An On-Again, Off-Again Love Affair, a book review by Bruce L. Shelley

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Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Save America?Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson, Zondervan, 282 pp., $19.99s

Last February, Paul Weyrich and other conservatives were struck by how little Bill Clinton's alleged sexual immorality mattered to most Americans. They concluded that the idea of a moral majority is a myth. Now, two of Jerry Falwell's closest associates in the early eighties, Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson, have amplified the news in Blinded by Might.

The book is part other-worldly prophetic vision, part camp meeting invitation to evangelical political junkies to surrender all, and in small part, mea culpa. "We think it is time to admit that because we are using the wrong weapons, we are losing the battle."

The Moral Majority arose in 1979 to address the moral crisis in America. Dobson and Thomas joined Jerry Falwell the next year, just in time to glory in Ronald Reagan's election.

They knew that fundamentalists had been disgraced at the Scopes Trial in 1925 but considered the "Reagan-Bush landslide in 1980 the greatest moment of opportunity for conservative Christians in this century." It was the hour of redemption.

Then something happened. "The values environment changed"; and Dobson and Thomas now confess, "We failed to change America."

They see now how far they, and all their colleagues in the Religious Right, have drifted from a Christian's primary calling. They no longer believe that cultural problems can be altered through the political process. They know from their own experience how easy it is to surrender to the "seduction by power."

Still, like most sinners, Dobson and Thomas aren't quite ready to give up the temptress totally and forever. They are not calling for retreat. "We are not political quietists or separatists. Believers ...

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