chapter  6
Christianity and Conservatism
WithSeth Offenbach
Pages 30

This chapter explores how the Cold War and Vietnam War helped to bring Christian evangelicals and Christian anti-communists into the conservative movement. Mainstream conservatives and evangelical anti-communists were among the leading pro-war groups during the latter years of the Vietnam War. This chapter shows how Vietnam became an issue which brought both groups together. Additionally, the same week the war came to a close, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v. Wade. This decision, which legalized abortion, helped to further cement the idea that the mainstream right and Christian evangelicals had much ideologically in common. Both groups supported a muscular anti-communist strategy in the Cold War and victory in Vietnam, and opposed the changing cultural and sexual mores promoted by the rising New Left, feminist, and Hippie cultures. Thanks to these ideological similarities, the Religious Right and mainstream conservative movement came together in the 1970s and eventually helped elect Ronald Reagan president in 1980. This New Right movement helped shape the future of U.S. politics at the end of the twentieth century.