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Power Struggle: Who Will Be the Religious Right's New Kingpin?

With James Dobson inching toward retirement, many wonder who will fill the religious right's bully pulpit.

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"The leadership of the Religious Right has become more diffuse than it was in the early days, when everyone looked to the heavy hitters like Falwell or Robertson," Posner told Church & State. "Now many egos are vying for the same audience, and with the realization that a single figurehead can fall from grace, such as Ted Haggard, operatives are happy to have a deep bench of go-to people, including political operatives, televangelists and mega-church celebrities."


Continued Posner, "Nonetheless, certain people are putting together networks and organizations to place themselves at the top of the heap. Notables in that category include Mike Huckabee, who through his HuckPAC is organizing armies of volunteers in every state, and Newt Gingrich, who is launching a 'new' - in reality, recycled - effort to stymie any divorce proceedings between the Religious Right and the Republican Party."


Posner said it's also worth keeping an eye on the new breed of evangelical leaders who pose as centrists - figures like Florida pastor Joel Hunter and Warren.


"They spurn the Religious Right's vitriol but on many matters fundamentally agree with its theocratic politics," said Posner. "They've been successful at cultivating a softer image, and are already becoming the faces of a theologically and politically conservative movement that's ditched a lot of the crazy."


Rob Boston is associate editor at Church and State magazine .

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