Chapter

Religion and Symbolic Politics

Robert Wuthnow

in Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Published in print June 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096514
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853380 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096514.003.0013
Religion and Symbolic Politics

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Recent decades have produced a myriad of attempts by religious groups to influence public affairs. From the efforts of clergy in the 1960s to advance the cause of civil rights to the protests organized by religious groups in the 1980s against abortion, the last part of the 20th century has given us ample opportunity to consider the ways in which religious convictions can make a difference in public life. The formal dismantling of Moral Majority marked a significant turning point. It brought an important chapter in the efforts of conservative Christians to influence American politics to a close. The religious Right is a particularly instructive case for considering how believers with firm convictions in the divine truth of their cause confront the pluralism inherent in American public life. The religious Right underwent changes that are themselves valuable lessons in the pragmatic norms of public policy. The chapter also provides a helpful case for considering how morality functions in the public arena. Above all, it represents a movement that was remarkably adept in the use of symbolism for political purposes.

Keywords: Moral Majority; religious groups; public affairs; public life; politics; religious convictions; religious Right; morality; Christians; public policy

Chapter.  5969 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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