The Rise of Baptist Republicanism [NOOK Book]

Overview

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book

By championing the ideals of independence, evangelism, and conservism, the Southern Baptist Covention (SBC) has grown into the largest Protestant denomination in the country. The Convention's mass democratic form of church government, its influential annual meetings, and its sheer size have made it a barometer for Southern political and cultural shift. Its most recent shift has been starboard-toward ...

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The Rise of Baptist Republicanism

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Overview

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book

By championing the ideals of independence, evangelism, and conservism, the Southern Baptist Covention (SBC) has grown into the largest Protestant denomination in the country. The Convention's mass democratic form of church government, its influential annual meetings, and its sheer size have made it a barometer for Southern political and cultural shift. Its most recent shift has been starboard-toward fundamentalism and Republicanism.

While the Convention once ofered a happy home to Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and church-state separationists, in the past two decades the SBC has become an uncomfortable institution for Democrats, progressive theologians, and other moderate voices. Current SBC member-heroes include Senators Trent Lott and Jesse Helms. Despite this seeming marginalization, Southern Baptist politicians have grown from political obscurity to occupying the four highest positions in the constitutional order of succesion to the presidency. President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Senate President pro-tempore Strom Thurmond, and House Speaker Newt Gingrich are all Southern Baptists.

In its emerging Republicanism, the SBC has taken on characteristics of its more active fellow travelers in the Christian Right, forging alliances with former enemies (African Americans amd Roman Catholics), playing presidential politics, establishing a Washington lobbying presence, working the political grassroots, and declaring war on Walt Disney. Each of these missions has been accomplished with calculating political precision.

The Rise of Baptist Republicanism traces the Republicanization of the SBC's Republicanism in the context of the rise of the Fundamentalist Right and the emergence of a Republican majority in the South. Describing the SBC's political roots, Oran P. Smith contrasts Baptist Republicans with the rest of the Christian Right while revealing the theological, cultural, and historical factors which have made Southern Baptists receptive to Republican/Fundamentalist Right influences. The book is a must read for anyone wishing to understand the intersection of religion and politics in America today.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Describes the growth of the Southern Baptist Convention into the largest Protestant denomination in the US; its cultural shift toward fundamentalism and Republicanism and jettisoning of progressive theologians and moderate voices; the evolution of its political center from Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter to Trent Lott and Jesse Helms; and how nevertheless its members now occupy the four highest positions in the constitutional order of presidential succession: President Bill Clinton, Vice-president Al Gore, Senate President pro-tempore Strom Thurmond; and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher

"Smith's provocative and insightful book offers an excellent history lesson in Southern and Southern Baptist politics."

-The State [Columbia SC],

"Smith has written a richly detailed, valuable study that clearly deserves a place on the shelves of scholars of southern politics and of religion and politics."

-American Political Science Review,

"A fascinating and well-documented study of the transformation of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) into the single largest religious force in modern American politics."

-Southeastern Political Review,

"A welcome addition to the literature on American politics and religion."

-Earl Black,coauthor of Politics and Society in the South

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814788967
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 328
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author


ORAN P. SMITH is a researcher and writer for the South Carolina business community. He has taught political science at the University of South Carolina at Columbia.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Appendices
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: Baptist Republicanism's Cultural Antecedents 1
2 Backlash: Baptist Republicanism as Fundamentalist Reaction 28
3 Culture War: Baptist Republicanism as Cultural Defense 68
4 Fundamental Differences: Baptist Republicanism's Political Partners 98
5 Bible Belt: Baptist Republicanism in the Palmetto State 113
6 The Pew and the Pulpit: Baptist Republican Mass and Elite Politics 153
7 United We Survive: Baptist Republican Alliances 179
8 Conclusion: Baptist Republicanism, Southern Conservatism, and American Politics 191
Appendices 213
Notes 237
Bibliography 281
Index 313
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