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Hippies of the Religious Right

From the Counterculture of Jerry Garcia to the Subculture of Jerry Falwell

Preston Shires

Publication Year: 2007

This volume demonstrates that the Christian Right has a surprising past. Historical analysis reveals that the countercultural movements and evangelicalism share a common heritage. Shires warns that political operatives in both parties need to heed this fact if they hope to either, in the case of the Republican Party, retain their evangelical constituency, or, in the case of the Democratic Party, recruit new evangelical voters.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-v

Contents

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pp. vii-

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Preface

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pp. ix-xi

This book is an investigation of the countercultural youth who ended up in the Religious Right movement of the late 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. It seeks to explain how and why such youth were attracted to evangelicalism and what countercultural values they took with them into what most historians...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-2

In the mid-1970s, America’s raucous counterculture, which had raged since the mid-1960s, faded away. Ignited by racism, poverty, war, and government oppression, the fires of the counterculture subsided as the effects of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of President Johnson’s Great Society took hold, and...

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1. Modern Culture—Mainstream and Mainline

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pp. 3-20

Some of the more salient characteristics of the counterculture that grab our attention today are exactly those things that seemed so rebellious and antimainstream during the sixties: experimentation with new ways of thinking, believing, behaving, and relating to one another. A confidence in and desire for...

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2. The Counterculture

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pp. 21-38

Although the youth of the sixties rebelled against many of the strictures of their parents’ generation, they did retain at least two important older-generation principles. They never abandoned, in the main, a commitment to the golden rule ideal, and they never relented in their pursuit of freedom or expressive...

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3. Old-Time Religion and New-Time Youth

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pp. 39-55

Biblically grounded Christianity in the mid-twentieth century was anything but a monolithic religious establishment; indeed, it had several expressions, which one could divide up into the following general groups: fundamentalist, Pentecostal, new evangelical, and charismatic.1 Some of these expressions of...

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4. A Radical Spirituality for a Radical Generation

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pp. 57-69

Though new evangelicals produced appealing apologetics and sensitive polemics, some countercultural youth were questing for something more than a spirituality deliberately tied to intellectual propositions. They desired a more intense spirituality that recognized the value of apologetics and polemics...

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5. The Evangelical Lifestyle

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pp. 71-90

So far, we have discussed biblically grounded Christianity under four major subheadings: fundamentalist, new evangelical, Pentecostal, and charismatic. We have noted that fundamentalists tended to emphasize fire and brimstone, new evangelicals intellectualism, Pentecostals experiential spirituality, and charismatics a...

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6. The Countercultural Christians

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pp. 91-110

It comes as no surprise that all biblically grounded groups of Christians attempted to proselytize America’s youth during the sixties; after all, each group hoped to remake America in its image, and where better to start than with the younger generation? But evangelistic success did not mean that the young converts...

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7.The Merging of Countercultural and Evangelical Christianity

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pp. 111-141

In a sense countercultural Christianity and evangelicalism never had to merge, because from the outset, countercultural Christianity had its roots in the avant garde of evangelicalism. Most of the pioneers of contemporary street evangelism were evangelicals who daringly took certain aspects of twentieth-century evangelicalism to the next level. Billy Sunday, Charles...

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8. Awaiting the Religious Right

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pp. 143-156

Prior to the advent of countercultural Christianity, evangelicalism, as has been noted, demonstrated an enormous amount of vitality but restricted itself, by and large, to the religious sphere.1 The door-to-door evangelist peddled religion, not politics. The adage that “politics and religion don’t mix” was...

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9. Politically Right

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pp. 157-180

The history of the countercultural Christian shift rightward is an interesting one. Hal Lindsey played a role; two other evangelical personalities, however, would have a much more important and decisive part to play. Bill Bright, who commanded the biggest parachurch evangelistic organization for youth, and...

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10. The Christian Right and Its Sixties Inheritance

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pp. 181-201

Francis Schaeffer had correctly perceived the importance of the abortion issue for galvanizing biblically grounded Christianity. Indeed, the abortion issue replaced communism as the jumping off point for evangelical political activism in the late 1970s. In the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate one finds some...

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Epilogue

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pp. 203-210

In the turmoil of the sixties, there were, of course, countercultural Christians who expressed their faith through leftist political activism. Theirs is a fascinating history, but it is not part of this story. Here, we have been solely interested in countercultural Christians who contributed to the Religious Right. Nevertheless, mention should be made of the evangelical...

Notes

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pp. 211-256

Bibliography

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pp. 257-267

Index

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pp. 269-275


E-ISBN-13: 9781602580961
E-ISBN-10: 1602580960
Print-ISBN-13: 9781932792577
Print-ISBN-10: 1932792570

Page Count: 287
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1st

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Subject Headings

  • Religious right -- United States.
  • Christian conservatism -- United States.
  • Hippies -- United States.
  • Counterculture -- United States.
  • Christians -- Political activity -- United States.
  • United States -- Church history -- 20th century.
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