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Prodigal NationMoral Decline and Divine Punishment from New England to 9/11$
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Andrew R. Murphy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195321289

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195321289.001.0001

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Taking America Back

Taking America Back

The Christian Right Jeremiad

Chapter:
(p.77) Four Taking America Back
Source:
Prodigal Nation
Author(s):

Andrew R. Murphy (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195321289.003.0004

This chapter begins by considering Vice President Dan Quayle's 1992 “Murphy Brown” speech, and goes on to explore the rise and rhetoric of the Christian Right, which mobilized American evangelicals and fundamentalists to re-enter the political process during the 1970s and 1980s. After a brief recapitulation of the historical background of evangelical and fundamentalist involvement in 20th‐century American politics, the chapter looks at the Christian Right jeremiad, which emphasizes the 1960s as the time period when a godly nation strayed from its moral and spiritual roots and embraced an ideology of secularism. The Christian Right nests this tale of American decline within a story of American chosenness, especially in the fight against communism. The Christian Right jeremiad propelled Ronald Reagan to the presidency and continues to play an important role in Republican Party politics.

Keywords:   Christian Right, jeremiad, Christian Right jeremiad, American jeremiad, Dan Quayle, Murphy Brown, evangelical, fundamentalist, 1960s, secularism, chosenness

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