Frank Schaeffer - Crazy for God

November 6, 2009

Frank Schaeffer is New York Times best selling author whose books include three semi-biographical novels about life in a strict, fundamentalist household: Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma, and also the memoir Crazy For God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back, which is now out in paper back. His latest book is Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism).

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Frank Schaeffer discusses Crazy for God, describing how he grew up in fundamentalist Christianity with his famous father, Francis Schaeffer, a leading founder of the Religious Right, and recounts his role in his father's career. He details how his relationships were affected by his leaving the movement. He explains exactly how fundamentalist Christianity took over the Republican Party. He describes the anti-democratic and anti-American elements within Evangelical Christianity. He draws a direct line from the worldview promoted by the Religious Right to the Tea Party movement, the rise of Glen Beck and Sarah Palin, the recent murder or Dr. George Tiller, and the use of biblical passages calling for the assassination of President Obama.

He shows how the Religious Right actively wants America to fail, in order to prove that it has taken the wrong path in adopting secular, democratic and humanist values. He explores how evangelical "foot soldiers" are often used by secular neoconservatives to advance political aims seemingly unrelated to Christianity, such as energy deregulation and public policies in support of the insurance lobby. He defines secular humanism, and tells how his father at once opposed humanism in his writings such as The Christian Manifesto, even while living a complex, and sometimes deeply humanistic life. Finally, he contrasts and compares the New Atheists, such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, to leaders of the Religious Right, arguing that they are both not only extreme in their views, but also absolutist in their views of fundamental truth.

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