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In Defense of the Religious Right: Why Conservative Christians Are the Lifeblood of the Republican Party and Why That Terrifies the Democrats Hardcover – July 4, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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From Publishers Weekly

A detailed look at the place of the religious right in American politics, Hynes' book examines his subject across a wide range of issues. Hynes does a good job demonstrating the demographic diversity of this voting bloc as well as the diversity of their beliefs-showing how they cannot all be lumped under the banner of a single high-profile leader, such as Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. In this, Hynes provides a much-needed corrective to the stereotype of the religious voter developed in the reactionary left's collective conscious: poor, dumb, white Southerners. The book is less effective considering issues such as the church-state debate in Revolutionary America or constitutional theory, where the level of discourse approaches low-brow telejournalism, picking apart sound-bites from left-wing politicos and pundits rather than taking on reasoned arguments. Given that Hynes is both a respected political consultant and a blogger (AnkleBitingPundits.com), this dichotomy makes a bit more sense. Unfortunately, the lion's share of the book is more like a snarky blog than a serious consideration of the religious right. Despite its title, Hynes' work is not a defense in the standard sense; Hynes is more interested in strengthening group identity among one of America's largest voting blocs than convincing opponents of that bloc to reconsider their position.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Patrick Hynes is a Republican consultant and public relations specialist. A frequent contributor to several conservative publications, he is the author of a weekly column in American Spectator online and serves on the board of contributors of the Concord Monitor newspaper. In 2004, Campaigns & Elections magazine named Hynes "a rising star in American politics." And National Journal called Hynes a "hack with a good record of getting Republicans elected to high public office."

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595550518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595550514
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,144,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Young on June 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a Catholic, I was hesitant to pick up Patrick Hynes book because, frankly, I have not always felt comfortable with the religious right. While generally a conservative voter, I did not see myself philosophically in line with the Robertsons and Falwells of the religious right. After reading Mr. Hynes book, I know realize I had fallen pray to many of the stereotypes and misconceptions about the religious right. In reality, the religious right shares a lot more in common with me, and the majority of Americans than I was willing to give them credit for. Hynes does an excellent job demonstrating this point and backing it up with substantive facts. He makes a compelling argument that the commonalities between the religious right and the rest of America is THE reason why Republicans have been successful in elections for the past 25 years.

This is a book for everyone who wants to understand the political dynamics of America since the Reagan era. Believers, non-believers, liberals, conservatives, republicans and democrats can all learn from this book. In fact, if Howard Dean wants to lead his party to victory in 2006, he better read this book! Likewise, Republican leaders would do well to refresh their memories, or in some cases learn of the importance of the religious right in winning elections for the GOP. Hynes has written a blueprint for victory for either party who is willing to embrace the religious right without alienating the majority of Americans because he makes the point (with facts to back it up) that these two groups are more similar than divergent.

Hynes brings the reader through a historical analysis of the political issues and dynamics that have led the religious right to the republican party and the republican party to victory over the past few decades.
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Format: Hardcover
Hynes has written a powerful defense of Christian conservatives who, he convincingly argues, have a much larger role in our nation's public affairs than is usually suspected. He further argues that this role is positive and uplifting for the country.

I was especially impressed with his thorough analysis of the 2004 campaign. While most pundits have argued that the role of so-called "moral values" voters was overstated, Hynes argues that the role of "moral values" voters on that elections cannot be overstated.

Don't let the titled fool you. This is not a theological book. It's a political one about what is the most influential voting bloc in the country, and is an absolute must read if you want to understand the dynamics of campaigns and politics.

Even if you don't agree with the "Religious Right" on the issues, you should read the book because it explains how they can influence elections and how they think. Plus, Howard Dean and the Democrats are trying to make inroads with religious voters, and anyone seeking to do so should read the book, even if their only purpose is to "talk the talk" and not "walk the walk".

In sum, Hynes believes the Religious Right is the GOP's "indispensable voting bloc" and is "the largest voting bloc in the country." (The GOP might want to remember that) After completing In Defense of the Religious Right, you will agree.
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Format: Hardcover
This is not a scholarly take on the ascendancy of the Conservative Christian movement in American politics. It is, as you could divine from the title, a book targeted to that segment of the Conservative Christian community who would agree that America would be a better place, if only...

Hynes' book is slanted significantly towards that audience. If you're a church-going Christian AND have voted Republican, you'll find a great deal that appeals to you. Everyone else? Well, Hynes uses some fairly strong language ("faker," "fraud," "Liberal Theocrat") to construct archetypes of non-Conservative Christian Republicans in order to dismiss their political goals and ideals as anything from disingenuous to downright dangerous.

Through the use of polling data and post-election demographic breakdowns, Hynes makes the case that the Christian hegemony represents the mainstream opinion on nearly all important social issues, and since (he states) the Conservative Christian voting bloc is the "biggest" voting bloc in our country, it is up to Conservative Christians to work through the Republican Party to defeat the non-mainstream, "marginal," or "fringe" policies being advocated by those who don't.

Since this is not a serious, scholarly dissection of the Conservative Christian movement, it goes to follow that a self-professed "liberal" reading this book would find some of Hynes' tactics - such as constructing straw men and engaging in the demogoguery of Hollywood and Bill Clinton - to be the sort of easy and cheap arguments more at home in a right-wing blog than in a Poli Sci textbook. If, however, you find yourself of the opinion that the political policies of the "Democrat Party" (sic) are a danger to the moral fiber of American life, you might find a great deal in this book with which you agree.
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Format: Hardcover
This book, though several years old now, has been an eye opener for me. As a conservative Christian myself, I have often wondered why on certain issues I cannot seem to identify with those on the Left, now I know! For some reason they have this unreasonable hatred of what I (seem, to them) to represent. It also has shown me just how out of touch Democrats (as a whole) are when it comes to what "traditional values" actually are. Not only is the author's analysis well written, it is also well presented from a seemingly non-biased viewpoint (the author does not identify himself, at least, as being in the Religious Right he is valiantly defending).

A must read for the Left, Right, and Center as it touches on core issues since the 1994 elections (the author focuses on the decade spanning 1994-2004) but shows the history of such values from as far back as the Mayflower.
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