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The American political scene today is poisonously divided, and the vast majority of white evangelicals plays a strikingly unified, powerful role in the disunion. These evangelicals raise a starkly consequential question for electoral politics: Why do they claim morality while supporting politicians who act immorally by most Christian measures? In this clear-eyed, hard-hitt The American political scene today is poisonously divided, and the vast majority of white evangelicals plays a strikingly unified, powerful role in the disunion. These evangelicals raise a starkly consequential question for electoral politics: Why do they claim morality while supporting politicians who act immorally by most Christian measures? In this clear-eyed, hard-hitting chronicle of American religion and politics, Anthea Butler answers that racism is at the core of conservative evangelical activism and power. Butler reveals how evangelical racism, propelled by the benefits of whiteness, has since the nation’s founding played a provocative role in severely fracturing the electorate. During the buildup to the Civil War, white evangelicals used scripture to defend slavery and nurture the Confederacy. During Reconstruction, they used it to deny the vote to newly emancipated blacks. In the twentieth century, they sided with segregationists in avidly opposing movements for racial equality and civil rights. Most recently, evangelicals supported the Tea Party, a Muslim ban, and border policies allowing family separation. White evangelicals today, cloaked in a vision of Christian patriarchy and nationhood, form a staunch voting bloc in support of white leadership. Evangelicalism’s racial history festers, splits America, and needs a reckoning now. Anthea Butler is associate professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making a Sanctified World. A leading historian and public commentator on religion and politics, Butler has appeared on networks including CNN, BBC, and MSNBC and has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other media outlets.


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The American political scene today is poisonously divided, and the vast majority of white evangelicals plays a strikingly unified, powerful role in the disunion. These evangelicals raise a starkly consequential question for electoral politics: Why do they claim morality while supporting politicians who act immorally by most Christian measures? In this clear-eyed, hard-hitt The American political scene today is poisonously divided, and the vast majority of white evangelicals plays a strikingly unified, powerful role in the disunion. These evangelicals raise a starkly consequential question for electoral politics: Why do they claim morality while supporting politicians who act immorally by most Christian measures? In this clear-eyed, hard-hitting chronicle of American religion and politics, Anthea Butler answers that racism is at the core of conservative evangelical activism and power. Butler reveals how evangelical racism, propelled by the benefits of whiteness, has since the nation’s founding played a provocative role in severely fracturing the electorate. During the buildup to the Civil War, white evangelicals used scripture to defend slavery and nurture the Confederacy. During Reconstruction, they used it to deny the vote to newly emancipated blacks. In the twentieth century, they sided with segregationists in avidly opposing movements for racial equality and civil rights. Most recently, evangelicals supported the Tea Party, a Muslim ban, and border policies allowing family separation. White evangelicals today, cloaked in a vision of Christian patriarchy and nationhood, form a staunch voting bloc in support of white leadership. Evangelicalism’s racial history festers, splits America, and needs a reckoning now. Anthea Butler is associate professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making a Sanctified World. A leading historian and public commentator on religion and politics, Butler has appeared on networks including CNN, BBC, and MSNBC and has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other media outlets.

