The Christian Right refers to a number of contemporary right-wing political movements that are specifically Christian that push socially conservative values in politics and the popular culture. In the United States, this movement emerged in response to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, which made state laws outlawing abortion unconstitutional. They were highly important in the election of Ronald Reagan, becoming a key plank with what came to be called the Reagan coalition. George W. Bush also relied on their votes in the 2000 and 2004 elections, although Bush has been criticized by some social conservatives for "talking the talk" but not actually acting on their demands.
It is worth noting that a Christian Left has also developed, which is politically active but concerned with quite different issues.
The Christian Right has been successful in its use of political action committees. They have set up a number of national organizations which act to advocate socially conservative positions on issues which matter to their members. These include the American Family Association, the Christian Coalition, the Moral Majority, the Eagle Forum, the Traditional Values Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Save Our Children, the Family Research Council and a large number of issue-specific groups. The Christian Right has created ideologically pure equivalents for a number of social services and institutions, helped by President George W. Bush who set aside money for what he called the "faith-based initiative", which allows religious charities to seek money from the federal government.
Reproductive and gender issues
Opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage is widespread in this group, as well as opposition to birth control, homosexuality, premarital sex, and embryonic stem cell research. As opposed to the Christian Left, there is less pacifism and objection to capital punishment. Both groups tend to oppose euthanasia.
Crisis pregnancy centres are a form of sociopolitical action, although they are not necessarily federally funded. They have been setup to provide pro-life outreach to pregnant women, and are increasingly equipped with ultrasound facilities that are being supplied by the national organizations including Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention. Critics of these centres allege that they "misinform and intimidate" women seeking abortions and that they are "deliberately designed to misinform and mislead young women".
Views on reproductive issues affect foreign policy dealing with public health, such as emphasis on abstinence-only sex education as a means of HIV prevention, and barring the use of foreign aid in population control programs.
In education, many on the Christian right promote and practice homeschooling, to avoid what they see as a public school system that has been ideologically tainted by a leftist secularism.
A number of post-secondary institutions have been set up by Christian right leaders including Jerry Falwell Sr.'s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Pat Robertson's Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, and Michael Farris' Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.
- Linda Wertheimer, Shared Values Tie Social Conservatives to Bush, NPR All Things Considered.
- Will Lester, Key Bush backers unhappy, poll finds, AP wire story in Seattle Post-Intelligencer
- Brendan Miniter, How Bush Can Lose, Wall Street Journal
- National Abortion Federation, Abortion Facts: Crisis Pregnancy Centres?
- Feminist Women's Health Center, Beware of Anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centres