The Political Epidemiology Institute
Northern Florida is at the cutting edge. Bill Bright has recently moved his Campus Crusade for Christ headquarters from California to Orlando, Florida. The Christian Coalition claimed 1800 politically active members in Duval County in 1993 and has taken the visible lead on a number of community issues. However, the threat is far more than the Christian Coalition, which has close ties with many of the churches. In Metropolitan Jacksonville in 1993 there wee 106,437 members in 123 churches and missions in the Southern Baptist Convention, now led nationally by the ultra-Conservative wing. First Baptist Church in Jacksonville alone, one of the largest churches in the country, had about 20,400 members by 1990--nearly double the count in 1980. The Florida Baptist convention reported 982,126 members in 2,106 churches and missions in 1992.  Numerous other church groups are urging their people to work to codify Far Right religious teachings into secular law to be imposed on everyone.
With regular church attendance in their many both large and small groups, Far Right churches can easily disseminate calls for political action among their well-disciplined followers. While churches cannot endorse candidates on church stationery, a pastor may now, as an individual, endorse candidates from the pulpit, and volunteers often blanket church parking lots and pews with voter guides and voter-registration cards and do phone banking and targeted mailings. This thrust is gaining momentum. Do we want a theocracy or democracy? We need to decide. Those of us who can envision the loss of our democratic way of life must now take the difficult steps to preserve our democratic heritage. The time is late! The time is now!
History shows that "freedom can be preserved in the face of a continuing process only up to a certain point. Beyond that point one inevitably becomes the slave of events. The logic of the process takes charge, upsetting all independent plans and calculations." 
In 1992, Louisiana State Representative David Duke, who had been head of the Ku Klux Klan, campaigned for the Presidency. In January, he said he was "proud" of his years as a Ku Klux Klan leader and his accomplishments there, still believed in "genetic differences" based on race, and wanted to help whites regain their earlier power. He had left the KKK and formed the National Association for White People in 1980, seemingly "to continue advocating Klan principles without having to deal with the Klan's historical baggage of violence and oppression." Duke "has been an avowed white supremacist and anti-Semite for virtually all of his adult life. His latest remarks further show that Duke wants to lead a fascist movement dressed in the clothes of Americanism," said Leonard Zeskind of Kansas City, Research Director at the Center for Democratic Renewal.  Later in 1992, Duke moved from being "a nearly invisible" Republican candidate for the presidency to becoming a serious candidate for the U. S. Senate, winning 44% of the overall vote (60% of the white vote). He also won a place in the run-off for Governor of Louisiana after defeating the incumbent. During the campaigns, taking advantage of various forms of racism and frustration with economic decline, he placed a "frightening emphasis on a distinction between 'us' and 'them,' " with a disdain for diversity. Unfortunately, the media, his opponents, and other enemies refrained from in-depth investigative reporting or otherwise exposing the contradictions in his message, such as inconsistencies between racism and the individualist work ethic, and between racism and the Populist heritage of the lower classes uniting against the ruling elite. He tended to try to split the less affluent groups against each other. No one prominent person was "committed to denying Duke his ideological tricks. In pursuing their own agenda, even Duke's opponents (gave) him a free field for maneuver." He won 70% of the evangelical Christian vote. Of the people who voted for him, only 9% chose to believe he was a neo-Nazi, although it was widely publicized that he stressed genetic racial differences and was handing out anti-Semitic literature from his office while running for governor. 
1. Fritz Stern, Dreams and Delusions: National Socialism in the Drama of the German Past (New York: Vintage Books,1987), p.183; Raul Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe, 1933-1945 (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992), p.262.
2. Curt Riess, The Nazis Go Underground (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran and Co., 1944), pp.119-126.
3. Benjamin R. Epstein and Arnold Forster, The Radical Right: Report on the John Birch Society and Its Allies (New York: Random House, 1966, 1967), p. 7.
4. The Blue Book. pp.111,121, in Epstein and Forser, pp. 138-39.
5. Epstein and Forster, pp. 3, 4, 7, 49, 64, 142, 145, 166-7.
6. Ibid., pp. 7, 43, 49, 64.
7. Bill Bright, Revolution Now! (San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc., 1969).
8. LIFE Magazine [New York], June 30, 1972, pp. 40-45.
9. Harry & Bonaro Overstreet, The Strange Tactics of Extremism (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1964), p. 210.
