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Conservatives are under attack by a coalition of liberal organizations that has published a 252-page training manual called How To Win: A Practical Guide to Defeating the Radical Right in Your Community.
The manual is the work of more than 60 organizations calling themselves the "Radical Right Task Force," including Americans United for Separation of Church and State, National Education Association, Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, People for the American Way, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Abortion Federation, Penthouse International, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, and Zero Population Growth.
The introduction to the manual asserts, "Our school boards, public libraries, art museums, and personal lives are under attack by a political movement known as the Radical Right." It goes on to say that, "This movement, which threatens to gain influence with every election, denies the value of American pluralism as it attempts to impose sectarian and extremist standards on all citizens."
The How to Win manual includes categories such as "How to Win," "At the Ballot Box," "Religion," "Public Education," "Censorship," "Gay and Lesbian Rights," "Choice" (abortion), and "Environment." Articles provide strategy and talking points for opposing creationism, prayer in public schools, and for supporting "comprehensive sex education."
As a strategy, the manual stresses using "religious voices" to oppose the Religious Right. It claims that, "with religious support for your cause, you will have come one giant step closer to defeating the religious right."
Regarding the evolution/creation debate, the manual claims that mainline Catholic and mainline Protestant theologies have no problem with incorporating evolution. "The creation/evolution controversy is not one between science and religion," it states, "but between Biblical literalist theology and everyone else. We shouldn't be teaching crackpot science-creation. We should all support the teachers who want to be professionally responsible and teach state-of-the-art science, evolution."
For sexuality education, it claims that "majority support exists for teaching a comprehensive approach, including subjects which are sometimes viewed as controversial such as contraception, sexual orientation, abortion and masturbation." It claims that the teaching of abstinence represents "fear-based programs" which are"inappropriateand damaging...displayingsexist, homophobic and racist biases and relying on fear and shame to promote abstinence."
Much of the manual deals with gay/lesbian issues. "The lesbian and gay community is well-organized, motivated and educated," it states. "You need their help, their expertise, and their resources." There are 23 pages at the end of the manual that list gay and lesbian public officials and organizations to join in this campaign against the Religious Right.
According to Richard Land, executive director of the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission, the manual "reveals the ugly combative face of the secular left and its religious allies . . . which have been seeking to influence society and public policy on a multiplicity of levels for many years by doing the very things it now criticizes the religious right for attempting to do.
"The How to Win manual unmasks the hypocrisy as well as the influence and intent of the religious left as it seeks to 'win' the culture war," Land claims.
The How to Win manual lists the "Most Influential Christian Right Groups": American Family Association, Christian Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Focus on the Family, National Association of Christian Educators, Citizens for Excellence in Education, Rutherford Institute, and the Traditional Values Coalition.