How emu birds migrated to India

Information market distortion through fundamentalism using the example of the USA

by Margarete Payer

mailto: [email protected]

Citation / cite as:

Payer, Margarete <1942 ->: Information market distortion through fundamentalism using the example of the USA. - Chapter 1: Introduction. - 1. Terms. - Version dated 2008-03-17. - URL:

First published: 2005-03-22

Revisions: 2008-03-17; 2005-07-07 [amendments]; 2005-06-16 [additions]; 2005-05-27 [amendments]; 2005-05-09 [amendments]; 2005-04-15 [additions]; 2005-04-13 [additions]; 2005-04-11 [additions]; 2005-04-09 [additions]; 2005-04-08 [additions]; 2005-04-06 [additions]; 2005-04-01 [additions]; 2005-03-30 [supplements]; 2005-03-28 [additions]; 2005-03-24 [additions]

occasion: Course at the Stuttgart Media University, summer semester 2005

copyright: This text is available to the general public. Use in publications that goes beyond the usual quotations requires the express permission of the author.

This content is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

This text is part of the department Countries and culturesof Tüpfli's Global Village Library

  • 1. Mottos of Christian Fundamentalism
  • 2. Unholy Alliance
  • 3. Fundamentalism
  • 4. Christian fundamentalism
  • 5. Christian Right
  • 6. Bible Belt
  • 7. Southern Strategy
  • 8. Evangelicals / Evangelicals
  • 9. Neo-evangelicalism
  • 10. Pentecostals / Pentecostal Movement
  • 11. Confessing Movement
  • 12. Born again
  • 13. Dispensationalism
  • 14. Covenant Theology / Federal Theology
  • 15. Dominionism
  • 16. Reconstructionism (Christian)
  • 17. Book of Revelation / Revelation of John / Apocalypse of John
  • 18. Book of Daniel
  • 19. Political Correctness (PC)
  • 20. Secular Humanism
  • 21. First Amendment
    • 21.1. Establishment Clause
    • 21.2. Free Exercise Clause
  • 22. Republican Party (GOP)
  • 23. What about Catholic Fundamentalism, the Moonies, and the Mormons?

Go does not err
The Bible is God's Word
The Bible does not err.

Evangelist James Robinson. - 1979

I find my LORD in the bible
Wherever I chance to look,
He is the theme of the bible
The center and heart of the book;
He is the rose of Sharon,
He is the lily fair,
Wherever I open my bible
The LORD of the book is there.

Hey, at the book's beginning,
Gave to the earth its form,
He is the ark of shelter
Bearing the brunt of the storm,
The burning brush of the desert,
The budding of Aaron's rod,
Wherever I look in the bible
I see the LORD of the book is there.

The Ram upon Mt. Moriah,
The ladder from earth to sky,
The scarlet cord in the window,
And the serpent lifted high
The smitten rock in the desert,
The Shepherd with staff and crook,
The face of my LORD I discover
Wherever I open the book.

He is the seed of the woman,
The Savior virgin-born;
He is the root, and the offspring of David,
Whom men rejected with scorn,
He is the bright and morning star;
His garments of grace and beauty
The stately Aaron deck.

Yet He is a Priest forever,
For He is Melchizedek,
He is the Alpha and Omega.
He is the Spirit and offers the water
The one who beckons to come,
The one who prepares the feast;
He was the servant and is the LORD,
And we shall see Him as HE is.

LORD of eternal glory
Whom John, the Apostle, saw;
Light of the golden city,
Lamb without spot or flaw,
Bridegroom coming at midnight,
For whom the virgins look.
Wherever I open my bible,
I find my LORD Jesus in the book.


Fig .: The Bible is the word of God (© IMSI)

Fig .: Important election / Moody Bible Institute Colportage Assn.

"If the assured opinions of science are accurate and they really do conflict with the teaching of scripture,
then science stands in judgment on the Bible rather than the Bible standing in judgment on science.
Moreover, if the writers in their humanity were subject to scientific, historical, and other errors,
why were they not also subject to theological errors?
And if the Holy Spirit could preserve them from theological error, why could not the same Spirit preserve them from scientific and historical errors, too? "

Harold Lindsell,  1976

[Image source from "Important election": Marsden, George M. <1939 ->: Fundamentalism and American culture: the shaping of twentieth century evangelicalism, 1870-1925. - New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. - xiv, 306 pp.: Ill.; 24 cm. - ISBN 0195027582. - P. 100. - {If you click HERE you can download this book to order}]

[Harold Lindsell quoted in: Mojtabai, A. G. (Ann Grace) <1937 -: Blessèd assurance: at home with the bomb in Amarillo, Texas. - 1st Syracuse University Press ed .-- Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, 1997.-xvi, 255 pp; 21 cm. - ISBN: 0815605080. - Originally published: Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986. - P. 118. - {If you click HERE you can download this book to order}]

By the way:

"Bible, an originally Greek word, actually means the inner, flexible bark of trees. Since this bark was used instead of paper in the earliest times, the word was also used for book in general. When Christianity spread further and some teachers of it had written down individual, partly historical, partly instructive writings for the confessors of the Christ doctrine, which were later collected, this collection was called Biblia, the books, or the book of books, and because they the Revere Christians as the source of their religion, the scriptures. A large part of the books that the Bible contains served the Jews as a source of knowledge of their law and religion (the law and the prophets) even before the birth of Christ, and they are therefore called the Old Testament, the books of the old covenant. It was thought that God had made a covenant with mankind and that the document of this covenant - the will - was laid down in these writings. Since this covenant is to be thought of as renewed, as it were, by Christianity, the writings which Christians venerate as the original sources of their religion were called the New Testament, the writings of the new covenant renewed by Christ. And so the Bible is the book of the world; it has been translated into a thousand languages, distributed in millions of copies, and has itself become a world language that speaks to believers of all zones, of all colors, of all times. Her sublime, godly wisdom speaks to the Hindu on the Ganges, as to the Indian in Canada, to the Samoyed, as to the Negro in Senegal, to the Chinese, as to the Tierra del Fuego in equally understandable, equally uplifting, light and humanity, wisdom and immortality spreading way. It is the lofty Column of Memnon, erected in the middle of the world, and from it holy bells ring out over the world, which resound in the hearts of the believers and urge them to prayer, to humility before the only, almighty, infinite, and all of them in the purest love penetrate. To all - to all she proclaims with tongues of fire the sublime revelations of the Godhead, the divine Redeemer and his apostles holy teachings, the triumph of heaven over hell, the purest, most holy love. It is the eternal palladium of Christianity, the oriflame of humanity, around which everyone will one day gather in ardent devotion and love, where there will be only "One Shepherd and One Flock."

[Source: Ladies Conversations Lexicon / ed. by Carl Herloßsohn. - New sentence and facsimile of the 10 vol. Edition Leipzig, 1834 - 1838. -- Berlin: Directmedia Publ.. -- 2005. - 1 CD-ROM. - (Digital library; 118). - ISBN: 3-89853-518-5. - s.v. - {If you click HERE you can download this CD-ROM at to order}]

A bit of statistics from the Barna Group to show how increasingly important the Bible is to American society:

  • In 2006, 48% of adults in the United States believed the Bible to be completely in error (up from 35% in 1991)
  • only 12% of born again Christians disagree with the thesis of complete inerrancy
  • 78% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. (In 2004 it was 72% and 64%, respectively.)
  • during an average week, 47% of Americans read the Bible (up from 36% in 1988)
  • more Protestants than Catholics read the Bible regularly
  • Afro-Americans are the most avid Bible readers, followed by whites, then Latino-Americans and Americans of Asian descent

[Source: The Bible. - 2007. - - Accessed on 2008-03-13]

The term Unholy Alliance goes back to the term Holy Alliance, the coalition that was founded in 1815 between Russia, Austria and Prussia and other European countries. The modern so-called Unholy Alliance in the USA refers to political alliances between groups of different cultural and religious ideas, practically a connection between the rich upper class and evangelicals or, above all, under the presidency of George W. Bush with the right-wing wing of Christian fundamentalism.