10. Interchange (Interchange Resource Center, Washington, DC), May 1980.
11. Interchnage, July/September 1980.
12. E. C. Dionne, Jr., Why do Americans Hate Politics? (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1991), p. 209-47.
13. Interchange,May 1980.
14. The Washington Post [D.C.] March 15, 1980, March 30, 1980.
15. The Washington Post, February 17, 1980.
16. Interchange, May 1980.
17. Interchange, July/September 1980.
18. The Dallas-Times Herald [Texas], 1981, 1986.
19. Andy Lang and Fred Clarkson, "What makes Pat Robertson run? Jerry Falwell's rival believes Satan controls politics in America," Convergence (Washington, D.C.: The Christic Institute), Spring 1988, pp. 17-23.
20. Orange County Register [Santa Ana, CA.] March 9, 1992.
21. Florida Times-Union [Jacksonville, FL], September 27, 1992.
22. FTU, July 9, 1992, April 24, 1992, August 6, 1993.
23. Mary McGrory, FTU, August 22, 1992, August 27, 1992.
24. FTU, January 19, 1993.
25. Ronald King,"On Particulars, Universal, and Neat Tricks," in The Emergence of David Duke and the Politics of Race, edited by Douglas D. Rose (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992), pp. 242-252.
26. FTU, June 5, 1992, February 14, 1993.
27. Hermann Rauschning, The Revolution of Nihilism: Warning to the West (New York, NY: Alliance Book Corporation, 1939).
DEMOCRACIDE: THE FAR RIGHT'S PATH TO POWER (1993)
The Far Right, in alliance with much of the Religious Right, is consolidating its take-over of the United States and is imposing its narrow, religion-based agenda on the country--in place of the professed, democratic pluralistic values which were the rallying point for every war the country fought in during the Twentieth Century. The Far Right having planned, organized and propagandized for over fifty years in this country, has been more visible to the public in recent years and has made big strides in achieving its goals especially in northern Florida.
The United States Constitution guaranteed basic freedoms and rights to all its citizens, although later amendments were needed to clarify that non-whites, women, the less affluent, and 18-year-olds were citizens with voting rights. In its preamble, the Constitution noted goals of "a more perfect Union," "Justice," "domestic tranquility," the "general welfare," and "the Blessing of Liberty." Its First Amendment ruled against "an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." The United States was to have democracy--government by the people and their freely elected representatives, who would be accountable to the people. Fighting for the "Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear" was a rallying cry for enlistment and morale during World War II.
However, in looking back, the full rights of the "democracy" taught in schools has not been a reality for many people in America. There have been prejudice and discrimination against non-white groups, religious minorities, European ethnic groups and others who were "different." Actually, the country has been run more by the wealthier leaders at the top, who controlled who was favored and who was not. In hard economic times, these inequities increased, and groups who were minorities, immigrants or others of lower status became easy scapegoats for everyone's problems. Authoritarian methods were felt to be necessary to keep people in their places. When laws were not enough to keep down the scapegoated groups, non-legal groups such as the Ku Klux Klan did the job and were tolerated by the government, which was controlled largely by the ruling elite. In the 1930's, as the rigid segregation in the South against non-white and some other groups began to be threatened, some of the leaders who wanted to keep non-whites, women, Jews and other minorities in their places, developed "hard-line" strategies to do so. Some were openly sympathetic with the growth of fascism in Germany.