30 review for White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: A short history of the evangelical movement in the United States, showing its ties to racism and white supremacy from the time of slavery down to the present. This was an uncomfortable book for me to read and review. In our racialized society, I would be identified as white. By conviction, I would identify as evangelical. What troubles me about this account is that it makes a good case that the evangelicalism in America with which I am identified is inextricably bound up with the history Summary: A short history of the evangelical movement in the United States, showing its ties to racism and white supremacy from the time of slavery down to the present. This was an uncomfortable book for me to read and review. In our racialized society, I would be identified as white. By conviction, I would identify as evangelical. What troubles me about this account is that it makes a good case that the evangelicalism in America with which I am identified is inextricably bound up with the history of racism, America’s original sin, as Jim Wallis has called it. Anthea Butler offers in this book a concise historical account of white evangelicalism’s complicity in racism. She traces that history from the support of slavery in white, mostly southern churches. She follows this through post-Civil War Jim Crow laws and the support of white churches for segregation, and the participation of churches in lynchings. While some mainline denominations gave support to the civil rights movement, evangelicals remained on the sideline, calling this a “social gospel.” Butler is not the first to note that the coalescing of evangelical political engagement in the Seventies and Eighties came as much around the denial of tax exemption for segregated schools like Bob Jones University as it did around opposition to abortion, which was originally not an evangelical cause. She traces the rise of organizations like Focus on the Family, the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition that led to an increasing alliance of evangelicalism with the Republican party, culminating in the support of 81 percent of self-identifying evangelicals with Donald Trump in 2016 despite race-baiting language, anti-immigration stances, and support of white nationalistic aims. Perhaps no one person has defined American evangelicalism more than Billy Graham and so Butler devotes a chapter to him. While he desegregated his meetings, and hosted black speakers on his platform, and even include a black evangelist on his team, he took care to distance himself from the civil rights movement as it embraced nonviolent civil disobedience. King may have shared his platform once, but no more. Graham also preached against communism, associated by many in the South with the civil rights movement. His record was ambiguous at best and in the end, the focus remained on winning people to Christ rather than unequivocal stands for racial justice. Parts of me wanted to protest against this sweeping indictment by citing the abolitionist efforts of northern evangelicals, and other socially engaged efforts in the nineteenth century. Butler does mention this as well as other forays like that of the Promise Keepers into racial reconciliation. The sad fact is none of these movements prevailed over the long haul in standing against white supremacism. The first decade and a half of the twenty-first century saw some promising evangelical initiatives around racial reconciliation and immigration reform, only for these to wither over the last five years. I also wanted to protest that evangelicalism is not inherently white. Black and Latino churches in this country share the same theology. And people globally identify with the same theological convictions that form the core of American evangelical belief. I’ve been in a meeting with representatives of over 150 countries where this was the case, where those of my skin color were a minority. But in the ways American evangelicalism has separated itself from its Black and Latino kindred, the judgment stands. The typical first response of many white evangelicals to a Christian person of color trying to talk about racial injustice is to defend and argue rather than listen to a fellow Christian. We seem remarkably untroubled that divisions by race in our churches mirror our political divisions. Butler, a former evangelical who still cares about this movement, reaches this sobering conclusion: “Evangelicalism is at a precipice. It is no longer a movement to which Americans look for a moral center. American evangelicalism lacks social, political, and spiritual effectiveness in the twentyfirst century. It has become a religion lodged within political party. It is a religion that promotes issues important almost exclusively to white conservatives. Evangelicalism embraces racists and says that evangelicals’ interests, and only theirs, are the most important for all American citizens.” I have no defense against this. I fear evangelicalism in the United States may be like the church in Ephesus described in Revelation 2:1-7. The church was marked by its orthodoxy and yet Jesus has this to say: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:4-5, NIV). I fear we are at imminent risk of losing our lampstand, that is, our witness within the culture. In fact, I find most churches are more concerned about political interests than even their historical distinction of seeing lost people come to Christ. Butler’s message mirrors that of Jesus in Revelation. This book is a call to repentance. The trajectory of history is not inevitable. We can turn away from the precipice. But I fear the time is short. ________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    This is a measured, clear exposition of the connections between evangelicalism and racism, with a side note of the persistent power of white males in fundamentalist denominations. Professor Butler, who teaches religious and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, earlier in her life traveled through the evangelical community and experienced subtle racism first hand. Her accounts of