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We Gather TogetherThe Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics$
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Neil J. Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738984

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738984.001.0001

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We Gather Together

We Gather Together

(p.138) 5 We Gather Together
We Gather Together

Neil J. Young

Oxford University Press

The 1970s witnessed the explosive growth of conservative churches, culminating with 1976 being named “The Year of the Evangelical.” Evangelicalism’s vibrancy and visibility also exposed divisions within the movement as evangelicals wrestled over biblical inerrancy and worried about the burgeoning charismatic movement. The decade’s social and political changes, especially regarding gender and sexuality, alarmed religious conservatives. Evangelicals decried the growth of “secular humanism” and began to join Catholics in fighting abortion. Mormons took the lead in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment, but they largely refrained from working with fellow conservatives and still avoided anti-abortion politics. By the end of the decade, Mormon, Catholic, and evangelical leaders were all urging greater political involvement from their followers in order to turn the nation back to a conservative path. Sensing a growing tide, Jerry Falwell organized the Moral Majority to rally religious conservatives behind Ronald Reagan’s bid for the presidency.

Keywords:   growth of conservative churches, The Year of the Evangelical, biblical inerrancy, charismatic movement, secular humanism, anti-abortion politics, Equal Rights Amendment, the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell

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