Redeeming America

Piety and Politics in the New Christian Right

By Michael Lienesch

344 pp., 6.125 x 9.25

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4428-1
    Published: August 1993
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1723-7
    Published: April 2014

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This balanced and comprehensive study of Christian conservative thinking focuses on the 1980s, when the New Christian Right appeared suddenly as an influential force on the American political scene, only to fade from the spotlight toward the end of the decade. In Redeeming America, Michael Lienesch identifies a cyclical redemptive pattern in the New Christian Right's approach to politics, and he argues that the movement is certain to emerge again.

Lienesch explores in detail the writings of a wide range of Christian conservatives, including Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Phyllis Schlafly, and Tim and Beverly LaHaye, in order to illuminate the beliefs and ideas on which the movement is based. Depicting the thinking of these writers as a set of concentric circles beginning with the self and moving outward to include the family, the economy, the polity, and the world, Lienesch finds shared themes as well as contradictions and tensions. He also uncovers a complex but persistent pattern of thought that inspires periodic attempts to redeem America, alternating with more inward-looking intervals of personal piety.

About the Author

Michael Lienesch, professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is author of New Order of the Ages: Time, the Constitution, and the Making of Modern American Political Thought and coeditor of Ratifying the Constitution.
For more information about Michael Lienesch, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"A sensitive yet critical analysis of the ideology of the New Christian Right."--Choice

"This book should be read by scholars of the Christian Right, both for understanding and for testable hypotheses. . . . Lienesch has been immersed in the published work of Christian Right leaders, and he has produced an interesting and important book."--American Political Science Review

"This book objectively probes the philosophic underpinnings of the Christian Right, expounding its worldview while also unmasking its inconsistencies and outlandish claims. . . . An interesting and important book."--American Political Science Review

"This fine book will have a very wide appeal. It will be especially welcomed by all students of American conservatism, particularly in its most powerful recent manifestations. Lienesch has conferred a welcome degree of intellectual order on a seemingly diverse and amorphous movement, and in so doing allowed his readers to enter, for a time, the world its leaders and followers inhabit."--Australasian Journal of American Studies

"Lienesch's significant contribution is the cool, detached, objective presentation of New Christian Right thought. No other scholar has even come close to this achievement."--Jeffrey Hadden, University of Virginia