Thursday, March 5, 2020

Neil J. Young

Neil J. Young is the author of We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics.

From his Q&A at the OUP Blog:

You begin your book in the 1950s. Why?

Most accounts of the Religious Right begin in the 1970s because they tend to treat the movement as a response to the social transformations of the 1960s and to a series of Supreme Court decisions about school prayer and abortion. This view, however, paints religious conservatives as reactors rather than actors, as people who are responding to political and social changes rather than as shapers of many of those changes. It also depicts the Religious Right as only a political story. By starting in the 1950s, however, I show the theological and intellectual origins of the Religious Right. In other words, I argue that the Religious Right was an outgrowth of the interfaith conversations Catholics, evangelicals, and Mormons were having at midcentury over questions about the unity of Christians, the authority of the Bible, the means of salvation, and who could claim the mantle of true Christianity. It was these religious conversations that were a response to the ecumenical movement of mainline Protestantism, I argue, that helped give rise to the Religious Right. I show that long before Roe v. Wade and the Equal Rights Amendment, religious conservatives had already been drawn together in conversation and alliance building. So, the Religious Right wasn’t a new political development for these religious conservatives but rather...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue