The Religion & Culture Web Forum
How Biblical is the Christian Right?
This month, Margaret Mitchell leads us on a tour of the web sites of several prominent, conservative Christian organizations, using her findings to answer the question: “How do they use the Bible?” With her research on ancient biblical commentators as a point of reference, Mitchell analyzes the ways in which the Religious Right employs the Bible in its cultural critique, political agenda, and interpretation of historical events:
Even when the Bible is invoked on these web sites, only very infrequently is a concept of inerrancy alluded to, and even then rarely using that term. I do not think I ever have seen the word “fundamentalist” in cruising these websites for the last year or so. The word and commitment are submerged. Rarely do we even see “literalist.” On average it takes two or three and sometimes more links even to find a page that mentions the Bible or a biblical verse. Instead, the first noticeable thing about the Christian Right is that, even if they continue to read the King James Bible (or perhaps the NIV or NLT [this is hard to tell, because they rarely say]), they have been actively engaged in translation projects of another sort. Instead of Biblical inerrancy, or biblical authority, one finds a new, user-friendly and unifying lexicon: “family values,” “traditional values,” “family-friendly,” “Judeo-Christian heritage,” and a newfangled product called “the Christian world-view.”…As I shall argue below, along with a polemical intent similar to what we see in ancient commentators, what most characterizes the Christian Right’s biblical interpretation is no single method, but rather its selection of passages and topics.
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