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How Christian Fundamentalism Feeds the Toxic Partisanship of US Politics

When evangelicals attack 'the gay agenda' of an anti-bullying event in schools, something is sick in America's religious culture

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This type of rhetoric is also championed by a segment of Jewish conservatives. Alarmed that Obama won 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008, they accused Democratic Jews of being "Jinos" – Jews In Name Only. "They eat bagels and lox; they watch 'Schindler's List,'" writes Town Hall columnist Ben Shapiro, "but they do not care about Israel" – at least, not in the way that Shapiro thinks we should.

When religion is thus reduced to a single policy decision and support for a political party, it becomes shrill and bigoted. This abuse of religion for political purposes has been tremendously damaging for American politics. But it is worth pointing out that it has been destructive of religion, too. According to another poll this month, this one by the Pew Research Center, record numbers of Americans are now reporting that they have no particular religious affiliation. Perhaps that is because, right now, the God of hate seems to be shouting louder than the God of love.

Katherine Stewart is the author of "The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children" (PublicAffairs). Visit her Web site or follow her on Twitter @kathsstewart.