A fundamental Christian is a person who believes in the strict interpretation of the Bible. In America, the Christian right is a political group that supports conservative policies. The Christian right has been influential in American politics since the 1970s.
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The Rise of Christian Fundamentalism
Christian Fundamentalism in the United States has had a significant impact on politics. It contributed to the election of Ronald Reagan, the development of the Moral Majority, and the rise of the religious right. Christian Fundamentalism has also been a force in American foreign policy. It was a factor in the decision to support the Contra rebels in Nicaragua and the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan.
The Scopes Monkey Trial
On July 10, 1925, the Scopes Monkey Trial began in Dayton, Tennessee. The trial was the result of a controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution in public schools.
The case began when John Scopes, a high school teacher, was charged with violating a state law that prohibited the teaching of any theory that denied the divine creation of humans as described in the Bible.
Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the trial ultimately failed to resolve the larger debate over evolution and religion. The case also resulted in a more organized effort by Christian fundamentalists to shape American politics and culture.
The Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy
The Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy was a religious and political conflict in the United States in the early 20th century. The conflict pitted the Christian fundamentalist movement against the spiritual forces of modernism. Modernism, an intellectual movement that arose in the late 19th century, questioned traditional Christian beliefs and attempted to bring a new understanding of Christianity.
The controversy began in the 1920s, when a group of conservative Christians known as fundamentalists started a campaign to stop the modernists from what they saw as their attempt to destroy Christianity. The fundamentalists were successful in winning over many Americans to their side, and by the 1930s they had become a powerful force in American politics.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the fundamentalists’ influence peaked, as they successfully worked to stop the teaching of evolution in schools and to prevent liberals from taking control of the Republican Party. However, by the 1960s, the tide had turned against the fundamentalists, as American society became more accepting of modern ideas and liberal politicians started to win elections. By the end of the 20th century, Christian fundamentalism had declined in influence, although it remained a significant force within American society.
The New England Watch and Ward Society
The New England Watch and Ward Society was a Boston-based private organization formed in 1878 to combat what its members saw as a rising tide of pornography and other “obscene” materials. The Society’s activities helped to fuel the so-called “moral crusades” of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which sought to stamp out prostitution, gambling, and other forms of vice. The Society also played a role in the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the United States.
The Spread of Christian Fundamentalism
Christian fundamentalism is a movement that began in the late 19th century in the United States. It was a reaction to modernism and aimed to reimpose traditional Christian values in all areas of life, including politics. The movement was successful in the sense that it managed to change the political landscape of the country and had a profound impact on American culture.
The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl
The spread of Christian Fundamentalism was given a huge boost by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Hard times led many Americans to seek comfort in religion, and Fundamentalism offered them a way to make sense of a world that seemed to be falling apart. The movement also gained new recruits from the ranks of the unemployed, as fundamentalists opened up their churches to people in need of food and shelter.
The New Deal and the Fair Deal
Liberal Christians were very active in the politics of the early twentieth century. In the United States, they were a driving force behind the Progressive movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and later helped to shape what came to be known as the New Deal. After World War II, they were instrumental in founding the National Council of Churches and in supporting the work of the World Council of Churches. Liberal Christians also played an important role in civil rights movements both inside and outside the United States. In Latin America, they supported liberation theology; in Europe, they were involved in movements for nuclear disarmament and against apartheid in South Africa.
The Civil Rights Movement
The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s was a struggle by African Americans to gain equality with whites in all areas of life. The goals of the civil rights movement were to end racial segregation and discrimination in the United States and to secure for African Americans equal rights under the law.
African Americans had been discriminated against since the earliest days of European settlement in North America, but it was not until after the Civil War that they began to organize to fight for their rights. The civil rights movement began in earnest in 1954, with the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed segregation in public schools.
In the years that followed, African Americans continued their fight for equality, protesting against segregated public facilities, such as restaurants and hotels, and pressing for laws to end job discrimination and voting rights violations. The civil rights movement reached its peak in the late 1960s with a series of mass demonstrations, including the historic March on Washington, which drew more than 200,000 people to hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
The civil rights movement was successful in achieving its goals of desegregation and increased access to voting for African Americans, but its lasting legacy is the increased awareness of and fight against discrimination in all forms.
The Decline of Christian Fundamentalism
Christian fundamentalism began declining in the USA during the late 20th century. This is because liberal Christians began to challenge the literal interpretation of the Bible. Also, the civil rights movement and the sexual revolution led to a decline in Christian values. The Christian right began to lose power and influence during this time.
The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Case
The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case in 1973 was a major turning point for Christian fundamentalism in the United States. The case made abortion legal nationwide, and it sparked a major backlash from the fundamentalist community.
In the years since Roe v. Wade, Christian fundamentalists have become increasingly politically active. They have been a major force in the Republican Party, and they have opposed abortion, gay rights, and other liberal policies.
Fundamentalists have also been criticized for their support of Creationism and their opposition to evolution. They have been accused of trying to impose their religious beliefs on others through political means.
Despite these criticisms, Christian fundamentalism remains a powerful force in American politics.
The Sexual Revolution
The sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s ended the smokescreen of propriety that had enshrouded sexuality, and within a few years conservative Christians were forced to confront the fact that contraception was here to stay. The debates over abortion and gay rights were also shaped by this new reality. For conservative Christians, sex outside of marriage became an increasingly difficult issue to justify opposing, and over time they began to lose ground on this issue as well.
Today, the influence of Christian fundamentalism in America is waning, and its political impact has diminished significantly from what it was just a few decades ago. While the movement still has some devoted followers, its declining popularity is due in part to the fact that many of its once-taboo beliefs about sexuality have become more acceptable in mainstream society.
The Counterculture of the 1960s
The 1960s were a decade of profound social and political change in the United States. The country was grappling with issues of race, gender, and class, as well as the Vietnam War. Amidst this turmoil, a group of conservative Christians known as fundamentalists began to assert themselves politically.
Fundamentalists had always been a part of the American religious landscape, but in the 1960s, they became increasingly vocal and well-organized. They were concerned about what they saw as the decline of morality in the country, and they Believe that Christians needed to take a stand against secularization.
The counterculture of the 1960s was a challenge to traditional values, and many young people rejected the authority of institutions like the church. For fundamentalists, this was a sign that society was falling apart. They saw themselves as guardians of traditional morality, and they began to call for a return to “family values.”
Fundamentalists also began to get involved in politics. In 1964, they helped to elect conservative senator Barry Goldwater to the presidency. Four years later, they helped to elect Richard Nixon. Nixon pandered to their concerns about morality and law and order, and he appointed several prominent fundamentalists to high-level positions in his administration.
The rise of Christian fundamentalism had a profound impact on American politics. For the first time, there was a sizable group of voters who were motivated primarily by cultural issues like abortion and gay rights. This culture war would come to dominate American politics for the next few decades.