An increasingly popular drive is emerging among religious right leaders to weaken the public education system with its alleged hostility to traditional morality and poor record of classroom achievement.
In recent months such prominent leaders as the Rev. D. James Kennedy of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Tim LaHaye, popular rightist author, have endorsed plans “to seriously cripple the power that secularism now holds over our culture,” especially the children held “hostage” in public schools. In the Arizona Republic (April 10), D.K. Caldwell reports that four leaders stand out as being responsible for the growing popularity of the movement.
These are the Rev. E. Raymond Moore of South Carolina with his recently formed Exodus 2000 crusade; Brannon House of St.Paul, Minn. who heads the Exodus Project; a third is Robert Simonds of Irving, Calif., who leads the Citizens for Excellence in Education program. The acknowledged leader is Marshall Fritz, an original founder of the Libertarian Party who works with the Separation of School and State Alliance.
As the Religious Right prepares for the upcoming Presidential and Congressional elections of 2000, several of its leaders have also intensified their attempts to change American foreign policy. William Martin writes in the journal Foreign Policy (Spring), that the religious right has stepped up its pressure on Congress to reject the United Nations global warming treaty. There have also been efforts to repeal the North American Free Trade Alliance; religious rightists also have deep skepticism that the International Monetary Fund is more than a front for politically and morally liberal ideologues, and are calling for a vast increase in spending for missile defense systems.
Beyond that, Martin adds that the religious right has demonstrated its clout by being largely responsible in l990 for the United States declining to join the UN Population Fund which needed U.S. funding to provide contraceptives to some l.4 million women in 150 countries.
— By Erling Jorstad, a RW contributing editor and author of books on the religious right.