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Attention Businesses: For potential affiliate partner considerations and inquiries please email simplyemily icloud. In doing so, the NRA has elevated the defense of the Second Amendment to the role of religious obligation in the political sphere. As the United States turned toward secular governance, Christian nationalism was reborn, and the NRA embraced these rhetorical devices to further its own messaging.
First, distrust in government has deep roots in American history. Second, rugged individualism involves paranoia and fear of the state inherited from the founding of the nation. Under the leadership of hardliners such as Harlan Carter and Neal Knox, the NRA began to transition to a more absolutist stance regarding the Second Amendment in the late s. With the rising political influence of the New Christian Right, the NRA leadership began to use more religiously coded language to elevate the Second Amendment above the restrictions of a secular government, building on New Christian Right rhetoric about the role of God in the U.
In Weberian terms, the New Christian Right embraced a legal rational authority, no longer content to wait for a charismatic authority to turn America back to the Lord, Weber, Conversely, the NRA sought to elevate the Second Amendment through the use of charismatic authority while also seeking to carve protected sacred space for it in the legal sphere. Carter directed the political turn of the NRA toward a hardline stance Knox, Following Carter, however, the spirit of Moses was more explicitly embodied—both literally and symbolically—in Charlton Heston, who arrived to shepherd the NRA faithful across the religious and temporal boundaries of the new millennium and merged the obligation with civic duty Melzer, The linking of religious language with civic duty builds on a long history of religious nationalism in American history Bellah, ; Gorski, b ; Yamane, The NRA may have invoked religious framing because their membership would likely be more receptive to the frames of religiously motivated, politically active people of faith Lakoff, More research is needed to explain whether this language resonated McDonald et al.
Critically, this research does not argue that all NRA members are religious nationalists nor that all religious nationalists are NRA members or even gun owners. There is significant overlap in those populations, however Hovey et al. In addition, this paper focuses on the discursive overlap between the NRA and the New Christian Right, but more research is needed to establish how this overlap occurred and where the boundaries lie. This paper does not make a causal connection between NRA rhetoric and member beliefs.
Future research should investigate to understand the ways in which gun ownership and religious nationalism overlap with or diverge from traditional Protestant beliefs and practices Whitehead et al. Future research should also investigate how individual gun owners engage with the Second Amendment both as a focal point of religious nationalism and as a civic and religious identity Mencken and Froese, Additional research is needed to investigate the ways in which religious nationalism is present or missing in broader gun culture Burbick, ; Yamane, b as well at the ways this language is adopted or discarded by diverse groups, such as women and racial or religious minorities.
Over the last 40 years, the NRA has deliberately pivoted to protecting the Second Amendment, not as something merely important but as something sacred to be defended at all costs from the profane hands of the government. The NRA has done this by deliberately using religious imagery, language, and icons such as Charlton Heston, that map onto the largely Protestant religious beliefs and religious nationalism tracing back to the founding of the nation.
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The present analysis suggests that the Second Amendment may offer a sense of meaning-making that allows men to feel like protectors of their families and their homes against an evil that cannot be contained by the rule of law. In this sense, the arming of the average law-abiding citizen is a completely rational response to the increasingly random threat that is deeply felt in parts of American society.
These threats do not need to be real in order to have real consequences Merton, , The main url is provided but there is no central archive linking to each issue that the author is aware of.
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Older editions were purchased and manually digitized and cannot be made public without written permission from the NRA. The rest of the corpus was manually digitized and due to copyright protections, it cannot be shared without written consent from the NRA. Print copies of the American Rifleman were retrieved and manually scanned using Adobe Scan from the library collections, as well as purchased online from individual merchants.
In: Lara M ed Rethinking evil: contemporary perspectives. University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. Altheide DL The Columbine shootings and the discourse of fear. Am Behav Sci — Am MA n. Accessed 7 Feb Barker DC, Bearce DH End-times theology, the shadow of the future, and public resistance to addressing global climate change. Polit Res Q — Bellah RN The broken covenant: American civil religion in time of trial, 1st edn. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. With a New Preface edn. Annu Rev Sociol — Bonikowski B Nationalism in settled times.
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Am Sociol Rev 5 — Harvard University Press, Cambridge. Rowman and Littlefield, Maryland. Burbick J Gun show nation: gun culture and American democracy, 1st edn. The New Press, New York. Carlson J Citizen-protectors: the everyday politics of guns in an age of decline, 1 edn. Am Riflem — Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York. Chaves M American religion: contemporary trends, 1 edn. Oxford University Press, Princeton. Clarke S Conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorizing. Philosophy of the Social Sciences — Collins R Micro-sociology of mass rampage killings.
Magic Ritual Witch — Cullen D Columbine. New York. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, p — Demons at our Door National Rifle Association. Soc Methods Res. Dunbar RI The social brain hypothesis.
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City Lights Publishers, San Francisco. Dunseith BT n. Durkheim E The elementary forms of the religious life. Free, New York. Religion — Figlio K Fundamentalism and the delusional creation of an enemy. Springer International Publishing, Cham, p — Friedland R Religious nationalism and the problem of collective representation. Geertz C The Interpretation of cultures. Basic Books, New York. Hill and Wang Pub, New York. Goertzel T Belief in conspiracy theories. Political Psychology Gorski PS a Why evangelicals voted for Trump: a critical cultural sociology. Am J Cult Sociol. Gorski PS b American covenant: a history of civil religion from the puritans to the present.
Princeton University Press, Princeton. Am Sociol Rev — Halbrook SP That every man be armed: the evolution of a constitutional right, revised and updated edition, Revised and Updated edition. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Ivan R. Hannigan JA Social movement theory and the sociology of religion: toward a new synthesis. Sociol Anal Hedges C American fascists: the christian right and the war on America, Reprint edition. Free Press, New York. Heise DR Understanding events: affect and the construction of social action.
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Accessed 25 May Accessed 29 May Am Riflem. Heston C My crusade to save the Second Amendment. Hodges A The paranoid style in politics: Ideological underpinnings of the discourse of Second Amendment absolutism. J Lang Aggress Confl — Hofstadter R America as a Gun Culture. Am Herit University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor, Michigan. Lexington Books, Lanham. Joas H The sacredness of the person: a new genealogy of human rights.
Georgetown University Press, Washington, D. Juergensmeyer M Nationalism and religion. Juster S Sacred violence in early America, Reprint edn. University of Pennsylvania Press. Keefe M The Keefe report. Am Riflem Macfarlan Press. Phoenix, Arizona. J Sci Study Relig Washington Post. Accessed 3 Aug LaPierre W Standing Guard. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Luckmann T Moralizing Sermons, then and now. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
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Soc Theory — Soc Probl. Soc Forces Merton RK Social theory and social structure, in: social theory and social structure. Free Press, Glencoe, p 39— Morning A Reconstructing race in science and society: biology textbooks, — Am J Sociol S—S Moyn S The last Utopia: human rights in history.
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Belknap Press, Cambridge. Neiman S Evil in modern thought: an alternative history of philosophy, Reissue edn. Barack Obama: The gun-control debate and sequestration. Despite polls that showed overwhelming public support for universal background checks, a bill focusing on a measure that would have greatly expanded background checks failed to receive sufficient support when it was considered by the Senate in….
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