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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The New Christian Right, or “religious Right,” was an influential movement during the latter decades of the twentieth century. The Moral Majority is situated within the religious Right. Using a social constructionist approach, this article examines media representations of the Moral Majority, with an emphasis on the variegated narratives that swirled around its rise, apex, and fall. Interestingly, the Moral Majority and New Christian Right initially embraced the militancy frame because it suggested a united movement committed to “saving” America from moral decay. However, as the movement gained recognition and successfully defeated candidates and policies it opposed, the militancy moniker became a liability and likely contributed to its unpopularity. Ultimately, the Moral Majority sought to brandish a more populist and less political image. Ironically, the decade closed with Jerry Falwell, the icon of the New Christian Right, disbanding the Moral Majority and emphasizing the leaderless character of his grassroots movement.

Keywords: Moral Majority, New Christian Right, religious Right, media, militancy, Jerry Falwell, America

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