The growth of the Sunbelt, along with evangelicals’ rapidly rising socioeconomic status, gave evangelicals the financial resources and voting power to attract national political attention. When televangelists and megachurch pastors began speaking out on political questions, they attracted the notice of New Right political activists such as Paul Weyrich and Richard Viguerie. Several evangelical political organizations, including the California-based Christian Voice, mobilized evangelical voters on behalf of conservative Republican candidates in 1980, but the most successful of these organizations was Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. Though Falwell’s organization appealed to only a small segment of evangelicals, it attracted widespread media attention. Other evangelical leaders, such as Pat Robertson and James Robison, mobilized charismatic and Pentecostal Christians on behalf of politically conservative causes. Together these leaders created an interdenominational Religious Right that quickly established itself as a powerful interest group within the conservative Republican coalition.
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