With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House

With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House

by Esther Kaplan


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When asked which single issue most affected their vote in the last presidential election, more than one in five Americans said “moral values”—and 78 percent of these voters chose to reelect President George W. Bush. Indeed, Christian fundamentalists made up close to 40 percent of the president’s electorate in 2004, and their turnout increased by some four million voters over 2000.

As Esther Kaplan shows in her richly detailed investigation, it’s no wonder the Christian right voted for Bush in droves—their loyal support in 2000 produced fantastic results. While organizations that offer abortion counseling and services or help to prevent HIV see their funds cut, church groups receive millions in federal dollars to promote sexual abstinence and marriage (provided, of course, it is heterosexual). Bush has appointed a Christian right dream team to the federal courts, dedicated to tearing down what one such judge calls “the so-called separation of church and state. Religious zeal even shapes Bush’s foreign policy, as Christian belief in the end times spurs the administration’s support for hard-line policies in Israel.

A prescient study of the Christian right’s growing political clout, With God on Their Side is essential reading for anyone concerned about America’s direction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781565849204
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 10/28/2004
Pages: 322
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Esther Kaplan is a radio and print journalist and a community activist. She was acting senior editor at The Nation and features editor at POZ, the national AIDS magazine; she has also written for the Village Voice, Out, and The Nation. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgmentsix
1Yes, Virginia, It is a Holy War: Faith-based foreign policy from Israel to iraq8
2Christian Nation: From Bush's faith-based initiative to creationism in our public parks, the administration edges toward theocracy34
3Most Favored Constituency: How the Christian right came to dominate the Republican Party and the administration of George W. Bush68
4Weird Science: Faith healers, fake data, censorship, and other hallmarks of Christian science in the Bush administration91
5Good-Bye Roe: How to gut abortion rights in four easy steps129
6Whose Gay Agenda? A president who was soft on gays finds religion and joins the antimarriage crusade148
7AIDS, Born Again: AIDS was never a Republican issue, but Bush gave it a Christian makeover167
8The Purity Brigades: The Bush administration's one-size-fits-all abstinence agenda saves souls, not lives194
9The Global Crusade: Taking cues from the Vatican, Bush exports "family values" abroad219
10Stacking the Courts: Building permanent conservative rule on the federal bench244

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With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
eromsted on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Esther Kaplan has written an excellent journalistic account of the crossover between the movement for right-wing Christian politics and the Bush administration in the United States. Many of the issues addressed here have been explored in greater depth elsewhere, but this is the best overview. The book is divided into 10 short chapters on different aspects of the influence of conservative religion on American politics. ¿Yes, Virginia, it is a holy war¿ focuses on the support for Bush¿s war agenda by right-wing Christians since 9-11. These political evangelicals have been some of the strongest voices for conflating Bush¿s so called ¿war on terror¿ with a cultural and religious war between Christianity and Islam. Also interesting here is the unlikely confederation of evangelical Christians and the state of Israel in mid-east policy.The next two chapters provide general background on faith-based initiatives and the history of George Bush¿s ties to conservative Christian politics. ¿Weird Science¿ focuses on the efforts to constrain scientific research and education with religious doctrine. The lead story is of the administration attempt to have the National Parks Service sell a book arguing that the Grand Canyon was created by Noah¿s flood. But more troubling is strong pressure being put on the scientific review panels which oversee funding of basic research (particularly at the NIH) to conform to standards of conservative Christian morality, and the placing of misleading or false information on issues like birth control in government publications and web-sites.¿Good-bye Roe¿ and ¿Whose gay agenda?¿ outline the campaigns against legal abortion and gay rights, particularly gay marriage. Less well known is the story in the next chapter, ¿AIDS, born again.¿ Kaplan details a concerted campaign to strip programs for contraception (condoms) and clean needles from federally funded AIDS prevention programs. The religious conservatives driving social policy prefer to focus exclusively on abstinence and to frame the problem of AIDS as one of personal responsibility, i.e. gays and drug-uses get what¿s coming to them.¿The Purity Brigades¿ is perhaps the most interesting chapter, giving a close account of the rise of abstinence only programs. These highly limited sex-ed programs have received a massive boost of funding through the faith-based initiative. Although nominally independent these programs are often tied closely to evangelical churches and to so call ¿crisis pregnancy centers¿ whose sole purpose is to turn young women against the option of abortion. Particularly disturbing is that people who run these programs seem totally unconcerned that they are manifestly useless in preventing teen pregnancy. The goal is not to lessen unwanted pregnancy, but to project the correct moral message (at least by their conservative standards) about the evils of sex outside marriage.¿The global crusade¿ shows how the administration has used control of foreign aid money to press Christian morality not only in the US but around the world. And the final chapter deals with the campaign to use court appointments to shift change the law.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I completely disagree with 'a political moderate.' This book makes it very clear that the Christian right is a political movement--Kaplan is critical of the political agenda these folks want to impose on all Americans, not their religious faith. The book is a must-read for anyone who is serious about understanding what's going on right now in this country, especially the attack on basic democratic values--like equality of all people, regardless of their beliefs--that's being perpetuated by Bush and his allies on the far right.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you aren't worried about where things are heading under the Bush regime, you're either not paying attention, or you actually WANT to see the US plunged into a high-tech Dark Ages. If you ARE worried about the theocratic direction of 'mainstream' US politics under Bush and his fundamentalist cronies, you need to pick up this book, find out 'how deep the rabbit hole goes', and get active! A harrowing read, meticulously researched, and lucidly presented.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author manages to raise a few interesting points in this book, but fails to address them in the manner she strives to.