If evangelical and fundamentalist religious broadcasting was only a complementary source of spiritual gratifications for conservative Protestants, there would be little interest in it beyond the circles of those who like it and those who deplore it. What explains the public interest in televangelism is the belief, suspicion, or fear that religion on American radio and television is being used to mobilize a powerful socio-political movement Before the appearance on the political stage of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority, prime-time preachers only featured in the secular media for the occasional witty traveller’s tale about the oddities of snake-handling cult religious life in the deep south. In so far as there was a consistent theme in such reports it was ‘How can people believe this sort of thing?’ But since the new Christian right commanded the attention of journalists, televangelists have been examined with new respect