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Randall Balmer

Entries by Randall Balmer

Jimmy Carter and the Evangelical Divide

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 10:30 AM

Jimmy Carter's improbable ascent to the presidency was abetted by his probity--"I will never knowingly lie to the American people"--and by a brief resurgence of progressive evangelicalism in the early 1970s. His shattering defeat four years later, however, signaled the demise of progressive evangelicalism in favor of a radically different...

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Romney and the Republicans: Outsourcing Religion

(29) Comments | Posted August 22, 2012 | 10:35 AM

Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate marks the first time in American history that no Protestant will appear on a major-party ticket for president. Ryan is Roman Catholic, and Romney, of course, is Mormon.

Alfred E. Smith, the Democratic governor of New York,...

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My Meeting with Thomas Kinkade

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 6:19 PM

It was one of the few times that I agreed to a condition prior to an interview; it may, in fact, be the only time. After a tour of Lighthouse Publishing's warehouse south of San Francisco, I was given directions to Thomas Kinkade's home and studio in the hills outside...

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Fundamentalists, Mormons and the "Christian" Question

(219) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 11:18 AM

I must have seen the expression a hundred times, a look of utter, bewildered incomprehension when someone even raises the question of whether or not Mormons are really Christians. Why of course we're Christians, is the standard response. We are, after all, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints....

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Ralph Reed and the Holy Grail

(6) Comments | Posted June 2, 2011 | 12:05 PM

In the summer of 2006, my book tour for Thy Kingdom Come took me to Atlanta the weekend before the state's Republican primary. Ralph Reed was running for the nomination to be lieutenant governor of Georgia, and everyone I asked that weekend was utterly confident that he would...

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America Is Not a Christian Nation and Evangelicals Are Not Hard Right

(14) Comments | Posted January 12, 2010 | 12:08 PM

Nothing demonstrates the internal diversity of evangelicalism in America better than an important new book by Richard T. Hughes, "Christian America and the Kingdom of God." Hughes takes on -- and takes apart -- the toxic, and increasingly popular, myth that America is and always has been a "Christian nation."

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Oral Roberts' Death Leaves Legacy Of Televangelism

(172) Comments | Posted December 17, 2009 | 9:53 AM

The death of Oral Roberts brings to a close one of the more colorful chapters in American religious history. Born into rural poverty in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, Granville Oral Roberts became one of the best-known televangelists of the twentieth century. He translated pentecostalism from the sweaty tents of the revival...

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Rush, Race, and the Religious Right

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2009 | 12:25 PM

2008-07-28-bnet_logo_white.gifWith Rush Limbaugh having asserted his claim to be the true and rightful leader of the Republican Party, it's tempting to argue that he is, in fact, the perfect embodiment for Republicans at this historical moment: loud, boorish, corpulent...

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Rick Warren and Prop 8 -- He Knows Better

(7) Comments | Posted October 27, 2008 | 12:36 PM


I have a great deal of respect for Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. I would even go so far as to count him as a friend, and I suspect that he might say...

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Pavlovian Premillennialism

(25) Comments | Posted August 14, 2008 | 3:17 PM


I suppose you've got to give the Republicans of the Rove era credit for their inventiveness, if not their chutzpah. In 2004 their nominee, who had essentially been a draft dodger, was pitted against a genuine Vietnam...

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