homosexuality. CBN broadcast documentaries on such topics as “anti-communist” struggles in Latin America and Africa and the apostasy of the American school system. Although CBN was, and remains, the largest of the Christian television networks, influential imitators quickly followed. These included Trinity Broadcasting, run by wellcoiffed evangelists Paul and Jan Crouch, Jim and Tammy Bakker’s now-defunct PTL and the smaller Family Christian Broadcasting Network. Each of these networks, like CBN, would proselytize the political values of the New Right. Although the Christian networks were the mouthpiece of the New Right, they did not create it. Its philosophical basis came from a movement that emerged in the early 1970s called the “Third Century.” The Third Century demanded that Christians, rather than shaking their heads at the problems of the world and waiting for the “latter day,” should seek to create a “new society” on earth built along biblical guidelines. Although the Third Century movement bore some superficial resemblance to the “liberation theology” of Catholicism and liberal Protestantism, its political implications were profoundly conservative. Applying a literal rather than allegorical interpretation to certain teachings of the New Testament, the new society became a blueprint for the goals of the Moral Majority, founded by Jerry Falwell in January 1980, to influence the GOP platform in the then-upcoming elections. DIAMOND DEDICATES two chapters to describing how the political programs of the Moral Majority gained popularity among rank-and file fundamentalist churchgoers. In many ways, some of the strongest beliefs of the complete personal and business insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY 808-A East 46th P.O. Box 4666, Austin 78765 East Dallas Printing Company Full Service Union Printing 211 S. Peak Dallas, Tx 75226 New Right are actions-in-reaction. For example, the mobilization of women within the Christian Right in favor of “family values” was a reaction against legalized abortion and the social upheaval wrought by feminist movements, while the movement toward home-schooling or textbook control was at least in part a reaction against the genuine decline in standards of public education. Diamond offers a conspiratorial explanation for what appeared to be a groundswell of support for the religious right’s political agenda. She suggests, for example, that manipulative devices such as “moral report cards,” placed in pews by pastors determined to tell followers who to vote for, account for popular mobilization for right-wing political causes. Nonetheless, she leaves the reader with the impression that the Christian Right’s greatest success has been to co-opt some of the mobilizing techniques of the Old Left in order to channel the fears and discontents of mainstream Americans into a single political voice. One of Diamond’s consistent themes is the failure of the media and the public to focus on the important stories of the Christian Right. Although the antics of prominent Christians such as Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and Oliver North received remarkably widespread publicity, their scandalous activities actually threw the media and the public off the scent of the real stories. Diamond is highly critical of the media in this regard. She points out, for example, that while the public ogled Jessica Hahn, journalists failed to report in the late 1970s that PTL had nearly gone bankrupt, or that as early as 1979 the Federal Communications Commission had investigated Jim Bakker for misuse of funds that the TV-ministry had solicited for foreign missionary projects. The author argues that this sort of negligence was even more serious in the Oliver North case. Americans looked up to see “how far” the Iran-contra scandal extended; but Diamond suggests they should have looked down. Had they done so, they would have seen that fundamentalists’ support for the contras and for Oliver North revealed the extent to which Republicans and conservative causes in the 1980s had created the kind of grassroots organizations that’ have always been the great strength of the Democratic Party. The second half of Spiritual Warfare is devoted to examining how the demands of the Christian Right have influenced U.S. policy abroad, and particularly how fundamentalist “parachurches” and development agencies have themselves been active participants in the foreign policy arena. The most publicized example of the Christian Right’s ad hoc foreign policy is Guatemala, where General Efrain Ribs Montt, the nation’s born-again president, conducted his war of counterinsurgency and genocide from 1982 to 1983. \(Diamond mistakenly refers to him simply as Montt, a surprising error for an acknowledged was roundly denounced by human rights organizations for his slaughter of at least 30,000 people for their suspected support of leftist guerrillas, the general nonetheless remained the darling of the Christian Right in the U.S. during his 18 months in office. During one 700 Club program, Pat Robertson blithely promised Rios Montt that U.S. churches would provide one billion dollars in aid for the Rios Montt government, a goal that was never met. Fundamentalist “aid” agencies however, did actively participate in Rios Montt’s “beans and bullets” program, providing the beans while the Guatemalan Army provided the bullets in the country’s zones of conflict. Diamond attempts to explain similar actions in support of the governments of El Salvador, South Africa, the Philippines and of the contras in Nicaragua. Her efforts are commendable, but the last few chapters of Spiritual Warfare are not as useful as the first, mainly because Diamond tries to accomplish too much in too little space. The amount of information packed into this volume of less than 300 pages is both its strength and its weakness; it is easy for the reader to get bogged down in the many names, acronyms and specialized terms that the author uses.In her introduction, Diamond indicates that this almost compulsive thoroughness is intentional: “The counterpoint to sweeping conclusions is specific detail,” she writes, “which, I believed, is necessary to analyzing any political movement.” She is correct on this point, of course, but consider this typical quotation: “Among other supplies, based in Carlsbad, California, has given contra combatants specially designed hotweather boots, donated by a company called High Tech boots, owned by a Christian affiliated with Youth with a Mission one considering a boot boycott, would need that much detail? On the other hand, the extensive detail it also the book’s greatest asset. In Chapter Four, Diamond admirably guides us through the daunting maze of movements and “theologies” of what she describes as “life in the spirit.” She also includes an enormously helpful glossary that distinguishes between, say, the eschatological terminology of postmillenialism, posttribulationalism, pre-tribulationalism and premillenialism. Although this might seem an overzealous concern with semantics, such definitions are crucial to understanding this movement. To anyone interested in learning more about the Christian Right, or for that matter, modern-day religious phenomena in the United States, Spiritual Warfare is a valuable source of reference. El THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17
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