Doing God's Work in the Devil's Playground: The Christian Right and the Republican Party

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Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Claire Haeg, Political Science


Christian Right organizations have been some of the most active and visible influencers of American politics for nearly three decades. Much has been written about the movement, both in the press and in academia. This paper is an evaluation of the Christian Right's influence on politics, with the framework of the political process model of social movement theory as its starting point and foundation. More specifically, it is an analysis of the response to the movement from the three levels of the national Republican Party - party in organization, party in government, and party in the electorate - in order to begin to judge the efficacy of the Christian Right in framing the debate and shaping governmental policies concerning abortion, gay marriage, and the role of religion in public schools. It finds that Christian Right organizations have seen varying levels of favorable change in the rhetoric of the party organization and in the votes of the party in the federal government but have seen mixed results in the change of opinion among Republican voters.