Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The relationship between religion and politics is given timely analysis by sociologists Hadden (University of Virginia) and Shupe (University of Texas). Focusing on the electronic-communications revolution, characterizing it as a catalyst for social movements, they see evidence that ``the marriage of evangelical Christianity and politics is not a passing fad . . . and may be nothing short of a second Protestant reformation.'' They note that ``Electric Christianity'' is a hybrid, transmitting a message to mostly nonmainstream Americans that is not primarily theological but that supports the electronic empires of the highly organized transmitters. Recent scandals involving electronic evangelists are cited as cases in point that confessions of misbehavior rarely alienate loyal followers. Since one of the current presidential candidates is televangelist Pat Robertson, this picture of a New Christian Right emerging as a political force is especially thought provoking. Hadden and Shupe present an insightful view of an apparently formidable constituency. First serial to Boston Review; author tour. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Here, two sociologists from Southern universities chart the rise of the conservative Christian movement in America--and issue a warning to ""media savants,"" secular humanists, and liberal politicians: the Christians are coming, and you're not going to know what hit you. Hadden (Univ. of Virginia) has written about televangelists before (somewhat more tentatively) in his 1981 Prime Time Preachers, and worked with Shupe (Univ. of Texas) on Prophetic Religion and Politics (1986). The two know their way around the neo-charismatics, fundamentalists, evangelicals, and born-agains, and the men who lead and organize them for political purposes through broadcasting empires and local organizations. Hadden and Shupe are sympathetic to what they call the new ""other Americans,"" placing them in the venerable tradition of the first settlers, with whom they share the belief that ""America is a special nation holding a covenant with God, with dominion the payoff for faithfully honoring it?"" Far from a subculture, the authors insist, these anti-abortion, anti-pornography, prayer-in-the-school, pro-family folks are smack in the mainstream: it is the secular culture that is out of step. Half of the book, tellingly, seems addressed to prospective Pat Robertson campaign contributors, outlining how and why he can win the Republican presidential nomination and puffing his qualifications: ""More than any other man who has run for president since Woodrow Wilson, Pat Robertson is an intellectual."" In spite of its mildly crusading tone, this is an eye-opener, making a convincing case that the secular and religious cultures in America are locked in battle--and that though the secularists don't know it yet, the Christians are organized and out to win. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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