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Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  217 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Meet the new breed of Christians shaping our culture.

Alisa Harris grew up in a family that actively fought injustice and moral decay in America. She spent much of her childhood picketing abortion clinics and being home-schooled in the ways of conservative-Republican Christianity. As a teen she firmly believed that putting the right people in power would save the nation.

ebook, 240 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by WaterBrook
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Sep 27, 2011 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you are a Reagan baby, raised on Rush Limbaugh and spent Sunday morning/afternoon at church but now find yourself looking at the world and wondering if the worldview presented in childhood fits what you are seeing out in the real world, than this book is for you.

"Unless you are smuggling soup to Jews in your attic, I think that a political act can't be an act of love." P.25 When I read this I knew that there could be hope for those like me who are trying to sort out what it truly means to be
Emily Rachelle
Jan 24, 2013 Emily Rachelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, when I picked this book out a couple months ago, I didn't expect what I ended up with. I made the same assumption as most of the readers/buyers/bloggers, that "Raised Right" meant "Raised Correctly." But no ma'am, that is not what this author means. "Raised Right" means what it says: namely, right-wing conservative.

Another assumption most of us made was that "Harris" referred to Josh Harris (author of Boy Meets Girl, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and many other books famous in my circles) a
Leigh  Kramer
Jan 24, 2012 Leigh Kramer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I opened the pages of Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics (a complimentary copy from Waterbrook Multnomah), wondering whether I'd find author and journalist Alisa Harris to be a kindred spirit.

Harris's childhood years were exactly what you'd envision for a girl raised by conservative parents. She was home-schooled, attended a very traditional church, and spent many days picketing abortion clinics. Her parents' cause became hers. She was firmly entrenched with Republican beliefs
Apr 26, 2012 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a unique shift taking place in our culture today as young adults are leaving the home and developing widely differing perspectives. Some have suggested that this isn’t anything new, “There has always been a falling out with one’s parents throughout history.” they’ll suggest. But there is something particularly unique about this younger generation that is ‘discontinuously different’ as David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, would suggest. Alisa Harris is a perfect example of the c ...more
Jun 11, 2015 Alyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with politics. I dislike the shouting matches that foster an “us versus them” mentality, each side claiming to be right and condemning the other side as wrong, stupid, or even evil. More often than not, I feel there are too many complexities and too many gray areas to choose one side or the other. And it’s hard not to be disillusioned when new candidates promising change run with fervor all the way to inauguration and then put out their torches as soon as t ...more
Oct 25, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
This memoir by a women around my age really hits the spot! I love the title and the book lived up to the tag line. Two disclaimers-I get books for free by blogging about them from Blogging For Books, Multnomah Publishing and two, I grew up in a home that is rather moderate. This Harris grew up in a homeschooling, protesting, Republican-only-voting home, so I don't relate to that aspect, but I do see the issue of so many in America tangling their faith with politics, and how this is a huge issue ...more
Crystal Starr Light
Another kinda-sorta, not-really review.

Alisa Harris was raised with super Right Wing Christian Conservative Republicans. She picketed abortion clinics, she worked to get Republicans elected, and in the process, she believed that the only God-approved leaders were those under the Republican ballot.

Things quickly changed once she reached college and began to meet the "Other People": Christians who were Democrats, supporting Hillary Clinton, crisis pregnancy workers who were pro-choice, and so on.
May 14, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can not, not, NOT overstate enough how much I think all the young-ish (30s is young, right?) politically minded people I know (Christians and atheists alike) should read this memoir. I'm not saying that just because the author happens to have had the same crisis of conscience that I had and came to pretty much exactly the same conclusion as I did but because she lived both sides of the aisle, from the Christian conservative right to the Christian moderate liberal and the light that she sheds o ...more
Oct 04, 2015 Nicola rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Strictly because I enjoy coming-of-age stories in which authors describe how they come to terms with difficult political and social issues entwined with their personal identities, I enjoyed this book. But make no mistake, Harris is a very religious person, religious to an extent I am unfamiliar with and rather uncomfortable with. Her narrative is jumbled and sometimes convoluted and interspersed with her constant habit of quoting scripture and inserting well coached religious rhetoric into her a ...more
Mary Frances
I wanted to like this book, but I found it superficial in some ways. I found it interesting that she never addresses, or perhaps even considers, how her parents' emotional problems led them to their strict and almost fanatical religious beliefs. She also does not seem to ask herself how she feels about the way her parents allowed her to be berated and humiliated by religious leaders, instead of protecting her and choosing her over their beliefs. I wonder what will happen as she explores these qu ...more
Roland Gift
Well written, but an unremarkable story--someone who grew up in a conservative home discovers liberal leanings in her 20s? Not exactly a unique tale.
Jan 06, 2012 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I was raised in the country. Not the coastal country of large houses, servants and sailing. I was raised in the truck-driving, hunting and fishing, surrounded by fields and forest that John (sometimes Cougar) Mellencamp sings about kind of country. I was raised in a warm, loving, caring home by parents who loved their family, their friends and their God. That love rubbed off on their kids. I was raised just a short drive from the town where my father was raised and where my grandfather served as ...more
I checked out this book because I had read Alisa Harris's article "My Take: I could have become Michele Bachmann" ( and I hoped the book would expand on this concept:

