Reagan, Carter, and the Invention of a Political Faith
Studies in Rhetoric & Religion
340 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: August 2012
For more than three decades, American presidential candidates have desperately sought the conservative Evangelical vote. With an ever broadening base of support, the Evangelical movement in America may now seem to many a very powerful lobbyist on Capitol Hill. As Andrew Hogue shows, however, this was not always the case.
In Stumping God Hogue deconstructs the 1980 presidential election, in which Ronald Reagan would defeat Jimmy Carter and John B. Anderson, and uncovers a disproportionately heavy reliance on religious rhetoric--a rhetoric that would be the catalyst for a new era of presidential politics. Until 1980, the idea that conservative politics was somehow connected with conservative theology was distant from the American imagination. Hogue describes the varying streams of influence that finally converged by the Reagan-Carter election, including the rapidly rising Religious Right. By 1980, candidates were not only challenged to appeal rhetorically to a conservative religious base, but found it necessary to make public their once-private religious commitments.
In compelling and illuminating fashion, Stumping God explains the roots of modern religious politics and encourages readers to move beyond the haze of rhetorical appeals that--for better or worse--continually clouds the political process.
1. Religion and American Conservatism: A Rhetorical History, 1944-1979
2. American Change and Religious Engagement, 1942-1976
3. Raising the Rhetoric of Righteousness: The Pivotal 1976 Election
4. Two Roads Diverged: Religious Conservatives and the Carter Disappointment
5. The Birth of a New Religious Politics in 1980
6. The Legacy of 1980 at the Dawn of a New Era: Lessons for Religion and Politics Going Forward
A useful and valuable study, using careful documentation and analysis to reach conclusions on the place of religious appeals in election campaigns. A must-read for all interested in the role of religion in electoral politics.~Stephen V. Monsma, Senior Research Fellow, The Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, Calvin College
... devastatingly accurate in his discription of how Ronald Reagan learned the value of religous speech and used it for political advantage.~Rev. Harry Know, president and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Conscience