Feb 13 2010

FLASH! The Religious Right’s big issue isn’t really abortion after all (?!?)

Category: religion,societyharmonicminer @ 9:42 am

The Lefty academics are at it again, this time Making Up Evangelical History.

Randall Balmer is Professor of American Religious History at Barnard College, Columbia University. He has written several books which explore the development of political activism by people of faith, specifically conservative evangelicals.

After describing Balmer’s attempt to revise the history of the “Religious Right” to exclude concern about abortion, marriage and homosexuality, and demolishing Balmer’s claim that the “Religious Right’s” founding was really about racism and money, the author of this review, Paul Edwards at Townhall, says this:

Dr. Balmer is firmly in the camp of those who see the purpose of the Gospel as primarily about reforming the ills of society through social action. He’s part of the new “Religious Left,” a category of evangelicals he denied exists during a recent radio interview with me. While his bias is implicit in his conclusions, it’s also explicitly stated. Not until you get to the end of Balmer’s 84-page revisionism does he show his hand: “For too many years I offered an exasperated defense, arguing that the Bible I read enjoins me to act with justice and points me toward the left of the political spectrum.”“The Making of Evangelicalism” is a distortion of facts in support of biased characterizations of conservative evangelicals. In addition to the absurd notion that a defense of the sanctity of life was not the precipitating cause of the formation of the Religious Right, Balmer asserts that conservative Christians opposed women’s rights, supported torture, care more about abortion than divorce, support the destruction of the environment, and favor the affluent more than poor, without once offering a shred of objective balance from those he accuses. This sounds more like Keith Olbermann than a respected historian.

What kind of historian produces a history that presents facts in evidence supporting only half the history? Balmer has not written a history of the making of evangelicalism. The reality is Balmer is “making up” evangelicalism by reading into history a conclusion influenced by his own progressive bias against conservative evangelical political engagement. He has written history as he would like it to have been, not as it was.

Sadly, I suspect that this book will be getting some play among the Christian Left at Christian universities, who are only too happy to criticize the “fundamentalism” they fear more than skepticism, agnosticism, and the social gospel.

Trying to claim that the Religious Right isn’t deeply concerned about divorce is risible on its face, but I do have to say this: it is proper to “care more about abortion than divorce,” for a very simple reason.

No one ever died from being divorced.