Recently Valerie Tarico wrote an article called 9 Sinister Things the Christian Right Does in the Name of God. There are many things wrong with this article especially the fact that it is a textbook case of the straw man fallacy.
One of the biggest problems is that she is not clear who she is attacking. Who are the Christian Right? Is it the political movement often identified with the Moral Majority? Is it the small minority known as fundamentalists? Is it the larger group of evangelicals? Near the end of her article, she seems to identify the group as “Bible believers.” I will assume she is talking about all Christians other than liberal Christianity (those she describes as “people who glean through the Christian tradition to claim what seems timeless and wise”
I would like to go through each of the nine sinister things and respond accordingly.
1) Opposing protections and rights for children is evil. Her example is that of the United States failure to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. She suggests this because Christians want to be able to hit their children. I strongly doubt this. I suspect it is much more about the United States trend of not signing international conventions out of a strong desire to protect political independence.
2) Denying young people accurate information about their bodies is evil. I am sure that there are some Christians who would prefer abstinence only sex education. But on the other side, education boards have banned abstinence teaching because they see it as a religious doctrine even though it is the best protection against disease and unwanted pregnancies. There should be a middle ground where both can be taught.
3) Demeaning and subjugating women is evil. I agree with this statement. Evangelicals have actually been on the forefront of expanding women’s rights. It is true that some traditions have different views of women in the role of women as senior pastors. However if a woman wants to be a pastor, there are many evangelical denominations in which she can fulfill that calling. I have never met an evangelical woman who felt demeaned or subjugated.
4) Obstructing humanity’s transition to more thoughtful, intentional childbearing is evil. This is a bizarre one. She really sugar coats what she is trying to say. I assuming she is offended by Christians opposition to abortion. She seems to think that this will lead to healthier families. I am not sure how killing children makes a healthier family. The next part seems to be about corporations opting out of paying for service that they disagree with on religious grounds. I would ask how atheist business owners would feel having to pay for some religious services. I am sure that they would want to opt out. And by the way, in Canada we buy our own condoms and do just fine.
5) Undermining science is evil. I would agree that this would be evil. But I do not see evangelicals in general doing this. In fact there are many evangelicals who have been actively involved in scientific advancement. The fear is that evangelicals are trying to get creationism in the schools. I do not know any evangelicals trying to replace evolution with six day creationism in the schools. The most I know of is that Christians would like intelligent design mentioned as an option. But I guess sharing theories is not very scientific.
6) Promoting holy war is evil. Again I agree but this is not something to be identified with evangelicals. There are a small minority of American conservatives that may believe this. You should realize however that the army that invaded Iraq was American and not Christian. Have you thought that some Christians were for the Iraq war not to bring the second coming but because they thought Saddam Hussein was a danger?
7) Abusing and killing queers is evil. Again I agree. But I guess it depends on one’s definition of abuse. Does the LGBTQ community feel that evangelical belief that the homosexual lifestyle is not God’s will abuse? I have heard the homosexual community just as intolerant of Christians as the other way around. And I have never heard of an evangelical support the inhumane laws in Africa. I have only seen evangelicals condemn such laws.
8) Destroying Earth’s web of life and impoverishing future generations is evil. Right. Apparently she does not understand what Genesis is saying. The dominion given to humankind is not the freedom to destroy as we wish. It is stewardship to take care of creation. Yes there are many evangelicals who doubt global warming but that does not come from a desire to destroy as much of the Earth before Jesus comes.
9) Trying to suck vulnerable people into your poorly researched worldview is evil. This makes me laugh. First of all, the Christian world view is far from poorly researched. It is atheistic attacks that are poorly researched. And why are the poor so vulnerable? That is quite offensive. What makes you think that the poor are any less intelligent than the rich? You seem as ignorant of the poor as you are of evangelicals. If in this section you are speaking of Christian outreach toward the poor and victims of disasters, what is your alternative? Should we take our cue from the atheists and just let them suffer so as not to overly influence their world view? Also, please remember that atheists are becoming quite evangelistic these days.
I respond to some of the concerns toward evangelicals in my ebook When It is Wrong to Be Right.