Preachers, declared an impassioned Jerry Falwell in 1965, are not called to be politicians but to be soul winners. The historical irony in these words is particularly evident to Williams, who recounts how Falwell and other Evangelical preachers became power brokers within the Republican Party. What may surprise many readers, though, is how conservative Protestants began inserting themselves into the nation’s political process as early as the 1920s and 1930s, trying to use the platforms of both parties to combat cultural liberalism, and then more effectively pressing a bipartisan anticommunism in the 1950s. But Williams highlights a decisive turn in the late 1960s, when celebrity evangelist Billy Graham threw his support behind the shrewdly opportunistic Richard Nixon. Analysis of the 1970s reveals how social controversies—the ERA, the Pill, homosexual rights, abortion—intensified Evangelical commitment to the GOP. A more complex picture emerges in a concluding analysis showing younger Evangelicals discovering environmental and social-justice concerns. An essential resource for anyone trying to understand how religion affects American politics. --Bryce Christensen
''Williams...does as well as any writer to date in answering the basic questions of what went into making up the religious right.'' --The New Republic
I find this subject fascinating, and Williams delivers much information that was new to me.
Williams doesn't create dramatic narratives from his historical research,... Read more
This book has some good elements and some very bad elements. First, it becomes clear by reading Williams treatment of the pro-abortion movement and of the homosexual movement that... Read morePublished on November 20, 2012 by Eric M. Brown