The Future of the Religious Right

Robert Wuthnow

in Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Published in print June 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096514
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853380 | DOI:
The Future of the Religious Right

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This chapter examines the so-called New Christian Right and what role it may play in American society in the early decades of the 21st century. It is necessary to look back over the conditions that helped bring the New Christian Right into being, asking whether these same conditions are likely to perpetuate it into the future, or whether conditions may be changing in ways that will alter its course. Analysts of social movements know the importance of looking at conditions that may, by themselves, have little to do with the shaping of a specific movement but in combination with other factors become enormously consequential. There are at least three such characteristics of American religion generally that must be a part of any discussion of the religious Right: the “this-worldly” orientation of American religion, its conviction that values matter, and its massive institutional resources. This chapter also highlights three factors that influence the way American religion is organized: the declining significance of denominationalism, the role of special purpose groups, and networks among religious leaders.

Keywords: New Christian Right; religion; social movements; this-worldly orientation; values; institutional resources; denominationalism; special purpose groups; religious leaders; networks

Chapter.  7383 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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