Freedom Writer - December 1995
Diamond's 'Roads to Dominion'provides a solid look
at the Right
ROADS TO DOMINION: Right-Wing Movements and Political
Power in the United States by Sara Diamond. 445 pp.
Guilford Press (1995).
By Skipp Porteous
Sara Diamond's much awaited new book, _Roads_to_Dominion:_
States_, is finally out. Diamond's first book, _Spiritual_
activists across the land to take a stand against the
political agenda of the Radical Religious Right. (_Spiritual_
Warfare_ continues to be one of our bestsellers in
the _Freedom_Writer_'s "Books by Mail.")
_Road_to_Dominion_ offers a sweeping chronology of
the rise of right-wing groups in America. Diamond carefully
dissects the subtle differences and nuances between
the political right, the racist right, and the Religious
Right — and explains why, when, and where they interconnect.
_Roads_to_Dominion_ will quickly bring the newly initiated
anti-Religious Right activist up to speed. However,
while offering a wealth of information on the rise
of the Radical Right over the last 50 years, _Roads_
to_Dominion_ has its shortcomings.
Diamond dispenses with the important question of who
funds the Religious Right in two sentences. "The archetypical
right-wing funding conduit was the Coors beer company.
Chief executive Joseph Coors poured millions of dollars
into dozens of evangelical and New Right organizations
and established a pattern for other corporate funders:
the Scaife, Smith Richardson, Olin, and Noble foundations;
the Kraft, Nabisco, and Amway corporations, to name
just a few."
Those who read Diamond's _Spiritual_Warfare_ will immediately
notice the lack of vitality, zest, and spirited discourse
in her latest tome. Since receiving her doctorate in
sociology, Diamond has seemingly crossed the threshold
from activist writer to dry scholarship. It's been
reported that _Roads_to_Dominion_ is an expanded version
of Diamond's doctoral dissertation. _Roads_to_Dominion_
offers no new revelations or insights. In fact, everything
in the book is admittedly taken from previously published
sources. However, considering the wealth of data in
this book, this is no small feat.
More importantly, Diamond misses the opportunity to
introduce her readers to the powerful Council for National
Policy (CNP). She relegates this group to a footnote
in the back of the book. It's not that she thinks the
group isn't important, for in the footnote she refers
to the CNP as "the New Right's leading coordinating
body for funding and strategy." More than any other
organization today, the CNP represents the movers and
shakers of America's political and Religious Right.
Much of the ultra-right-leaning political activism
today comes out of the CNP.
Diamond mistakenly gives the Christian Coalition credit
for the Christian Right's successes in San Diego county
in 1990. In actuality, then only a year old, the Christian
Coalition had not yet organized in San Diego county.
Few, if any, pithy quotes from Religious Right leaders
or activists can be found in this book. Some unreported,
or little-known quotes, would have given the book some
In her text, Diamond carefully avoids mentioning by
name any liberal organizations. This may have been
done to avoid discrediting her book by using information
obtained from these groups, or, perhaps, as a way not
to offend any group by omitting them. In any case,
it seems strange not to mention groups like People
for the American Way, Americans United for Separation
of Church and State, and the Institute for First Amendment
Studies. References to these groups do show up, however,
in a careful review of the notes at the end of the
Although claiming to approach her subject objectively,
Diamond's personal biases show through, especially
in her attack on the Anti-Defamation League. In relationship
to a harangue about the ADL, Diamond asserts that there
is nothing "radical" about the Christian Coalition.
Diamond provides an excellent bibliography and a fairly
thorough index. These are most helpful to the serious
Unfortunately, _Roads_to_Dominion_ will neither arouse
nor disturb anyone. But, if the Radical Religious Right
is ultimately successful, future students can read
Roads to Dominion_ to learn how it was accomplished.
Although dry and dispassionate, _Roads_to_Dominion_
is an excellent source of historical material on the
rise of the Radical Right in America.
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