Carl McIntire was a prominent radio broadcaster and pastor who played a significant role in the formation of the Christian Right movement in the United States. In the 1940s and 1950s, he gained a following through his radio program, “The Twentieth Century Reformation Hour,” which promoted a fundamentalist interpretation of Christianity and attacked what he saw as the liberal tendencies of mainline Protestant denominations.
In the 1960s, McIntire became a vocal opponent of the Civil Rights Movement and the growing counterculture, and he founded several conservative Christian organizations, including the American Council of Christian Churches and the International Council of Christian Churches. These groups supported conservative political candidates and causes and helped to mobilize conservative Christian voters.
McIntire’s influence helped to pave the way for the rise of the Christian Right in the 1970s and 1980s, as evangelical Christians became increasingly politically engaged and began to form alliances with conservative politicians and organizations. His ideas and strategies were influential in shaping the worldview and political activism of many conservative Christians in the United States.
Neo-evangelicalism was important to the rise of the “conservative consensus” in U.S. politics for several reasons. First, neo-evangelicals sought to engage with the broader culture and society, rather than retreating into a conservative Christian subculture. This approach allowed them to reach a wider audience and to influence mainstream culture and politics.
Second, neo-evangelicals emphasized the importance of personal conversion and the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own spiritual lives. This emphasis on individualism and personal responsibility resonated with conservative political and economic ideologies, which also prioritize individualism and self-reliance.
Finally, neo-evangelicals sought to engage with political and social issues, such as abortion, homosexuality, and the role of government, from a conservative Christian perspective. This approach helped to mobilize conservative Christian voters and to create a “conservative consensus” around many key political issues.
3 thoughts on “McIntire and the Christian Right”
Hey Lauren, it is interesting how Carl McIntire was able to influence so many right Christians yet any of his attempts at political change or effect never followed through. I wonder what specific characteristics of his person or action prevented him from succeeding. Maybe it had to do with his approach style.
Hey Lauren, you talk about how McIntire created a public direction towards the Christian Right. I think that it is amazing how one man can change so much for one group of people, not to mention how this one man was shut down multiple times. Both when his radio station got shut down and he stood at court multiple times and lost pretty much every battle he fought. This man had the determination to keep going and was successful in influencing a whole group of people.
Hi, Lauren, good post! I particularly like the section where you talk about how the neo-evangelicals created the “conservative consensus” by engaging with the broader American community rather than remaining isolated and how this interaction gave them a wider reach to spread their views. You might also want to consider another reason why the evangelicals successfully caused the “conservative consensus.” To be specific, the reading talks about how McIntire’s radio station hosted a number of organizations that actively promoted Ronald Raegan’s early presidential campaigns and as a result created the conditions for his win in the 1980 election (Hendershot, 2007).
Hendershot, Heather. “God’s Angriest Man: Carl McIntire, Cold War Fundamentalism, and Right-Wing Broadcasting.” American Quarterly 59, no. 2 (June 2007).