Two "insiders" from the religious right explore why the Moral Majority has failed to accomplish its goals despite two decades of aggressive political maneuvering. Although the authors reveal secrets and lies, such as the fact that most of the Moral Majority's so-called "state chapters" are "little more than a separate telephone line in a pastor's office," this is not a tawdry kiss and tell book. In fact, Dobson and Thomas strongly support most of the Christian values behind the organization's political machinery. But they have come to believe that politics is too corrupt and distorted an arena for Christians to use to enact social change.
Ed Dobson, who helped draft the Moral Majority platform and served as personal assistant to Jerry Falwell, offers a particularly compelling chapter in which he compares the U.S. to Northern Ireland, where Dobson grew up as a Protestant. "We have politicized the gospel with our agendas," he writes. "To be part of the Christian right is to be part of the Republican party. For some, this means to be a real Christian, you must be a Republican. That is heresy and is only a short distance from the extremism of my Irish counterparts."
Ultimately, devout Christians and the people they are trying to influence are the most hurt by the corruption of church through politics, according to coauthor Cal Thomas, a former spokesperson for the Moral Majority. For example, by making the Pro-Life movement a political issue, he claims the Christian right has lost sight of more supportive antiabortion tactics, such as focusing on offering homes and finding jobs for destitute single mothers. Ultimately, the duo calls for a change in strategy--hoping to create followers of the Christian agenda through positive example, consistent living, and devout faith rather than brute political force. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
According to syndicated columnist Thomas and minister Dobson, the Religious Right has done more harm than good. Once on the frontlines of the culture wars as adjutants in Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, the authors now call for "unilateral disarmament" by the Religious Right. If conservative religious leaders are to be effective, the authors say, they must use radically different strategies than they have until now. Thomas and Dobson contend that if the Religious Right's goal is to reclaim America for Christ, it must ask itself if both God and the government are the sources of hope. They claim that the government does not have the power to force virtue on people who do not want to be virtuous. The Religious Right, they note, has become ineffective because it has been acting like a political party or special interest group competing for a share of political power. Rather, say Thomas and Dobson, the movement should be modeling the message of Jesus as they seek cultural change. Although the authors emphasize their continuing commitment to the Religious Right, they note that "we are calling for a longer-lasting endeavor than the one too many of us have devoted too much time to for too long." The book offers a glimpse into the workings of the Religious Right as well as strong comments on the relationship between religion and politics in America.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.