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Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right

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During the last three decades of the twentieth century, evangelical leaders and conservative politicians developed a political agenda that thrust family values onto the nation's consciousness. Ministers, legislators, and laypeople came together to fight abortion, gay rights, and major feminist objectives. They supported private Christian schools, home schooling, and a stro During the last three decades of the twentieth century, evangelical leaders and conservative politicians developed a political agenda that thrust family values onto the nation's consciousness. Ministers, legislators, and laypeople came together to fight abortion, gay rights, and major feminist objectives. They supported private Christian schools, home schooling, and a strong military. Family values leaders like Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Anita Bryant, and James Dobson became increasingly supportive of the Republican Party, which accommodated the language of family values in its platforms and campaigns. The family values agenda created a bond between evangelicalism and political conservatism. Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right chronicles how the family values agenda became so powerful in American political life and why it appealed to conservative evangelical Christians. Conservative evangelicals saw traditional gender norms as crucial in cultivating morality. They thought these gender norms would reaffirm the importance of clear lines of authority that the social revolutions of the 1960s had undermined. In the 1970s and 1980s, then, evangelicals founded Christian academies and developed homeschooling curricula that put conservative ideas about gender and authority front and center. Campaigns against abortion and feminism coalesced around a belief that God created women as wives and mothers--a belief that conservative evangelicals thought feminists and pro-choice advocates threatened. Likewise, Christian right leaders championed a particular vision of masculinity in their campaigns against gay rights and nuclear disarmament. Movements like the Promise Keepers called men to take responsibility for leading their families. Christian right political campaigns and pro-family organizations drew on conservative evangelical beliefs about men, women, children, and authority. These beliefs--known collectively as family values--became the most important religious agenda in late twentieth-century American politics.


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During the last three decades of the twentieth century, evangelical leaders and conservative politicians developed a political agenda that thrust family values onto the nation's consciousness. Ministers, legislators, and laypeople came together to fight abortion, gay rights, and major feminist objectives. They supported private Christian schools, home schooling, and a stro During the last three decades of the twentieth century, evangelical leaders and conservative politicians developed a political agenda that thrust family values onto the nation's consciousness. Ministers, legislators, and laypeople came together to fight abortion, gay rights, and major feminist objectives. They supported private Christian schools, home schooling, and a strong military. Family values leaders like Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Anita Bryant, and James Dobson became increasingly supportive of the Republican Party, which accommodated the language of family values in its platforms and campaigns. The family values agenda created a bond between evangelicalism and political conservatism. Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right chronicles how the family values agenda became so powerful in American political life and why it appealed to conservative evangelical Christians. Conservative evangelicals saw traditional gender norms as crucial in cultivating morality. They thought these gender norms would reaffirm the importance of clear lines of authority that the social revolutions of the 1960s had undermined. In the 1970s and 1980s, then, evangelicals founded Christian academies and developed homeschooling curricula that put conservative ideas about gender and authority front and center. Campaigns against abortion and feminism coalesced around a belief that God created women as wives and mothers--a belief that conservative evangelicals thought feminists and pro-choice advocates threatened. Likewise, Christian right leaders championed a particular vision of masculinity in their campaigns against gay rights and nuclear disarmament. Movements like the Promise Keepers called men to take responsibility for leading their families. Christian right political campaigns and pro-family organizations drew on conservative evangelical beliefs about men, women, children, and authority. These beliefs--known collectively as family values--became the most important religious agenda in late twentieth-century American politics.

51 review for Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right

  1. 5 out of 5

    Donald Powell

    A comprehensive and objective review of the titled subject. This scholar recorded the diverse reasons behind the Christian Right as well their success, failure and endurance. The author's analysis was an academic and scholarly review, revealing almost no judgment or proselytizing. While the book is mostly a history study, a reader cannot help cogitate on the issues raised. In my case leading to judgments and condemnation. So much of what has been the American Christian Right, in my opinion, seem A comprehensive and objective review of the titled subject. This scholar recorded the diverse reasons behind the Christian Right as well their success, failure and endurance. The author's analysis was an academic and scholarly review, revealing almost no judgment or proselytizing. While the book is mostly a history study, a reader cannot help cogitate on the issues raised. In my case leading to judgments and condemnation. So much of what has been the American Christian Right, in my opinion, seems contrary to what Jesus Christ taught, I could not avoid some disdain and, more appropriately, pity. Isabelle Wilkerson in her important book, Caste, cited this book by Seth Dowland, for which I am grateful.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amydee

    This book is fascinating. It is not an "easy read" especially if you are emotionally invested. I am, so I found I had to pace myself. Even so, it was so informative and affirming it was hard to take a break. I will probably read it more than once and have marked all over its margins! Four stars because there were a few sections I thought could have been a little more concise. The information was accurate, but the presentation in certain areas was a little disorganized. I recommend it to anyone w This book is fascinating. It is not an "easy read" especially if you are emotionally invested. I am, so I found I had to pace myself. Even so, it was so informative and affirming it was hard to take a break. I will probably read it more than once and have marked all over its margins! Four stars because there were a few sections I thought could have been a little more concise. The information was accurate, but the presentation in certain areas was a little disorganized. I recommend it to anyone who wants a chronological picture of how white Protestant Fundamentalism has shaped our country, and how it still is today.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Crouch

    His criticisms of the religious right are not fair at times (which is something you don't have to exaggerate to do well), but his structuring and analysis of the movement centered on the theme of "family values" makes Dowland's work an important contribution His criticisms of the religious right are not fair at times (which is something you don't have to exaggerate to do well), but his structuring and analysis of the movement centered on the theme of "family values" makes Dowland's work an important contribution

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey N. Hora

    Disturbing and highly informative.

  5. 4 out of 5

    kristen

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian Banke

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    Ben Faulkner

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    Eric Miller

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    Savanna

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    Kamisha

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    Hannah Ozmun

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rick

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    Anissa Garza

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rev. Haberer

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

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    Hannah

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    Paul Putz

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    Philip Lillies

  19. 5 out of 5

    Allison

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    Dan Slozat

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

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    Emily

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    Bruce Moulton

  25. 5 out of 5

    James

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    Anne

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    Patricia Roberts-Miller

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    Brooke

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    Anna Berliner

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    Alex Strohschein

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

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    Jonathan Bradley

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    Anna

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    Seth

  35. 5 out of 5

    Justin Walker

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    Sarah

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    Haley Baumeister

  38. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

  39. 5 out of 5

    James Welborn III

  40. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

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    Rachel

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    Caris Adel

  43. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  44. 4 out of 5

    Brian Myers

  45. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

  46. 5 out of 5

    Paul Retkwa

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    Michael Fiumano

  48. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  49. 5 out of 5

    Hunter

  50. 5 out of 5

    Judah

  51. 4 out of 5

    Blake Howard

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