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God's Own PartyThe Making of the Christian Right$
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Daniel Williams

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195340846

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340846.001.0001

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The Christian Silent Majority

The Christian Silent Majority

Chapter:
(p.69) Four The Christian Silent Majority
Source:
God's Own Party
Author(s):

Daniel K. Williams (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340846.003.0004

In the early 1960s, fundamentalists and evangelicals were divided over civil rights, and that division was reflected in the election of 1964, when fundamentalist leaders supported Barry Goldwater, while more moderate evangelicals did not. But between 1964 and 1968, a common reaction against cultural liberalism brought evangelicals and fundamentalists into a unified conservative coalition that Richard Nixon called the “silent majority.” Evangelicals and fundamentalists joined forces in campaigns against pornography and sex education, and both groups supported private Christian schools. They also found common ground on civil rights, with fundamentalists abandoning their defenses of legal segregation, and evangelicals exchanging their support of civil rights legislation for a call for “law and order.” By 1968, the emerging culture wars united both groups in support of Nixon and the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

Keywords:   Christian schools, civil rights, election of 1964, evangelicals, fundamentalists, Goldwater, Nixon, pornography, sex education, silent majority

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