The Republican Party embodies Christian values

United States

Michael Minkenberg

To person

Dr. phil., born 1959; Professor of Political Science at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder); currently Consortium Professor for European Studies at New York University and Columbia University in New York.
Address: New York University, Center for European Studies, 58 West 10 th Street, New York, N.Y., 10011, USA.
Email: [email protected]

Publications among others: Neoconservatism and New Rights in the USA, Baden-Baden 1990; The new radical right in comparison. UNITED STATES; France, Germany, Opladen-Wiesbaden 1998; (Ed. Together with Ulrich Willems) Politics and Religion, PVS special issue 33/2002, Wiesbaden 2003.

The Christian right has been influencing American politics for a quarter of a century. But in George W. Bush it has a very close representative at the center of the only world power.


The Christian Right has been influencing American politics for a quarter of a century and has been declared dead time and again. With the dissolution of the Moral Majority in 1986 and the election of older, not very friendly-minded George Bush as President two years later, the end seemed to have been reached. [1] Instead, the transition from Bush to Clinton saw a transformation and rebirth of the Christian right, which gave it new political clout. In the last few years of Clinton's tenure, when the 1998 congressional election fell short of Republican expectations and the February 1999 Senate impeachment of Clinton failed, there were renewed signs of fatigue. This time, however, the end of the movement was also heralded by its own protagonists. In the run-up to the elections, radio evangelist James Dobson stated with resignation: "Our people no longer recognize the nature of evil." [2] And one of the most important strategists of the Christian right, the co-founder of Moral Majority and President of the Free Congress Foundation, Paul After the failed impeachment, Weyrich went one step further by declaring in a circular dated February 16, 1999 that the right had lost the cultural war that had lasted more than 20 years, and then recommended a withdrawal from politics and culture: "We need to drop out of this culture. "[3] Less than two years later, the born again Christian and son of former President George HW Bush, not only a Republican who was particularly close to the fundamentalists and the Christian right, moved into the White House. With him came a number of activists of the Christian right and the "conservative movement" such as Grover Norquist, Spencer Abraham and John Ashcroft in influential positions in his administration. The feeling of triumph broke through a special event during the inauguration of the new president in January 2001. Under the motto "The Funeral: A Conservative Celebration of the Death of the Clinton Administration", activists of the Christian right and the "conservative movement" celebrated the end of the Clinton era. The appropriate sermon was contributed by former moral majority leader and TV preacher Jerry Falwell. [4]

The aim of this article is to follow up on this turnaround and to discuss the question of whether the presidency of the younger George Bush marks a new phase and, at the same time, a political climax in the development of the Christian right, which you only experienced during his father’s term of office or also at the end of the nineties few would have predicted. For this purpose, the changes in the organizational field of the Christian right in the transition from the 20th to the 21st century should be shown and then placed in relation to the political environment, in particular the Republican Party and the Bush administration. Here the thesis is advocated that the Christian Right has reached a new, no longer believed possible high point since the election of 2000, but at the same time has lost its independence as a movement because the initial symbiosis in which the Republicans were the " Party of the Movement "has given way to increasing instrumentalization by the party and administration. In other words, the Christian Right is now the "Movement of the Party".