Matt and Sam dig into the origins of the Christian right, their eventual embrace of anti-abortion politics, and how they joined forces with the GOP.
At long last, Matt and Sam dive into the origins of the Christian right—a complicated tale often flattened by contemporary debates. What was the history of Christian anti-abortion activism before Roe, and how soon after the landmark Supreme Court decision did conservative Christians coalesce around the abortion—and other issues—to become the political force we know today? What did it take to get Catholics and evangelicals to join forces, and what were the barriers to them coming together, especially given the history of anti-Catholicism in the United States? And how did all this help reshape the GOP into a vehicle for anti-abortion politics, given that such a scenario was not fated on the eve of Roe? Your hosts take up these questions and more, stopping in the early 1990s—when they'll pick up with the story in the third and final episode in the series.
Sources and Citations:
Randall Balmer, "The Religious Right and the Abortion Myth," Politico Magazine, May 10, 2022
Neil J. Young and Gillian Frank, "What Everyone Gets Wrong about Evangelicals and Abortion," Washington Post, May 16, 2022
Neil J. Young, We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics (Oxford University Press, 2015)
Kristen Luker, Abortion & the Politics of Motherhood, (University of California Press, 1985)
Mary Ziegler, After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate, (Harvard University Press, 2015)
Ilyse Hogue and Ellie Langford, The Lie That Binds (Strong Arm Press, 2020)
Rick Perlstein, Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-80 (Simon & Schuster, 2020)
Daniel K. Williams, Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade (Oxford University Press, 2016)
Joshua Wilson, The Street Politics of Abortion: Speech, Violence, and America's Culture Wars, (Stanford University Press, 2013)
David L. Chappell, A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow (UNC Press, 2005)
"Killing Abortionists: A Symposium," First Things, December 1994