Christian Nation: Evaluating the Claims of the New Christian Right
The 2004 Presidential election brought into focus the mobilization and effectiveness of the New Christian Right political movement. With the unusually high election turnout and the vocal involvement in the months leading up to the election, the New Christian Right, and its leaders, attracted national attention. One of the recurring claims of their platform was the assertion that America was meant to be a Christian Nation, and that Christians should step forward to return the country to its religious heritage. The idea that the United States was meant by its founders to be a Christian Nation is tenuous at best, and is often in direct opposition to the historical writings available from the time of the founding.
This thesis traces the idea of America as a Christian Nation from the time of the country's colonization through the present day. I include a study of New Christian Right leaders Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson; puritan minister Roger Williams; and Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams.
By examining the leaders who shaped the nation, it becomes apparent that the claims of the New Christian Right are often based on out-of-context quotations and unsupported beliefs about the founding of America. I also examine some of the relevant legal decisions and court cases in United States history. These cases confirm that the United States has traditionally attempted to separate the roles of Church and State, and has tried to make clear the need for a division between an individual's religious belief and his/her public standing.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences; Christianity -- United States
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Bevis, Kimberly, "Christian Nation: Evaluating the Claims of the New Christian Right" (2005). HIM 1990-2015. 487.