Prophets & protest : the transformation of U.S. Christian activism, 1960-2000
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The second half of the 20th century saw the emergence of consequential and diverse social movements inspired by Christian moral commitments, from anti-communism and temperance to Civil Rights and fundamentalism. Few studies, however, have systematically analyzed this important sector of activism adequately, though it lies at the intersection of two vital sociological areas: the sociology of religion and political sociology. This dissertation is the first comprehensive study of Christian activist organizations, creating and analyzing an electronic database of approximately 500 unique Christian social movement organizations along nearly 50 variables including overall population changes, denominational variation, geographic diffusion, tactical repertoires, and issues engaged. Findings indicate that changes originating in religious demographics and culture preceded and led to related changes in American politics, overall in a conservative direction. At a macro level, data also consistently point to a homeostatic, cybernetic effect generating medium-term cultural equilibrium between progressive and conservative Christian activists. At the micro-level, findings illustrate the essential role of cultural entrepreneurs motivated by religious values and identities in redefining, publicizing, and defending the moral boundaries which create and sustain social movements.