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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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Nixon’s Evangelical Strategy

Nixon’s Evangelical Strategy

Chapter:
(p.89) Five Nixon’s Evangelical Strategy
Source:
God's Own Party
Author(s):

Daniel K. Williams (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340846.003.0005

Richard Nixon brought evangelicals into the Republican Party by focusing his campaigns on cultural issues and by using Billy Graham as a liaison to conservative Protestants. The growth of the heavily evangelical suburban Sunbelt increased evangelicals’ political power and induced the Nixon administration to make a special appeal for their vote. Nixon used White House church services, evangelical events, and interference in the internal politics of the Southern Baptist Convention to win the support of conservative Protestants. The tactics worked. Evangelicals who opposed cultural liberalism and secularism were heartened by Nixon’s culturally conservative rhetoric and his public friendship with Graham, and they gave him stronger support than they had given to any previous Republican presidential candidate. Although Watergate diminished evangelicals’ regard for Nixon, the Republican evangelical coalition that Nixon had helped to create remained politically influential.

Keywords:   Billy Graham, evangelicals, Nixon, Republican party, secularism, Southern Baptist, sunbelt

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