Rhetoric of Operation Rescue
Projecting the Christian Pro-life Message
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of Pages: 238
Width: 15.2 cm
Height: 22.9 cm
The Rhetoric of Operation Rescue is a comprehensive examination of the rhetoric of Operation Rescue, a pro-life social protest group (prominent between 1988 and 1992) that orchestrated blockades of clinics where abortions are performed. Steiner examines how the group sought to persuade people-primarily conservative evangelical and fundamentalist Christians-to join their ranks, as well as how they sought to use their form of social protest to achieve their public policy goals. In so doing, Steiner explains both the group's initial success (beginning with its 1988 "Siege of Atlanta" protests) and its ultimate failure. More fundamentally, though, Steiner shows how the group appealed to the convictions of conservative evangelical and fundamentalist Christians in the United States. He shows how the rhetoric of Operation Rescue-for those conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists that found it convincing-shaped fundamental understandings of what their Christian faith means, how to practice it in an authentic manner, and how to engage in public dialogue and political activism.
"Rarely does one find a scholar as academically erudite and thorough while being as accessible as Mark Allen Steiner. His treatment of Randall Terry's Operation Rescue in his book The Rhetoric of Operation Rescue is an excellent example of scholarship informed by the evangelical Christian tradition that has been long called for by scholars such as George Marsden in his The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship. Steiner's book is a showcase for scholars desiring to blaze trails in a direction of scholarship that is informed by and relevant to their own faith tradition. Steiner is at once sympathetic to and critical of the evangelical and fundamentalist faith tradition(s) while "making sense" of the rhetoric of Operation Rescue and its implications to its cause and the grander study of rhetoric. Nestled in the tradition of understanding a text in its historical context, Steiner is still able to extrapolate the theoretical implications of Randall Terry's rhetoric and Operation Rescue. Of particular interest is Steiner's definition of "rhetoric," which he makes synonymous with the term "evangelism." Not only does Steiner shed light on the rhetoric surrounding the abortion controversy of the early 1990s, but he also delivers a heuristic understanding of how rhetoric functions in contemporary society. This book should be on the shelf of any rhetorician, anthropologist, or sociologist who desires to understand how religion informs and constructs not only public debate, but public reality. It is my pleasure to recommend this book to my colleagues interested in the rich tradition of rhetoric and its implications upon contemporary public dialogue." Robert M. McManus, Assistant Professor, Communication and Media Studies, Marietta College--Sanford Lakoff