Thy Kingdom Come

NPR’s Linda Wertheimer interviews Randall
Balmer, author of Thy Kingdom Come. He contends the religious right is
distorting Christian faith in blind allegiance to the politics of the
right.

“I don’t find
much that
I recognize
as Christian”
(in the
religious right)
–Dr. Randall Balmer

Politics have highjacked evangelical Christianity, according to Dr. Randall Balmer, professor of religious history at Columbia University and Barnard College and a contributing editor to Christianity Today. Balmer was interviewed by NPR’s Linda Wertheimer on June 23.

“They have taken something that is lovely and redemptive and turned it into something that is ugly and retributive,” Balmer says in a quote on the NPR website.

In a revealing interview he relates querying eight religious right organizations about their positions on torture and received no response from most. Two replied that they support the Administration. One of those is the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a persistent critic of several mainline denominations. In an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Balmer writes, “Its president worried that the ‘anti-torture campaign seems to be aimed exclusively at the Bush administration,’ thereby creating a public-relations challenge.”

He continues, “I’m sorry, but the use of torture under any circumstances is a moral issue, not a public-relations dilemma.”

Balmer’s latest book is Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts Faith and Threatens America.

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