The Religious Right Of The ‘6Os And ‘7Os

1960 William F. Buckley founds Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). Future New Right leaders meet in YAF, which takes off after Lyndon Johnson defeats conservative Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential race. 1961 Pat Robertson launches Christian Broadcasting Network on TV.
1963 The 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) “absolves” Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 1964 Richard Viguerie hand-copies Goldwater’s campaign donor list and turns it into a highly sucessful direct-mail fundraising base for the early 1970’s. Phyllis Schlafly’s book A Choice Not an Echo sounds future New Right themes.
1966 Nixon hires Pat Buchanan as speechwriter; Howard Phillips hired by Republican National Committee; Pat Robertson’s “700 Club” goes on the air. 1967 Paul Weyrich hired as Senate aide. He will be one of the first on the right to focus on abortion.
1968 Nixon elected on “silent majority” theme, prefiguring the Moral Majority.
1972 Schlafly founds Stop ERA, a precursor of the Eagle Forum 1973 Roe vs. Wade affirms abortion rights; Weyrich founds Heritage Foundation, which becomes an influential conservative think tank.
1974 Nixon forced out by Watergate; Phillips founds Conservative Caucus and visits all 435 congressional districts to get support for conservative causes. 1976 Jimmy Carter becomes first president to describe himself as a born-again evangelical.
1977 James Dobson founds Focus on the Family; Weyrich founds Free Congress Foundation (then the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress); Robertson creates the Family Channel. 1979 Weyrich helps found Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell as head; they help elect Ronald Reagan president in 1980.


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  • Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington bureau chief.