For me, growing up in a conservative Christian environment and coming into voting age in the “Reagan Revolution” this is what I knew: It’s all about abortion. It’s all about being pro-life.
Then, the narrator off to the side (who I didn’t hear at the time and wished to GOD he had been just a little louder) whispered: “It wasn’t about abortion at all.”
“…it was government interference in “segregation academies” such as Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, that launched the religious right. Bob Jones and other schools, such as Jerry Falwell’s Lynchburg Christian Academy, refused to admit Black students. As a result, President Richard Nixon ordered the Internal Revenue Service to deny them tax-exempt status as a charitable institution.”
This from Randall Balmer, a religion historian with a new book coming out.
I’ve heard this for quite awhile now. I’m glad it’s in a book, which most people from my old tribe won’t bother with since the guy sounds “liberal.” But, Balmer grew up in the movement:
“The term “evangelical” has been stripped of all meaning, with the politicalization of the movement. This is a movement in which I was reared. It’s part of my DNA. I’m very proud of its history going back to the 19th century. The movement I see today is unrecognizable. I don’t see anything that reflects the teachings of Jesus.”
This process of learning is lifelong. I stay at it. I cling to Jesus (tighter and tighter) and keep on listening and learning.