These developments in the United States had parallels with the growth of the National Socialist Party (the Nazi Movement) in Germany, which called itself "Socialist" as a ploy to gain converts during the depression following World War I in Germany as well as a means to confront "banking capitalists" but not "industrial capitalists," who for the most part were not Jews. Hitler also would wrap all pronouncements in Christian garb, [and] use every rhetorical device to reassure his "right-thinking constituencies." Few of the churches and church leaders stood up against the persecution of the Jews--even for the Jews who had converted to Christianity or had married Christians; these were soon persecuted and killed like any other Jews.  Eventually, it was martyrdom to speak against any of the policies of the Nazis. The Danish people protected their Jewish population from the Nazis--not because they were that much more pro-Jewish but because they realized that if one minority can be persecuted, the others can too. As fascism became less popular in the United States, the Far Right people gradually changed their public image to a more religious orientation and used religious names for their organizations, such as "Church League of America," "Crusading Mothers of Pennsylvania," "The Gentile Cooperative Association," "Christian American Association," and " National Organization of Christian Youth," 
After the war, the United States government hired former Nazis to recruit spies in Eastern Europe against the Soviet Union and as scientists in America to develop the U.S. space program. Many former Nazis settled in the America, along with other European immigrants who often had a long history of anti-Semitism. During the 1948 presidential election, J. Strom Thurman organized his racist Dixiecrats with some political success.
In the 1950's, the Far Right was active under the banner of fighting Communism. Senator Joe McCarthy led persecutions of many Americans as supposed Communists with methods that often smeared them and often violated their civil rights. This was stopped only after a disastrous appearance by McCarthy on television while he was under Congressional investigation and his early death. Also the "Dan Smoot Report" from a radio station in Dallas giving a smooth talking, Right-Wingers interpretation of political events, was one of a growing number of commentaries exposing the public to Right Wing propaganda. Smoot worked for Texas oil billionaire H.L. Hunt, father of Bunker Hunt (very influential in the Southern Baptist Convention), both among the wealthiest and foremost Far Right extremists. Hundreds of radio stations also carried the views of H.L. Hunt on his "Life Line" programs. 
In 1958, the John Birch Society was founded by Right Wing extremist Robert Welch, taking advantage of the death of missionary John Birch in China to talk against Communism and other causes. Although the society repeatedly maintained it was non-political, Welch's words at the time, in the "Blue Book" of the Society, made clear its aim to achieve an eventual political victory for Right Wing thought: "We are at a stage, gentlemen, where the only sure political victories are achieved by non-political organizations; by organization which has ....backbone, and cohesiveness, and strength, and definiteness of direction, which are impossible for the old-style political party organizations....We shall have to use politicians, support politicians, create politicians, and help the best ones we can find get elected."  Also in the late 1950's, Bill Bright founded the Campus Crusade for Christ, as a "call to Revolution" to win the thousands of college youth and thousands of lay leaders in their home areas by bringing "the claims of Christ" to them.
In the early 1960's, Barry Goldwater had hopes for the presidency and a "grand coalition" between social conservatives and economic conservatives. However, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy stymied Goldwater's goals and he lost in the 1964 elections when Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, had too much appeal for the social conservatives in the South.
The organization and expansion of the John Birch Society to support Far Right causes continued during the 1960's, with a proclaimed 80,000 members in almost 4,000 semisecret chapters at the grassroots level nationwide--called "the backbone of the Radical Right." It's direct action program, begun in 1965, aimed at "the placement of 1,000 Birch members in each of 325 Congressional Districts to act as 'ideological salesmen' to help elect 'conservative candidates.' When the active, indoctrinated cadre is built, and as it keeps growing, the process of infiltration and penetration into the vital organs of society" was to take place," noted some observers. Clearly frustrated by advances in the Civil Rights movement, the growing assertiveness of women, the anti-war movement and the rebellion of some youths against traditional morality, they freely leveled charges of "Communist" against their opponents, including many Protestant and Jewish leaders, the United Nations, the National Council of Churches, the press, and the income tax. The Birchers were active at the local level, often through "front" organizations, such as "God in our schools," "law and order" groups, "Boston Rally for God and Country," and "Impeach Earl Warren." "By infiltrating community organizations--schools, civic, and church groups--and by harassing those it [could not ] dominate or those of an opposing viewpoint, .....the local Birch apparatus sought to gain that measure of grassroots control that is the necessary base of power." They also tried to infiltrate local police departments. In 1966, the Society's multi-million-dollar-a-year operation included the "American Opinion" monthly magazine with 43,262 paid subscriptions, books published and sold valued at over $2 million annually, a weekly "Review of the News, children's books many audio-visuals, and small study groups all over the country. Late in 1965, some Republican leaders moved to repudiate the John Birch Society activities in their midst. Senator Thruston Morton of Kentucky, former GOP National Chairman, said, "As a partisan Republican, I am concerned by the fact that the John Birch Society has picked my party....as the vehicle to promulgate its monolithic philosophy." He disliked the Society's secrecy and labeling of prominent Republicans as Communists or Socialists. 
