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More than any other religious demographic in America, white evangelical Protestants support preemptive war, condone the use of torture, and favor the death penalty.
For conservative white evangelicals, the "good news" of the Christian gospel has become inextricably linked to a staunch commitment to patriarchal authority, gender difference, and Christian nationalism, and all of these are intertwined with white racial identity.
But evangelical support for Trump was no aberration, nor was it merely a pragmatic choice. It was, rather, the culmination of evangelicals' embrace of militant masculinity, an ideology that enshrines patriarchal authority and condones the callous display of power, at home and abroad.
Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation Kindle Edition
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― Beth Moore, on Twitter --This text refers to the paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
“Paradigm-influencing. . . A very readable page-turner.”
―Scot McKnight, Christianity Today
“Jesus and John Wayne is a tour-de-force indictment of the white evangelical cult of masculinity.”
―Michael Rea, Salon
“[N]ot only one of the most important books on religion and the 2016 elections but one of the most important books on post-1945 American evangelicalism published in the past four decades.”
―Jon Butler, Church History
“I hear people say all the time that Trump’s election was a tragedy for evangelicals, but after reading [this] book, I wonder if it isn’t their greatest victory.”
―Sean Illing, Vox
“Brilliant and engaging . . . Across chapters ranging from ‘John Wayne Will Save Your Ass’ to ‘Holy Balls,’ Du Mez peppers her text with entertaining (and sometimes horrifying) examples.”
―Matthew Avery Sutton, The New Republic
“It is impossible to do justice to the richness of Jesus and John Wayne in a short review, but one of the key points the book stresses is that as Christian nationalists, the vast majority of white evangelicals believe that our country’s flourishing depends on aggressive male leadership. The pervasive abusive patterns of white evangelical subculture replicate themselves on a large social scale in the Christian Right’s politics. Since understanding this will be crucial if Americans are to have a functional democratic future, Jesus and John Wayne is a book that America needs now.”
―Chrissy Stroop, Boston Globe
“A much needed and painstakingly accurate chronicle of exactly ‘where many evangelicals are,’ and the long road that got them there.”
―Tom Cox, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“[A] book that’s ignited an enormous amount of argument and debate across the length and breadth of the Christian intelligentsia . . . Du Mez meticulously documents how―time and again―Christian institutions have indulged and often valorized aggressive hyper-masculine male leaders who proved to be corrupt, exploitive, and abusive. They weren’t protectors. They were predators.”
―David French, The Dispatch
“[An] absolute must-read, a stunning work, and one that deserves serious attention and further conversation.”
―Joel Wentz, Englewood Review of Books
“Jesus and John Wayne should be required reading for those who live and move and have our being within American evangelical denominations and churches.”
―Sean Michael Lucas, Mere Orthodoxy
“Jesus and John Wayne is history as confession, history as lament, a type of history that hopes in a God who never puts us to shame, even as hope in America does.”
―Aarik Danielsen, Christ & Pop Culture
“Du Mez makes it clear that she’s not criticizing from the ivory tower or explicitly from the left. A history professor at a prominent Christian college, the author of A New Gospel for Women, and a contributor to Christianity Today, she’s in an ideal position to expose the hypocrisy, crudeness, and chauvinism of the religious right.”
―Matt Hanson, The Baffler
“[A] fascinating and fervent book . . . a provocative, but insightful and detailed look at the culture and impact of evangelical Christianity today, where The Duke and The Messiah are riding saddle-by-saddle toward some sort of glory."
―Bob Ruggiero, Houston Press
“In her smart, deftly argued book, historian Du Mez delves into white evangelicals’ militantly patriarchal expressions of faith and their unwavering support for libertine President Donald Trump. Du Mez, a professor at Calvin University, clearly explicates the way the “evangelical cult of masculinity” has played out over decades.”
―The National Book Review
- ASIN : B07ZTSVLX3
- Publisher : Liveright (June 23, 2020)
- Publication date : June 23, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 8519 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 365 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,223 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Dr. Du Mez does an excellent job of navigating the history of evangelical culture. Through the book, Du Mez discusses the role of centralized "Christian" (evangelical) publishing and media, gender roles (evangelicals have reinforced "traditional" or patriarchal roles), and political activism on forming a culture supportive of a character like Trump (or John Wayne). Through these various lenses, it becomes easier and easier to see how Trump gained 81% of evangelical votes.
If this book's summary (or back cover text) resonates with you at all - if it leaves you intrigued, you will absolutely find this book worthwhile. I have not been able to set it down yet.
