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

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If one ever sought to understand the particular recipe of religious fervor, politicking, and hypocrisy that represents much of Evangelical Christianity in the United States over the past 100 years, they would do well to read this book.  Kobes Du Mez illustrates how evangelicals in the 20th century embraced a particular mixture of traits including dominance-informed masculinity, advocacy for wars of assertion and profit, a xenophobic and religiously bigoted disregard for others, and political maneuvering that forfeited their believes and practices in the name of power. She also shows how evangelicals used radio, television, and social media over the decades to offer up a version of Christianity that was somehow always on the cusp of being destroyed in the US (despite overwhelming evidence otherwise) while simultaneously working their way into numerous politically influential spaces on the national scene.   With precision and skill that would make her a master-surgeon, Kobes Du Mez explores how evangelicals through their formal and popular leaders have crafted and directed followers to give up any accurate portrayal of Christianity in order to uphold patriarchy, patriotism (though more often jingoism), and profiteering. The book shows time and again that when Evangelicals and their leadership were given the chance to go with the Christian who more clearly practiced and embodied the teachings they often upheld, they would overwhelmingly go with the one whom they saw would do more for them. And those who spoke out against such machiavellian choices were often ousted from leadership or made to refute their previous assertions.  To me, that's the most fascinating aspect that Kobes Du Mez is how much they are beholden to power and within that, constantly try to re-create Jesus into that model. In fact, they are quicker to jettison Jesus (or recreate him like he's clay) than to reject leaders who hold power.  As someone who spent the early 2000s working at a company the book mentions which was infused with Evangelical Christians (as employees and customers), the book nailed a lot in terms of the mixture of shucking endless religiously-infused wares and ideas to uphold their sense of persecution while simultaneously stocking their hunger for power, regardless of how many people would be hurt or dismissed.  

View all my reviews

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.