America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America


Jim Wallis - 2016
    Racism is truly our nation's original sin."It's time we right this unacceptable wrong," says bestselling author and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis. Fifty years ago, Wallis was driven away from his faith by a white church that considered dealing with racism to be taboo. His participation in the civil rights movement brought him back when he discovered a faith that commands racial justice. Yet as recent tragedies confirm, we continue to suffer from the legacy of racism. The old patterns of white privilege are colliding with the changing demographics of a diverse nation. The church has been slow to respond, and Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week.In America's Original Sin, Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians--particularly white Christians--urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing.Whenever divided cultures and gridlocked power structures fail to end systemic sin, faith communities can help lead the way to grassroots change. Probing yet positive, biblically rooted yet highly practical, this book shows people of faith how they can work together to overcome the embedded racism in America, galvanizing a movement to cross the bridge to a multiracial church and a new America.

Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump


John Fea - 2018
    Whether about building a wall or protecting the Christian heritage, the refrain is constant. And to the surprise of many, about 80% percent of white evangelicals have believed Trump-at least enough to help propel him into the White House. Historian John Fea is not surprised-and in Believe Me he explains how we have arrived at this unprecedented moment in American politics. An evangelical Christian himself, Fea argues that the embrace of Donald Trump is the logical outcome of a long-standing evangelical approach to public life defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and a nostalgic longing for an American past. In the process, Fea challenges his fellow believers to replace fear with hope, the pursuit of power with humility, and nostalgia with history.

Culture Wars: The Struggle To Define America


James Davison Hunter - 1991
    A riveting account of how Christian fundamentalists, Orthodox Jews, and conservative Catholics have joined forces in a battle against their progressive counterparts for control of American secular culture.

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation


Kristin Kobes Du Mez - 2020
    Challenging the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Donald Trump for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Donald Trump in fact represents the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values.Jesus and John Wayne is a sweeping account of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, showing how American evangelicals have worked for decades to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism, or in the words of one modern chaplain, with “a spiritual badass.” As Du Mez explains, the key to understanding this transformation is to recognize the role of culture in modern American evangelicalism. Many of today’s evangelicals may not be theologically astute, but they know their VeggieTales, they’ve read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, and they learned about purity before they learned about sex—and they have a silver ring to prove it. Evangelical books, films, music, clothing, and merchandise shape the beliefs of millions. And evangelical popular culture is teeming with muscular heroes—mythical warriors and rugged soldiers, men like Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and the Duck Dynasty clan, who assert white masculine power in defense of “Christian America.” Chief among these evangelical legends is John Wayne, an icon of a lost time when men were uncowed by political correctness, unafraid to tell it like it was, and did what needed to be done.Trump, in other words, is hardly the first flashy celebrity to capture evangelicals’ hearts and minds, nor is he the first strongman to promise evangelicals protection and power. Indeed, the values and viewpoints at the heart of white evangelicalism today—patriarchy, authoritarian rule, aggressive foreign policy, fear of Islam, ambivalence toward #MeToo, and opposition to Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community—are likely to persist long after Trump leaves office.A much-needed reexamination, Jesus and John Wayne explains why evangelicals have rallied behind the least-Christian president in American history and how they have transformed their faith in the process, with enduring consequences for all of us.

Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce


John Piper - 2007
    It not only tells the story of a great man's life-it also tells us how to understand the ultimate source of his greatness and happiness. Moreover, that understanding goes far deeper than the abolitionist achievements for which Wilberforce is honored, astounding though they were. William Wilberforce's secret, as revealed in this book, was that he made the journey from self-centeredness, achievement-centeredness, and political-centeredness to God-centeredness. And he made it with Christlike joy." -Jonathan AitkenAgainst great obstacles William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian and a member of Parliament, fought for the abolition of the African slave trade and against slavery itself until they were both illegal in the British Empire.Many are aware of Wilberforce's role in bringing an end to slavery in Great Britain, but few have taken the time to examine the beliefs and motivations that spurred him on for decades. In this concise volume, John Piper tells the story of how Wilberforce was transformed from an unbelieving, young politician into a radically God-centered Christian, and how his deep spirituality helped to change the moral outlook of a nation.As world leaders debate over how to deal with a host of social justice and humanitarian crises, a closer look at Wilberforce's life and faith serves as an encouragement and example to all believers.

Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction


J. David Kuo - 2006
    He reached the heights of political power, ultimately serving in the White House under George W. Bush, after being policy adviser to John Ashcroft and speechwriter for Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and Bob Dole. It was a dream come true: the chance to fuse his politics and his faith, and an opportunity for Christians not just to gain a seat at the proverbial table but to plan the entire meal. Kuo spent nearly three years as second in command at the president's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Yet his experience was deeply troubling. It took both the Bush White House and a severe health crisis to show him how his Christian values, and those of millions of Americans, were being corrupted by politics.Instead of following the teachings of Jesus to serve the needy, Kuo found himself helping to manipulate religious faith for political gain. Public funds were used in battleground states, for Republican campaign events. The legislative process was used as a football, not to pass laws but to deepen purely symbolic fault lines. Grants were incestuously recycled to political cronies. Both before and after 9/11, despite lofty rhetoric from the president claiming that his faith-based program was one of his most important initiatives, there was no serious attempt to fund valuable charities.Worst of all was the prevailing attitude in the White House and throughout Washington toward Christian leaders. Key Bush aides and Republican operatives spoke of them with contempt and treated them as useful idiots. It became clear, during regular conference calls arrangedfrom the White House with a key group of Christian leaders, that many of these religious leaders had themselves been utterly seduced by politics.It is time, Kuo argues, for Christians to take a temporary step back from politics, to turn away from its seductions. "Tempting Faith" is equal parts headline-making expose, political and spiritual memoir, and heartfelt plea for a Christian reexamination of political involvement.

Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America


Michael Wear - 2017
    Reclaiming Hope is an insider's view of the most controversial episodes of the Obama administration, from the president's change of position on gay marriage and the transformation of religious freedom into a partisan idea, to the administration's failure to find common ground on abortion and the bitter controversy over who would give the benediction at the 2012 inauguration.The book is also a passionate call for faith in the public square, particularly for Christians to see politics as a means of loving one's neighbor and of pursuing justice for all. Engrossing, illuminating, and at time provocative, Reclaiming Hope changes the way we think about the relationship of politics and faith."A pre-Trump book with serious questions for our politics in the age of Trump...More necessary than ever before." -- Sojourners"Should be read by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and all who are concerned by the state of our politics." --Kirsten Powers, USA Today columnist and CNN political analyst"Reclaiming Hope will certainly give you a fresh perspective on politics--but, more importantly, it may also give you a fresh perspective on faith."--Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Ministries"An important and extremely timely book...Get it, read it, and talk to others about it." --Timothy Keller, author of Reason for God"An important contribution in this age of religious and political polarization." --J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy"A lifeline for these times." --Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts and The Broken Way"We can hope, and this book can help us." --Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

The End of White Christian America


Robert P. Jones - 2016
    Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, spells out the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation. “Quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year” (The New York Times Book Review).For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA) set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white, Christian nation. Drawing on more than four decades of polling data, The End of White Christian America explains and analyzes the waning vitality of WCA. Robert P. Jones argues that the visceral nature of today’s most heated issues—the vociferous arguments around same-sex marriage and religious and sexual liberty, the rise of the Tea Party following the election of our first black president, and stark disagreements between black and white Americans over the fairness of the criminal justice system—can only be understood against the backdrop of white Christians’ anxieties as America’s racial and religious topography shifts around them. Beyond 2016, the descendants of WCA will lack the political power they once had to set the terms of the nation’s debate over values and morals and to determine election outcomes. Looking ahead, Jones forecasts the ways that they might adjust to find their place in the new America—and the consequences for us all if they don’t. “Jones’s analysis is an insightful combination of history, sociology, religious studies, and political science….This book will be of interest to a wide range of readers across the political spectrum” (Library Journal).

