This morning, as I was catching up on my RSS feeds, I came across two opposing views of the Christian Right.
But oh, there’s more. Shields argues that rather than being hostile and intolerant, the Christian Right has invested an incredible amount of energy in inculcating the virtues necessary for virtuous democratic participation, namely: “(1) the practice of civility and respect; (2) the cultivation of real dialogue by listening and asking questions; (3) the rejection of appeals to theology; (4) the practice of careful moral reasoning; and (5) openness to alternative points of view.”
My experience with the Christian Right is closer to the example provided by Watts. And, I would have to disagree with Shields’ characterization of the Christian Right. (1) I’ve had my Christianity called into question by the Christian Right because I disagree with their views. Civility and respect? Hardly. (2) I’ve been totally ignored or dismissed by members fo the Christian Right for putting forward a differing interpretation. Not exactly real dialogue. (3) Members of the Christian Right that I interact with quite often appeal to theology. No rejection there. (4) Moral reasoning? Only if you toss out the rules of logic! The “reasoning” of the Christian Right is often filled with fallacies. (5) In my experience, the Christian Right is only open to alternative points of view and long as they are somewhat close to their own points of view.
Now, I will also fully admit that it is dangerous to characterize a whole group based on interaction with a few. But experience points towards the former characterization.