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Christianity in the Twenty-First CenturyReflections on the Challenges Ahead$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195096514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096514.001.0001

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The Future of the Religious Right

The Future of the Religious Right

(p.151) 11 The Future of the Religious Right
Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Robert Wuthnow

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the so-called New Christian Right and what role it may play in American society in the early decades of the 21st century. It is necessary to look back over the conditions that helped bring the New Christian Right into being, asking whether these same conditions are likely to perpetuate it into the future, or whether conditions may be changing in ways that will alter its course. Analysts of social movements know the importance of looking at conditions that may, by themselves, have little to do with the shaping of a specific movement but in combination with other factors become enormously consequential. There are at least three such characteristics of American religion generally that must be a part of any discussion of the religious Right: the “this-worldly” orientation of American religion, its conviction that values matter, and its massive institutional resources. This chapter also highlights three factors that influence the way American religion is organized: the declining significance of denominationalism, the role of special purpose groups, and networks among religious leaders.

Keywords:   New Christian Right, religion, social movements, this-worldly orientation, values, institutional resources, denominationalism, special purpose groups, religious leaders, networks

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