According to this story in Christianity Today, the Christian Right no longer wants to be known as the “Christian Right”. It seems that that term has taken on pejorative overtones. Who ever would have thought that?

Accordingly, the Christian Right is now trying to do what Phillip Morris did in 2003 and which Blackwater is doing right now: rebrand themselves with a more media-friendly name. Phillip Morris tried to hide from their cancer-peddling by renaming themselves Altria, and Blackwater is trying to hide from their murderous thuggery behind the ridiculous new moniker Xe. The Christian Right has chosen the phrase “socially conservative Christians”.

Yeah, that’s gonna work. Excuse me if I stick with the old terms until you’ve ruined the new one as well.

Although the article provides a forum for Christian Right spokesmen to voice their usual dissatisfaction, it doesn’t do a very good job of explaining the history of these terms. You see, this is only the most recent attempt by the Christian Right to rebrand itself. Today they may claim that the term “fundamentalist” is pejorative, but there was a time when they proudly embraced that term; it was only after America at large came to realize just what that term stood for that its negative connotations became obvious. The Christian Right no longer wants to be identified as the “Moral Majority”, either, though that was another, more recent rebranding attempt; in fact, it was one of their attempts to slough off the stench of “fundamentalist”.

Regardless of what new term they come up with, they will ruin it as well, because it is never the terms that give the movement its bad name, but what that movement stands for. “Socially conservative Christianity” nowadays stands for little more than hatred of others, wallowing in rank and willful ignorance, and ensuring that the privileges of the wealthy are protected at all costs. There is little Christianity left in the movement, for good or bad; indeed, it takes most of its doctrinal cues from the darker passages of the Old Testament, finding little to its liking in the New but its sadistic apocalyptic fantasies. What is left is all bad.

It may seem a bit Orwellian that the Christian Right is resorting to semantics to hide its core mendacity, but this is a movement that heartily embraced Big Brother’s methods. They have practiced long with their pet project, creationism. When creationists could no longer hide its religious nature, they rebranding it as “creation science”. When that didn’t work, they tried “intelligent design”. Nowadays, it’s all about the code words: “strengths and weaknesses” and “teach the controversy”. Regardless of how it is described, it is still the same package of mythology and lies.

And the same applies to the movement that embraces it. The Christian Right may use any combination of words it wants to try to present a more media-friendly face, but they will never truly lose the negative image until they renounce the very beliefs that produce that image. Until then, they remain “Christian fascists”, an “American Taliban”, and the “extreme Religious Right”.

In short, they remain the Christian Right.