|dc.description.abstract||Scholars and pundits have often cast postwar conservative evangelicalism as a kind of doppelganger of liberal activism, as a grassroots expression of populist will against the social revolutions of the 1960s. In contrast, this dissertation argues that the rise of culturally and politically-engaged, conservative evangelicals first began in the midst of the New Deal state in the 1940s and 1950s and depended heavily on another will - the will of corporations and corporate actors, especially those working out of the economic and social context of an emergent, postwar "Sunbelt." There, in the midst of a burgeoning regional economy that stretched from Georgia to Texas to California, a postwar generation of business leaders worked with evangelical leaders to resurrect the cause of religious, economic, and political conservatism in the midst of the early Cold War. In the 1960s and 1970s, as the Culture Wars heated up, they brought their faith, free market policies, and "family values" to the forefront of American public life.
The blessings of business were everywhere - in the ministries of celebrity evangelists like Billy Graham and lay evangelists like R.G. LeTourneau; in corporate-funded missionary groups like Young Life, Campus Crusade for Christ, The Navigators, and Wycliffe Bible Translators; in independent evangelical colleges strung throughout the South and West; in everyday operations at thousands of small businesses and dozens of mass-market corporations; in evangelical-inspired "biblical success" books and in a cottage industry of evangelical-led entrepreneurial seminars; in evangelical culture industries and megachurches; and, most especially, in the careers of evangelical political leaders from Jerry Falwell to George W. Bush. In documenting both the successes and failures of these corporate-evangelical alliances, this dissertation explains why conservative evangelicalism reemerged when and where it did. But it also shows how corporate power has shaped - and continues to shape - religious culture and politics in modern America.||