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While conservative Christians have led historic crusades against a number of "evils" in America — witchcraft, alcohol, communism, feminism and abortion, among others — homosexuality was never more than a minor concern until 1969, when protests in New York City launched the contemporary gay rights movement.

Opposition to equal rights for LGBT people has been a central theme of Christian Right organizing and fundraising for the past three decades – a period that parallels the fundamentalist movement's rise to political power.

For Christian Right leaders, the LGBT rights movement and its so-called "homosexual agenda" are the prime culprits in the destruction of American society and culture. In the words of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, the battle against LGBT rights is essentially a "second civil war" to put control of the U.S. government in the right hands, meaning those who reject LGBT rights.

The religious right in America has employed a variety of strategies in its efforts to beat back the increasingly confident LGBT rights movement. One of those has been defamation. Many of its leaders have engaged in the crudest type of name-calling, describing LGBT people as "perverts" with "filthy habits" who seek to snatch the children of straight parents and "convert" them to gay sex. They have disseminated disparaging "facts" about gays that are simply untrue — assertions that are remarkably reminiscent of the way white intellectuals and scientists once wrote about the "bestial" black man and his supposedly threatening sexuality.