American Evangelicals and the 1960s by Axel R. Schäfer

By Axel R. Schäfer

Within the overdue Seventies, the recent Christian correct emerged as an impressive political strength, boldly asserting itself as a unified flow representing the perspectives of a “moral majority.” yet that flow didn't spring absolutely shaped from its predecessors. American Evangelicals and the Sixties refutes the thesis that evangelical politics have been a simply inflammatory backlash opposed to the cultural and political upheaval of the decade.

Bringing jointly clean study and leading edge interpretations, this ebook demonstrates that evangelicals truly participated in broader American advancements in the course of “the lengthy 1960s,” that the evangelical constituency used to be extra assorted than usually famous, and that the concept of right-wing evangelical politics as a backlash used to be a later construction serving the pursuits of either Republican-conservative alliances and their critics. Evangelicalism’s involvement with—rather than its response against—the major social activities, public coverage tasks, and cultural ameliorations of the Sixties proved major in its Nineteen Seventies political ascendance. Twelve essays that diversity thematically from the oil to felony ministry and from American counterculture to the second one Vatican Council depict glossy evangelicalism either as a non secular move with its personal inner dynamics and as one absolutely built-in into basic American background.

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Pat ­Robertson’s Chris­tian Co­ali­tion, emerg­ing from his un­suc­cess­ful bid for the 1998 Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, led by the po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive Ralph Reed, ex­pli­citly high­lighted the ­organization’s “Chris­tian” base, in ­contrast to the more ca­pa­cious gath­er­ing of “moral” ­forces sug­gested by ­Falwell’s title.  . God is still on the ­throne.  . There is a gen­u­ine strug­gle ­between good and evil.  .  . ”11 Many other ev­an­gel­i­cal lob­bies ­joined Fal­well and Rob­ert­son in the po­lit­i­cal arena, in­clud­ing Don­ald ­Wildmon’s ­American Fam­ily As­so­ci­a­tion (1977); Bev­erly ­LaHaye’s Con­cerned Women for Amer­ica (1979); Louis ­Sheldon’s Tra­di­tional Val­ues Co­ali­tion (1980); James ­Dobson’s Fam­ily Re­search Coun­cil (1983); Rick ­Scarborough’s ­Texas-based Vi­sion Amer­ica, which ­claimed the al­le­giance of five thou­sand ev­an­gel­i­cal pas­tors pre­pared to per­suade their mem­bers to vote; and the Eth­ics & Re­li­gious Lib­erty Com­mis­sion of the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion, Amer­ica’s larg­est Prot­es­tant de­nom­i­na­tion, a bas­tion of ­hard-edged ev­an­gel­i­cal­ism and ­hard-ball po­lit­i­cal lob­by­ing.

Dodge in em­ul­a­tion of an ear­lier Brit­ish in­itia­tive, pro­moted tem­per­ance, urban evan­gel­ ism among Cath­o­lic im­mi­grants, and other re­forms. In fact, Dodge (1805–93) of­fers an inter­est­ing proto­type of the blend of ev­an­gel­i­cal piety, Re­pub­li­can pol­i­tics, and moral re­form some­times as­sumed to be ­unique to the late twen­ti­eth cen­tury. A mer­chant, rail­road in­ves­tor, tim­ber baron, and ­founder of the ­Phelps Dodge min­ing com­pany, he be­came one of the era’s rich­est cap­i­tal­ists, leav­ing an es­tate (after mas­sive phi­lan­thro­pies in his life­time) es­ti­mated at $6 mil­lion, ­around $140 mil­lion in cur­rent buy­ing power.

1922), 11–12. For a cri­tique of sec­u­lar­iza­tion the­ory, see Rod­ney Stark and ­William Sims Bain­bridge, The Fu­ture of Re­li­gion: Sec­u­lar­iza­tion, Re­vi­val, and Cult For­ma­tion (Berke­ley: Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 1986). By ­contrast, the Brit­ish so­ci­ol­o­gist Steve Boyer / Contemporary Evangelicalism in Perspective E 33 Bruce, in God Is Dead: Sec­u­lar­iza­tion in the West (New York: ­Wiley-Blackwell, 2002), ­argues that sec­u­lar­iza­tion is a re­al­ity in the West, in­clud­ing the ­United ­States, de­spite ap­par­ent ev­i­dence to the ­contrary.

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