Taking America back for God Christian nationalism in the United States

Andrew L. Whitehead

Book - 2020

"Taking America Back for God conclusively reveals that understanding the current cultural and political climate in the United States requires reckoning with Christian nationalism. Christian ideals and symbols have long played an important role in public life in the United States, but Christian nationalism demands far more than a recognition of religious heritage. At heart, Christian nationalism fights to 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 illustra...tes the scope and tremendous influence of Christian nationalism on debates surrounding the most contentious social issues dominating American public discourse. Drawing on multiple sources of national survey data collected over the past several decades and in-depth interviews, Whitehead and Perry document how Christian nationalism radically shapes what Americans think about who they are as a people, what their future should look like, and how they should get there. Regardless of Americans' political or religious characteristics, whether they are Ambassadors, Accommodators, Resisters, or Rejecters of Christian nationalism provides powerful insight into what they think about immigration, Muslims, gun control, police shootings, atheists, gender roles, and many other political issues-even who they want in the White House. Taking America Back for God convincingly shows how Christian nationalists' desire for political power, rigid social boundaries, and hierarchical order creates significant consequences for all Americans."--Provided by publisher

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New York, NY : Oxford University Press [2020]
Main Author
Andrew L. Whitehead (author)
Other Authors
Samuel L. Perry (author)
Physical Description
xvii, 268 pages : illustrations, charts ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 249-261) and index.
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: A House Dividing
  • 1. Four Americans
  • 2. Power
  • 3. Boundaries
  • 4. Order
  • Conclusion: One Nation Under What?
  • Appendix A. Data and Methods
  • Appendix B. Tables
  • Appendix C. Interview Guide
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Review by Choice Review

Whitehead (Clemson Univ.) and Perry (Univ. of Oklahoma) build on research data (such as the Baylor Religion Survey) and interviews to appraise the perceived surge of Christian nationalism in the US. Not synonymous with white evangelicalism, Christian nationalism posits that at its founding, the US privileged Christian belief and principles that should still hold sway. The authors label strident advocates "Ambassadors." Accommodationists agree but recognize challenges from pluralism and diversity. Resisters deny that Christian ideas should dominate but see them as having been important in the past. Rejecters insist that the US has always been a secular state. The first two cohorts want to restore Christianity--basically white Protestantism--to its place of privilege and prominence. Patriarchy and hierarchy are key elements in that endeavor. Not all Christian nationalists are personally religious, but all seek to reclaim an ordered society, now vanished. Whitehead and Perry show that Christian nationalism more than religious identity determines attitudes toward gender roles and marriage and, for many, also their views on race and immigration. Christian nationalism is thus more nuanced than many pundits proclaim. Appendixes provide access to research data. Valuable to all sociologists and analysts of American religion and culture. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels. --Charles H. Lippy, emeritus, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.