He also notes that the Christian right had previously been in alliance with the Republican Party in the 1940s through 1960s on matters such as opposition to communism and defending "a Protestant-based moral order." The alienation of Southern Democrats from the Democratic Party contributed to the rise of the right, as the counterculture of the 1960s provoked fear of social disintegration. President Jimmy Carter received the support of the Christian right largely because of his much-acclaimed religious conversion.
In addition, as the Democratic Party became identified with a pro-choice position on abortion and with nontraditional societal values, social conservatives joined the Republican Party in increasing numbers. However, Carter's spiritual transformation did not compensate for his liberal policies in the minds of Christian conservatives, as reflected in Jerry Falwell's criticism that "Americans have literally stood by and watched as godless, spineless leaders have brought our nation floundering to the brink of death." It was long believed that the Supreme Court's decision to make abortion a Constitution-protected right in the 1973 Roe v.
Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging "Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother." Much of the Christian right's power within the American political system is attributed to their extraordinary turnout rate at the polls.
The voters that coexist in the Christian right are also highly motivated and driven to get out a viewpoint on issues they care about.
In the course of one of the sessions, Weyrich tried to make a point to his Religious Right brethren (no women attended the conference, as I recall).
In response to the rise of the Christian right, the 1980 Republican Party platform assumed a number of its positions, including dropping support for the Equal Rights Amendment and adding support for a restoration of school prayer.
The past two decades have been an important time in the political debates and in the same time frame religious citizens became more politically active in a time period labeled the New Christian Right.
The Christian right champions itself as the "self-appointed conscience of American society".
During the 1980s, the movement was dismissed by critics as "a collection of buffoonish has-beens".