what she experienced add to the accessibility of her research. As others have said, I was struck from t This is a measured, clear exposition of the connections between evangelicalism and racism, with a side note of the persistent power of white males in fundamentalist denominations. Professor Butler, who teaches religious and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, earlier in her life traveled through the evangelical community and experienced subtle racism first hand. Her accounts of what she experienced add to the accessibility of her research. As others have said, I was struck from the start of Trump's candidacy and then presidency that he was a strange hero for the religious right. As time went on and cringe-worthy incidents accumulated, I couldn't imagine how they could continue to support him. This book will give you the answers, and show that Trump is only a current symptom of a festering problem that goes back decades. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a prepublication version of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adam Shields

    Summary: An exploration of White Evangelicals and Racism, primarily focusing on recent history. Anthea Butler is a professor of religion and history at the University of Pennsylvania. This is a book that I keep seeing advanced readers recommend. (White Evangelical Racism does not come out until March 22). In many ways, it feels like a good follow-up to Jemar Tisby's Color of Compromise because while both have some overlap, Color of Compromise primarily focuses on the complicity in racism by the c Summary: An exploration of White Evangelicals and Racism, primarily focusing on recent history. Anthea Butler is a professor of religion and history at the University of Pennsylvania. This is a book that I keep seeing advanced readers recommend. (White Evangelical Racism does not come out until March 22). In many ways, it feels like a good follow-up to Jemar Tisby's Color of Compromise because while both have some overlap, Color of Compromise primarily focuses on the complicity in racism by the church before the civil rights era with some content after that point. In contrast, White Evangelical Racism primarily focuses on Evangelicalism from the Moral Majority rise and after. Reading them together is complimentary. One of the complaints that Butler is clearly trying to avoid is the 'but not all White people' complaint. Repeatedly Butler affirms that she is talking about those White Evangelicals that she is talking about, not all of them. But she has strong words throughout the book because there is a willingness for many to be complicit. "...when evangelical writers claim to they not understand the overwhelming nature of evangelical support for right wing and sometimes downright scurrilous Republican canidates and politicos, they fail to reckon with evangelical history." (p9) Like many other historians, Butler suggests that the story of Evangelicalism in the US can't be told without discussing racism and that many evangelical historians do not want to tell that more complicated story. (p 12) With the recent analysis of President Biden's inauguration speech, there has been a discussion about the difference in the rhetoric of Christian Nationalism and what some see as potential positives of a type of civil religion. Butler lays out a case that the use of civil religious language in opposition to communism is related to the type of civil religious language used to oppose the civil rights movement. Quoting Billy Graham in his 1949 LA revival when Graham connected Christianity, the love of American and nationalism, and anti-communism. "...you will never find a true born again Christian who is a communist or fellow traveler. You get a man born again, and he will turn from communism." (p42)  The result is that when the civil rights movement was labeled as communist, instead of white Christians seeing Graham's rhetorical example as proof that fellow Christians should not be overly labeled as communists, many white Christians saw the label of communist as proof that the civil rights movement could not be Christian. (A move that is similarly being used today concerning Critical Race Theory.) Butler notes that Graham simultaneously thought that the Evangelical church was behind on racial issues (in a speech to NAE in 1952) and that Graham was not in favor of much of the civil rights movement's methods even as he theoretically approved of the rough concept of integration. "[Graham] recognized the problem of racial injustice and evoked the pain caused by unjust social norms, but he was unwilling to break ranks with the white status quo." (p 44). This extended to the point where Graham refused a direct request by MLK to not appear on stage with a segregationist advocate in 1957 and spoke against the March on Washington and King's speech in 1963. Graham never went as far as Billy Hargis who argued that desegregation violated biblical principles or the John Birch Society. Still, one of the issues that Bulter is noting is that it is rare for any white Evangelical to disfellowship another white Evangelical over racism. So while some white Evangelicals were supportive of the civil rights movement, and some like Graham were supportive of the goals. Still, not the means, and some actively opposed the civil rights movement (like Jerry Fallwell Sr), all were still within a group that still broadly self-identified as Evangelical. There is a group that objects to the very notion of white Evangelicals. Evangelical has a theological definition, and if you meet the theological definition, then you are an evangelical, regardless of racial background. The problem with this approach is apparent in the fact that many theologically affirm the ideas that make one evangelical theologically, but most racial minorities do self-identifying as evangelical. But many that are white and do not theologically agree with the theological definition of evangelical do self identify as evangelical. Many, but not all, self-identified Evangelicals who are racial minorities have in some level 'emulated whiteness.' (p60)  Bill Pannell said in his 1968 book, My