American Evangelicals and the 1960s.

Author:Schingler, Michelle Anne
Position:Book review

Axel R. Schafer (editor); AMERICAN EVANGELICALS AND THE 1960S; University of Wisconsin Press (Nonfiction: History) 29.95 ISBN: 9780299293642

Byline: Michelle Anne Schingler

Essays illustrate the presence of evangelical Christians on the side of social transformation during the turbulent 1960s.

In the span of twelve essays, American Evangelicals and the 1960s works to debunk the claim that the contemporary rise of Christian evangelicalism should be understood as backlash against the social upheavals of the 1960s. On the contrary, editor Axel Schafer argues, evangelism was never as dormant, or as monolithic, as current critiques of it seem to presume. Rather, evangelicals have always had a strong, if under-acknowledged, presence in American cultural and political life. They should not, historian Paul Boyer argues, be thoughtlessly conflated with the religious right, though they've trended toward Republican candidates in recent decades. Indeed, explorations of the "long 60s," a period ranging from the 1950s through the 1970s, actually indicate a strong evangelical presence in areas often thought of as belonging to the left.

Though the term "revolution" is often viewed as polarizing, religious historian Eileen Luhr shows that it was adopted by the decade's evangelicals, too, in order to encourage inner transformation over social transformation, as well as missionary over military interventions abroad. Professor Steven Miller reveals that evangelicals, if not entrenched in civil rights as a social movement, remained vocally in favor of racial equality throughout, if they were prevented from embracing legal changes because of persistent antiliberalism.

Meanwhile, Cambridge University fellow Andrew Preston's entry on evangelical responses to Vietnam indicates...

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