Religion Dispatches explains the actual galvanization of the modern evangelical conservative movement:
The right-wing evangelical movement was not an immediate backlash to Roe v. Wade. The evangelical community, unlike Roman Catholicism, showed little interest in combating abortion until almost 1980.
Although evangelicals were mostly silent on abortion after Roe v. Wade, they were not silent on other political issues. Paul Weyrich, one of the evangelical right’s most influential founders, recalls that the movement initially emerged to defend racially segregated Christian schools from government intrusion:
What galvanized the Christian community was not abortion, school prayer, or the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment]. I am living witness to that because I was trying to get those people interested in those issues and I utterly failed. What changed their minds was Jimmy Carter’s intervention against the Christian schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation.
In other words, as Randall Balmer has succinctly put it: “the religious right of the late twentieth century organized to perpetuate racial discrimination.” Only after the movement was underway did it begin advocacy on abortion.
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