Cover image for Blinded by might : can the religious right save America?
Blinded by might : can the religious right save America?
Thomas, Cal.
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Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan Pub. House, [1999]

Physical Description:
282 unnumbered pages ; 24 cm
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BR1642.U5 T46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
BR1642.U5 T46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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It was 1980. They had just helped to elect their president, Ronald Reagan. They had millions of dollars, the attention of the national media, and a supposed "army" of mobilized followers. This was their moment to reverse decades of creeping secularism, intrusive socialism, threatening communism, and raging humanism. They called themselves the "Moral Majority".

But they failed. They failed in their first stated objectives to end abortion, eliminate pornography, restore the shattered American family, and usher in a better world in which "traditional values" were not only accepted but embraced. What happened? Why is America no better -- and probably worse -- after nearly twenty years of vigorous, sophisticated, and relentless political action by the church?

Blinded by Might is the story of two men who were at the center of the Moral Majority. Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson, behind-the-scenes lieutenants to the architects of the religious right, argue that the reason the Moral Majority or any other religious-political movement cannot succeed is because it has been using the wrong tools in the wrong way for the wrong reasons.

The authors retrace their own steps, showing why the efforts of people like Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, and James Dobson were doomed from the start. They disclose never-reported inside information on a movement that they helped create in order to show why it failed. And they use their mistakes and the mistakes of others to point people of faith

Author Notes

Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist appearing in more than 475 newspapers. He took a five-year sabbatical from journalism to be the Moral Majority's spokesman behind Jerry Falwell. He is the author of The Things That Matter Most.
Ed Dobson served on the board of the Moral Majority and as a personal assistant to Jerry Falwell. He now pastors Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has a doctorate in higher education from the University of Virginia.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Syndicated columnist Thomas and Grand Rapids, Michigan, pastor Dobson were lieutenants to Jerry Falwell in the Moral Majority, the first Religious Right organization to affect national politics. Now they say that saving America through politics is a mistaken effort. Salvation is the work of faith in Christ, they assert, not of politics and government. For faith cannot be compromised, yet compromise is essential to politics, and while government can restrain evil and promote good, it cannot compel virtue. Furthermore, Christians should observe the word of God when the Bible enjoins such practices as praying for, submitting to, and honoring government leaders. Yet, "I do not recall one single leader in the Religious Right ever praying and giving thanks for Bill Clinton," Thomas writes. One chapter advises James Dobson (no relation to Ed) to, as its title says, "Focus on the Family, not on Politics," and throughout, Thomas and Dobson are profoundly disturbed by the arrogance, untruthfulness, and manipulation of trust they have observed in the Religious Right. They don't, however, discourage conservative Christian political participation; indeed, they hope that such things as the abolition of abortion will come to pass. But they feel that changing the moral state of society cannot be accomplished by political means first or alone and that Christians' primary responsibilities are to love, even their enemies, and to care for the oppressed and the needy. Thomas and Dobson's reconsideration of what concerned conservative Christians should be about is good counsel for them and good news for everyone. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

According to syndicated columnist Thomas and minister Dobson, the Religious Right has done more harm than good. Once on the frontlines of the culture wars as adjutants in Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, the authors now call for "unilateral disarmament" by the Religious Right. If conservative religious leaders are to be effective, the authors say, they must use radically different strategies than they have until now. Thomas and Dobson contend that if the Religious Right's goal is to reclaim America for Christ, it must ask itself if both God and the government are the sources of hope. They claim that the government does not have the power to force virtue on people who do not want to be virtuous. The Religious Right, they note, has become ineffective because it has been acting like a political party or special interest group competing for a share of political power. Rather, say Thomas and Dobson, the movement should be modeling the message of Jesus as they seek cultural change. Although the authors emphasize their continuing commitment to the Religious Right, they note that "we are calling for a longer-lasting endeavor than the one too many of us have devoted too much time to for too long." The book offers a glimpse into the workings of the Religious Right as well as strong comments on the relationship between religion and politics in America. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Syndicated columnist Thomas and Grand Rapids pastor Dobson were Moral Majority board members and supporters of founder Jerry Falwell, but both became disillusioned and resigned from the organization. Both still support the Religious Right's objectives but believe that its leaders and many members take a self-destructive and flawed path to achieve them. Dobson had breakfast with President Clinton and provoked bitter criticism when he wrote favorably about the experience. Christians should not demonize opponents, he and Thomas argue, but should instead follow the example of Jesus in loving their enemies and forgiving sinners. They should not depend on government to legislate their agenda, since politicians place political survival above all else. The authors conclude that the Religious Right can be successful only if its adherents practice Christianity on a person-to-person level instead of relying on political action. Recommended for general collections.ÄRichard S. Watts, San Bernardino Cty. Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Preface: A Word to the Secularist and Marginally "Religious"p. 7
Introduction: A Twenty-Year Journeyp. 11
1. What Did We Really Win?p. 21
2. The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracyp. 29
3. Seduced by Powerp. 49
4. Prohibiting Evilp. 65
5. Crossing the Linep. 73
6. The Use and Abuse of Godp. 83
7. Better Weaponsp. 89
8. Religion and Politics: What Does the Bible Really Say?p. 101
9. Focus on the Family, Not on Politicsp. 117
10. Losing Where We Ought to Winp. 131
11. Learning From Our Mistakesp. 139
12. Let the Church Be the Churchp. 151
13. A New Agendap. 175
Epilogue: Let's Do It His Wayp. 183
The Interviews
Bill Armstrongp. 191
George McGovernp. 200
Mark Hatfieldp. 209
John Ashcroftp. 219
Tony Hallp. 227
Rick Santorump. 235
Norman Learp. 241
Pat Robertsonp. 248
Kay Jamesp. 259
Jerry Falwellp. 263
Notesp. 277