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Title: Garden of the Gods: Colorado Springs and the Fate of the Culture Wars
Authors: Schultz, William
Advisors: Kruse, Kevin
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: conservatism
culture wars
gay rights
Subjects: American history
Religious history
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Garden of the Gods: Colorado Springs and the Fate of the Culture Wars explores how Colorado Springs, Colorado, became ground zero in the culture wars—the conflicts over social issues like abortion, gay rights, and capital punishment that roiled the United States at the end of the twentieth century. Home to so many evangelical Christian ministries it was nicknamed “The Evangelical Vatican,” Colorado Springs also produced Amendment 2, an amendment to the Colorado constitution that overturned all gay rights laws in the state and prohibited the passage of new ones. The amendment’s surprise victory in the 1992 elections and the subsequent appearance of similar laws throughout the United States led many observers to predict that the “Colorado Model” would halt the advance of gay rights. These predictions proved unfounded, however, as this iteration of the anti-gay rights campaign faltered and failed, throughout the country and in Colorado Springs. This dissertation explores the factors that transformed Colorado Springs into the capital of the Christian Right in the United States, showing how economic factors drew evangelical Christian ministries to the city and how some of these ministries mobilized to oppose the tentative advance of gay rights in Colorado. But it also shows the limits of the Christian Right, limits evident even in the Evangelical Vatican. The culture warriors of Colorado Springs failed to translate their intricate ideology of sexual conservatism into a cause that could win mass support. And their strategy of attacking gay rights via direct democracy failed to address the power of countervailing forces like the federal judiciary, the state bureaucracy, and major corporations. Ultimately, this dissertation uses Colorado Springs to show how certain factors mitigate cultural conflict within the United States.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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