Hoping to stem the resurging tide of Christian grassroots activism, advocates of strict separation between church and state have released a new handbook on how to fight the Religious Right. The handbook’s publisher, the Institute for First Amendment Studies (IFAS), says the guide is a much-needed tool in “defense of the Bill of Rights.” Christian groups targeted in the book, however, say it is just another sign of how much their growing success troubles liberals.
Authored by former Pentecostal pastor Skipp Porteous and investigative journalist Fred Clarkson, Challenging the Christian Right: The Activist’s Handbook contains more than 100 pages of background information, recommended resources, networking names and numbers, and strategic advice. Since its release last month, the book has already been distributed to more than 100 national and grassroots groups.
The IFAS promises to make it available to all individuals and organizations “promoting the separation of church and state, anticensorship groups, prochoice groups, and progay groups.” According to promotional literature, this IFAS handbook will “help win the new cultural war and challenge those who attack our traditional American freedoms.”
Right Is Wrong
The message of the handbook is clear: The Christian Right is wrong. “The Christian Right.… violates the spirit of democracy in separation of church and state,” says Porteous. “I think American Christians would be rather upset if the Moslems distributed a book ‘How to Elect Moslems to Public Office,’ and wanted to take over the school boards.”
A primary target of the handbook is one of the most visible new Religious Right groups, the Christian Coalition (CC), formed from the remnants of Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson’s ...1
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