The Passion of the Right: Religious Fundamentalism and the Crisis of Democracy Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This article argues that under the presidency of George Bush, the Republican Party has increasingly become an extension of the religious right. One consequence is a rampant anti-intellectualism coupled with Taliban-like moralism now boldly translates into everyday cultural practices and political policies as right-wing evangelicals live out their messianic view of the world. Democratic politics and secular humanism are being replaced by a “Rapture” politics in which certainty, moralism, and absolutism drive an attack on science in the name of faith by endorsing Creationism over the teaching of evolution, wage an unrelenting war against gay rights and women’s reproductive rights, and use an appeal to the “culture of life” to support pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception on religious grounds. The attack on religious freedom and secular thought reproduces a debilitating anti-intellectualism throughout the culture and also threatens the separation of church and state, religious freedom, social justice, and democracy. The rise of religious fundamentalism has become one of the great problems facing the United States in the 21st century. The article calls for a cultural politics that defends religious freedom and the values of secular humanism as part of a defense of an inclusive democracy. The article concludes by calling for educators, parents, artists, and others reject the highly political and sectarian uses to which religion is being put by reclaiming those democratic values in which religious freedom rejects the use of religion as a political sectarian tool of the extreme right.

publication date

  • August 2005