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Why the Opposition to the Religious Right Failed

A new movement offers a new strategy

As a humanist I don’t like saying this, but it’s true: By any objective standard, the religious right has been an enormous success. Since Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority first came on the scene in 1979, politically engaged conservative Christians have steadily become more influential, and this has shifted the landscape of American public policy.

A list of all the areas affected by the religious right would be lengthy: politics (with candidates not only proudly rejecting evolution, but even holding prayer rallies to launch their campaigns); reproductive rights (where the debate is no longer just about abortion, but birth control); respect for women (with politicians saying “legitimate rape" does not cause pregnancy); education policy (with history books being rewritten to conform to a conservative Christian narrative, and anti-science activists fighting the teaching of evolution); and numerous other areas. Three decades ago much of this would have been unthinkable, and the fact that it’s happening today is evidence of the success of the religious right.

But if the religious right has succeeded, by definition that means its opposition has failed. As I point out in my new book, Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, all those who seek rational public policy in America – and that includes religious believers and nonbelievers – should spend some time considering why the opposition to the religious right has failed.

To read the rest of the Psychology Today article by AHA President David Niose, click here.

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