Sociology Index

RELIGIOUS RIGHT

Religious Right is found frequently in the United States where its influence is mainly located in the Reform Party. Religious Right groups or individuals combine the economic conservatism of classical liberalism, like beliefs in free market economies, small government and autonomy of the individual.

Religious Right has socially conservative views of many fundamentalist religions, like  anti-abortion, intolerance of homosexuality, social isolation of single parent mothers, censorship of children's reading material, reduction of rights of criminal offenders.

Since these Religious Right groups support an economic doctrine which is gaining wide acceptance they are able to move into positions of power and influence and their social views are giving shape to many aspects of life.

Ideology and Educational Policy: An Analysis of the Religious Right 
Benjamin Baez, V. Darleen Opfer 
This article argues that the characterization of the Religious Right as irrational does damage to progressive educational policy because it obscures the Religious Right's effectiveness in influencing educational policy and is counterproductive for resistance practices.

The authors discuss briefly the common views of the Religious Right and critique those views on the basis of their own claims. They suggest an alternative conceptualization of the Religious Right, one that rejects the rational/irrational dichotomy of the prevailing views. They argue that the imperatives of the Religious Right are guaranteed by the prevailing ideology of the Christian, liberal state. The authors contend that counteracting the Religious Right requires a recognition of this prevailing ideology and the discursive practices that maintain it.

The Religious Right and Public Education: The Paranoid Politics of Homophobia 
Catherine A. Lugg 
With the political rise of the U.S. Religious Right, public educators, administrators, and policy makers have faced numerous charges that public schools promote homosexuality. These charges have been made regardless of the actual content of various programs and curricula. Nevertheless, the typically incendiary charges seem an effective political tool in derailing and/or reshaping educational reform and program offerings. Drawing upon the methodologies of social historiography and historical policy analysis, this author examines the use of strategic homophobia by the Religious Right in their quest to "take back America."

Curriculum Challenge from the Religious Right 
The Impressions Reading Series 
Louise Adler, California State University, Fullerton 
Kip Tellez, University of Houston 
The Impressions reading series, which was marketed as a "whole language" program in California, was challenged by parents who charged that it promoted disrespect for parents, satanism, and witchcraft. Case study analysis of the challenges in 22 school districts revealed that the challenges clustered around specific geographic locations and time periods illustrating the political mobilization of religious right groups. Organized teacher support was found to be important in maintaining use of the series, and some teachers perceived the challenges as a test of their professional judgment. Most of the districts where the series was challenged continue to use at least parts of the series.

The Religious Right in the State of Israel 
ARTHUR HERTZBERG 
The modern Jewish quest for a homeland arose in the nineteenth century in Europe. From the beginning there was tension between a secular nationalism and a more religiously based one. Religious fundamentalism is a political factor today in Israel, as elsewhere in the Middle East.

On the Prospect of Linking Religious Right Identification with Political Behavior: Panacea or Snipe Hunt? 
M. V. Hood III & Mark Caleb Smith 
Although it is a popular topic, the religious right is understudied in two areas. First, scholars have not developed an agreed-upon profile of Religious Right adherents at the individual level. Second, little is known about how religious-right status functions as a predictor of political behavior. There is a possibility that religious-right status functions similarly to party identification, as an indicator that is both related to a wide range of variables and capable of functioning independently of those variables as a predictor of political behavior. Using multivariate statistical techniques we analyze survey data that allows respondents to self-identify as members of the Religious Right. We find that religious-right identifiers are social and theological conservatives who demonstrate high levels of religious commitment. However, they are neither monolithically Republican nor ideologically conservative. Religious Right status does have cross-cutting characteristics, for it is fluid across partisan, ideological, and denominational lines.

Identity Politics and the Religious Right: Hiding Hate in the Landscape 
Carolyn Gallaher 
Identity theory has had important theoretical implications for analysis of political action, but has tended mostly to examine identity formation and political action on the left. Any theory concerned with eradicating oppression must also analyze identity formation and political action of groups on the right whose politics are often based on exclusion and hate. Thus the empirical part of this paper focuses on the religious right, specifically Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia. The potency of the religious right lies in an identity politics which simultaneously asserts that fundamentalists are essentially different from those "of the world" but should nonetheless equate themselves politically with economic conservatives.

The Passion of the Right: Religious Fundamentalism and the Crisis of Democracy 
Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University.
This article argues that under the presidency of George Bush, the Republican Party has increasingly become an extension of the religious right. One consequence is a rampant anti-intellectualism coupled with Taliban-like moralism now boldly translates into everyday cultural practices and political policies as right-wing evangelicals live out their messianic view of the world. Democratic politics and secular humanism are being replaced by a Rapture politics in which certainty, moralism, and absolutism drive an attack on science in the name of faith by endorsing Creationism over the teaching of evolution, wage an unrelenting war against gay rights and women's reproductive rights, and use an appeal to the "culture of life" to support pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception on religious grounds.