Inside the movement initiates refer to it cryptically as “The Family,” an exclusive sect. The Christian right as a whole is called “the pro-Family” movement, and movement allies are known as “friends of The Family.” In an actual family, blood ties are required; however, joining the Christian right requires little more than becoming “born again,” a process of confession, conversion, and submission to a strict father figure.I hate to disagree with Mr Blumenthal, when he's reporter and I'm just a blogger, but when I hear James Dobson et al talk about "the family," as in "Focus On The Family," I still hear "nuclear family" as in "Ozzie and Harriet" not the very scary political group documented in Jeff Sharlet's book The Family.
This equivocation is really disturbing, in the same way Sharlet's misuse of the term "fundamentalism" is disturbing: there are good reasons to be aware of the existence of The Family and good reasons to be concerned about Dobson's political machinations, and good reasons to be concerned about Christian Dominionism, but it's sloppy at best to mistake one group for another.
I'm doubly disturbed about Sharlet; it's as if he doesn't understand that Christian Fundamentalism is a well-defined social movement with a well-defined history, and it is by definition separatist and therefore not involved in American secular politics. When Jerry Falwell founded Moral Majority, for example, he left Fundamentalism as a social and religious movement.