For those of us who were born in the 1970s or later, it’s difficult to imagine American politics without the looming presence of the religious right, particularly the influence of fundamentalist or evangelical Christianity. When Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority, a group determined to take the moral future of America into their own hands, a new attitude toward religion and politics was born: one determined to instill moral and religious beliefs in other people. Thirty years later, the religious right is still going strong.
Here are a few key dates in the growth of the religious right in America:
1979: Jerry Fallwell forms the Moral Majority, which is often said to be the beginning of the New Christian Right.
1982: President Ronald Reagan introduces a proposed School Prayer Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1988: George H.W. Bush is elected president with the support of most conservative Christian voters.
1992: The Christian Coalition produces voter guides and distributes them to conservative Christian churches.
1996: The Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, is enacted.
2000: In Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the United States Supreme Court holds that the First Amendment allows the Boy Scouts to exclude openly homosexual males from membership in its organization.
2001: George W. Bush becomes president with the overwhelming support of white conservative evangelical voters.
2007: President George W. Bush vetoes the Stem Cell Research Enactment Act of 2007.
And with the Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann figures of the present day, it’s clear the the presence of the extreme religious right in our political landscape is not going to go away.
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