The Republican Party is about mixing church and state in the direction of a capitalist theocracy. Bush fulfills some of the points that evangelicals expect him to do, such as the fight against abortion, against homosexuality, and taking back the social tasks of the state, but he bypasses the opposition of the National Council of Churches and the Catholic Bishops' Conference in the USA to the Iraq war . He also rejects the demands of a number of leading Christian celebrities for quality health care, shelter and livelihoods for the poor. Instead, he protects the oil and energy industry from the Kyoto Protocol, reduces taxes for the rich and the companies, and cuts the money for condoms that were used, for example, in Africa to fight AIDS.

[see.: Kaplan, Esther: With God on their side: how Christian fundamentalists trampled science, policy, and democracy in George W. Bush's White House. - New York [and others]: The New Press, 2004. - XII, 322 pp. - ISBN 1-56584-920-5. - p. 2ff.]

Historically, the Unholy Alliance goes back to the Southern Strategy (see under "Southern Strategy")


"In this article Unholy Alliance refers to the political union of industrialists and management aristocrats with middle class and disadvantaged Evangelical Christians.


The wealthy take advantage of the financial Lorenz curve that is an inherent quality of capitalist systems. This means that 1% of the population owns 10%, 20%, or more of the wealth in the country, while 50% owns 30%, 20%, or even less.

In a democracy with elements of majoritarian rule, it is easy to see that the wealthy would quickly be stripped of their wealth or forced to flee if they didn't have some means of striking an alliance with significant portions of the disadvantaged in that country. In response, various schemes to win the favor of the voting masses have been explored over the centuries that democracy has returned as a system of governance.

History of the Unholy Alliance

The current approach used by many of the wealthy, supporters of the Republican Party, is to blend church and state into a capitalist theocracy. [...]

Political Utility

The Christian Right is a relatively non-volatile group politically, in that they are individuals unlikely to switch parties or platforms. They have been waiting for the return of their messiah for millenia, and can easily continue to wait while various upper-class politicians promise them an overturn of Roe and throw them the occasional steak, such as the ban on "Partial-birth abortion." A self-selected group of evangelicals for whom faith is a constant presence in their lives, ideological gadgetry such as Faith-based Economics that would be sniffed out and rejected by more skeptical groups are effective as means of mind control. The pervasive need for group membership and approval in this demographic renders them malleable and easy to keep in line.

While the Unholy Alliance has eroded long-held separations of church and state, even invoking the largely agnostic Founding Fathers that established the separation in their arguments, it is unlikely their conjugation with the self-infatuated wealthy would be sustainable without additional impetus. This was found, conveniently, in the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Since the attackers were devout Muslims, the prospect of a return to the Crusades through holy war was raised. And since the then-current political dynasty (the Bush family) had its financial interests in the oil industry - largely controlled by Muslim governments - the Unholy Alliance was given new legs by the coincedence.

[Source: Unholy Alliance. - In: dkosopedia. - - Accessed on 2005-03-06]

Fig .: Fundamentalism stops a thinking mind
[Source: © http: // :: Spirituality.html. - Accessed on 2005-03-15]

When Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) was dying, he asked his son-in-law, Lockhart: "Son, bring me the Book."
There was a vast library in Walter Scott's home and Lockhart asked: "What book?’
"What book?" replied Sir Walter. "There is but one Book - the Bible."

"There's just one book!" cried the dying sage;
"Read me the old, old story."
And the winged words that can never age
Wafted him home to glory.
There's just one book.

There's just one book for the tender years -
One book alone for guiding
The little feet through the joys and fears
That unknown days are hiding.
There's just one book.

There's just one book for life’s gladness,
One book for the toilsome days;
One book that can cure life’s madness;
One book that can voice life’s precise.
There's just one book.

There's just one book for the dying,
One Book for the starting years,
And one for the soul that's flying
Home for the measureless years.
There's just one book.



There is a dispute over the correct definition of this word. Nevertheless, one can say the following: Fundamentalism refers to movements that want to go back to the original sources of their religion or worldview and that in confrontation with the respective current environment. Fundamentalists believe that the religion to which they belong is being watered down by members or teaching authorities, misinterpreted or interpreted in a modern way. Fundamentalists feel obliged to restore the "true" religion in order to deliver people from evil.

The phenomenon as such is by no means new; the Reformation, Humanism or the Renaissance could well be described as fundamentalist in the broadest sense.

The term fundamentalism was first used for a conservative Protestant movement, within which 15 pamphlets called "fundamentals" were published between 1910 and 1915. The scriptures dealt with traditional beliefs such as the inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth and the like, i.e. a return to biblical statements in dealing with modernity - especially modern theology.

Since related terms such as traditionalism, conservatism, orthodoxy, and orthopraxis do not fully describe today's phenomenon that one wants to describe, it is suggested in the literature to work with the vague term fundamentalism to name similar movements in today's religious environment worldwide.

Apart from going back to the origins, in which case what is most suitable, and the rejection of what is perceived as badly modern, such movements have the following common elements:

  • Fundamentalists react militantly because they feel attacked in their innermost identities. They believe that with the loss of core values, they lose everything. Example: the violent reaction to the Mohammed cartoons

  • Fundamentalists fight for their worldview, for the traditional view of family, gender, sex behavior and the upbringing of children. If other people do not want to bow to the desired worldview, violence may be used. Example: the murder of hospital doctors by anti-abortionists in the United States.

  • Fundamentalists struggle with the arguments from the real or imagined ideal past, especially the ideal conditions and concepts of the selected age, which is seen as its own foundation. One can assume that from the ideal past that which strengthens one's own identity, holds the movement together, contributes to the formation of external boundaries and enables distance from others is chosen. This can be shown, for example, with clothing, e.g. covering the hair of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women (usually with the help of a wig)

  • Fundamentalists fight against others: against outsiders such as modernizers, but also against deviants in their own ranks, e.g. against members who want to compromise with the modern world. (It therefore seems very questionable to me whether official dialogues with real fundamentalists are even sensible. Fundamentalists do not question their views critically.) The struggle within such movements is often very fierce. Example: the struggle of the different K groups in the 68 years of the last century.

  • Fundamentalists are convinced that they fight in the name of God or Allah or, in the case of non-monotheistic religions, in the name of religion.

To illustrate this, two examples of fundamentalist groups from monotheistic religions follow (Christian fundamentalism is treated as a separate keyword), whereby these primarily relate to the literal interpretation of the holy scriptures (Bible and Koran), because these holy scriptures are considered God's word and are therefore absolutely true and authentic. Depending on the religion, the interpretative tradition also has great weight:

  1. For Judaism: The movement of the Charedim (Torah-loyal Jews), who belong to the ultra-Orthodox Jews and have their followers in the USA and Israel, fight against any adaptation to the host state or to Israeli society, especially against Zionism. They try to live according to the image of an idealistic past. For example, in order to enforce the strict Sabbath regulations in Jerusalem, they throw stones at the cars of more liberal Jews who drive in the Orthodox neighborhood on the Sabbath.