Friend, The Enemy: "I have no trouble believing you want me in your church to sing on Sunday. I have very little faith that you want me in your living room for serious discussion. Yet here is where the breakthrough may take place." (p62) There is a longer discussion about how that adoption of white norms, or how Black and other minorities were brought into white evangelical spaces under terms acceptable to maintaining racial hierarchies. For instance, Billy Graham's use of Black singers or athletes at his crusades or Ben Kinchlow acting as Pat Robertson's sidekick on the 700 Club gave cover against racism charges. Still, it did not subvert concepts of white superiority. As there has been some recognition that racial reconciliation efforts are necessary, those efforts often do not extend toward organizations or church leadership. And they do not extend changes in political activities outside of the church. Overall I think that White Evangelical Racism is a helpful addition to the general literature, even as it is one of the shorter books in this area. But I wanted more discussion about why some white evangelicals were more engaged over racial issues than others and why some evangelicals are actively opposed to recognizing racial realities. I think at least part of this explanation is Christian Nationalism. But that is not a clear enough idea at this point for this to be the only answer. I think that Butler over-identifies Evangelicalism as the problem instead of directly implicating white superiority or Christian Nationalism within Christianity more broadly. Because of that, I think there is a bit of misidentification of the problem. I do not debate with Butler's main point that white Evangelicals have largely been either actively complicit in racism or at least tolerant in identifying with those that are complicit with racism. But while white Evangelicals are more likely to be Christian Nationalists or adjacent to Christian Nationalism or poll higher than average as xenophobic or racist or sexist, they are not the only white Christians to have issues here. White Catholics and mainline protestants and to some extent Eastern Orthodox also have similar tendencies in this direction, albeit lesser than white Evangelicals.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    A less than celebratory exploration of white Evangelicalism, primarily covering the past seventy-five years. The author was raised and nurtured in the Evangelical context. Some time is spent arriving at the postwar era, but the focus is on how (white) Evangelicalism stood in terms of race from the postwar era until today. The author brings out all the skeletons from the closet: Graham's waffling on race and his belief that white and black children would only associate after the return of Jesus; t A less than celebratory exploration of white Evangelicalism, primarily covering the past seventy-five years. The author was raised and nurtured in the Evangelical context. Some time is spent arriving at the postwar era, but the focus is on how (white) Evangelicalism stood in terms of race from the postwar era until today. The author brings out all the skeletons from the closet: Graham's waffling on race and his belief that white and black children would only associate after the return of Jesus; the condemnation of the Civil Rights Movement as godless Communism and a distraction from spiritual witness; the willingness to use those same methods to develop the "Moral Majority," and the development of that organization first on account of the threat of segregation academies losing their tax-exempt status, not abortion; the willingness to look as if they were about to become inclusive, but then the turn toward dressed up racism in white grievance politics and hegemony with Bush II, the reaction to Obama, and reaching its apotheosis with Trump. The judgment is sharp and bracing; if the work were presented as if it were *the* history of Evangelicalism, it would surely be a warped and unbalanced distortion. Yet the author herself, in conclusion, recognizes the good that many Evangelicals have done, and recognizes this is not the only dimension to the story of Evangelicalism in America. Yet it surely represents *a* dimension of what conservative Christendom in America has been and now is. It's the story left untold, that which was passed over in silence, or attempted to be swept under the carpet. But now it's out in full force and sadly proving to be a powerful motivator for affiliation. A very ugly and distressing truth indeed, but a necessary counterweight to the celebratory works of history often made of the Evangelicals and their influence on American politics. **--galley received as part of early review program

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Parker

    I’m not one who needs to be convinced that the evangelical church is full of racist hypocrites; I’ve spent countless Sundays sitting right next to them. That being said, this book was a disappointment. The author couldn’t seem to decide if she was writing a factual account or an editorial. She also wrote, often, about the feelings and motivations of people and institutions, stated as fact, without citing proof to back up her claims. I thought about jotting down some examples of this as I read, b I’m not one who needs to be convinced that the evangelical church is full of racist hypocrites; I’ve spent countless Sundays sitting right next to them. That being said, this book was a disappointment. The author couldn’t seem to decide if she was writing a factual account or an editorial. She also wrote, often, about the feelings and motivations of people and institutions, stated as fact, without citing proof to back up her claims. I thought about jotting down some examples of this as I read, but then decided that I didn’t care enough. I just kept thinking that she would be skewered for this in an English 101 class. Lastly, and perhaps most sadly, she had nothing new to offer on the subject. Thanks to #netgalley and #universityofnorthcarolinapress for this ARC of #whiteevangelicalracism in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen Juenke

