Review of Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics

Have you ever been in a quandary about your faith or how it applies to politics? I know I have...Sometimes, we question the values we held so dearly when we were growing up.

Alisa Harris about how she left the Republican Party in the hopes of social justice.

My review is enclosed below.  Hope you enjoy. [Feel free to leave comments.]

Happy Friday!

Available at
Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics [Paperback]
By Alisa Harris
240 pages, $14.99
ISBN-13:  978-0307729651
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd
Alisa Harris grew up with all the trappings of the Christian Right – including being homeschooled and standing in lines protesting abortion.  As she got older and started viewing the world through her own sense of justice, she felt the moorings of being a conservative Republican had held her bondage for too long.  With visions that someone should stand in the gap in the societal “no man’s land,” Harris believed that there was more to the message of Jesus Christ than agreement with conservative Republican talking points.  To be a Christian, therefore, one should take up the responsibility of decrying injustice whether it is a corporate or individual plight.

This memoir styled book contains ample biographical insight to show how this exclusively conservative woman became increasingly disenchanted with conservative Republicanism. Perhaps one of the greatest turning points occurred for Alisa when she realized that the Bush administration decried torture and injustice as a rallying cry propagating war in Iraq—only to be doubly guilty of the same atrocities in the name of homeland security.  Hypocrisy, particularly from an ideal you have come to embrace, shreds your inner being.  To show her contempt for what she envisioned as numerous examples of hypocrisy, in 2008 this author voted for Barack Obama to propel him to be the 44th President of the United States.

Since Harris is a trained journalist, her book reads well—but it is really nothing more than the Social Gospel dressed up in 21st century garb.  She describes with precision the angst that can arise in Christians who feel that their “…spiritual yearnings ‘veer between an excess of certainty and an inability to believe anything at all.’”  After all, what does a person do when they have been lead to believe that being a Christian means you are Republican and you will agree with its platform wholeheartedly—and then you observe things in the party that make your skin crawl? [She was not alone in her revulsion of the Republican choice in 2008—McCain seemed gutless and given his choice of a running mate, many conservative Republicans were caught in a quandary.]

While Raised Right: How I Untangled my Faith from Politics will incite your passion about injustice, one scene described amplified what I would describe as delicate hypocrisy on the author’s part.  On a nondescript day where she ventured into a coffee shop to enjoy some reading, Harris witness one of the coffee shop denizens break the solemnity of the scene by engaging in a verbal tirade against her nanny.  With each vocal accosting, Alisa grew more saddened and uncomfortable. When the abuser left the scene, Alisa rose to her feet and shouted after her, “You’re a bitch!” 

Unfortunately, for Alisa this was a staged experiment to see how people react in social situations. With one quick, derisive moment – Alisa did more to shatter her image of conservatism than by printing 100 more pages of her desire to espouse social justice.  There is no lamentation or apology for the outburst—just the narrowly applied assertion that, “God made everyone, and we can’t treat human beings that way.”

I wonder how the abuser felt at Alisa’s verbal outburst?

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


  1. I'm glad that you are reviewing books like this. It's interesting to me that people like the author only see hypocrisy coming from one side of the political or ideological spectrum. This book (and your review) shows that one's upbringing doesn't necessarily produce a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

  2. Sharon,
    You are quite right--at some point, our determination has to include the willingness to let the newer generation make mistakes AND discover Jesus themselves.


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