  2. For Islam: the Jamaat-i-Islami, an Islamic movement in South Asia (especially Pakistan) founded by Maulana Maududi (1903-79), values ​​the restoration of all human life according to the precepts of Islam. The aim is to form an Islamic state with a constitution based on the Koran and Sunna, with Sharia serving as the legal basis. For this movement, Islam means the total binding and submission of all aspects of human life to the will of God. To do that, you need political power. [see: Ahmad, Mumtaz: Islamic Fundamentalism in South Asia: the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Tablighi Jamaat. - In: Fundamentalisms observed / ed. By Martin E. Marty ... - 1994. - pp. 457 - 530]

But even in non-monotheistic religions one can speak of fundamentalist movements:

  1. For Hinduism: The Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS), known as the instigator of bloody attacks against Indian Muslims and Christians, draws its authority from the Hindu tradition. A reference is made to an epoch in the 17th century that is considered to be the glorious Hindu epoch, whose hero Shivaji carried out a successful revolt against the Islamic ruler Aurangzeb on behalf of the Hindus. Since there is an incalculable number of religious directions and correspondingly many holy scriptures in Hinduism, the RSS is not based on holy scriptures but refers to the Hindu nation and "being a Hindu". A Hindu is a person who regards India as his Holy Land within the borders before 1948 and who belongs to a religion that originally originated in India (including the Sikhs, the Buddhists, the Jainas but not the Muslims, Christians and Western followers of India Religions). One of the goals of the RSS is a pure Hindu country. [see: Gold, Daniel: Organized Hinduisms: from Vedic truth to Hindu Nation. - In: Fundamentalisms observed / ed. By Martin E. Marty ... 1994. - pp. 531 - 593]

  2. For Theravada Buddhism: Samasta Lamka Simhala Samvidhanaya (SLSBS) = Sinhala Buddhist organization for all of Sri Lanka (founded in 1981). This organization is an example of the fundamentalist Buddhist nationalist organizations in Sri Lanka known for their militancy. The idea provider was Anagarika Dharmapala (1864 - 1933). He combined selected fundamental teachings from the Pali canon with Sinhalese nationalism and racism, referring to the "golden" age of the Buddhist King Dutthagami (161-137 BC), who subjugated the Tamils. Dharmapala uses the Mahavamsa, the old nationalistic Buddhist chronicle of Sri Lanka. The aim of the SLSBS is, among other things, to maintain the ethnic heritage of the Buddhists and Sinhalese, to give the Sinhalese the monopoly of trade in Sri Lanka (the presidium of the organization consists mainly of business people). It is practically about the oppression of the Hindu Tamils. It is believed that 75% of all Buddhist monks are members of this organization. [see. Payer, Alois <1944 ->: Introduction to Theravada Buddhism of the Present. - Part 5: Buddhism, State and Society. - Version dated 1996-03-17. - URL: and: Mahanama <6. Century AD>: Mahavamsa: the great chronicle of Sri Lanka / trans. and ext. by Alois Payer. - 0. Introduction. - Version dated 2001-07-17. - URL:]

Because of the importance of modern religious fundamentalisms worldwide, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Cambridge, Mass.) Has carried out a fundamentalism project. The results can be found in the following 5 volumes:

Fundamentalisms observed / ed. by Martin E. Marty ... - Paperback ed. - Chicago [among others]: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1994. - XVI, 872 pp. - (The fundamentalism project; 1) - ISBN 0-226-50878-1

Fundamentalisms and society : reclaiming the sciences, the family and education / ed. by Martin E. Marty ... - Chicago [et al.]: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993. - IX, 592 pp. - (The fundamentalism project; 2) - ISBN 0-226-50881-1

Fundamentalisms and the state : remaking polities, economies, and militance / ed. by Martin E. Marty ... - Chicago [et al.]: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993. - IX, 665 pp. - (The fundamentalism project; 3) - ISBN 0-226-50883-8

Accounting for fundamentalisms : the dynamic character of movements / ed. by Martin E. Marty ... - Chicago [among others]: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1994. - VIII, 852 pp. - (The fundamentalism project; 4) - ISBN 0-226-50885-4

Fundamentalisms comprehended / ed. by Martin E. Marty ... - Chicago [among others]: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1995. - X, 522 pp. - (The fundamentalism project; 5) - ISBN 0226-50887-0

Fig .: Cover title

  • "Learn how to show the absurdity of evolution.
  • Study how you can share your faith with your family and in your work place
  • Learn how to testify to an atheist. See scripture how to prove God's existence without the use of faith.
  • Discover how prophecy can be used to prove the authenticity of the Bible.
  • See how the Bible is filled with eye-opening scientific and medical facts.
  • Read fascinating quotes from Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Stephen Hawking, and many other well-known scholars.
  • Read the fearful last words of famous people who died without the Savior.
  • Learn how to refute the "contradictions" in the Bible.
  • Study how to talk to a Mormon, Jehavah's Witness, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim.
  • Find out why the Dead Sea Scrolls are relevant to the Bible.
  • Read the incredible quotes about the Bible from presidents and other famous people.
  • Discover how to answer questions like "Where did Cain get his wife from? Why is there suffering? Why did the dinosaurs disappear? And many more."

[Source: The evidence bible : irrefutable evidence for the thinking mind / Kirk Cameron; Ray Comfort. - Gainesville, FL: Bridge Logos, © 2003. - 1716 pp.: Ill. - ISBN 0-88270-905-4. - Back of the binding into German trans. - {If you click HERE you can download this book at to order}]

The hymn "The Bible stands like a rock" (1917) by Haldor Lillenas (1885 - 1959) shows the attitude of Christian fundamentalists to their foundation, the Bible:

The Bible stands like a rock undaunted
’Mid the raging storms of time;
Its pages burn with the truth eternal,
And they glow with a light sublime.


The Bible stands though the hills may tumble,
It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble;
I will plant my feet on its firm foundation,
For the Bible stands.

The Bible stands like a mountain towering
Far above the works of men;
Its truth by none ever was refuted,
And destroy it they never can.


The Bible stands and it will forever,
When the world has passed away;
By inspiration it has been given,
All its precepts I will obey.


The Bible stands every test we give it,
For its author is divine;
By grace alone I expect to live it,
And to prove and to make it mine.


[Source of the midi file: - Accessed on 2005-03-15]

The Beginnings of fundamentalism go back to the 1870s, when some Protestants in the US saw the Christian faith threatened by Darwinism. It became a movement against theological liberalism and modern science with its doctrine of evolution, i.e. a reaction against a real or a suspected endangerment of one's own faith. The five most important (i.e. fundamental) points of movement are:

  1. Inerrancy of the Bible

  2. Virgin birth

  3. vicarious atonement

  4. the bodily resurrection of the dead at Jesus' second coming

  5. Second Coming of Christ (see under Dispensationalism)

These points were - as already mentioned above under fundamentalism - in a series of publications entitled "The fundamentals: a testimony to the Truth", ed. by A. C. Dixon and R. A. Torrey in 1910-12 and contributed to the spread of fundamentalist ideas.

There were heated disputes within the Protestant churches in the USA, including the content of teaching material, the orthodoxy of the theological faculties, the appointment of missionary committees and the use of funds. A great many small groups were fighting each other. There were and are violent disputes, e.g. because of the ordination of women and the recent appointment of a homosexual bishop in an Anglican church (at the moment there is a possibility that Anglicans are divided worldwide. The African Anglican churches in particular condemn homosexuality).

While at the beginning one tended to stay away from the political world, later on one can speak of periods of strong political activity. In the 20s of the last century one began to fight on the one hand for the alcohol ban and against Catholic immigrants (Poles and Irish people assumed high alcohol consumption) and on the other hand especially in school politics against Darwinism (Scope's Monkey Trial - "Monkey Trial": an indictment against a teacher who spoke of evolution in his school class and was convicted). In the 1950s, there was a fight against communism, a group of Christian Anticommunist Crusade was formed, which joined forces with the John Birch Society (a Catholic organization).

see: Ahlstrom, S. E .: Fundamentalism. - In: The religion in the past and present. - 3rd edition - 1958. - 2nd volume, pp. 1178f.

Since 1980 at the latest, the political activities of the fundamentalists have become much stronger and more extensive: it is about the fight against the abortion laws (Roe v. Wade, a court decision by which abortion in general was allowed), the fight against the equality of homosexuals (in particular against same-sex marriages), the fight against the doctrine of evolution (creationism or intelligent design against the theory of evolution, biology books in Georgia had to be provided with a sticker in 2004 that emphasized that the doctrine of evolution is questionable), the influence on schools (or the fight for the right of parents to teach their children at home in order to protect the children from the bad influence of public schools), the prohibition of contraceptives (e.g. despite the risk of AIDS in cooperation with Africa ) etc. One tries and achieves it also to exert appropriate influence on politics and jurisprudence. You support the presidential candidates who are believed to represent fundamentalist ideas. These include Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. You participate in organizations like the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition.

