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The Mainline in Motion

The Mainline in Motion

Resisting the Right, Remaking the Center

(p.361) Chapter Ten The Mainline in Motion
Public Pulpits
University of Chicago Press

The urgency of efforts by the National Council of Churches (NCC) to unify the mainline churches as a public church over the past decade stemmed, first, from its mounting concern over the powerfully coalescing political impact of the religious right. Led by the Christian Coalition in its 1990s heyday, followed by Focus on the Family and other organizations, this resurgence drew together as “conservative evangelicals” the Southern Baptist Convention, smaller white Protestant denominations, and independent congregations with diverse parachurch groups, born-again broadcasters, media outlets, Christian schools, and related parallel institutions. Together they formed an increasingly cohesive voting bloc within the Republican Party, with its own distinctive ideology and organizational clout. Second, stronger movement by the NCC to unify the mainline churches as a public church came from within the council itself in response to the growing gap between its demanding aspirations and dwindling resources.

Keywords:   National Council of Churches, mainline churches, public church, Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Southern Baptist Convention, Republican Party

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