Onward Christian Soldiers?

The Religious Right in American Politics

Clyde Wilcox; Carin Robinson

Fourth Edition • July 1, 2010 • 264 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813344539 • $38.00 USD$47.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813391977 • $22.99 USD$26.99 CAN

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They have money, influence, power—and they turn out to vote. They are groups like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America—all parts of the Christian Right. But, are they a serious threat to religious liberty, bent on creating a theocratic state, or the last defenders of religion and family values in America?

Bringing the story of the religious right up to the Obama administration, this revised fourth edition explores the history of the movement in twentieth and early twenty-first century American politics. The authors review the expansion of the Christian Right through George W. Bush’s second administration and evaluate how the religious right fared in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Although figureheads of the religious right remain in the news, their power in Washington may be declining, and the authors consider the fate of the religious right under the Obama administration. Examining how the religious right both does and does not fit into the proper role of religious groups in American politics, Onward Christian Soldiers? is an essential addition to the Dilemmas in American Politics series.

Clyde Wilcox is professor of government at Georgetown University. He has published a number of books on religion and politics in the United States and abroad, and on interest group politics, including Interest Groups in American Elections: The New Face of Electioneering and The Values Campaign: The Christian Right in the 2004 Elections. He also writes on gender politics, campaign finance, and the politics of science fiction.

Carin Robinson is assistant professor of political science at Hood College. She has published articles about religion and the Bush presidency, the lobbying of religious groups in state elections, and on evangelicals in American politics.


1. Introduction: The Christian Right in Context
2. Revivals and Revolution: The Christian Right in Twentieth-Century America
3. The Christian Right in American Politics
4. Assessing the Christian Right
5. The Future of the Christian Right

Discussion Questions

“At a time when the significance of the Christian Right has become harder to discern thanks to recent political developments, Wilcox and Robinson provide an informed and insightful account of this long-lived social movement. Readers of this new edition will find the same balance, fair-mindedness and wisdom that characterized the previous editions. On a subject so often treated polemically, this book remains a welcome corrective.

—Kenneth D. Wald, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Florida|

A cogent introduction to the ‘religious right’ in American politics, now revised and updated. Wilcox and Robinson navigate this complex and controversial subject with skill and fairness, covering the movement’s origins, goals, activities, and impact.

–John C. Green, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Akron

“Wilcox and Robinson have only improved what was already a classic text. Onward Christian Soldiers? remains the ‘must read’ work on the Christian Right. However, it is not only an excellent introduction to the Christian Right movement; it also poses many challenging questions about the role of religion in American politics—and society.”

–David E. Campbell, John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C. Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

“Wilcox and Robinson present an excellent primer on the Christian Right in US politics as they trace its history and complex array of political organizations and internal divisions…This serves as the classic book on this subject. Highly recommended.” –Choice

Praise for the previous edition:

Onward Christian Soldiers? has been required reading in my class on religion, politics, and public policy since it first appeared. Students find it invaluable.” —Richard Parker, Harvard University

“Maintaining the balance and careful tone that marked the first two editions, the authors address big questions about tolerance, compromise, and trust that challenge pluralist democracies. Given the growing political power of the movement at all levels of government, students will want to consider these issues in their courses on American government, parties and interest groups, and political participation.”

—Linda L. Fowler, professor of government and Frank J. Reagan Chair in Policy Studies, Dartmouth College

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