Although today there are very many fundamentalist movements and organizations that are also fighting each other, the following can be stated as common characteristics:

  • the belief in the Bible as infallible, historically correct and helpful in all situations, an interpreting authority is not necessary (e.g. the "flood geology": including the emergence of the Grand Canyon as a result of the flood; adherence to the respective mentions of biblical authors: among others Moses as the author of the five books of Moses)

  • belief in the imminent return of Christ (the emphasis on the book of Daniel and the apocalypse of John)

  • strict traditional moral concepts and concept of sin (fight against homosexuals)

  • Believe in the existence of Satan

  • Intolerance that can lead to militancy

Fig .: The enemy of the Christian fundamentalists: the "liberal, modernist" churches: Cleveland Moffett's [novelist (1863-1926)] ideal church. - In: The King's Business. - 1919-05. - p. 396

[Image source: Marsden, George M. <1939 ->: Fundamentalism and American culture: the shaping of twentieth century evangelicalism, 1870-1925. - New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. - xiv, 306 pp.: Ill.; 24 cm. - ISBN 0195027582. - P. 157. - {If you click HERE you can download this book to order}]

The following is about the authority of the Bible from an evangelical point of view:

Fig .: Authority of the Bible
[Image source: - Accessed on 2005-04-13]


"Bible, Authority of the. The central question that runs through the Bible is that of the authority of God. His authority is majestically displayed: in Genesis 1, where the words "and God said" puncture the darkness of chaos and speak the cosmos into being. It is supremely challenged by a creature of his own making in Genesis 3: "Yea, hath God said. . . ? "asks the serpent of the woman (3: 1 kjv), and the question reverberates down through the centuries that follow, all the way to the Book of Revelation, where the Almighty God" hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, king of kings and lord of lords, "and" death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, "as the Lord God Omnipotent's reign is eschatologically established and every challenge to his authority destroyed (19:16; 20:14 kjv). This is the theological context for the question of the authority of the Bible, because as God's written ("inscripturated") revelation its authority is the authority of God; for what Scripture says, God says.

The serpent's question in Genesis 3 is not simply the most striking example of a challenge to the authority of God; it is the fruit of the challenge of Lucifer who as the devil stands behind, or within, the serpent. And it is the challenge that leads Eve, and then Adam, into their definitive act of rebellion.It should be noted that the serpent's challenge "Hath God said?" is, in particular, a challenge to the authority of the word of God, a claim to know better than the word that God has spoken. This focus in the original act of sin on challenge to the authority of God in his word underlines from the outset the closeness of the connection between the person and the word of a God who is characterized as God who speaks. "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate it. .. Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done? "(3: 6, 13). The consequences are extraordinary.

So it is vital to understand that this doctrine, far from playing a minor role on the fringes of Christian belief, brings us face to face with the authority of God himself. What is at stake in the authority of Holy Scripture is the authority of its divine author. And, in light of the fact that every doctrine believed by the church is in turn authorized by appeal to Holy Scripture (theological proposals are grounded "according to the Scriptures," in the words of the creed), it is no exaggeration to say that the entire structure of Christian theology stands or falls by the authority of Scripture, the major premise for every theological statement that would claim the allegiance of the canonical community that is the church of Jesus Christ. This is still widely admitted in contemporary theological discussion, both implicitly (for every theologian, orthodox or not, quotes Scripture to bolster theological argument), and sometimes in so many words.

That immensely significant fact offers the context for the realization that the doctrine of the authority of the Bible is, uniquely, reflective in character. That is, though its subject is the Bible, it is a biblical doctrine like other biblical doctrines. Yet unlike other matters of Christian belief and practice on which the Bible speaks — Christology, eschatology, the nature of God, the Christian life — we are here concerned with what the Bible says about itself. It is sometimes suggested that this invalidates the Bible's testimony to its own authority, through it is a matter of logic that the highest authority must be its own authority. If the Bible is the "supreme rule of faith and life," none can be higher. Moreover, the Bible's self-testimony is pluriform and, in turn, sustained by the testimony of others; especially, the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. Let us briefly review each of these factors, because they have special relevance to the significance of the reflexive character of the doctrine.

First, the pluriform character of the Bible's self-testimony. As we shall shortly be reminded, what we find in Holy Scripture is not some soon claim to raw authority but a collation of many testimonies on behalf of Holy Scripture as a book. The canonical claim takes the form of interlocking claims and evidences that include the phenomena of the divine speech, the particular testimony of Jesus Christ to the character of what we call the Old Testament, and the authoritative use of canonical books by the writers of others. Second, the Bible's testimony is sustained by the use of the Bible in the church, as its authority has been recognized and found to be effective for the definition of doctrine and ethics, the public preaching of the gospel, and private devotion. Third, the chief ground of the believer's and the church's confidence in the authority of Holy Scripture lies in the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Christian. That is to say, though the Scripture seems to be self-attesting, it is the divine author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit of God, who inspired the writing of that same Scripture, who is its final witness. He assures the believer that this canonical scripture is verily the word of God written. That is, God offers his own witness to his word.

Yet the authority of Scripture is also a biblical doctrine like any other. It is the plainest of all biblical teachings, assumed as the starting point of the Bible in its role as a teaching book just as it has been assumed as the major premise of every use of the Bible since, lying behind the very possibility of biblical theology . Among the theological disciplines, "Bibliology" is both prolegomenon, part of the prelude to theology proper, and one among the articles that follow.

The Biblical Testimony. Perhaps the most striking, if often least noticed, testimony is the sustained interweaving of the direct speech of God in the text of the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. While serving as chief illustration and paradigm of revelation, the direct speech of the Creator-Redeemer resonates throughout the Scriptures and imparts its own stamp of authority to those books in which it is found. It is thus that the Book of Genesis begins with a chapter-long listing of the creative words of God, "And God said. ..." Chapters 2 and 3 narrate the interlocution of the Lord God and Adam and Eve in the garden. In chapter 4 the Lord engages Cain in interrogation, and curse, and finally grace. And the pattern continues through the flood and the covenant with Noah, and into the call of Abra (ha) m and the long account of the patriarchal discipleship (and the later historical books). In Exodus this narrative leads to the giving of the law on Sinai, and alongside the Ten Commandments, written by the finger of God, we read the mass of first-person instruction that became the basis of the civil and ceremonial practice of the Hebrews. The prophetic books, of course, consist in large measure of discourse from the mouth of God. As we later read, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways" (Heb. 1: 1).

In the New Testament there is some similarity, especially in the Book of Revelation, which repeatedly records the words of God. But there is also a fundamental difference: On page after page of the four Gospels, the incarnate Son of God speaks in human flesh the words of God. "In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" (Heb. 1: 2). As is so apparent in a red-letter testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record the very words of Jesus in an extensive fashion.

Of course, it is possible to conclude that such claims to divine authority in particular portions of Holy Scripture need not extend to the whole. A general regard for the trustworthiness of scripture is all that is needed to sustain the divine authority of sayings placed in the mouth of God. Indeed, is not the implication of "Thus says the Lord" that those other sayings recorded by the prophet fall short of divine authority? Should not the quoted speech of Jesus of Nazareth be taken to have an authority to which the letters of Saul of Tarsus could never aspire?

As it happens, the scriptures themselves tell another story. For the teaching of Jesus Christ extends to the question of bibliology. This is evident in all four gospels, and the evidence is overwhelming. In John 10:34 we read that Jesus said "The Scripture cannot be broken." In Mark 12:36, of Psalm 110, he states that David is speaking by the Holy Spirit. One of the most significant of all the many New Testament uses of the Old is found in Matthew 19. We read: "Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason? ' 'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh "? '" (4-5). The importance of this reference lies in the fact that in Genesis 2:24, where we find this statement about leaving parents to become one flesh with a wife, the comment is simply attributed to the narrator. It is Jesus who puts it into the mouth of the one who "made them male and female." And the implication is strong: that what Scripture says, God says, whether Scripture places it in the divine speech or as narration and commentary.