"The program’s leaders said that the Bible calls for limited government, and that God’s law and nature’s law were good foundations for a legal system. The Christian believes the free enterprise system to be more compatible with his worldview than other economic systems, I learned."

It's fascin
Dec 27, 2011 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alisa Harris is the author of Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics. Alisa covered education, poverty and cultural issues as a journalist in New York City, and currently works in nonprofit development. Alisha's work is a Memoir in which she details her journey to separate her political views from her Christian faith.

Alisha (pictured above) grew up in an Ultra Conservative-Republican household. Some might call her family an extension of the Moral Majority. She accompanied her paren
Jul 05, 2013 Kaley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As many books in the "inspirational" category of Christian publishing, this book boasted a easy, do-it-yourself approach to the all-familiar battle of Faith vs. Politics. Though it was entertaining and at times a little too close to home for me, I didn't walk away feeling any more relief regarding my similar tension between the two subjects. I sympathize with Harris - growing up in a very rural area, attending a small, extremely conservative Christian college, I walk the same field of land-mines ...more
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

This is the story of a young woman who has as one of her earliest memories protesting at an abortion clinic with her family. Homeschooled, allowed to watch no modern television shows or movies, Alisa Harris was raised in a structured environment around like-minded people.

When she got into the outside world, she became a journalist at a Christian magazine, and she recounts her emergence from the black-and-white of her
Oct 29, 2011 Coyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is part memoir, with Alisa Harris walking through key events in her life, and part meditation on the appropriate relationship between religion and politics. I highly recommend this to anyone who has an interest in thinking more carefully about church/state relations or the place of religion in the public square.

The strengths of this book are many. It is well written, and flows easily (I read the whole thing in three sittings of about an hour each), which I suppose is to be expected of
Dec 01, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
I was SO impressed with this book! I wasn't sure I would like it because I've read other memoirs of people who've questioned their faith as they got older and basically turned away from God. But, that's not the case with Raised Right. Alisa Harris grew up in a very conservative Christian Republican household. She even went with her parents to protest outside abortion clinics when she was a kid. She had been taught that electing the right leadership to our country would fix everything and bring A ...more
Allizabeth Collins

Alisa Harris was brought up to be a politically conservative-Republican Christian, her views of faith and politics tightly linked. She picketed abortion clinics and protested the war in Iraq because of her belief that the USA had strayed from the teachings of God, and the only way to redeem itself would be to put the right people and laws into power. Her parents, church, religious community, and education (home school through college) molded her into the person [they] wanted her to
Alison Hardtmann
Dec 09, 2016 Alison Hardtmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-but-unowned
This is less a memoir than a sort of explanation by Alisa Harris of why and how she walked away from the right-leaning politics that her Evangelical Christian upbringing traditionally embraced. Harris marched with an anti-abortion sign when she was a young child. She revered Ronald Reagan and believed fervently that when the Bible referred to the down-trodden and oppressed that it was talking about the owners of businesses bowing down under the weight of regulation. She wore a "W.2004" t-shirt i ...more
Adenike Adebiyi
This book might be more aptly titled "I was blind but now I see." I dog-eared many pages for various reasons. Here are quotes from some dog-eared pages:

pg. 25: "Unless you are smuggling soup to the Jews in your attic, I think a political act can't be an act of love. It can be a good act, even a noble and heroic, but love is not something that takes place behind a barricade; it happens in the breaking of bread and the passing of cups. Political love is theoretical, directed at some vague 'humanit
Jennifer Wilson
Dec 10, 2011 Jennifer Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember hearing in church that you couldn't be a Christian and be a Democrat. I wondered where this was in the Bible. Where does Jesus say, "Ye must vote red to be born again."? When Clinton was elected president, we didn't know that blue could also mean dresses, we only knew it meant that God didn't win. Sitting with a couple kids from my youth group while watching returns, we prayed for the future of our country. We felt certain that there would be no future because every child conceived wo ...more
Kathleen L. Maher
Dec 14, 2011 Kathleen L. Maher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this book. . .and I did for the most part.
Alysa Harris articulates the plight of a young Christian conservative raised on political activism with self-effacing humor and keen observation. She draws from eclectic influences such as Carman, an eighties Christian entertainer, as well as her personal hero in her adolescence--Ronald Reagan--to show how passionate she was for the GOP cause. But as the world changed in the nineties and into the new millennium, bringing with it
Dec 05, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Raised Right, Alisa Harris described the challenges she faced with politics and her Christian Faith. She grew up homeschooled and she eventually attended Hillsdale College and received her journalism degree. Her parents taught her the importance of standing up for what you believe in. In her early childhood, her parents protested at abortion clinics and she was picketing alongside them. Alisa Harris believed in standing firm against injustice and standing up for people who didn’t have a voice ...more
Sep 01, 2016 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was not only very easy to read, but very interesting and well-written.

I just wish that there were more young people like her – – young people who were raised in the most completely sheltered atmosphere ever, and brought up to believe all sorts of strange things related to her parents' (and millions of other Christian extremists)religious beliefs.

Sadly, there is a growing number of young people who are born into these families who are brainwashed from birth, and never exposed to anything oth
Pamela Barrett
Nov 07, 2011 Pamela Barrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alisa Harris was raised to be a Christian activist, even protesting at abortion clinics as a child. In her memoir Raised Right How I Untangled My Faith from Politics she reflects on the journey she has taken to re-evaluate and solidify what she really believes. Her topics range from political to cultural issues like abortion, the poor, immigration, and big government. As I read her thoughts, I found myself wondering if she is the voice of a new generation of Christians or is she “the voice of on ...more
Dec 31, 2011 Patricia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
Raised Right by Alisa Harris

As a child of evangelicals, home-schooled, and taught the conservative-Republican Christian way of thinking, Harris was on the front-lines of political activism before she could talk. As a baby she was in her parents arms on the picket lines of protest against injustice and the moral decline of America. As a teenager she was passionate about her faith and just as passionate about politics. Never questioning what she was taught.

While in college, in her words, “And then
Amanda Gayle Reed
Unlike Alisa Harris, I was not raised in an evangelical household (we are mainline protestants), was not home schooled (public schooled and raised by public school teachers), and was not immersed in a solid GOP family (my parents are conservative Democrats). Yet, I was raised in the Bible Belt during the television onslaught of the "Moral Majority" culture war and spent my childhood being formed in Reagan's America. So, it is no wonder that so much of Harris' story seemed to parallel mine.

I have
Oct 16, 2012 Sherrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently, in a contest hosted by WaterBrook Multnomah, I was the recipient of a copy of Alisa Harris's Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics. Based on the synopsis given at WaterBrook's web site, I didn't think I would enjoy reading Raised Right. And in fact, initially I had a hard time getting into the book. But suddenly, something about Harris's writing style caught my attention -- her likeability, her readability, and her veracity in telling her story.

Soon, I'm really enjoying
As a fast read, it's not a bad book. This is another in the I-was-born-fundy-but-now-I-see-the-world-is-more-complex genre (this happens to be a genre I really enjoy). The book will become dated soon, as it's kinda overly wrapped up in the minutia surrounding a particular set of politicians during a particular time. She sets up her young world view well, and at the end, her transformational contrasts, but there are long tedious bits in the middle that read more like a diary.

My favorite part was
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Alisa Harris is a journalist living in New York City who enjoys writing in quirky coffee shops. A 2007 graduate of Hillsdale College, she has worked as a college instructor in writing and journalism. Her writing has been published in WORLD, the Farmington Daily Times, Albuquerque Journal, and Detroit Free Press.
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“We seek in one another the assurance that there is just one correct interpretation of the world, that everything is so simple that anybody can see it unless they're malicious or stupid or willfully ignorant; and we punish one another for proving with our differing conclusions that the truth is not that easy. We think we must suppress dissension to present the unified front we need to gain power over our enemies. But there are pro-life Democrats, pro-choice Christians, feminists who love their families, and conservatives who care about poor people.” 8 likes
“The more ardently I see humanity as a glorious abstract that must conform to my ideal of how the world should be, the harder it is for me to love the person on the other side of the picket line who is holding up progress. I can love the downtrodden in the abstract, but as I shivered under the bridge that night with Jorge, I realized that it's harder to love the illegal immigrant with the bottle-slashed face and the body unwashed for weeks, the workers gathering to eat day-old bread and chicken and rice out of foam containers, the crowd of thousands clamoring for bread and fish and healing, the unclean woman hoping to touch the hem of the Savior's robe.” 5 likes
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