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Posted March 21, 2001
Excellant book which still harbors resentment
To the credit of the two learned writers, this book is clearly entertaining, lively and - yes - refreshing to those Christians weary of the 'Christian' Right influence in the church and society. Many Christians - if not the clear majority - do agree with the Christian Right in that something has gone terribly wrong over the past 35 years. Yet, many see that some things (progress in civil rights, tolerance, etc.) has gone terribly right. The clear majority of Christians feel that the Christian Right wants to take back some of the things that have gone right in order to 'remedy' some of the things that have gone wrong. Therefore, gay bashing, bashing of the poor, bashing of civil rights for all persons, etc. is given a new 'Christian face' through the Christian right. This is a shame which the authors do not confront entirely. However, to their credit, the authors do confront one major issue wrong with the Christian Right - as well as Christian Center and Christian Left - their evolution towards a systematic theology which replaces spiritual renewal with secular political (in this case right wing) renewal. Churches like the United Methodist Church, areas of the Catholic Church (I am Catholic), many African American church bodies, the American Baptists and the National Council of Churches seem to have - since the civil rights and anti-poverty movements - put an emphasis away from spirituality and towards secular politics and ethics influenced, yes, by Christian principles, but somehow not entirely religious or spiritual. This is what the Christian Right has done to many churches like the various pentecostal bodies, the Southern Baptists and many fundamentalist leaning independent churches through a right wing political agenda which glorifies conservative policies through a direct association with Christ (this is surprising, I think). All churches - whether left, center or right theologically - should focus their agenda on spirituality. Yes, there are times when social issues must be discussed. However, even in that the Christian Right churches fail. Never do we hear from Christian Right churches sermons on civil rights, racial equality and justice, social justice, anti-poverty issues, etc. We only hear harshness. I believe that this continued emphasis on harshness is in no great part due to Christian Political Right influence. Therefore, in coming clean in regards to the bad policy agenda of the Christian Right, the writers do not do the 'right wing.' Rather, they continue to write as conservatives (as they should, I would follow, since they are still unabashed conservatives). However, in doing the 'honest thing,' that is, tracing the spiritual decline of some bodies of worship with political influence from right wing thinking, the writers are right on mark. I would highly recommend this book. The appendix, which includes interviews with active Christians in politics, from Pat Robertson to George McGovern (D-SD) to Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio) to Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), is excellant and makes for just as good reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.