Evil Deeds in High PlacesChristian America's Moral Struggle with Watergate

Evil Deeds in High PlacesChristian America's Moral Struggle with Watergate

David E. Settje

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781479803149

Publisher: NYU Press

Abstract

Christians today participate as a significant force in politics, asserting their historic role as arbiters of morality and ethics in the process despite being of very different minds about what that means. Evil Deeds in High Places examines Christian responses to the Watergate affair that brought about the debate over impeachment and resignation of Richard M. Nixon. It demonstrates how Christians contributed to the debate over this moral and ethical crisis, and reveals how the Watergate moment became a turning point in twentieth-century American history for Christian engagement with politics. This study uncovers Protestant reactions to Watergate and traces the long-term effects of Protestants’ efforts on the American political landscape. The sampling of periodicals, denominations, and individuals herein presents much diversity in terms of theological and political outlooks, to further highlight the many points of view that a “Christian lens” contributes. Within Protestant Christianity there were significant variations in responses to the proceedings, offering an important step in surfacing the opinions of everyday Americans to Watergate. Moreover, the engagement of Protestants with the political crisis had particularly important ramifications for American politics, which persist to this day. Protestants engaged Watergate in order to solve the moral catastrophe and, as a result, intensified their political activities. In inching into this realm, they became accustomed to having political influence.