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God is a Conservative: Religion, Politics, and Morality in Contemporary America

Copyright Date: 1998
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 370
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  • Book Info
    God is a Conservative
    Book Description:

    From Billy Graham and Ronald Regan to Newt Gingrich and William Bennett, God is a Conservative provides an important look at the role of religion in conservative politics in modern America. Kenneth J. Heineman reveals the profoundly religious nature of contemporary conservatism, offering an intriguing look at the social history of moral politics over the last three decades, and the still tremulous aftershocks of the New Deal. With a new Preface that examines the Bush presidency, including a provocative analysis of his re-election, and the rising influence of the Conservative Right, God is a Conservative is essential reading for understanding today's American political landscape.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4479-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface to the Paperback Edition
    (pp. ix-xx)
    Kenneth J. Heineman
  4. Preface
    (pp. xxi-xxvi)
  5. Introduction: Heaven Can’t Wait
    (pp. 1-13)

    Twenty-two years after Leonard Bernstein hosted a cocktail soiree and fund-raiser for the Black Panther Party, liberal chic was back in style. AsmilingYoko Ono, as always wearing large sunglasses whether outdoors or in, stood next to a laughing Jann Wenner. In the sixties Wenner proved that one could be a hip capitalist, packaging the counterculture to millions of youths who smoked dope, protested against the Vietnam War, and had money to spend on records. Now the publisher ofRolling Stone, who would shortly leave his wife for a man, was aglow. What had made Ono and Wenner so...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Reaping the Whirlwind: 1968
    (pp. 14-43)

    Rev. Nelson Bell of Montreat, North Carolina, had not been in good humor ever since the Supreme Court, inBrown v. the Board of Education(Topeka, Kansas), ruled that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional. He had been beside himself when his son-in-law, Rev. Billy Graham, formed a friendship with a black Baptist minister named Martin Luther King, Jr. Although Bell could endorse Graham and King’s crusade against sexually suggestive rock ’n’ roll lyrics, the North Carolinian had no use for civil rights activism. To Bell’s relief, Graham had not been a forceful advocate of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott that...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Deluge ’72
    (pp. 44-65)

    For a ten-year-old political junkie growing up in Miami, 1972 was an exciting year: both major parties held their national conventions in that city. The Republican National Convention gave television viewers the impression of a coronation; the Democrats yet again provided excitement. As many reporters noted, the dissidents of ’68 were now in charge of the Democratic Party. The Democratic convention was a loud, raucous affair. Delegates were so wired that intellectual debates and floor demonstrations delayed George McGovern’s acceptance speech until 2:30 in the morning. Glued to the television set, cherub-faced Ralph Reed could not help but anticipate that...

  8. CHAPTER THREE J. C. Saves in ’76
    (pp. 66-92)

    Never before had a president gone before the people to reassure them that he was “not a crook.” Unfortunately for Richard Nixon, few Americans believed him. White House personnel, whether in court or before a congressional investigating committee, ratted each other out. In the course of the Watergate hearings, Americans learned that Nixon had secretly taped his meetings with various staffers. In what became known as the “smoking gun” of the scandal, the tapes revealed that Nixon had actively participated in the cover-up of the Watergate break-in. Clinging tenaciously to office, Nixon stonewalled the courts and directed Solicitor General Robert...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Great Awakening: 1980
    (pp. 93-123)

    Jimmy Carter knew that a successful president had to maintain the peace, promote economic growth, and avoid entanglement in moral issues. Voters might forgive a recession—provided that it was over at least a year before the next presidential election. Most of the electorate could even tolerate a few missteps overseas. So long as American lives were not threatened, few cared whether dictators in some far-off (or nearby) land tortured their own people. And with the social issues, Carter needed liberal Democrats who knew enough not to attack the moral values of religious-minded voters. Nothing ended up going Carter’s way....

  10. CHAPTER FIVE “It’s Morning in America”: 1984
    (pp. 124-151)

    Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman of Georgetown and Paris was bored. Although riding after the hounds on her Virginia estate had its moments, “Pammy” wanted a new hobby. In short order she found one—Democratic politics. Drawn by her charming personality and deep purse, Washington’s glittering liberals made the Harriman townhouse their second home in 1981. With $12 million in political contributions dangled in front of them, Democratic congressmen were understandably loath to pass up an invitation to a “Pammy” soiree. Amidst scrumptious feasts, delightful hors d’oeuvres, and fine spirits,Washington Postreporter Haynes Johnson, Arkansas senator Dale Bumpers, and...

  11. CHAPTER SIX “A Thousand Points of Light”: 1988
    (pp. 152-181)

    Lt. Colonel Oliver North knew that God wanted him to arm the anti-Communist freedom fighters in Nicaragua and secure the release of American hostages in Lebanon. God, however, works in mysterious ways; He required Iran’s help to free the prisoners. If the Iranians demanded sophisticated weapons in exchange for their assistance, so be it. North let the infidels pay top dollar for their arms and then transferred the profits to an account he set up to finance the contras. The White House would not mind. After all, Attorney General Ed Meese championed the contras and often pointed out that “Nicaragua...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN “Godspeak”: 1992
    (pp. 182-209)

    “The liberation of Kuwait has begun.” With those words the Bush administration launched a one-hundred-hour ground war against the Iraqi army that occupied Kuwait. Since the summer of 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded oil-rich Kuwait, the Left had snapped at Bush’s heels. Jesse Jackson and essayist Barbara Ehrenreich condemned the American military buildup in Saudi Arabia. As Ehrenreich argued, “I’m more worried in the long run about the belligerence of George Bush than of Saddam Hussein.” When America and its allies commenced bombing Iraq in January 1991, the minuscule campus antiwar movement became excited. In Ames, a few dozen demonstrators...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: 1996
    (pp. 210-246)

    Having run as a conservative, Bill Clinton governed as a liberal. The results were disastrous. Honoring his pledge to David Mixner, Clinton tried to end the military’s prohibition against homosexual conduct. Roger Wilkins lauded the presidential initiative. According to the civil rights activist, Clinton was following in the footsteps of Harry Truman, who had ended racial segregation in the military decades before. However, most Americans—white and black—were not as enthusiastic. Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia rallied conservative Democrats against Clinton, prompting Mixner to accuse the southerner of being a sexual bigot. Lesbian activist Roberta Achtenberg, whom Clinton had...

  14. Epilogue: There Is No Money in Social Conservatism
    (pp. 247-266)

    In 1995, William Bennett criticized the executives of Time-Warner for producing morally offensive rap music. For his part, conservative commentator John Leo called Time-Warner “our leading cultural polluter.” An irate Gerald Levin, the chair of the mass-media conglomerate, countered that rap music had socially redeeming qualities. Indeed, Levin said, his son, a New York public-school teacher, used gangsta rap music in his classes as a way “to connect with his students.” Two years later, one of Jonathan Levin’s students allegedly robbed and murdered him.¹

    If Jonathan Levin had followed the example of his upper-class peers, he would have become a...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 267-324)
  16. Index
    (pp. 325-342)
  17. About the Author
    (pp. 343-344)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 345-345)