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The Real Origins of the Religious Right

posted on May 29, 2014

Randall Balmer makes the case for a different origin story of the American religious right in POLITICO magazine. He examines evangelical opinions of 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision and finds that, initially, “the overwhelming response was silence, even approval.” Conservative leaders Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell shone the spotlight on the legal squabbles between the IRS and evangelical schools to catalyze the moral majority, Balmer argues, and abortion became the top issue only later. “The anti-abortion crusade,” Balmer writes, “was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools.”

Read at POLITICO Magazine