TELEVANGELISM, POWER, AND POLITICS by Jeffrey K. & Anson Shupe Hadden


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Here, two sociologists from Southern universities chart the rise of the conservative Christian movement in America--and issue a warning to ""media savants,"" secular humanists, and liberal politicians: the Christians are coming, and you're not going to know what hit you. Hadden (Univ. of Virginia) has written about televangelists before (somewhat more tentatively) in his 1981 Prime Time Preachers, and worked with Shupe (Univ. of Texas) on Prophetic Religion and Politics (1986). The two know their way around the neo-charismatics, fundamentalists, evangelicals, and born-agains, and the men who lead and organize them for political purposes through broadcasting empires and local organizations. Hadden and Shupe are sympathetic to what they call the new ""other Americans,"" placing them in the venerable tradition of the first settlers, with whom they share the belief that ""America is a special nation holding a covenant with God, with dominion the payoff for faithfully honoring it?"" Far from a subculture, the authors insist, these anti-abortion, anti-pornography, prayer-in-the-school, pro-family folks are smack in the mainstream: it is the secular culture that is out of step. Half of the book, tellingly, seems addressed to prospective Pat Robertson campaign contributors, outlining how and why he can win the Republican presidential nomination and puffing his qualifications: ""More than any other man who has run for president since Woodrow Wilson, Pat Robertson is an intellectual."" In spite of its mildly crusading tone, this is an eye-opener, making a convincing case that the secular and religious cultures in America are locked in battle--and that though the secularists don't know it yet, the Christians are organized and out to win.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1988
Publisher: Henry Holt