cover image Not by Politics Alone: The Enduring Influence of the Christian Right

Not by Politics Alone: The Enduring Influence of the Christian Right

Sara Diamond / Author Guilford Publications $29.95 (280p) ISBN

The Christian Right's growth into a formidable social movement and political power over the last couple of decades has provoked alarm in many quarters. In this sweeping and well-documented survey of the movement, Diamond concludes that its survival is due to the diversity of its many subcultural institutions and to its links with the Republican Party. The author doesn't bother defining ""the Christian Right,"" nor does she offer more than a nutshell history. Her purpose is not primarily to critique, although her own bias emerges from time to time in expressions such as ""simple-minded,"" ""fractious,"" ""irrational,"" and they ""fight change and punish those responsible for it."" Diamond generally avoids direct condemnation, however; in fact, she is occasionally critical of the criticisms leveled at the Christian Right, moderating the knee-jerk stereotyping that fails to take it seriously. She prefers instead to let the movement's rhetoric speak for itself through myriad groups such as Promise Keepers, the Christian Coalition and Operation Rescue, as well as a seemingly endless list of publications and TV and radio shows. While Diamond doesn't challenge the personal motivations of prominent individuals in the Christian Right, she notes that shrewd business tactics, political hardball, scare tactics and sometimes outright deception seem to have more to do with the movement's staying power than any divine intervention. Like her Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, this is a balanced, eye-opening and accessible read. (Nov.)