The Christian Coalition: Dreams of Restoration, Demands for Recognition

Justin Watson, Author Palgrave MacMillan $79.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-17236-7
Making a reasonably successful transition from a dissertation to a popular account, Watson (an instructor in the department of religion at Florida State University) builds his story around the biographies of two dominant figures, Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed, who have shaped the Christian Coalition since its inception. Watson sees his study as a response to a question posed by a friend: ""What do they really want?"" Watson's answer is twofold: on the one hand, he depicts an organization deeply concerned with the ""restoration"" of a ""homogeneous nation under God."" On the other, he depicts an organization with the seemingly more modest goal of recognition and acceptance for evangelical Christians at the table of pluralistic American democracy. The seeming incompatibility of these goals, both passionately held, says something about the complex, even contradictory, character of the organization, its members and its most prominent leaders. Watson's language and argument are coherent and accessible, and his book is a significant contribution to studies of American evangelicalism and its role in American politics. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-312-21782-2
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