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Dieting for Jesus

Alan Wolfe

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We should worry less about America's Christian conservatives. They are more American than they are Christian or conservative.

A judge in Alabama, Roy Moore, places a giant statue of the ten commandments in his court and defies an order to remove it as demonstrators from around the country arrive swearing it will never be taken away. A few months later William Boykin, deputy under-secretary of defence for intelligence, is discovered to have said that his God, the Christian one, is bigger than that other one, the Muslim God, thereby joining preachers like Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham (Billy's son) who had earlier denounced Islam as a false faith.

In the 1920s, conservative Protestants were on the margins of politics. Now they surround the president, as they did on 5th November 2003 when George W Bush signed a new law outlawing a surgical technique called (by its opponents) "partial-birth abortion." Such prominent conservative Christians as Falwell, Louis Sheldon, chairman of the traditional values coalition, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Adrian Rogers, former head of the Southern Baptist Convention, were invited to the ceremony. People who once picketed the White House have a new home inside.

No wonder, then, that many Americans, and nearly all Europeans, believe that the Bush administration signals the arrival to power of people who are drowning in dogma, fundamentally intolerant, and at war with the modern world. It stands to reason that an administration beholden to people like Moore and Boykin would call the war against Islamic terror a "crusade," support so strongly a state of Israel that conservative Christians believe has to flourish for Christ to make his return to earth, seek to criminalise abortion, and tear down the wall separating church and state. After all, there is an election on the horizon - in America, there is always an election on the horizon - and to win it, the Bush administration must mobilise the huge base of conservative Christians for whom Moore, Boykin, and Falwell speak.

Read the entire article on the Prospect Magazine website (link closed).



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