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God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right Hardcover – October 4, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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

''Thoroughly researched and engagingly written...God's Own Party should serve as the standard history of the latest Protestant Right for the foreseeable future.'' --Journal of American History

''A wonderfully thorough account of the Christian Right...A bright example of sound methodology, clear and concise prose, and rigorous analysis. Based on years of painstaking research in a multitude of periodicals, personal and political papers, and organizational records, God's Own Party effectively transports the reader through time, charting the development of Christian right-wing activism over the course of ninety years.'' --Journal of Southern Religion

''The best general study of the Religious Right.'' --Church History

"I have long sought a book that would present the history of how the GOP became, in the mind of most conservative Christians, God s Own Party...This is the book I have been waiting for...For an interesting and objective history of the Christian Right, I highly recommend Williams book. --Laurence M. Vance, LewRockwell.com

"[T]his book is a needed addition to scholarship on the rise of the New Right."--Religious Studies Review


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195340841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195340846
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.2 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book explains that the rise of an effective American political base cannot and does not happen overnight. It requires thankless decades of behind-the-scenes grassroots mobilization and behind-the-scenes negotiations.

As a liberal Democrat, I obviously disagree with many of the issues which the figureheads championed to rally their base supporters. I like the religious plurality which this country permits. I also want my GLBT friends to be able to marry and serve in the military without fear of persecution.

But I do respect the discipline which the GOP possess to keep these 'troops' working together in coalition blocks. Obviously realizing that they were not going to win everything in one candidate/election, the organizations and people of the Christian right intentionally then decided to go with the campaign who would provide the best arrangement for their immediate needs.

Apparently 'test driving' the 'honest' Jimmy Carter (yes, in the Democratic Party) the New Right experienced their first national success through the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, who won through the courting of both free-market conservatives and social conservatives. And the 2000 campaign of George W. Bush further illustrated that the New Right's 'kingmaker' influence genuinely was inside the GOP.

Therefore, this book is less of a championing of the Christian Right. It is more of a scholarly/objective analysis of how to win elections--and reshape the American political system through the strategic alliances. It would even be essential reading for several of my colleagues. We could capture grassroots loyalties of our own through studying their techniques.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow! A history of hope, a history of despair. A history of victory, a history of defeat. A story of people with character rising up in great courage and conviction, and a story of people with few principles giving up and giving in. And as these histories and stories occur on both the political and religious sides, Daniel K. Williams writes a remarkable, well-documented narrative of the birth and rise of Christian involvement in politics in the 20th and 21st centuries in America.

Showing a mastery of historical facts in the political realm and even being able to distinguish between a fundamentalist and an evangelical in the Christian realm, Williams is clearly qualified to write about this subject with authority. And along with that authority he brings an amazing writing ability to continually engage the reader.

Regardless of your views of the Democratic or Republican party (or even if you have a distaste for a two-party system), this book will certainly educate you on American history with regards to Christian fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and the political strategies employed by both Democrats and Republicans as they begin to recognize the importance of the Christian vote in today's America.

Some things in this book you may already know. Some things are sure to surprise you! Either way, Williams well articulates to all whether for good or for ill how the Grand Old Party became "God's Own Party" as the majority of born-again Christians have at some point (whether out of conscious choice or out of necessity) adopted the Republican party as their own, and how the Republican party (whether out of conscious choice or out of necessity) has adopted the "Christian Right" as their own(!).

Whatever the case, this is a compelling read for understanding the issue, and it deserves to be read by all those interested in this fascinating subject.
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Format: Hardcover

God's Own Party by Daniel K Williams. An in-depth study into the evolution of Fundamentalist Christianity in American politics and eventually the GOP. The author has done his homework, some I have read in other books and heard about from other sources. But, none quite so thorough in its scope. One of the best books I have read recently on the subject. From the beginnings in the 1920's to its present day intrusion into social issues (I like many other people, didn't realize it went that far back).
I personally do not believe religion has any place in politics especially in a party's platform. We are to diverse as a nation these days with far too many differing religions. We are also a secular nation where all religions are welcome. The Republican Party represents only one small faction of the country. I was raised to believe the Separation of Church and State was sacrosanct, if you didn't believe in it you didn't believe in the Constitution or anything connected with it. I believe religious people have a right to vote, to run for office and even have their voices heard in the public forum. But, that's where the line is in the sand. Anything beyond there is a violation of the constitution. When they take over a political party and make it to where it only reflects their myopic views. That is when they have gone way too far. As far as I am concerned religion in politics to many times has a disastrous effect. It corrupts both government and religion, as can be witnessed today. It turns a lot of us completely off and leaves a sour taste in our mouth.
So if you are interested in how the idea began to take shape and grow to where it's become a monster devouring us. This is the book for you. I can't rate it any higher than five stars. I haven't read another book like it. It answered all of my lingering questions about the Religious Right in the GOP.
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