We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

God is a Conservative

Religion, Politics, and Morality in Contemporary America

Kenneth Heineman

Publication Year: 1998

From Billy Graham and Ronald Regan to Newt Gingrich and William Bennett, God is a Conservative provides an important look at the role of religion in conservative politics in modern America. Kenneth J. Heineman reveals the profoundly religious nature of contemporary conservatism, offering an intriguing look at the social history of moral politics over the last three decades, and the still tremulous aftershocks of the New Deal. With a new Preface that examines the Bush presidency, including a provocative analysis of his re-election, and the rising influence of the Conservative Right, God is a Conservative is essential reading for understanding today's American political landscape.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. iii

Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. iv


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. vii

read more

Preface to the Paperback Edition

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. ix-xix

A day before President George W. Bush delivered his acceptance speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, he appeared at a rally of 21,000 in Columbus, Ohio, capital of one of the key battleground states in the presidential election. One would not likely find a similar political event in the United Kingdom, Russia, or France. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xxi-xxv

This is a work of broad social commentary, not an academic monograph intended for a handful of specialists. My intention is to reach a larger audience of readers who are interested in American politics, moral debates, and recent history. I make a number of observations on contemporary moral politics while, I hope, writing a story that will sustain reader...

read more

Introduction: Heaven Can't Wait

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-13

Twenty-two years after Leonard Bernstein hosted a cocktail soiree and fund-raiser for the Black Panther Party, liberal chic was back in style. A smiling Yoko Ono, as always wearing large sunglasses whether outdoors or in, stood next to a laughing Jann Wenner. In the sixties Wenner proved that one could be a hip capitalist...

read more

1. Reaping the Whirlwind: 1968

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 14-43

Rev. Nelson Bell of Montreat, North Carolina, had not been in good humor ever since the Supreme Court, in Brown v. the Board of Education (Topeka, Kansas), ruled that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional. He had been beside himself when his son-in-law, Rev. Billy Graham, formed a friendship with a black Baptist minister named Martin...

read more

2. Deluge '72

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 44-65

For a ten-year-old political junkie growing up in Miami, 1972 was an exciting year: both major parties held their national conventions in that city. The Republican National Convention gave television viewers the impression of a coronation; the Democrats yet again provided excitement. ...

read more

3. J. C. Saves in '76

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 66-92

Never before had a president gone before the people to reassure them that he was "not a crook." Unfortunately for Richard Nixon, few Americans believed him. White House personnel, whether in court or before a congressional investigating committee, ratted each other out. In the course of the Watergate hearings, Americans learned that Nixon...

read more

4. The Great Awakening: 1980

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 93-123

Jimmy Carter knew that a successful president had to maintain the peace, promote economic growth, and avoid entanglement in moral issues. Voters might forgive a recession—provided that it was over at least a year before the next presidential election. Most of the electorate could even tolerate a few missteps overseas. ...

read more

5. "It's Morning in America": 1984

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 124-151

Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman of Georgetown and Paris was bored. Although riding after the hounds on her Virginia estate had its moments, "Pammy" wanted a new hobby. In short order she found one—Democratic politics. Drawn by her charming personality and deep purse...

read more

6. "A Thousand Points of Light": 1988

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 152-181

Lt. Colonel Oliver North knew that God wanted him to arm the anti-Communist freedom fighters in Nicaragua and secure the release of American hostages in Lebanon. God, however, works in mysterious ways; He required Iran's help to free the prisoners. If the Iranians demanded sophisticated weapons in exchange for their assistance, so be it. ...

read more

7. "Godspeak": 1992

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 182-209

"The liberation of Kuwait has begun." With those words the Bush administration launched a one-hundred-hour ground war against the Iraqi army that occupied Kuwait. Since the summer of 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded oil-rich Kuwait, the Left had snapped at Bush's heels. ...

read more

8. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": 1996

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 210-246

Having run as a conservative, Bill Clinton governed as a liberal. The results were disastrous. Honoring his pledge to David Mixner, Clinton tried to end the military's prohibition against homosexual conduct. Roger Wilkins lauded the presidential initiative. According to the civil rights activist...

read more

Epilogue: There Is No Money in Social Conservatism

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 247-266

In 1995, William Bennett criticized the executives of Time-Warner for producing morally offensive rap music. For his part, conservative commentator John Leo called Time-Warner "our leading cultural polluter." An irate Gerald Levin, the chair of the mass-media conglomerate, countered that rap music had socially redeeming qualities. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 267-323


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 325-342

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. 343

Kenneth J. Heineman, professor of history at Ohio University, is the author of Campus Wars: The Peace Movement at American State Universities in the Vietnam Era (New York University Press, 1993) and A Catholic New Deal: Religion and Reform in Depression Pittsburgh. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814744796
E-ISBN-10: 0814744796
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814735541
Print-ISBN-10: 0814735541

Page Count: 456
Publication Year: 1998

OCLC Number: 45843994
MUSE Marc Record: Download for God is a Conservative

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Presidents -- United States -- Election -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
  • Conservatism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Moral conditions.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989.
  • Religion and politics -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access