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Wednesday 08 April 2009

US Christian Right: Divided and Dissonant?

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 2nd February 2009

Super-Barack Obama
You might be forgiven for wondering where the US Christian Right is, amidst the celebrations that surround Barack Obama's inauguration...

Opposites didn't attract when it came to Obama's choices of inauguration day sermons. At the Lincoln Memorial, US Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson delivered the address, while Saddleback Church evangelical moderate conservative Rick Warren did so elsewhere. LGBT observers were concerned at Warren's backing for Proposition 8, while Robinson's sexual orientation outraged some Christian Right hardliners.

Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) had this to say about Obama's selection of Robinson as one of the inauguration preachers on his blog:

"... if there was ever a pastor whose actions were divisive it was Gene Robinson, who almost single-handedly devastated one of America's oldest Christian denominations," Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said in a blog headlined 'Obama levels the praying field.'

Encouragingly, there are also signs that polarisation may be lapsing as Americans tire of the role of religious extremists in public life:

Some leading evangelicals and left-leaning activists have come together in a coalition to promote their common values, releasing a document this week called "Come Let Us Reason Together: A Governing Agenda to End the Culture Wars."

Its policy proposals for the president-elect include suggestions to reduce the number of abortions by providing more support to pregnant women and funding for adoption - policies Obama has signalled he would like to embrace.

It also recommends supporting employment protection for gay and lesbian people, renouncing torture as a tool for extracting information from those deemed a risk to U.S. security, and a comprehensive package of immigration reform.


"Obama must work for truce in 'culture war' DNA: 18.01.09:

Faith in Public Life: Come Let Us Reason Together (summary):

Craig Young - 2nd February 2009