Religious Right

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The Religious Right is a term used to describe a general coalition of organized conservative political activist groups that use religious (usually Christian) premises and rhetoric. This coalition's political power increased substantially in the United States during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and it remains a significant force in US politics today.

The term is more commonly used by outsiders than members of this group. It also is used to denote political conservatism, rather than religious or theological conservatism (Many in the Religious Right are also religiously conservative, but the latter does not imply the former.)

Use of common enemy rhetoric to rally support for their cause is common among groups in the religious right, where the common enemies in question include secularists, liberals, homosexuals, and in past years, godless Communists. Similarly some liberal groups use the religious right itself as a common enemy to rally support for their causes.

David Sinclair, editor of the website "The American Religious Right" has described the Religious Right as "Christian political extremists in the US [which] are only a small minority of the population, but [that] are well-organized and wield political power far beyond their numbers." [1] Sinclair also claims that they run the Republican Party, but in recent years it has not always been clear who has been controlling whom. One author of this article saw a voter's guide distributed by the Christian Coalition in the mid-1990s that had more items mentioning Republican party planks than items that mentioned explicitly Christian issues. There are also significant portions of the Republican Party that do not share the religious agenda of the religious right, and the party as a whole has often put its own political power over the agenda of the religious right. For instance, while the religious right is firmly pro-life, pro-choice Republican candidates have been known to get significant support from the national Republican party, arguably more than pro-life Democrat candidates have gotten from the national Democratic party.


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