How the Christian Right is Hijacking Mainstream Religion


  • 192 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25 inches
  • ISBN: 978-0-9771972-8-6
  • 2007-06-01


“A how-to manual for progressive Christians who want to reclaim the church from intolerant, extremist factions. An important book.”—Julia Scheeres, author of Jesus Land: A Memoir

An unprecedented look inside the battle for religion in America, Steeplejacking: How the Christian Right is Hijacking Mainstream Religion exposes how a strident theocratic minority is attacking—or “steeplejacking”—mainstream churches in order to eliminate progressive voices and take control of America’s historic mainline denominations.

An insider account by two ministers on the front lines of mainstream religion’s longtime shadow war against the religious right, Steeplejacking reveals how conservative renewal groups, backed by a right-wing organization called the Institute on Religion and Democracy, use social wedge issues like homosexuality to infiltrate mainline churches and stir up dissent among members of the congregation, with the goal of taking over the leadership of the church, and ultimately, the denomination. The book unmasks the covert methods that renewal groups and the IRD use to spread their propaganda, as well as showing how the pastor and other church leaders can act as either provocateurs or protectors in the face of an attack. Churches that have been “steeplejacked” are also examined to illustrate why some are able to withstand an attack, while others succumb.

Featuring a foreword by Michelle Goldberg, author of the bestselling Kingdom Coming, and an introduction by Frederick Clarkson, Steeplejacking shows how mainstream religion can fight back against the insidious tactics of the Christian right.

An ordained minister forover thirty years, Sheldon Culver serves on the conference staff of the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer is a member of the conference staff for the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ and a weekly contributor to talk2action.