The Immoral Majority: Why Evangelicals Chose Political Power Over Christian Values


Ben Howe - 2019
    What if it’s their fault?In 2016, writer and filmmaker Ben Howe found himself disillusioned with the religious movement he’d always called home. In the pursuit of electoral victory, many American evangelicals embraced moral relativism and toxic partisanship.Whatever happened to the Moral Majority, who headed to Washington in the ’80s to plant the flag of Christian values? Where were the Christian leaders that emerged from that movement and led the charge against Bill Clinton for his deception and unfaithfulness? Was all that a sham? Or have they just lost sight of why they wanted to win in the first place? From the 1980s scandals till today, evangelicals have often been caricatured as a congregation of judgmental and prudish rubes taken in by thundering pastors consumed with greed and lust for power. Did the critics have a point?In The Immoral Majority, Howe—still a believer and still deeply conservative—analyzes and debunks the intellectual dishonesty and manipulative rhetoric which evangelical leaders use to convince Christians to toe the Republican Party line. He walks us through the history of the Christian Right, as well as the events of the last three decades which led to the current state of the conservative movement at large.As long as evangelicals prioritize power over persuasion, Howe argues, their pews will be empty and their national influence will dwindle. If evangelicals hope to avoid cultural irrelevance going forward, it will mean valuing the eternal over the ephemeral, humility over ego, and resisting the seduction of political power, no matter the cost. The Immoral Majority demonstrates how the Religious Right is choosing the profits of this world at the cost of its soul—and why it’s not too late to change course.

Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States


Andrew L Whitehead - 2020
    Christian ideals and symbols have long played an important role in American public life, but Christian nationalism is about far more than whether the phrase "under God" belongs in the pledge of allegiance. At its heart, Christian nationalism demands that we must preserve a particular kind of social order, an order in which everyone--Christians and non-Christians, native-born and immigrants, whites and minorities, men and women recognizes their "proper" place in society. The first comprehensive empirical analysis of Christian nationalism in the United States, Taking America Back for God illustrates the influence of Christian nationalism on today's most contentious social and political issues.Drawing on multiple sources of national survey data as well as in-depth interviews, Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry document how Christian nationalism shapes what Americans think about who they are as a people, what their future should look like, and how they should get there. Americans' stance toward Christian nationalism provides powerful insight into what they think about immigration, Islam, gun control, police shootings, atheists, gender roles, and many other political issues-very much including who they want in the White House. Taking America Back for God is a guide to one of the most important-and least understood-forces shaping American politics.

The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great


Ben Shapiro - 2019
    Hundreds of police officers were required from 10 UC campuses across the state to protect his speech, which was -- ironically -- about the necessity for free speech and rational debate. He came to argue that Western Civilization is in the midst of a crisis of purpose and ideas. Our freedoms are built upon the twin notions that every human being is made in God’s image and that human beings were created with reason capable of exploring God’s world. We can thank these values for the birth of science, the dream of progress, human rights, prosperity, peace, and artistic beauty. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty and gave billions spiritual purpose. Jerusalem and Athens were the foundations of the Magna Carta and the Treaty of Westphalia; they were the foundations of Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.Civilizations that rejected Jerusalem and Athens have collapsed into dust. The USSR rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, substituting a new utopian vision of “social justice” – and they starved and slaughtered tens of millions of human beings. The Nazis rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and they shoved children into gas chambers. Venezuela rejects Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and citizens of their oil-rich nation have been reduced to eating dogs.  We are in the process of abandoning Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, favoring instead moral subjectivism and the rule of passion. And we are watching our civilization collapse into age-old tribalism, individualistic hedonism, and moral subjectivism. We believe we can reject Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law and satisfy ourselves with intersectionality, or scientific materialism, or progressive politics, or authoritarian governance, or nationalistic solidarity. We can’t.The West is special, and in The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro bravely explains that it’s because too many of us have lost sight of the moral purpose that drives us each to be better, or the sacred duty to work together for the greater good, or both. A stark warning, and a call to spiritual arms, this book may be the first step in getting our civilization back on track.

