the Bible should be the true law of the land. They are very outspoken against abortion, gay rights, the teaching of sexual education (besides teaching abstinence), and even want the Bible taught in classrooms. They control the majority of voters who regularly attend church, and they are growing bigger each year.
The Religious Right, otherwise known as the Christian Right in the United States, is a separate faction of the Right Wing side of politics. They are both economically and socially conservative. Their politics are directly influenced by their core religious beliefs. In the United States, they are made up overwhelmingly by Christians and its denominations: Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, Episcopalian, etc. They strongly believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible, and that these teachings should be taught in public schools as well. This includes the teaching of creationism and intelligent design. The Religious Right are also against the banning of prayer in school. They argue against the “separation of church and state,” claiming that while the Constitution does say, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” (Bill of Rights, 1st Amendment), it also says, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (Bill of Rights, 1st Amendment). According to their understanding of the First Amendment, government prohibiting prayer in school is in violation of their civil rights. Another major policy of the Religious Right, possibly their biggest in terms of persuading voters, would be pro-life, their stand against abortion. While the standard conservative wants to limit abortion to rare circumstances, the Religious Right feel abortion is murder and should never be allowed. The Religious Right are also fully against homosexuality, and they protest any legislature that attempts to give homosexuals equal rights. This includes: gay marriage, civil unions, adoption by same-sex couples, and even hate crime laws that include homosexuals as a protected group. On the economic side, the Religious Right agree with standard conservative policies, which include cutting taxes, deregulation, and the free market. They are also typically against federal funding for science, since science often contradicts the Bible.
There have always been religious radicals in politics, but it was not until the 1960’s that we saw the Religious Right really take shape. It all started with a political movement known as the New Right, also known as the First New Right. This was a political group that combined the ideals of libertarians, traditionalists, and anti-communists. They believed in classical liberal economics, traditional social values, and were very much against communism. Led by Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, they attempted to take the Oval Office. With the failure of Goldwater’s Presidential campaign, also came the galvanization of their party. This forced them even farther right on the political scale, which became the start of the Second New Right. Also, with the Civil Rights Act of 1965, and their new focus on traditional social issues, the second New Right began to merge with, what is now known as, the Religious Right. After winning the 1980 Presidential Election with Ronald Reagan, the New Right and Religious Right...