Radio broadcaster Carl Mclntire was instrumental to the formation of the Christian Right but in a completely unexpected manner. To be specific, according to the journal article titled, “God’s Angriest Man: Carl Mclntire, Cold War Fundamentalism, and Right-Wing Broadcasting” there is a point where the author says that, “Mclntire provided a negative example of what neo-evangelicalism was not and, in doing so, inadvertently contributed to neo-evangelicalisms triumph.” (Hendershot, 2007) To be specific, “If Mclntire had really been as out of it as the neo-evangelicals claimed, they would not have known of his existence. Instead, he used his petitions, rallies, and broadcasts to become a thorn in everyone’s side.” (Hendershot, 2007). To describe the situation, one of the reasons that the modern Christian Right took off in the United States would be due to the fact that Mclntire, through his aggressive and frankly annoying protests actually alienated and discredited the Old Christian Right from American society and as a result gave this New Christian Right increased interest and relevance to those who were tired with the Old Right. This is further supported by the reading where Hendershot says, Technically speaking, Mclntire failed at every political endeavor he undertook. And every failure inadvertently helped to shore up the culturally engaged evangelicals of Grahams ilk.” (Hendershot, 2007). This quote simply argues that Mclntire’s ever ongoing political failures resulted in him fueling the evangelicals who formed the basis of the modern Christian Right.
I would argue that the rise of this neo-evangelicalism in the United States contributed to the “conservative consensus” in the sense that it reduced any sources of possible division within the Conservative Right. To be specific, by the late 1980’s the extremist views of Mclntire had become fringe ideas due to the fact that, “By the time the conservative revolution climaxed with the election of Reagan as president,though, Mclntire had long ago lost his radio station, and the Twentieth Century Reformation was barely on the air.” (Hendershot, 2007). To put it simply, I would argue that these new neo-evangelists would have had few Christian branches to compete with for earning the support of conservative Americans. This could have made it much easier for the conservatives to become united during the 1980’s. At the same time these evangelical groups gave resources to those who would later lead the Republican Party during the 1980’s. For example, according to the reading, “ Though Mclntire was apparently not involved in fund-raising or organizing for Goldwater, his station gave a voice to many who were, as well as to those supporting Ronald Reagan in his first political campaign in 1966.” (Hendershot, 2007) To put it simply, these evangelical groups created the conditions that allowed for people like Ronald Reagan to take power during the 1980’s. One could then say that the “conservative consensus” would have been impossible without the support of these neo-evangelical groups.
- Hendershot, Heather. “God’s Angriest Man: Carl McIntire, Cold War Fundamentalism, and Right-Wing Broadcasting.” American Quarterly 59, no. 2 (June 2007).
One thought on “Blogpost #9”
I really enjoyed reading your blog post! I agree with you that would that the rise of this neo-evangelicalism in the United States contributed to the “conservative consensus” because it reduced any sources of possible division within the Conservative Right. I think you used very strong examples from the text to support this, and I think it is interesting how it was these groups that allowed Ronald Raegan to take power in the 1980s.