Not by Politics Alone: The Enduring Influence of the Christian Right

Not by Politics Alone: The Enduring Influence of the Christian Right

by Sara Diamond
     
 

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In this incisive work, Sara Diamond expands our understanding of the Christian Right beyond what is commonly known about its electoral clout, shedding light on the rarely seen boundaries and intersections where politics and culture converge. The book examines the web of grassroots cultural institutions, including publishing houses, law firms, broadcast stations,… See more details below

Overview


In this incisive work, Sara Diamond expands our understanding of the Christian Right beyond what is commonly known about its electoral clout, shedding light on the rarely seen boundaries and intersections where politics and culture converge. The book examines the web of grassroots cultural institutions, including publishing houses, law firms, broadcast stations, and church-centered community programs, that have helped conservative evangelical groups maintain their influence for over two decades. Highlighting the movement's complex alliance with the Republican Party, Diamond provides a rare behind-the-scenes look at the formation, organizing strategies, and heated internal debates of such powerful national organizations as Focus on the Family and the Christian Coalition. She offers a richly textured analysis of how the rubric of "family values" has been used to infuse evangelical beliefs into local and national discussions around such disparate issues as childrearing, gay rights, abortion, public education, and funding for the arts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is an enormously informative study of the Christian Right, written with great authority, and a measure of empathy as well. Diamond shows that the distinctive success of the Christian Right movement is owed to its diverse sources of organizational support, which has made possible an unusual strategic flexibility in fielding movement campaigns. But she also reveals the sources of strain and weakness that stem from the troubled marriage of the movement with the Republican party. This is a first-rate study of a hugely important contemporary movement." --Frances Fox Piven, coauthor of Why Americans Don't Vote

"Sara Diamond demonstrates once again that she is one of the best researchers of right-wing movements in the United States. For those who naively believe that the soldiers of the Christian Right will eventually fade away, this book presents a nuanced and sophisticated exploration of the Christian Right's political activism and resiliency. It is a 'must read' for concerned citizens, activists, and academics." --Catherine A. Lugg, PhD, Assistant Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers--The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Booklist

"Opposing the Left's tendency to demonize the Christian Right, Diamond insists on taking it seriously, endeavoring to understand the sources of its strong appeal to millions of U.S. citizens."--Booklist
The State University of New Jersey

"Sara Diamond demonstrates once again that she is one of the best researchers of right-wing movements in the United States....A 'must read'. -Catherine A. Lugg, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers-"--The State University of New Jersey
The Nation

"Diamond's strength as a researcher is in the details. Through her careful case studies--of, among other subjects, home schooling, millennialism and antigay activism--you see the Christian right blending its religious arguments with ones deployed by the secular elites they despise."--The Nation
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Christian Right's growth into a formidable social movement and political power over the last couple of decades has provoked alarm in many quarters. In this sweeping and well-documented survey of the movement, Diamond concludes that its survival is due to the diversity of its many subcultural institutions and to its links with the Republican Party. The author doesn't bother defining "the Christian Right," nor does she offer more than a nutshell history. Her purpose is not primarily to critique, although her own bias emerges from time to time in expressions such as "simple-minded," "fractious," "irrational," and they "fight change and punish those responsible for it." Diamond generally avoids direct condemnation, however; in fact, she is occasionally critical of the criticisms leveled at the Christian Right, moderating the knee-jerk stereotyping that fails to take it seriously. She prefers instead to let the movement's rhetoric speak for itself through myriad groups such as Promise Keepers, the Christian Coalition and Operation Rescue, as well as a seemingly endless list of publications and TV and radio shows. While Diamond doesn't challenge the personal motivations of prominent individuals in the Christian Right, she notes that shrewd business tactics, political hardball, scare tactics and sometimes outright deception seem to have more to do with the movement's staying power than any divine intervention. Like her Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, this is a balanced, eye-opening and accessible read. (Nov.)
Booknews
Uncovers the political clout of the Christian Right and analyzes conservative evangelical groups' ties to the Republican Party. Looks at the nationwide proliferation of evangelical talk radio programs, publishing companies, bookstores, law firms, and music studios, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the organizing strategies and internal debates of organizations such as Operation Rescue, Focus on the Family, and the Christian Coalition. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kathleen M. Blee
Sara Diamond's welcome focus on the political culture of the Christian Right carries with it plenty of chilling statistics on the strength and scope of Christian Right radio, bookstores, fund-raising and even novels, and does not minimize the racist, sexist and homophobic consequences of the rise of the CR in the past decades. Yet she also acknowledges the ways that Promise Keeper rallies try to push men into becoming better husbands and fathers, lofty goals even if provoked in part by mundane concerns like stemming the high divorce rate of born-again Christians or putting men back into the pews of evangelical Christian churches.
The Women's Review of Books
Kirkus Reviews
A critical investigation of the persistent presence of the Christian right in contemporary American political and cultural struggles. Here Diamond continues her studies of the American political right begun in Roads to Dominion (1995) and other works, focusing this time on the diffuse yet cohesive assembly of conservative Protestant organizations collectively termed the "Christian right." How is it, she wonders, that the right's influence continues unabated, despite strong challenges to its highly conservative social agenda in the form of a liberal Democratic presidency and the general popular acceptance of issues such as abortion and gay rights? Her answer: The Christian right is many things. Itns a political coalition with strong ties to and influence on the Republican Party, but itns also a subculture that provides, as she puts it, "a safe havenn when political success is not forthcoming. Through the media, church and community organizations, and other avenues, the right creates a strong ideology. The ideology propagates the notion that this is a persecuted group battling immoral enemiesne.g., abortion doctors, gay employeesnin an eternal struggle between good and evil. In such a context, momentary political travails are of little consequence. The Christian right also operates at national and local levels, and with multiple strategies. While struggling for control of local schools over issues such as sex education and secular curriculum, the organization has also developed a strong network of home-schooling activists and practitioners. Finally, the right has shown the capacity to evolve. Thatns evident in its current emphasis on what it terms "racial reconciliation," therenunciation of a generally racist past and the active recruitment of people of color into its ranks. Thus, as Diamond points out, even those opposed to the Christian right shouldn't simply dismiss it. Scholarship with a point of view—a highly informative case study.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781572304949
Publisher:
Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
02/15/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.01(w) x 8.95(h) x 0.84(d)

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