Religion in a Changing World: Comparative Studies in Sociology

By Madeleine Cousineau | Go to book overview

from many other GOP politicians in that he lacked strong commitment to the social agenda and yet expected enthusiastic Christian Right support at the polls.

So long as the Christian Right fails to convince the public of its moral claims, most GOP candidates will continue to emphasize mainstream issue appeals or else be defeated at the polls. So long as Republican candidates distance themselves from the more controversial social issues associated with the Christian Right, movement purists will find little reason to be enthusiastic in supporting the GOP. The struggle between movement pragmatists and purists may go on for a long time.


NOTES
1.
Ironically, Atwater became a Christian before his death and repented of his political tactics.
2.
There had been two earlier waves of Christian Right activity in the United States, one in the 1920s focused on ending the teaching of evolution and one in the 1950s that sought to mobilize fundamentalists to fight domestic communism. For details, see Wilcox ( 1992).
3.
The two leaders are Ann Kincaid, lobbyist for the Family Foundation, and Michael E. Thomas, former director of the Virginia Society for Human Life. As evidence of the wisdom of this strategy, after backing GOP candidate George Allen's successful campaign for governor, Kincaid became the administration's head of constituent services (the chief liaison to interest groups) and Thomas became the Secretary of Administration. Allen ran as a mainstream conservative who supported limited abortion rights and was exactly the kind of candidate the first-wave Christian Right would have rejected as not sufficiently pure on the issues.

REFERENCES

Bruce Steve. 1988. The Rise and Fall of the New Christian Right. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Moen Matthew. 1989. The Christian Right and Congress. Tuscaloosca: University of Alabama Press.

-----. 1992. The Transformation of the Christian Right. Tuscaloosca: University of Alabama Press.

-----. 1994. "From Revolution to Evolution: The Changing Nature of the Christian Right." Sociology of Religion 55 (3):345-357.

-----. 1997. "The First Generation of Christian-Right Activism." In James Penning and Corwin Smidt (eds.), The Christian Right in Comparative Perspective. Lanham, MD.: Rowman and Littlefield.

Reed Ralph. 1993. "What Do Christian Conservatives Really Want?" Paper presented at the Colloquium on the Religious New Right and the 1992 Campaign, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC.

Rozell Mark J. 1997. "Growing Up Politically: The New Politics of the New Christian Right." In James Penning and Corwin Smidt (eds.), The Christian Right in Comparative Perspective. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Rozell Mark J., and Clyde Wilcox. 1996. Second Coming: The New Christian Right in Virginia Politics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

----- (eds.). 1995. God at the Grassroots: The Christian Right in the 1994 Elections. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

-200-

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