A Declining Force

Some books should be read simply for what they say; others for who has written them, and why. Given the circumstances of America’s Christian Right nowadays, Blinded By Might: Can the Religious Right Save America? brilliantly exemplifies the latter.

Authors Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson were once senior figures in the Moral Majority. Twenty years after that first great dreadnought of the Christian Right was launched, and more than a decade after its sinking, they are now haunted by two questions: What happened? What now?

Thomas answers the first with unvarnished bluntness: "Two decades after conservative Christians charged into the political arena, bringing new voters and millions of dollars with them in hopes of transforming the culture through political power, it must now be acknowledged that we failed."

That’s the book’s—if you will—"political frame," to which Dobson adds a second, "religious" analysis no less firm: "The Christian Coalition reduces the Christian faith to a series of political positions, and that is the equivalent of theological heresy."

As the two men fully understood, either charge alone guaranteed controversy among fellow conservative evangelicals. But together, the accusations of "political failure" and "theological heresy" have ignited a firefight among their allies since the book first appeared.

They are accused of abandoning the Christian Right, but Thomas and Dobson insist they haven’t done any such thing. Rather, they say, they are calling for a baseline reappraisal of what has and hasn’t been accomplished after 20 years—and where the Religious Right needs to go next. Yet their proposals aren’t likely to quiet their detractors, inside or outside the movement.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 1999
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