Memberships in Far Right groups often overlapped or involved close colleagues, and included known anti-Semites and other bigots. Birch Society activists were often religious leaders or cooperated with them. Hundreds of radio stations carried the words of preachers such as the Rev. Carl McIntire, "a New Jersey-based fundamentalist churchman who [reached millions with dire warnings against 'modernism' and liberalism, as well as attacks on civil rights, labor, and the United Nations," and the Rev. Billy James Hargis, a "fiery evangelist of both religious and political fundamentalism whose Tulsa-based Christian Crusade [had] been one of the major pulpits of the Radical Right in the 1960's --for such speakers as Robert Welch and former Maj. General Edwin A. Walker." The Christian Crusade was "one of the more lucrative organizations on the Radical Right." The 1960s also saw the growth of racist, fundamentalist George Wallace from Alabama and his bids for the presidency in 1964 and 1968, which he lost. 
The organization of the Religious Right was growing. In his 1969 book "Revolution Now!," Bill Bright dealt with the war protests, city riots, and racial problems by writing of them as "dirty and bloody and stinks of arson and refers....[and] destructive demonstrations." He complained about racism and injustice, as well as urban crime and unrest and diminishing chastity. However, his suggestions for change were not about solving urban problems, but total dedication to "turn the world upside down" in a religious revolution. 
In 1972, 80,000 youths from 76 countries attended "Explo '72" in Dallas sponsored by Bright's Campus Crusade for Christ International, "an evangelical, theologically conservative group with an ambition goal: to take the message of Jesus to every individual in America by 1976, and the whole world by 1980." "We've sort of made an end run around the church," said evangelist speaker Billy Graham. Complete with a rock festival and with a hand signal and T-shirts that said that "Jesus is the one way," the festival of young people was "almost unbelievably harmonious" throughout the week. "There was some criticism that Explo ignored the social dimensions of the gospel." 
The 1970's were basically a period of consolidation for the Far Right. As long as the Radical Right leaders agreed on a general line and on particular issues to be exploited, the membership groups that they controlled could remain wholly separate and yet be made to constitute a united pressure-force. This was done by the simple device of their leaders all handing down to them similar directives.  According to Pentecostal theologian Dr. James S. Tinney, President of the Black Religious Writers Association, there was "a hidden agenda forged by interlocking directorates of more than ten fundamentalist, political lobbying groups. As early as 1974, a secret meeting of key individuals was held in Washington for the purpose of seizing political power for white fundamentalists with the target year of 1980." Also that year, the secret committee published the book "One Nation under God," which used scripture to support the political aims of the Right Wing. Its second book, "In the Spirit of '76," was a handbook for winning elections. 
Some of the top people in the Nixon administration were accused of planning a takeover for the Far Right. However, once again the Far Right momentum was slowed by Nixon's resignation, as it was after McCarthy's early death and President Kennedy's assassination. As early s 1973 the American Legislative Exchange Council was founded to exchange far-right information and models of conservative bills for introduction in state legislatures. 
By this time it had become evident that the Far Right was moving from attacks on civil rights and civil liberties leaders as "Communists" to personal morality issues that tended towards feeling of personal righteousness, curtailment of women's rights and blaming the poor for often having higher crime and drug rates in their neighborhoods, rather than towards dealing with racism and poverty. The solutions urged by the right included having more prayer and religious teachings in the schools, more public support of private schools, and imposing their standards of morality on the public. With the victory of the Pro-choice position on abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973, the "Pro-Choice" people were now in the status quo and became a convenient target for mobilizing the opposition. Richard Nixon had campaigned in 1972 against "Arson [riots in the cities], Amnesty [for draft-dodgers], and Abortion [Pro-Choice rights]." In the mid-70's, Jerry Falwell, a fundamentalist minister was one of the first who spoke out against women having abortions and being active outside their homes. The advocacy of women's rights, such as the Equal Rights Amendment, resulted in an organized opposition to the rights of women, led by Phyllis Schlafly, who traveled the country telling women to stay home. Previously, she had been a Far Right extremist who did not appear to have a religious agenda. In the late 1970's, Anita Bryant used a religious agenda for a specific purpose in derailing an anti-discrimination ordinance in Miami which would have protected homosexuals.
