Unit 3 diversity, freedom, opportunity

Born-Again Christians and the Religious Right

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Born-Again Christians and the Religious Right

Perhaps the most dramatic example of the idea of self-improvement in American Protestantism is the experience of being "born again." Some individuals who have had this experience say that before it occurred they were hopelessly lost in their own sinfulness. Then they opened their hearts to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ, and their lives were completely changed. They say this experience is sometimes very emotional, and afterward, their lives are so completely changed that they describe the experience as being "born again." A number of the Christian radio and television shows have been led by born-again evangelists such as Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell.

Many of the born-again Christians belong to Protestant churches that are politically very conservative. About 16 percent of Americans now identify themselves as part of the religious conservative political movement. Although many conservative Christians from different Protestant denominations (and a number of Catholic churches) have traditionally had their differences, the issue of legalized abortion has brought them together to form political activist groups. In recent years, under names such as 'The Moral Majority," the "Religious Right," the "Christian Right," or "Religious Conservatives," the Christian Conservatives have joined together to oppose legalized abortion and the ban on prayer in the public schools. They have been particularly successful in gaining power within the Republican political party, and they have actively campaigned for candidates who support their views.

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