Politics and Religion in the White South


Politics and Religion in the White South


Glenn Feldman


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Politics, while always an integral part of the daily life in the southern United States, took on a new level of importance after the Civil War. Today, political strategists view the South as an essential region to cultivate if political hopefuls are to have a chance of winning elections at the national level. Although operating within the context of a secular government, American politics is decidedly marked by a Christian influence. In the mostly Protestant South, religion and politics have long been nearly inextricable. This book examines the powerful role that religious considerations and influence have played in American political discourse. This collection of thirteen chapters explores the intersection in the South of religion, politics, race relations, and southern culture from post-Civil War America to the present, when the Religious Right has exercised a profound impact on the course of politics in the region as well as the nation. The chapters examine issues such as religious attitudes about race on the Jim Crow South; Billy Graham's influence on the civil rights movement; political activism and the Southern Baptist Convention; and Dorothy Tilly, a white Methodist woman, and her contributions as a civil rights reformer during the 1940s and 1950s. The volume also considers the issue of whether southerners felt it was their sacred duty to prevent American society from moving away from its Christian origins toward a new, secular identity and how this perceived God-given responsibility was reflected in the work of southern political and church leaders.

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY




978-0-8131-7173-9 (pdf version)


978-0-8131-3722-3 (epub version)




Politics, South, Civil War, American politics, Religious Right, Billy Graham, Civil rights movement, Southern Baptist Convention, Jim Crow South, Race


Cultural History | History