The second thread of internal testimony within Scripture may be traced through apostolic use of other canonical books. There is of course extensive New Testament use of the Old in a manner consonant with that which we find in the teaching of Jesus. In 2 Peter 3: 15-16 we find this principle carried through into the New Testament Scriptures themselves, as the writings of the apostle Paul are placed on a level with Holy Scripture: "Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort As they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. "

The Use of Scripture in the Church. The central place of Holy Scripture in the life and history of the church in every age offers telling evidence of its authority. We do not believe its authority stems from the teaching of the church. But we note the authority which Scripture has, from the start, exercised in all the churches, as believers in the first century and the twentieth have done homage to the written Word of God as rule for their minds, their hearts, and their lives. Here we unite the devotional and doctrinal use of Scripture, its place in preaching, private reading, the great doctrinal controversies, and the anguish of the believer persecuted or bereft who turns to the Word of God for comfort from God himself. It is through Scripture that God has ruled the mind and heart of the church and the Christian.

The Testimony of the Holy Spirit. Central to Christian confidence in the authority of Scripture lies the conviction that behind every argument and experience that lead the believer to trust the Bible there is another witness to be discerned; that of God the Holy Spirit, himself inspirer and interpreter of Scripture, as he testifies to that Word of God. We have noted that it is not possible for a supreme authority to find final testimony in anything less. So it is in God only that Scripture can be attested. As Calvin puts it, "For as God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men's hearts before it is scaled by the inward testimony of the Spirit. That same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what had been divinely commanded "(Inst. 1.7.4).

The near-universal acceptance of biblical authority in the church, liberal and conservative alike, is not coincidental. It draws our attention to the character of the church of Jesus Christ as a canonical community — the people of the book. Yet one implication of this wide assumption that theology should be done "according to the Scriptures" is that the tail comes to wag the dog; because it is necessary to justify theological proposals with reference to scripture, persons of all theological persuasions seek to find some way to connect their conclusions, on whatever ground they may have been reached, with scripture. This has led to growing uncertainty about what it means to say that the Bible has authority. To what does that authority extend? Several points of focus have emerged in this discussion. The task of contextualizing the teaching of Holy Scripture in the cultures of every century has demanded the best scholars and exegetes at the disposal of the church. It also raises the question of the extent of biblical authority. Does it indeed extend to the Pauline condemnation of homosexuality? Growing disagreement among evangelicals has focused on issues of hermeneutics, and the nature of authoritative inspiration— whether it implies inerrancy. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is widely accepted as a consensus statement of the biblical position, and begins with an affirmation that "recognition of the total truth and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate confession of its authority." That is to say, acknowledgment of the authority of Holy Scripture is no mere pro forma indication of respect, but involves confidence in its inerrancy. "The following Statement affirms this inerrancy of Scripture afresh, making clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God's own Word which marks true Christian faith. " The heart of the confession that follows is found in this paragraph: "Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed , as God's instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises. "

[Source: Nigel M. de S. Cameron. -- In: Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology / edited by Walter A. Elwell. - Grand Rapids, me. : Baker Books; Carlisle, Cumbria: Paternoster Press, © 1996. - x, 933 pages; 26 cm. - ISBN: 0801020492. - s.v. - {If you click HERE you can download this book at to order}]

Fig .: The Christian right is neither [Christian nor right]
[Source: © http: // :: Spirituality.html. - Accessed on 2005-03-15]

At the 2000 Republican Convention, the entire Texan delegation bowed their heads in prayer when a homosexual spoke at the lectern.
Christian Right is the term used to summarize several political and religious movements that represent strictly conservative and right-wing views. There are fundamentalists, evangelicals, Pentecostals, conservative Protestants from the main churches and Catholics, but there are also connections to followers of Dominionism and Christian Reconstructivism. They are predominantly supporters of the Republican Party, which was particularly evident in their support for the presidential elections of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Historically, the Christian right has advocated a ban on alcohol, civil rights such as the liberation of slaves, and social activities against poverty. Racial segregation was practiced in the southern groups.

The goals of the new Christian rights include:

  • Revocation of permitted abortion
  • Limitation in the use of bio-technology: no human clones, no stem cell research with human embryos
  • Revocation of homosexual rights, adherence to traditional family values
  • Supporting religious customs in civil life, especially school prayer
  • Opposition to court decisions that deepen the separation of church and state
  • Defense of home schooling and private schools, especially handing out vouchers for parents to teach themselves - especially creationism
  • Standing up for traditional moral values: protecting children from books, films, television programs, etc., which are primarily sexually immoral (use of filter programs or boycott campaigns against television stations that do not conform to moral values; campaigns for burning books)
  • Support of Israel because of the biblical prophecies (doctrine of premillennial dispensationalism), (from this the movement of Christian Zionism arose and e.g. the demand that all Palestinians should be resettled in surrounding countries)
  • Support for military actions by the US Army, especially in the "war on terror" in Afghanistan and Iraq

[Source: Conservative Christians. - In: Wikipedia. - - Accessed on 2005-03-02]

Movement is part of the Christian right Moral Majority, which was founded in 1979 under the leadership of the televangelist Jerry Falwell, primarily to represent religious views politically. They wanted to build a new right-wing majority in order to counterbalance moral and social liberalism. In order to become politically more powerful, the group's fundamentalists (Falwell, LaHaye, Dixon and Bob Billington) allied with the Jew Paul Weyrich and the Catholics Howard Phillips, Richard Viguerie and Phyllis Schlafly.

The goals of the Moral Majority correspond to those of the Christian Rights, whereby a lot of emphasis is placed on sexuality: one is directed especially against the women's movement, which one regards as the cause of all evil. Christian women are advised to obey their husbands again and to live by traditional values. One demands real men, which is why one also offers resistance to the plan to restrict the right to arms.

[see.: Armstrong, Karen: In the fight for God: Fundamentalism in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. - Munich: Siedler, 2004. - 608 pp. - Einheitssacht .: The battle for God . - ISBN 3-88680-769-X. - p. 432ff.

The following text gives a good description of the extreme directions in Christian right:

"Conspiracy theorizing about the Christian Right's supposedly" secret "agenda involves highlighting the hate-mongering and bizarre ideas of a handful of Christian Right players while neglecting the broad popularity of dominion theology. There are a variety of ideological tendencies within the Christian Right. At the truly extreme end of the spectrum is a set of ideas proponents call Reconstructionism, associated with only a small number of think tanks and book publishers. Many Christian Right activists have never even heard of Reconstructionism, whose advocates call for the imposition of an Old Testament style theocracy, complete with capital punishment for offenses including adultery, homosexuality and blasphemy.

Sects and Schisms

More prevalent on the Christian Right is the dominionist idea, shared by Reconstructionists, that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns — and there is no consensus on when that might be. Dominionist thinking precludes coalitions between believers and unbelievers, which is why many Christian rightists will have a hard time compromising with some of the very same Republicans they recently helped elect.

Fig .: Francis Schaeffer (1912 - 1984)
[Image source: - Accessed on 2005-04-09]

The idea of ​​taking dominion over secular society gained widespread currency with the 1981 publication of evangelical philosopher Francis Schaeffer's book A Christian Manifesto. The book sold 290,000 copies in its first year, and it remains one of the movement's most frequently cited texts. Schaeffer, who died of cancer in 1984, was a product of the internecine conflicts that split the Presbyterian church during the 1930s and 1940s. Schaeffer allied himself with the strident anticommunist leader Rev. Carl McIntire who headed the fundamentalist American Council of Christian Churches. Later Schaeffer joined an anti-McIntire faction that, after several name changes, merged into the Presbyterian Church in America. (A related denomination, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, is the milieu out of which convicted killer Paul Hill developed his justifications for killing abortionists.) In the 1960s and 1970s, Schaeffer and his wife Edith ran a retreat center in Switzerland, where young American " Jesus freaks "came to study the Bible with Schaeffer and learn how to apply his dominion theology to the political scene back home.

