The Barrister Fall 2017 - 31

w w w.BERKSBAR.org

She points out that northern and southern evangelicals were
divided over the issue of slavery, and, after the Civil War,
modernist thought divided northern evangelicals between
liberals, who embraced modernist thought, and conservatives,
who rejected it. FitzGerald explains that the modernists
accepted the new science and created a social gospel, while
the conservatives believed that the society was falling apart
and the conversion of individuals was the answer. Eventually,
conservativism was also clearly associated with the belief that
the Bible was inerrant and the concept that society was in an
inevitable decline heading toward the battle of Armageddon and
the return of Christ. This conservative view became known as
fundamentalism.
FitzGerald states that a fundamentalist-modernist
conflict erupted after World War I that affected all Protestant
denominations; the fundamentalists lost and many left their
denominations. She notes that, after World War II, Reverend
Billy Graham, then considered a fundamentalist, began
attracting enormous crowds at his revivals. He, later, referred to
himself as an "evangelical." Graham defined that term to mean a
conservative Protestant who had been "born again." FitzGerald
indicates that fundamentalists were a subset of evangelicals, and
most of them were separatists who had left their denominations.
According to FitzGerald, the balance of power in the
evangelical world was changed by the explosive growth of
Pentecostalism, the spread of Pentecostal beliefs to liberal
Protestant denominations and the Catholic church and the
integration of white southern evangelicals into the life of the
nation for the first time since the Civil War. She asserts that
when white southerners reemerged, the dominant religious
force in the South was the Southern Baptist Convention, which
had not been impacted by the modernism that had affected
the North. As southerners moved out of the South to areas
where industry was growing, the Southern Baptist Convention
followed them.
FitzGerald, then, relates the significant cultural changes
of the 1960s and early 1970s, such as the Supreme Court
decisions banning prayer and Bible reading in the schools, the
civil rights movement and Roe v. Wade. She states that only the
fundamentalists objected to all of them, while other evangelicals
took moderate stances on many of the issues. FitzGerald
argues that the reaction to these cultural changes, which came
later, was an upsurge of fundamentalism in the South and the
appearance of new leaders. She states that it was at this point
that Jerry Falwell and others first appeared on the national
political stage with the call for conservative Christians to get
involved in politics, and the Moral Majority and similar groups
were formed. This populist movement became known as the
Christian right.
FitzGerald indicates that Falwell shut down the Moral
Majority in the late 1980s, but was followed by Pat Robertson,
who had built a successful Christian television network.
Robertson ran for the Republican nomination for President
in 1988, forming the Christian Coalition. FitzGerald states
that, during the early years of the Clinton administration, the
Christian Coalition, and other Christian right organizations,

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Continued on page 32
Fall 2017 | 31


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The Barrister Fall 2017

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