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Evangelical: Religious Right Has Distorted the Faith

President Bush and the Republican Party find strong support among evangelical voters. But in his new book, Thy Kingdom Come, author Randall Balmer says that allegiance is misplaced.

"I don't find much that I recognize as Christian" in the religious right, says Balmer, a professor of religion at Barnard College, Columbia University and contributing editor to Christianity Today.

He says blind allegiance to the Republican Party has distorted the faith of politically active evangelicals, leading them to misguided positions on issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

"They have taken something that is lovely and redemptive and turned it into something that is ugly and retributive," Balmer says.

He argues that modern evangelicals have abandoned the spirit of their movement, which was founded in 19th-century activism on issues that helped those on the fringes of society: abolition, women's suffrage and universal education.

"I don't find any correlation in the agenda of the religious right today," Balmer says.

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