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The Hijacking of Jesus: How the Religious Right Distorts Christianity and Promotes Prejudice and Hate Paperback – January 2, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

By his own admission, Wakefield, a journalist, novelist, screenwriter and Protestant who comes from several generations of Baptist ministers, was "one of the great slumber party of mainline American Protestant 'liberals'... whose response to the outrages of those who stole our identity as Christians was the cheap and comfortable scorn and smugger-than-thou ridicule of the disengaged." This patchwork of interviews on topics ranging from megachurches to the "wedge issues" of abortion and homosexuality, stitched together with rather snide commentary, does little to convince us that his thinking has evolved. Despite decrying the religious right's use of military terminology to establish its position, Wakefield posits that in crafting a meaningful response to the "Christian jihad," liberal Christians must similarly procure "ammunition, troops and a battle plan, a strategy." Disappointingly absent of journalistic distance, this diatribe fails to provide constructive suggestions for change. Any hopes for a refreshing ecumenical Christian defense of the true ideals of Jesus—the Jesus of the Gospel who "had no possessions, ministered to the poor and the sick, befriended societies outcasts, [and] blessed 'the peacemakers'..."—have been bitterly suppressed by a derisive, condescending tone. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Dan Wakefield has had a long career of fair-minded, important, and meticulously researched journalism. And he crowns that career with as complete an account and analysis as one could wish of the capturing of Jesus Christ as a totem for a few powerful Americans, intent on becoming powerful all over the world, and by violent and corrupt means which are anything but Christ-like. The very last words in this fine book are not by Dan Wakefield but Jesus, his Sermon on the Mount, not what you would want to call Pat Robertson or Dick Cheney stuff." -- Kurt Vonnegut
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560259566
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560259565
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The book itself is an important read.
A.D.
If you want to see why Jesus needs to be saved from the far right churches, this is the book to read.
Wendell F. Wentz
Hiding behind a mask of Freedom of Religion, the Religious Right is really a political movement.
BigB Dog

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A.D. on March 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. Essential read.

Journalistic Distance? Discretion please! After reading the Publisher's Weekly review of this book, I had to respond.

The Publisher's Weekly review of this book misses the point. It wreaks of the sentiment in which "journalistic distance" and the pursuit of objectivity is the one and only noble literary path.

Perhaps the books sipmly violates the reviewers sense of genre and style. Spare the public the small mindedness.

The author is a veteran writer, and in this time when the country has fallen over to the Right, there is no time to stand on the fence (or write from it). It has all happened and is well personal... and for the most part our (US citizens) heads are deep in the sand. "Distance" is what got us in trouble.

What nobility, or value, was there in those German journalists who pursued "distance" or objectivity during the rise of Nazism?

When things become as extreme as they have, it's time for some scholastic subjectivity. Tell it from the heart. No more ivory tower b.s.

I write this assuming that the reviewer has a solid knowledge of history, and not only the versions written by the victors. The consequences are too dire not to learn from history.

This is a crucial book in this time. The mechasnisms which those in power employ to control and manipulate the public must be made transparent. This is where change begins. This particular method, through co-opting Christianity, is by no means original though. After all, Emperor Constintine gave new meaning to the winter solstice.

Stand for something! Truths and rights eternally!

Don't hide behind "journalistic distance". Make it personal, intelligent, immediate and from the heart.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Helen Weaver on April 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dan Wakefield has written an important and eye-opening book about the Religious Right in
America. Liberal and proud of it, Wakefield has been concerned with social justice since the
fifties when, as a young reporter for The Nation, he published his ground-breaking study of
Spanish Harlem, Island in the City. Some time in the eighties this hard-drinking non-believer
experienced a spiritual awakening and returned to the Christian faith of his Indiana boyhood, a
journey he recounts in Returning.

But unlike some who turn their lives around when they accept Jesus Christ as their personal
savior, Wakefield did not abandon his commitment to the liberal causes of his non-believing
years. On the contrary, his faith is rooted in the ethical teachings of the Jesus who preached
peace, tolerance, and compassion for the poor: the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount.

As an articulate political liberal who is also a devout Christian, Wakefield is uniquely qualified
to comment on the co-opting of the Christian faith by the eerily well-organized juggernaut that is
the Religious Right, whose leaders preach war, intolerance, and hate and who believe that the
Sermon on the Mount is "no longer relevant for our times." Their political agenda is nothing less
than the replacement of what's left of our democracy by a theocracy, and their "wedge" issues are
anti-abortion and anti-gays, which are far more important to them than peace, social justice, or
the environment, for the simple reason that those two hate issues are the ones that get votes, that
get an increasingly impoverished and uninformed electorate to vote against their own self-
interest.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By L. Callen on March 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Wakefield has done an admirable job in depicting the "war" being waged for the heart and soul of Christianity in America today. The book is highly provovative and bound to anger many on the far right whose highly selective perception of Christ's teachings are enough to make one wonder why he was called the "Prince of Peace" and not the god of war.
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Richard Moore on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Finally! Someone has documented the distortion of Christianity practiced by the Bush administration. Bush divides up people and countries into "you are for us or you are against us" and into those that are good and those that are "evil." This is the opposite of what Jesus taught. Mr. Wakefield brings out a lot of history about how the religious right have "hijaacked" and distored the Christian message. I especially liked the last chapter where the author educated me about a counter movement aimed at bringing out the more authentic aspects of Christian - and Jewish - spirituality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sherwood on October 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book with the mistaken assumption that it was written by a Pastor, someone who is challenged by the events and understanding of his congregation regarding the events of the day. Unfortunately, I am reading another man's opinion.

These are troubled times in my own opinion, but I have discovered it is a waste of time to point fingers. The problems we face are far too complex to add ridicule to the mix. While we may name names and cite instances, the fact is, not everyone is capable of grasping the heart of the problems we face.

So it was in Jesus' day. He looked at the world in which He had chosen to live and realized, this was not His father's world. Circumstances had prompted others to form their own beliefs and in the process, created another God, far removed from the One they claimed to represent. I am comforted by the lesson provided in the very first pages of Genesis. The couple had discovered their nakedness and God responded to their explanation by asking, "Who told you that..."

I understand Wakefield's problem. Others are not conforming to his opinion of what the Bible teaches. I agree with Him, but naming names only causes those less informed to move away from the truth rather than embracing it.

I love our nation, I have served it in the uniform of the armed forces - in Korea in the 50's. But in those days, I had no idea as to who God was, not even who He might be in reality. Then, bit by bit, piece by piece, I learned and the most important lesson has proved to be the fact that wars do not settle the matter. Others might enjoy waging war, but I have discovered that they are seldom found in the midst of the conflict, dodging real live ammunition.
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