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  •  Oddly, Weyrich was inspired by the left! (15+ / 0-)

    A recent blog post by the BBC's Adam Curtis, Who Would Got Vote For? recounts the history. There's also an interview with Weyrich at the link.

    One of the leaders of the New Right was a man called Paul Weyrich, and in the wake of the student revolts of 1968 he infiltrated the meetings of left-wing grassroots organisations. He was astonished by the amount of planning and tactics that he saw and he realised that the conservative movement in America was completely unaware of all this. The right, he said, were still trapped by the belief that people would simply vote for them because they were right.

    So the New Right set out to organise a new grassroots movement that could counter the left's success. They had all sorts of discussions and during one of them Weyrich pointed out that there were millions of Americans who were socially and culturally very conservative but who never voted. They were the religious fundamentalists and the evangelicals - a vast segment of the population who believed that they should never get involved in politics. ....

    So in May 1979 Paul Weyrich and four other young activists drove to the Holiday Inn in Lynchburg Virginia to meet one of the most powerful evangelical pastors in America, Jerry Falwell. Like a number of other pastors, Falwell had his own television network and millions of followers. What happened at that meeting would shatter the pietism of millions of fundamentalist Christians and bring them - and their beliefs - into the heart of American politics.

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:56:26 AM PDT

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    •  This is a Must Read article, (13+ / 0-)

      many thanks!

      3/12-excerpt: But in the 1970s everything changed. For that was the moment when religion was deliberately brought into politics in both countries with the aim of using it as a revolutionary force. And those who did this - Khomeini in Iran, and right-wing activists in America - were inspired by the revolutionary theories and organisations of the left and their ambition to transform society in a radical way.

      I want to tell the forgotten story of how this happened - and how in the 1980s both the Americans and the Iranian idealists came together in a very odd way - with disastrous consequences.

      When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

      by msmacgyver on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:21:06 AM PDT

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    •  *Very* interesting piece (7+ / 0-)

      Comparing and contrasting the parallel histories of the rise of religious fundamentalism in politics in both the US and Iran. Worth clicking over to read - and it's got quite a bit of embedded video to illustrate points, which I look forward to checking out later. Meanwhile, I rather like this bit (from 1980, so what we see today isn't all that new)

      Other leading pastors, like Billy Graham, refused to come. They hated what was happening. One of them, a Baptist called James Dunn gave a brilliant quote:

      "We've got a bunch of TV preachers who want to establish a theocracy in America, and each one of them wants to be Theo."

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:39:49 AM PDT

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