In A Christian Manifesto, Schaeffer's argument is simple. The United States began as a nation rooted in Biblical principles. But as society became more pluralistic, with each new wave of immigrants, proponents of a new philosophy of secular humanism gradually came to dominate debate on policy issues. Since humanists place human progress, not God, at the center of their considerations, they pushed American culture in all manner of ungodly directions, the most visible results of which included legalized abortion and the secularization of the public schools. At the end of A Christian Manifesto, Schaeffer called for Christians to use civil disobedience to restore Biblical morality, which explains Schaeffer's popularity with groups like Operation Rescue. Randall Terry has credited Schaeffer as a major influence in his life.

Fig .: Jay Grimstead
[Image source: - Accessed on 2005-04-09]

In the 1980s, some of the younger men Schaeffer had influenced joined a group called the Coalition on Revival (COR) [website: - Accessed on 2005-04-09], founded by Jay Grimstead. Grimstead, a veteran of the old Young Life missionary group, had decided that evangelicals were insufficiently literalist in their reading of the Bible. Grimstead founded COR with two purposes. One was to unify pastors who differed on questions of "eschatology," which is the study of the end times and the question of when Christ will return. Most evangelicals have held the pre-millennialist belief that Christ will return before a 1,000 year reign by believers. Grimstead and others in COR are post-millennialists who believe their job is establish the kingdom of God on earth now; Christ will return only after Christians have been in charge for 1,000 years. COR's second purpose, consistent with post-millennialism, was the development of position papers, called "world view documents," on how to apply dominion theology to Christian Right activism in more than a dozen spheres of social life, including education, economics, law and even entertainment.

Much of the liberal writing on dominion theology and reconstructionism has focused on COR as headquarters for a conspiracy to take over society. Grimstead and his colleagues advocated running stealth candidates in selected counties as early as 1986. But in recent years, COR has served as little more than a clearinghouse for Grimstead's position papers. As an organization, COR is largely inactive. Like the Moral Majority of the early 1980s, COR was a network of pastors, each of whom is busy with his own projects.

If COR had any effect, though, it was in reinforcing ideas about taking dominion. The 100 or so movement leaders in COR each signed a "covenant" statement affirming their commitment to the idea that Christians should take dominion over all fields of secular society. Only a few of COR's steering committee members were hard core reconstructionists. Most of the Reconstructionists are too hair-splittingly sectarian to want to associate with COR's diverse crew of pentecostal-charismatics and fundamental Baptists.

The Reconstructionists are theologically committed to Calvinism. They shy away from the Baptists 'loud preaching and the pentecostals' wild practices of speaking in tongues, healing and delivering prophecies. To secular readers, the minutiae of who believes what — or which group of characters likes to dance on one foot — might seem trivial. But some of the details and divisions of Christian Right theology are politically relevant.

As Above, So Below


Fig .: R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001)

Reconstructionism is the most intellectually grounded, though esoteric, brand of dominion theology. Its leading proponent has been Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, an obscure figure within the Christian Right. Born in 1916, the son of Armenian immigrants to the U.S., Rushdoony looks like an Old Testament patriarch with his white hair and beard and penetrating eyes. At a young age Rushdoony was strongly influenced by Westminster Theological Seminary professor Cornelius Van Til, a Dutch theo-logican who emphasized the inerrant authority of the Bible and the irreconcilability between believers and unbelievers. A recent issue of Rushdoony's monthly Chalcedony Report noted his Armenian background. Since the year 320, every generation of the Rushdoony family has produced a Christian priest or minister. "There was Armenian royalty in the Rushdoony blood, and a heritage of defending the faith, often by sword and gun, against Godless foes bent on destroying a people of faith and works."

Fig .: Gary North
[Image source: - Accessed on 2005-04-09]

With that auspicious heritage, Rushdoony founded the Chalcedony Foundation in California in the mid-1960s. One of the Foundation's early associates was Gary North who eventually married Rushdoony's daughter. North had been active within secular libertarian and anticommunist organizations, particularly those with an anti-statist bent.

Rushdoony and North had a falling out and ceased collaboration years ago. North started his own think tank, the Institute for Christian Economics in Tyler, Texas. Rushdoony, North and about a half dozen other Reconstructionist writers have published countless books and journals advocating postmillennialism and "theonomy" or the application of God's law to all spheres of everyday life. In his rhetorical crusades against secular humanists and against most other Christians, North is fund of saying "You can't beat something with nothing."

North has geared his writing for popular audiences; some of his books are available in Christian book stores. Rushdoony's writing is more turgid and also more controversial. It was Rushdoony's seminal 1973 tome The Institutes of Biblical Law that articulated Reconstructionists' vision of a theocracy in which Old Testament law would be reinstated in modern society. Old Testament law classified a wide range of sins as punishable by death; these included not only murder and rape but also adultery, incest, homosexuality, witchcraft, incorrigible delinquency by youth and even blasphemy. In the Reconstructionists' vision of a millennial or "kingdom" society, there would be only local governments; there would be no central administrative state to collect property taxes, nor to provide education or other welfare services.

Aside from Rushdoony and North, Reconstructionism boasts only a few other prolific writers. These include Dr. Greg Bahnsen, Rev. Joseph Morecraft, David Chilton, Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry, none of whom are major figures within the Christian Right. They are quoted more often in liberal reports than in the Christian Right's own literature.

The unabashed advocacy of a Christian theocracy has insured a limited following for the most explicit of the Reconstructionists, who have also been sectarian in their sharp criticism of evangelicals. North, for example, has published a series of attacks on believers in the pre-millennialist version of when Christ will come back.

Perhaps even more than the punitive legal code they propose, it is the Reconstructionists' religion of Calvinism that makes them unlikely to appeal to most evangelicals. Calvinism is the by now almost archaic belief that God has already preordained every single thing that happens in the world. Most importantly, even one's own salvation or condemnation to hell is already a done deal as far as God is concerned. By this philosophical scheme, human will is not involved in changing the course of history. All that is left for the "right" to do is to play out their pre-ordained role, including their God-given right to dominate everyone else. Calvinism arose in Europe centuries ago in part as a reaction to Roman Catholicism's heavy emphasis on priestly authority and on salvation through acts of penance. One of the classic works of sociology, Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, links the rise of Calvinism to the needs of budding capitalists to judge their own economic success as a sign of their preordained salvation. The rising popularity of Calvinism coincided with the consolidation of the capitalist economic system. Calvinists justified their accumulation of wealth, even at the expense of others, on the grounds that they were somehow destined to prosper. It is no surprise that such notions still find resonance within the Christian Right which champions capitalism and all its attendant inequalities.

The hitch comes in the Calvinists' unyielding predestinarian-ism, the cornerstone of Reconstructionism and something at odds with the world view of evangelical Christians. Last fall in Sacramento some of the local Reconstructionists held their annual Reformation Bible Conference, cosponsored by the Covenant Reformed Church and the Chalcedon Foundation. The theme of the weekend was Christian "apologetics," meaning defense of the faith against heretical enemies of all stripes.

R.J. Rushdoony was the keynote speaker and the main draw for the 250 people in attendance. Rushdoony's message was that "any compromise with creationism is a compromise with the faith." By that he meant that all Christians must subscribe to the literal six-day creation story in the book of Genesis. Creationism, he said, means "that all power in all creation comes from above." To believe otherwise is to succumb to Darwin's theory that all power rises from, or evolves, from below. Generations before Darwin, Rushdoony said, the theory of revolution, not just evolution, gained ground through the practices of paganism and witchcraft — egalitarian religions — and the very idea that power grows from the bottom up. This (r) evolutionary heresy leads to the idea that politics, even the state, can solve human problems. No, Rushdoony insisted, "the God who created all things has thereby ordained and predestined all things."