In-between is an exhaustive prehistory and history of the biggest male personalities of the evangelical movement, religious right and their subcultures from a feminist point of view; some of it is insightful, but some a little tedious if I’m honest. Even though the recurring theme is “the evangelical cult of masculinity”, it’s not a man-hating book. But do expect a clear and recurring theme of militant and masculine masculinity. Let’s not forget about the patriarchy/patriarchal/patriarch, ether. I’ll stop now.
If you’re looking for further insight into the evangelical tolerance of (crush on) Trump, I recommend looking up some opinion pieces by David French and Peter Wehner who have been published in the Atlantic, Politico, etc. Also the work of Julie Roys is worth looking into for outstanding journalism around financial and sex scandals in the evangelical movement. Read this book if you’re genuinely interested in a popular-feminist history of the last hundred years’ of the evangelical and fundamentalist movements in America.
Frequently stressing the “whiteness” and "patriarchy" of Evangelical men, Du Mez tries to build the case how everything from Biblical inerrancy to the pro-life movement is not merely tainted by their worldview, but is actually motivated by their patriarchal desire for male superiority over women. She remarks, "Accounts of the battles over the SBC [Southern Baptist Convention] commonly focus on the question of Biblical inerrancy, but the battle over inerrancy was in part a proxy fight over gender” (Chapter 6). That’s an exact quote, folks. And the pro-life movement? Well, it all started with patriarchal men, only after women began lobbying for control over their own bodies. According to Du Mez, it had nothing to do with saving little babies, but once again, it was all about male dominion over every single little part of women's lives.
As a white Evangelical man who has been following politics and keeping up with the Christian right, this borders on serious paranoia. Oh, and contrary to her strange assessment, the young men who grew up watching VeggieTales are in their teen years, hardly candidates for leadership in the “hard right.” I know because my sons were instant fans of the series, when it came out. They are 17 and 19 years old. Having sat under 20+ preachers and teachers of several denominations over the past 50 years, I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard patriarchy being stressed, and that was in an obscure independent Pentecostal church, of less than 50 members.
Although Du Mez does not explicitly state her political views, she does mention Hillary Clinton as the perfect representation of a fine upstanding Christian woman, and any Evangelicals who voted for the alternative, are token Christians and patriarchs, afraid of losing control over women. If you think this sounds like, shaming, then you're right, because this book is really all about unseating President Donald Trump.
One key take-away in her survey that she seems to have accidentally let slip past her, is that white Evangelicals did not become Republicans over Barry Goldwater and the Civil Rights Act (although she claims they resisted it), but that it wasn’t until Ronald Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter (which was the last Democrat to receive the majority of the Evangelical vote. Not to be surprised that Republicans haven’t won every race since, because as Kristin notes, it’s similar to asking God to help your football team win the Super Bowl, “God does not take sides in American politics.”
Kristin Du Mez is a historian and teaches at Calvin College, a Christian university. She is submitting her book as an analysis within the framework of her discipline, that is, as a professional historian assessing the roots of masculinity and American culture within Evangelicalism, as it pertains to Christian theology. Rather than offering an unbiased historical survey, what she has put together is a pop-culture opinion piece based on carefully sifted information that's been ripped out of context, spanning the course of decades, to set forth an argument based on her own progressive political and feminine theological positions. Such partisanship is expected from Ann Coulter and Michael Moore, but it’s not what I would call historical scholarship. Nevertheless, the book was seamlessly written and the audiobook format was flawlessly narrated, and there were occasional points of interest. 2 Stars.
Top reviews from other countries
Having lived a few years, I have come to observe that if I analyze the faults of others long enough, I will find that what I was looking for in them, proves to be exactly what I always thought them to be. The problem is - when I point my finger at others - there are three fingers pointing back at me! And one pointing at God! I have become guilty of the very same things I was pointing out in others, and I am at least to some extent, knowingly or unknowingly blaming God. In my opinion, finger pointing is what this book is really about.
On the contrary, when I allow God to examine my heart - my life- my motives I find I am just as far or further from God as those I am accusing! As an accuser I have unwittingly fallen into the trap of the master accuser, the devil. I am reminded from scripture (Romans 3:23) that all, including myself, have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. My only hope is in Jesus Christ the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrew 12:1,2). Only as I surrender to him will I fulfill the abundant life he has for me!
Is this the faith that Professor Kobes duMez says has been corrupted? If not, what is it? What is the alternative to sinful people coming to a holy God for mercy and grace, as so many of those she has so patently accused have done? This book leaves the reader in suspense as to the faith that the author mentions in the subtitle and leaves one thinking she is promoting a lifestyle that just as godless as the one she has contrived and is so blindly and vehemently opposing.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 NLT
Christianity. This was an education.