The 1976 election of Democrat Jimmy Carter (a Baptist) as president was an anomaly in a long trend of growing Republican Party strength, starting with Richard Nixon. The campaign was not heated but it did bring out the Southern Baptist vote. President Carter legitimized an evangelistic presence in politics by talking about being a "born-again Christian" and publicly bringing Southern Baptist groups to the White House meetings where he urged them to do missionary work "for Christ." Then he became a target for Right-wing paranoia and propaganda, one reason being his belief in the "Social Gospel." 
In the 1980's, the Religious Right now sometimes labeled the "New Right", which had carefully been training its young people in its schools and programs, became a threat visible at least to astute observers. On April 28-29, 1980, a "giant youth rally" of around 200,000 people called "Washington for Jesus" was held in Washington, D.C., for "Christian"--primarily fundamentalist and Pentecostal people--most of whom probably came for religious reasons. The leadership claimed the rally was to be non-political. However, the two-year organizing around the nation was less church by church than precinct by precinct, and the rally included face-to-face lobbying by public officials and advocacy of far-right positions. A January 1980 document by seven of the leaders called "A Christian Declaration" (which they did not intend to make public), gave a Christian label to such political views as: "The truth of God is taken from our schools by action of government, while unbridled sexuality, humanism, and satanism are taught at public expense; Freedom and initiative have been throttled by bureaucracy run wild; Our currency has been debased, our elderly beggared by inflation, our poor have become perpetual wards of the state, and our armed forces weakened." The document urges Congress to "Frame laws, statutes and ordinances that are in harmony with God's Word. Repeal those rulings, laws, statutes and ordinances which have offended Him. 
The rally's organizing group, calling itself "One Nation under God," included leaders from the top Far Right organizations, which were not necessarily connected structurally but had many similarities in their agendas. These included the heads of various independent networks for Christian broadcasting such as the Rev. Dr. Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker. The networks and the rally had turned their religious teachings into a political agenda to be implemented nationwide by organizing every precinct in America for political wins. Another leader was Rep. Laurence Patton McDonald (D-GA), a member of the National Council of the John Birch Society and deeply involved in the Conservative Caucus, National Pro-Life PAC, and the Christian Voice. Ted Pantaleo, who was logistics coordinator for the rally, told Washington pastors that the system for bringing supporters and messages to Washington for the rally could make it "possible for one man to pick up the phone....and elect any person President of the United States that he wants." Program Co-Chairman Pat Robertson, who already had been active in presidential politics, was quoted as saying "We have enough votes to run the country. And when the people say, 'We've had enough,' we are going to take over."  The rally included direct lobbying of Congressional representatives. This all happened over a dozen years ago (1980).
The other Program Co-Chairman, Dr. Bill Bright, founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ International, had said, "America will not be politically sound until all positions of political power are held by born-again conservative Christians. According to "The Washington Post," four years earlier Bright was involved with a movement to elect "Christians"--defined "in fundamentalist evangelical terms"--to Congress. He told a Washington, D.C. press conference that the 1962 Supreme Court ruling that banned school prayer had brought punishments from God which included the assassinations of president John Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy, the Vietnam War, governmental scandals, and other evils. .
