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Mainline ChristianityThe Past and Future of America's Majority Faith$
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Jason S. Lantzer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814753309

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814753309.001.0001

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The Politics of Decline

The Politics of Decline

(p.65) 4 The Politics of Decline
Mainline Christianity

Jason S. Lantzer

NYU Press

This chapter looks at how the changes involving a re-evaluation and reconfiguration of the Mainline came not from the pulpit but from the realm of politics. For all their talk about the separation of church and states, American politicians spent a lot of time discussing religion, especially American Christianity. Since the Founding Fathers ensured religious liberty for all by not creating a national church, the nation has debated the role of faith in the life of the country. The religious divide between red states (Republican) and blue states (Democrats) creates much confusion within American Christendom over how faith should influence politics and politicians. The chapter explains how this political insight is another way to gauge the decline of the Seven Sisters, while also problematizing Dean Kelley's Mainline decline thesis—that Mainline denominational leaders expected successful churches to preserve a good image by embracing modernity.

Keywords:   Mainline Christianity, American Christianity, religious consumerism, red states, blue states, Seven Sisters, Dean Kelley

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