Southern Politics

As Republican presidential hopefuls begin the long process of trying to win their party’s nomination for the presidency, the early stages of the campaign have shown that the Christian right still exerts a strong influence on the GOP.

Photo by lukexmartin

Early issues that have arisen in the campaign are some of the key causes championed by the Christian right, including abortion, gay marriage and religion in politics.

For instance, this week’s debate in New Hampshire gave the hopefuls a chance to voice their views on those issues, among others, but there wasn’t much divergence. All of the candidates were making identical answers on all of the issues that the Christian right are most concerned with.

The relationship between religious conservatives and the GOP remains strong. The party’s candidates are mindful of this. If a candidate wants to become a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination, he or she has to have that position. Those who alienate the Christian right don’t usually get the party’s nod. There have been some GOP candidates who didn’t have initial support among religious conservatives, but they usually have had to modify their views or choose a running mate with stronger Christian right ties.

A key issue for the Christian right is who the next president would be likely to nominate for the Supreme Court. The Christian right needs one more justice to make headway with their mission. All of the candidates are promising to appoint a justice who is aligned with the Christian right–one who will restrict abortion or overturn Roe v. Wade.

While religious conservatives retain a strong connection with the GOP, it will be important to watch how the party’s presidential candidate will balance that relationship with the need to appeal to the broader electorate.

Daniel K. Williams

Daniel K. Williams

Daniel Williams is a professor of history at the University of West Georgia. He is the author of “God’s Own Party: Making of the Christian Right.”

  1. Personally, I’m not content to just watch. While I have some sympathy for people who’d rather be obedient to a deity, who’s not likely to reward or punish until after they are dead, than to obey living humans, who have the power to chastise them, and worse, on the spot, the notion that humans deserve to be punished for not following orders needs to be refuted. Democratic governments aren’t set up to subjugate and subordinate human beings, much as some human beings want that to be the case. The impulse to subordinate our own kind is evil, even if it’s a gentler alternative to just killing anyone we don’t like. Subordinating our own kind is also destructive of man’s creative and productive potential and, in that sense, undermines exactly that which conservative Christians claim to value — man’s special status in the Creator’s eye. The Christian Right agenda is wrong and that needs to be pointed out. It’s not right to punish someone for not doing what you want.

  2. Frank Povah

    Which does nothing so much as reinforce my opinion that – speaking very generally – the US attitude to politics and religion is nothing if not childish and is beginning to infect other countries.

  3. Mark Dohle

    Many people feel that our culture is actually falling apart and dying. For many the family unit is the center of culture, as the family goes, so goes the country. Many look upon the left wing agenda as anti family and want bigger government to run peoples lives. At least that is what the right wing pundits try to tell us.

    The left is often too liberal and people tend to be conservative both in their religion and politics. In any case, no matter what ones political stance, it is mostly based on a personal agenda. Hence all the mud slinging and name calling from both left and right.

    Where do I stand? As a christian I am pro life, but also have some liberal bias when it comes to health care. Abortion, well it will not go away until we Christians astually live what we believe, perhaps when that happens, then the need for abortion will lessen. It has to happen from the bottom up, not the top down.

    Thanks for posting.


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