Popular Culture, Schooling, and Everyday Life

By Henry A. Giroux; Roger I. Simon | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
TELEVANGELISM AS PEDAGOGY AND CULTURAL POLITICS

Peter McLaren and Richard Smith

◆ The emergence of the Christian Right as both a cultural movement and a political force in the United States and in Australia is of immense interest to radical educators. While there has been sporadic debate by left educators about the ways and means of countering the ideological excesses of the Right and its political success, the initiative has been with the Right. The combination of evangelical Christianity with new-style conservative politics has created a formidable educative apparatus that far outstrips the purely religious or the party-political.

Televangelism is in many ways the epitome of the new educative process. Televangelists were the dynamos behind the so-called Born Again politics of the 1980s. Hadden and Swann ( 1981) maintain that whether or not they directly advocate political involvement, most televangelists remind their audiences on a frequent basis of the collective sins of the nation and the need to repent.

Much of the work dealing critically with the New Christian Right, particularly in education, understandably dwells on the effects of interventions in policy and practice. Christian Right ideology and practice are marked off from the mainstream of liberal/capitalist social practices so that one is seen to effect the other either through agency (Christian state officials) or by implied correspondences (mediated or not). As Bernstein ( 1986: 205) remarks in another context, such work gives voice to class, race, and gender

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