Ups and downs of the Religious Right

Divisions and personalities

It’s a puzzle: the Christian Coalition is fighting off extinction, but the Religious Right seems as powerful as ever. “Christian Coalition losing clout” headlined the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot on February 19, the day of the pivotal South Carolina Republican presidential primary. The article quoted Furman University professor James Guth, a longtime chronicler of the coalition: “If there’s any organizational activity going on, it’s very low key.” Yet religious conservatives turned out in record numbers that day—they totaled about 30 percent of the vote—and by an almost 3-1 margin supported George W. Bush, providing the Texas governor with a tidy victory over Senator John McCain.


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