It's Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies


Mary Eberstadt - 2016
    Eberstadt details how recent laws, court decisions, and intimidation on campuses and elsewhere threaten believers who fear losing their jobs, their communities, and their basic freedoms solely because of their convictions. They fear that their religious universities and colleges will capitulate to aggressive secularist demands. They fear that they and their families will be ostracized or will have to lose their religion because of mounting social and financial penalties for believing. They fear they won’t be able to maintain charitable operations that help the sick and feed the hungry.Is this what we want for our country?Religious freedom is a fundamental right, enshrined in the First Amendment. With It’s Dangerous to Believe Eberstadt calls attention to this growing bigotry and seeks to open the minds of secular liberals whose otherwise good intentions are transforming them into modern inquisitors. Not until these progressives live up to their own standards of tolerance and diversity, she reminds us, can we build the inclusive society America was meant to be.

Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion


Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove - 2018
    And the gospel I inherited is divided."Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove grew up in the Bible Belt in the American South as a faithful church-going Christian. But he gradually came to realize that the gospel his Christianity proclaimed was not good news for everybody. The same Christianity that sang, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound" also perpetuated racial injustice and white supremacy in the name of Jesus. His Christianity, he discovered, was the religion of the slaveholder.Just as Reconstruction after the Civil War worked to repair a desperately broken society, our compromised Christianity requires a spiritual reconstruction that undoes the injustices of the past. Wilson-Hartgrove traces his journey from the religion of the slaveholder to the Christianity of Christ. Reconstructing the gospel requires facing the pain of the past and present, from racial blindness to systemic abuses of power. Grappling seriously with troubling history and theology, Wilson-Hartgrove recovers the subversiveness of the gospel that sustained the church through centuries of slavery and oppression, from the civil rights era to the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond.When the gospel is reconstructed, freedom rings for both individuals and society as a whole. Discover how Jesus continues to save us from ourselves and each other, to repair the breach and heal our land.

Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: A Christian's Guide to Engaging Politics


Eugene Cho - 2020
    Any party. But they should engage with politics, because politics inform policies which impact people. In Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics, Cho encourages readers to remember that hope arrived—not in a politician, system, or great nation—but in the person of Jesus Christ. With determination and heart, Cho urges readers to stop vilifying those they disagree with—especially the vulnerable—and asks Christians to follow Jesus and reflect His teachings. In this book that integrates the pastoral, prophetic, practical, and personal, readers will be inspired to stay engaged, have integrity, listen to the hurting, and vote their convictions.“When we stay in the Scriptures, pray for wisdom, and advocate for the vulnerable, our love for politics, ideology, philosophy, or even theology, stop superseding our love for God and neighbor.”

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey Into the Evangelical Subculture in America


Randall Balmer - 1989
    Originally published fifteen years ago and the basis for an award-winning PBS documentary, this timely new edition arrives just as recent elections have left an ever-growing number of secular Americans wondering exactly how the other half thinks. From Oregon to Florida, and from Texas to North Dakota, Balmer offers an immensely readable tour of the highways and byways of American evangelicalism. We visit a revival meeting in Florida, an Indian reservation in the Dakotas, a trade show for Christian booksellers, and a fundamentalist Bible camp in the Adirondacks. For this fourth edition, Balmer adds two chapters, one on the phenomenally popular "Painter of Light," Thomas Kinkade, and one on Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life. Through the eyes of these and other people Balmer meets on his journeys, we arrive at a more accurate and balanced understanding of an abiding tradition that, as the author argues, is both rich in theological insights and mired in contradictions. Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory offers readers a genuine insight into the appeal that the evangelicals movement holds for thousands of Americans.