Other speakers echoed this message. They indicted any and all fellow Christians (including the late Francis Schaeffer) who think there is a legitimate role for independent human will, let alone pluralist cooperation with unbelievers in a democracy.

The problem is that evangelicals (a category including pente-costal-charismatics and fundamental Baptists) believe that God's will works in conjunction with free human will. They believe that salvation is not by the grace of God only but by the faith of individual believers who freely choose to surrender to Jesus. In fact, the cornerstone of the Western religions is the view that God's will and human will work together. Evangelicals believe strongly that humans freely choose sin or salvation and that those already converted have the duty to go out and offer the choice they have made to others. Calvinism, in contrast, undercuts the whole motivation for missionary work, and it is the missionary zeal to redeem sinners that motivates much of the Christian Right's political activism. Calvinism is an essentially reckless doctrine. If God has already decided what's going to happen, then the dominion- • sts do not have to take responsibility for their actions. (They can kill abortion doctors "knowing" it is the right thing to do.) Evangelicals, even those on the right, still believe they as individuals are capable of error.

Furthermore, the Calvinist Reconstructionists look askance at the other key draw of evangelical churches and that is the experiential dimension. The Calvinists sing staid songs, read the Bible and weighty theological treatises. What's going on especially in the charismatic churches is something else. There Christians by the thousands are flocking to wild faith healing extravaganzas where people shout and cry and fall on the floor because they are "slain in the spirit." The latest trend is called "holy laughter" whereby the Holy Spirit supposedly leads crowds to roll on the floor laughing uncontrollably, sometimes for hours. This kind of stuff is happening in churches all over the country — often televised for the Christian TV networks — with the backing of prominent evangelical leaders. Some critics have condemned the eccentric antics but they miss the point that people go to church not to read books but to experience something extraordinary. Many get a similar high from joining a political crusade. Large numbers of politically active evangelicals are not going to want to sit still for boring philosophical lectures on how their personal experiences don't matter in the face of pre-ordained reality.

The Founding Fathers Said So

Fig .: David Barton
[Image source: - Accessed on 2005-04-09]

They do sit still, by the thousands, for David Barton of WallBuilders, Inc. From a place called Aledo, Texas, Barton has successfully mass marketed a version of dominion theology that has made his lectures, books and tapes among the hottest properties in the born-again business. With titles like The Myth of Separation and America: to Pray or Not to Pray, Barton's pitch is that, with the possible exception of Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Fathers were all evangelicals who intended to make this a Christian nation.

Three times last summer I saw crowds of home schoolers and the Christian Coalition go wild with applause for Barton's performance. With an overhead projector, he flashes slides of the Founding Fathers and reels off selected quotes from them saying things like "only the righteous shall rule." Then Barton shifts to a second set of slides. For the years following the Supreme Court's 1962 and 1963 decisions against public school prayer, his charts and graphs show statistical declines in SAT scores and rising rates of teenage promiscuity, drug abuse and other bad behavior. Apparently no one has ever explained to Barton that a mere sequence of unrelated events does not add up to a cause and effect relationship.

Barton's bottom line is that only "the righteous" should occupy the public office. This is music to the ears of Christian Right audiences. To grasp Barton's brand of dominion theology, unlike with the reconstructionists, one does not need a seminary degree. Barton's pseudo-history fills a need most Americans have, to know more about our country's past. His direct linkage of the deified Founding Fathers with contemporary social problems cuts through the evangelicals' theological sectarianism and unites them in a feasible project. They may not be able to take dominion over the whole earth or even agree about when Jesus will return, but they sure can go home and back a godly candidate for city council, or run themselves. Barton tells his audiences that they personally have an important role to play in history, and that is what makes his dominion theology popular.

To Rule and Reign

But Barton's message flies in the face of the Christian Coalition's public claims about wanting only its fair share of political power. In his new book Politically Incorrect, Coalition director Ralph Reed writes: "What do religious conservatives really want? They want a place at the table in the conversation we call democracy. Their commitment to pluralism includes a place for faith among the many other competing interests in society. " Yet the Coalition's own national convention last September opened with a plenary speech by Rev. D. James Kennedy who echoed the Reconstructionist line when he said that "true Christian citizenship" includes a cultural mandate to "take dominion over all things as vice-regents of God. "

Fig .: D. (Denis) James Kennedy (1930 -)
[Image source: - Accessed on 2005-04-09]

Who is telling the truth about the Christian Right's bid for Power, Ralph Reed or the popular dominionists who speak at Christian Coalition gatherings? Liberal critics of the Christian Right would have us believe that Reed and Pat Robertson are just plain lying when they say they want to work hand-in-hand, like good pluralists, with non-Christians in government. To bolster the "stealth" thesis, liberals have to resort to conspiracy theory: Barton and Kennedy spoke at the conference, so Reed must secretly agree with them.

A better explanation is that the Christian Right, like other mass movements before it, is a bundle of internal contradictions which work themselves out in the course of real political activism. Ideas have consequences, but it is also true that ideas have causes, rooted in interests and desires. The Christian Right is in a genuine state of tension and flux over its own mission. Part a movement to resist and roll back even moderate change, part just a more reactionary wing of prevailing Republicanism, the Christian Right wants to take dominion and collaborate with the existing political-economic system, both at the same time. Liberal critics, who also endorse the ruling system, can only recognize the Christian Right's takeover dimension. Radicals can see that the dominion project is dangerous because it is, in part, business as usual. "

[Source: Diamond, Sara: Facing the wrath: confronting the right in dangerous times. - Monroe, Me .: Common Courage Press, © 1996. - 236 p. ; 20 cm. - ISBN
1567510787. - pp. 48 - 56.]

Fig .: Bible Belt

As Bible Belt ("Bible Belt") primarily refers to the southern United States (from Texas north to Kansas east to Virginia and south to Florida). The Bible Belt is characterized by a very conservative Protestantism. Sometimes one speaks of Utah, the Mormon state as the "Bible Belt of the West".

Among the cities, Nashville in Tennessee plays a special role because Nashville is considered home to some Protestant denominations. The city is thereby referred to as the "Buckle of the Bible Belt". The city has to share this name with others, including Dayton in Tennessee, because the so-called monkey trial took place here in 1925.

[see: Bible Belt. - In: Wikipedia. - - Accessed on 2005-03-05]

"In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to the focus of the Republican party on winning U.S. Presidential elections by securing the electoral votes of the U.S. Southern states. It is also used in a more general sense, in which cultural (especially racial) themes are used in an election - primarily but not exclusively in the American South. The use of the term, and its meaning and implication, are still hotly disputed.

Pre-History of the Southern Strategy

Prior to the 1960s, both of the major U.S. Parties were much more mixed, ideologically and geographically, than they are today. The Democratic party contained both a liberal, Northern / Midwestern bloc and a conservative Southern bloc. Republicans were also split ideologically, including a conservative activist base as well as a liberal wing from the Northeast.

In 1948, a group of Democratic congressmen, led by Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, split from the Democrats in reaction to an anti-segregation speech given by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, founding the States Rights Democratic or Dixiecrat Party, which ran Thurmond as its presidential candidate. The Dixiecrats, failing to deny the Democrats the presidency in 1948, soon dissolved, but the split lingered. The party's principles were revived by Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the 1964 Republican presidential candidate. Goldwater was notably more conservative than previous Republican nominees like Dwight Eisenhower; Goldwater's opponent in the primary election, Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, was widely seen as representing the more moderate, Northern wing of the party. Rockefeller's defeat in the primary is seen as the beginning of the end for moderate and liberals in the Republican party.

