Who Were the Religious Right?

Individuals in the Religious Right ranged from televangelists, like Marion “Pat” Robertson to esteemed politicians, like former president George H.W. Bush. Via Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image produced by the U.S. Federal Government.

It is important to understand that the Religious Right was not an organized group. Unlike political parties, companies, and religious sects, one could not be a “member” of the Religious Right in the traditional sense. Instead, the Religious Right was an unofficial interest group. It was a network of organized conservative and religious groups in American society with similar interests. They would exchange ideas and resources, promote one another, and work towards achieving similar goals.

The Religious Right was a far-reaching interest group which included individuals from different races, religions, classes, and political identities. Since the group had no formal leadership, supporters often had competing expectations regarding whose interests the movement should represent, and about which groups had the right to speak for religious conservatives. More secular interests in the Religious Right often clashed with religious interests, and moderate voices tended to be at odds with radical voices.

In terms of demographics, Mallory was a typical example of an average person in the Religious Right in the early 2000s. She was a white, middle class, evangelical Christian. Compared to wealthy donors and famous televangelists, she held very little power in the movement personally. Her case provided her with an opportunity to engage with and promote more influential figures in the group.

The StoryMap below explores how Mallory used her online platform to endorse and interact with different groups in the Religious Right. We have placed each group’s main office on a map of the United States in order to illustrate the wide scope of Mallory’s support network.

Works cited:

Clyde Wilcox and Carin Robinson, Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics. Boulder: Westview Press, 2011.