In opposition to the 1980 "Washington for Jesus" events, national leaders of more mainline Protestant, Jewish, labor and civil rights groups, calling themselves "The April Alliance" held a press briefing on April 29 to "affirm plurality and diversity in American life and to expose the right-wing political agenda of those leading the WFJ events." They reminded people that "One Nation under God" includes "with Liberty and Justice for all." This group's statement, signed by seventy of these leaders and groups, and others later, said that the Religious Right's "A Christian Declaration" called for a series of repressive measures threatening the Constitution of the United States and the rights of all Americans. It calls for political leaders to submit to a narrow, rigid religious authority....And it demands the enactment of severe restrictions on the personal lives of individual Americans. We reject the substitution of rigid authority for open and free discussion in the political arena, in our schools, and in our communities. We strongly affirm the basic human rights of all people. We believe in the free exchange of ideas and reject the notion that a single religious point of view has a special monopoly on truth, righteousness, or goodness....We call for an American government representative of the plurality and diversity of all our people. We call for a nation where different cultures and beliefs give strength to each other by mutual growth and support. We call for a nation based upon the American impulse towards freedom, democracy, and justice for all." Civil rights activist James Farmer said , "In the 1960's we faced the right-wing politicians, who directly attacked and jailed us for our political differences, and we had the conservative preachers, who visited us in jail to pray for our souls, while separating faith from politics, segregation and discrimination. In the 1980's the public politician and the privatistic preacher are merging, the Right Wing agenda is being hidden by religious language and additional followers are being mobilized by emotional appeals to God and Jesus."
The Far Right made big gains in the 1980's. Preacher Jerry Falwell found the conservative Moral Majority in 1979, to help elect Ronald Reagan as president in 1980, with massive voter registration and training of Religious Right church people in political action. The Right Wing domestic agenda was embodied by 1980 in the Family Protection Act, especially aimed at textbook control, the enhancement of private schools at the expense of public education, and anti-union measures. The schools were to teach "the existence of absolute values of right and wrong. In some states, there were efforts to teach "scientific creationism" which were unsuccessful at that time.
A handful of personal morality issues with "correct" answers labeled "pro-family" had become the litmus test for rejecting or supporting candidates. There was only one way to think, and everyone else became the enemy--even "devils." In 1981, Bailey Smith head of the Southern Baptist Convention (who later was pastor of the North Jacksonville Baptist Church) declared publically that "God doesn't deliver the prayers of the Jews." He again made the same statement in 1986, and this time, the statement was confirmed by Paige Patterson, Executive Director of the Southern Baptist Convention, who added, "If the Jews want to do anything about it, there will be trouble."  Otherwise interpreted....you won't receive a dime for Israel, if you make one step to effectively defend anti-Semitism in America. Thus was formed the "modus vivendi" between the SBC and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). First capitulation, then collaboration. All of this under the so-called......Christian-Zionist Alliance.
Even Christians who were not a fundamentalist or Pentecostal, as well as any people who disagreed with the Far Right views on ethical issues, were considered outside the field of correct, true believers. To reach the general public, ritualized language was used, with terms such as "cultural elite," and opponents portrayed as attacking the home front and "the family." Whereas Communism had motivated people with talk of a bright day ahead, the Far Right or "New Right" tried to motivate with a sense of impending disaster, if drastic changes were not made.
Throughout his television evangelist career, Pat Robertson has believed that he is a main leader of a "Christian" take-over of society, and has identified his political enemies with "the enemies of God." He believes that Christians will remain on the world stage while the Antichrist rules and global warfare rages. Christians will be actors in the last days of the present age, fighting spiritual, political and military warfare against satanic forces in a world increasingly dominated by violence. Secular humanists and Communists will either by destroyed or subjected to Christian rule. In his 1982 book, "The Secret Kingdom," Pat Robertson wrote that (with or without violence) the "Kingdom of God will move forward and that those who choose to live under its rule will do so and be continuously prepared for that time in history when Jesus Christ will return to earth." In 1984, he asked television viewers to "imagine a society where the church members have taken dominion over the forces of the world," with their ethical standards made the law, no more greed, and "judges speaking in tongues on the bench." "Christians may seize and hold political power before the end of the age, and in fact God commands them to do so"--"the Kingdom of God on earth." Since 1968, he and his colleagues have believed that his radio preaching was a ministry of John the Baptist--to prepare the way for Jesus Second Coming!" Any political victories were interpreted as "a breakthrough for the Kingdom!" Not all traditional, conservative Republicans were happy that Robertson's "true believers" had chosen the Republican Party as their political instrument.  In 1988, Pat Robertson, clearly considered Jerry Falwell's "heir apparent," ran for president. He collected large amounts of money and organized thousands of supporters in about every state. Most of his precinct workers were newcomers to politics, recruited by their pastors and trained by professionals.