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Evil Deeds in High PlacesChristian America's Moral Struggle with Watergate$
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David E. Settje

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479803149

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479803149.001.0001

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A Fading Issue or Sinister Plot?

A Fading Issue or Sinister Plot?

(p.47) 2 A Fading Issue or Sinister Plot?
Evil Deeds in High Places

David E. Settje

NYU Press

Chapter 2 describes how Christian concern about Watergate gradually built following President Nixon’s reelection in November 1972 and through summer 1973, as Protestants became more involved in politics. Previously held but divergent convictions about Nixon shaped these responses even as a consensus emerged that misbehavior had occurred. As moral and spiritual leaders, Protestants reacted in ways that illustrate their own belief systems and understanding of how to assert their authority. But a nation founded upon religious liberty found a Christian community divided over how and where to profess that power as Watergate unfolded in these early stages. Through remarks about the president, general commentaries, and a debate about Christianity and the public realm, Protestant America conversed about Watergate at a time it grew into an urgent matter. These months saw a slow shift from the relative nonpartisan nature of American Christianity in the mid-twentieth century to the more overt politics of the twenty-first century.

Keywords:   Watergate, President Nixon, Christianity, Protestants, moral leaders, religious liberty, Protestant America

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