One Nation under God, Divisible
This chapter tracks the rise of religious politics in modern America, from the Scopes trial to the Cold War to the civil rights movement, and ultimately to the mobilization of religious conservatives in the 1970s and 1980s behind leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. It then describes four religious signals that politicians since 1980 have used to appeal to these newly mobilized religious conservatives and to political moderates who nonetheless want politicians to be people of faith. These signals — speaking the language of the faithful; fusing God and country; embracing religious symbols, practices, and rituals; and emphasizing bellwether moral issues — are perfectly suited for the modern media environment in which citizens must look for simple ways to navigate endless amounts of information. The chapter concludes by tracking trends in citizens' political identification, showing that Republicans have gained significant ground over that past several decades, and that evangelical protestants and Catholics have become crucial coalitions within the party.
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