Redeeming America: Piety and Politics in the New Christian Right

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UNC Press Books, 1993 - Religion - 332 pages
This balanced and comprehensive study of Christian conservative thinking focuses on the 1980s, when the New Christian Right appeared suddenly as an influential force on the American political scene, only to fade from the spotlight toward the end of the decade. In Redeeming America, Michael Lienesch identifies a cyclical redemptive pattern in the New Christian Right's approach to politics, and he argues that the movement is certain to emerge again.

Lienesch explores in detail the writings of a wide range of Christian conservatives, including Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Phyllis Schlafly, and Tim and Beverly LaHaye, in order to illuminate the beliefs and ideas on which the movement is based. Depicting the thinking of these writers as a set of concentric circles beginning with the self and moving outward to include the family, the economy, the polity, and the world, Lienesch finds shared themes as well as contradictions and tensions. He also uncovers a complex but persistent pattern of thought that inspires periodic attempts to redeem America, alternating with more inward-looking intervals of personal piety.

 

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Contents

Self
23
Preparation
25
Salvation
33
Participation
43
Family
50
Anxious Patriarchs
51
The Paradox of Power through Powerlessness
62
Obedience and the Problem of SelfPerpetuation
75
Polity
137
Gods New Israel
137
American Jeremiahs
153
Christian Citizenship
168
World
191
Redeemer Nation
192
The Evil Empire
207
Armageddon and Beyond
219

Economy
92
Contemporary Calvinists
93
Christianizing Capitalism
105
Charitable Conservatives
122
Conclusion
243
Notes
257
Index
317
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About the author (1993)

Michael Lienesch, professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is author of New Order of the Ages: Time, the Constitution, and the Making of Modern American Political Thought and coeditor of Ratifying the Constitution.

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