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Abstract

In her paper, Professor Kimberly J. Cook uses statistics to illustrate the role the Christian Right plays in the public discourse over two issues permeated with religious overtones: abortion and the death penalty. She shows how the Christian Right's approach to these issues is based on an ideological notion of 'Justice " that is primarily focused on vengeance and punishment, to the exclusion of forgiveness. Professor Cook's exploration of the modern roots of this ideology leads to a movement dating from the 1960s known as Christian Reconstructionism, which advocates using state action to enforce its unique interpretation of "God's Will." This interpretation not only advocates an expansive view of the death penalty, but also patriarchal gender roles backed by force of law, religious intolerance, and the manifest goal of establishing a global Christian theocracy. Though it has been publicly disavowed by mainstream Christian Fundamentalists, Professor Cook argues that Reconstructionism has become the cornerstone of the Christian Right. To support this assertion, she compares current Christian Right socio-political goals with Reconstructionist theology. Professor Cook concludes with a warning that the Christian Right's political power, coupled with its Reconstructionist influenced ideology, places our constitutional protections at risk.

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