Roots of the Southern Strategy

At this point, the debate begins. The facts are this: in the 1964 presidential race, Goldwater adopted an extremely conservative stance. In particular, he emphasized the issue of what he called "states' rights". As a conservative, Goldwater did not favor strong action by the federal government - for instance, though not a segregationist personally, he strongly opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the grounds that, first, it was an intrusion of the federal government into the affairs of states and second, it was an interference with the rights of private persons to do business, or not, with whoever they chose. This was a popular stand in the Southern states; whether or not this was specifically a tactic designed to appeal to racist Southern white voters is a matter of debate. Regardless, the only states that Goldwater won in 1964 besides Arizona, were five Deep Southern states, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

The Southern Strategy was deployed even more effectively by Richard Nixon in the election of 1968. Nixon, with the aid of now-Senator Thurmond, who had switched to the Republican party in 1964, ran on a campaign of states' rights and "law and order." As a result every state that had been in the Confederacy, except Texas, voted for either Nixon or Southern Democrat George Wallace, despite a strong tradition of supporting Democrats. Meanwhile, Nixon parlayed a wide perception as a moderate into wins in other states, taking a solid majority in the electoral college. That is why the election of 1968 is sometimes cited as a realigning election.

Evolution of the Southern Strategy

As civil rights grew more accepted throughout the nation, basing a general election strategy on appeals to "states' rights" as a naked play against civil rights laws grew less effective; there was a greater danger of a national backlash. Nevertheless, in 1980, when Reagan announced his presidential candidacy with a speech in support of states rights, he did so in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a small town known as the site of the murder of three civil rights advocates in 1964. Reagan went on to make a speech praising Jefferson Davis, the strongly pro-slavery president of the Confederacy and states rights advocate, at Stone Mountain, Georgia, site of the founding of the modern Klan. A prominent Klan leader endorsed Reagan, but he disavowed the endorsement and moved to neutralize any negative publicity by securing the support of noted Southern civil rights activists Hosea Williams and Ralph David Abernathy.

An appeal to racism may have played a role in subsequent Republican races for the House and Senate in the South. The Willie Horton commercials used by supporters of George H.W. Bush in the election of 1988 may also have been such an appeal. Other examples include the 1990 re-election campaign of Jesse Helms, which attacked his opponent's alleged support of "racial quotas." Many ardent Democratic party supporters claim that support for federalism in the Republican party platform is, and always has been, nothing but a code word for racism, a charge Republicans consistently deny. Such allegations typically peak after a racially charged controversy involving Republicans, such as Senator Trent Lott's supportive remarks at Thurmond's hundredth birthday celebration.

Leaving aside all questions of race, the Republicans have continued to modify the Southern strategy, and to use it not only within the South, but in conservative areas of the Midwest and other regions. As racism became less politically palatable as a lone motivator, it was augmented by divisions based on other cultural issues like abortion, school prayer, or funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. These cultural differences are emphasized rather than economic issues including tariffs, federal job spending, and so on (with the single exception of taxes). They play on perceived and actual cultural differences between the South and other parts of the nation; the South is seen as more religious and traditional than, say, New England. An example of this new iteration of the Southern strategy can be seen in this quote from Pat Buchanan, a famously conservative political pundit, in which he denounces John Kerry (the 2004 Democratic contender for President) as:

... a Massachusetts liberal who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, backs civil unions for homosexuals, voted to defend the infanticide known as partial-birth abortion and wants to raise the federal income taxes that George Bush lowered. [1] (

The strategy can be seen in the phrase "Massachusetts liberal", emphasizing Kerry's alleged cultural alienness to the South, and in the emphasis on cultural, rather than economic, issues. A 2004 book by Thomas Frank, entitled What's the Matter with Kansas?, revolves around the rise of cultural issues as a Republican strategy.

[Source. - Accessed on 2005-03-06]

Fig .: Stop the axis of evil evangelicals. - Demonstration in Hollywood against the Iraq war
[Image source: - Accessed on 2005-03-15]

God Said It
Jesus Did It
I believe it
That Ends It

Dedication in a Bible

The term evangelical or evangelicalism is based on the gospel (good news), i.e. the New Testament. For evangelicals, belief in Jesus as the Savior is absolutely binding, as is keeping the commands of Jesus, especially the command of mission.

Evangelical groups can be found in the USA within Protestantism as early as the 18th century; they played a large part in the revival movements. According to the commandments of Jesus, evangelicals are very socially engaged.

A precise definition of evangelicalism is not possible. What is common to evangelicals:

  • Absolute fidelity to the Bible: inerrancy of the Bible (also with regard to historical facts), every believer has access to an understanding of the biblical texts (i.e. he does not need an authoritative interpretation)

  • Salvation is only possible through Jesus, i.e. one is obliged to save other people through missionary work

  • Salvation is to be obtained only through faith - by the grace of God - and not through good works

  • the adult conversion experience is seen as essential; evangelicals are usually born again Christians

  • God is the All-Knowing, Almighty and Perfect God, who created the world and still rules it today

The relationship to politics has been different in the last 100 years, in some cases political activities have been completely rejected, in the 20s of the last century groups fought against Catholic and Jewish immigrants (see under Christian fundamentalism), in the 50s they fought one has been fighting against communism and since the 1970s one has been fighting politically actively against phenomena in the USA that contradict the Bible, such as homosexuality, extramarital sexual relations, abortion, the theory of evolution, but also against the abolition of school prayer. Evangelicals have strong ties with the Republican Party and are now an important political force influencing the presidential election.

see.: Jelen, Ted G .: E.vangelicalism. - In: Djupe, Paul A .; Laura R. Olson: Encyclopedia of American religion and politics. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2003. ISBN 0-8160-4582-8. - p. 157f.

A bit of statistics:

The Barna Group, which regularly conducts surveys on religious attitudes in the USA, among other things, assumes in 2004 that 7% of the population are evangelicals in the strict sense, that is about 14-16 million Americans. More recent surveys by the Barna Group come to 9% (2006) among the adult population.

Of those 16 million, 76% are whites, most of whom live in the south. You are mostly affiliated with the Republican Party and have registered as voters. You are more likely to describe yourself as very conservative.

The majority of evangelicals belong to Protestant churches, while one percent of Catholics is considered to be evangelical Christians.  

[Source: - Accessed on 2005-04-11 and: Barna survey reveals significant growth in born again population. - - Accessed on 2008-03-13]

Because of the strong clashes in the 20s and 30s of the last century between the separating fundamentalists on the one hand and the modernists on the other, the movement called neo-evangelicalism emerged among the conservative Protestants. It was about turning against the modernists with their ethics ("social gospel") by emphasizing the importance of the Bible again, but on the other hand rejecting the militant approach of the fundamentalists. It was clear that the modern world needed different answers than those offered by fundamentalists and modernists.

The ideas were announced by the magazine "Christianity today". The training centers were the Fuller Seminary in California and Wheaton College in Illinois, from which the well-known evangelist Billy Graham emerged. The influence of this movement was so strong that the movement was soon only known as evangelicalism.

This movement is characterized by

  • that it rejects the emphasis on its own denomination, no tradition is preferred
  • that it uses a so-called "parachurch model", i.e. a church below the church. These churches are known to everyone today through the corresponding television churches. It's all about business, you have publishers, television and radio stations, your own film studios, schools and colleges
  • that one supports proselytizing crusades (think of Billy Graham, who preached to large numbers of people around the world)
  • that you plan and hold mass events such as the Promise Keepers
  • to found organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Youth for Christ, Youth with a Mission and others.
  • that one formulates beliefs that are very broad, so that Christians of different denominations can participate

There are churches that on the one hand have multi-media shows and the like. and, on the other hand, traditional worship services for the conservative Christians among them.

It is believed that this neo-evangelical movement was the most influential development in American Protestantism in the second half of the last century.

[see: Neo-evangelicalism. In: Wikipedia. - - Accessed on 2005-03-05]

Holy Spirit song "O Comforter, gentle and tender" (1897) by Albert B. Simpson (1843 - 1919):

O Comforter, gentle and tender,
O holy and heavenly Dove;
We're yielding our hearts in surrender,
We’re waiting Thy fullness to prove.


We're waiting, we're waiting
For Thee, O heavenly Dove;
We're yielding our hearts to surrender,