    I was nodding my head as I was reading this book. I wanted to SCREAM YES! YES! This is what I have been saying for years. My Christian, White friends all voted for Trump because they wanted a return to family values. Not realizing that what they were referencing is a fairy tale. Two even told me that by electing Donal Trump they were hoping a race war would happen and they confided in me that they were stockpiling guns and food for the war. I shook my head in disbelief and wondered if I lived in I was nodding my head as I was reading this book. I wanted to SCREAM YES! YES! This is what I have been saying for years. My Christian, White friends all voted for Trump because they wanted a return to family values. Not realizing that what they were referencing is a fairy tale. Two even told me that by electing Donal Trump they were hoping a race war would happen and they confided in me that they were stockpiling guns and food for the war. I shook my head in disbelief and wondered if I lived in a different country then them...turns out they were being "led" by pastors who preached these beliefs. Ms. Butler hit the nail on the head with this book. I greedily read every word and agreed with all of her premises. Too much focus has been on white evangelical voters, too much attention has been paid to the moral majority, when I hear the Focus on the Family segment on the radio, I cringe inside...I wonder, how will they try to control people different then them today? I thought that the author really did a great job researching and presenting the history of the Evangelical movement and its racism from the start. This is a book that EVERYONE should read. Thank you to Netgalley and to the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC for this honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steve Spencer (he, him.his)

    This is excellent. Every fundamentalist and evangelical church and school with which I have been associated was and is deeply and persistently White supremacist and I have been all too comfortably acclimated and participating.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    One of the things that confuses secular Americans the most is how the evangelical crowd can vote for Donald Trump when he is the antithesis of everything the Christian religion supposedly stands for. How can someone who believes in the teachings of Christ first and foremost, vote for a thrice married adulterer, alleged child rapist, liar, etc., etc.. I know it certainly has been a dichotomy that has been turning over in my head for the past four years. Enter Anthea Butler who has succinctly expl One of the things that confuses secular Americans the most is how the evangelical crowd can vote for Donald Trump when he is the antithesis of everything the Christian religion supposedly stands for. How can someone who believes in the teachings of Christ first and foremost, vote for a thrice married adulterer, alleged child rapist, liar, etc., etc.. I know it certainly has been a dichotomy that has been turning over in my head for the past four years. Enter Anthea Butler who has succinctly explained how this came to be and, while many presume the reason is simply abortion, there are actually more layers and quite a history that has lead to where we are now. The underlying reason evangelicals are this way? Racism. It's so easy for modern evangelicals to balk when being accused of racism, but how many of them accurately know where their movement has come from? I would wager not many. Thankfully for those of us who have been hung up on this issue for awhile, Butler lays out for us in a very succinct manner how evangelicalism adopted racism for its benefit since slavery and how it grew after the second reiteration of the Klan in 1915. Many people know that when Trump and other Republicans talk about "law and order" they are using a dog whistle for anti-blackness. It seemed evident to me when this phrase first hit my radar during the protests this past summer, but how did that phrase become such a dog whistle? This was one of the most eye opening parts of the book to me, along with the rise of Billy Graham and how he ties in with anticommunist sentiments which then morphed into racist sentiments. Graham, Hoover, the Red Scare, an evangelical fear of end times... it seems they all combined to create this everlasting racism. Butler also demonstrates how evangelicals became politically entwined with the Republican party, to the point today where, in my mind, it is impossible to separate the two. I would urge you to read this book even if it were just for this section because it shows how a minority of Americans have been able to leverage their vote and win presidential elections as a result. Butler argues that George W. Bush was the first to benefit from this and how it has grown. A look at almost any evangelical/fundamentalist Instagram or Facebook account shows they are falling for the conspiracy theories spouted by Trump, who they seem to think is second to Christ but indeed act as if he is first. Even knowing how they arrived there, it still blows my mind. On a side note, this section reminded me of something important. In the age of Trumpism, it's easy to look back at George W.'s administration and think, "Well, maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought," but if you take the time (for a two minute Google search, even) you can easily find examples of disgusting, racist behavior on the behalf of the former president. We have to insist that the bar has not moved. We cannot dismiss the awful behavior of other Republicans because "at least they're not as bad as Trump." Trump should be the extreme, not the bar between okay and not okay. I want to thank Butler for taking the time and putting in the work to write this book because it answers several questions many of us have had about the religious voting bloc. I would encourage you to read this succinct and timely book, it won't take more than a few hours, and in the end you'll have at least some of the answers you may have been looking for. If you are evangelical, Butler also writes directly to you at the end of the book. While it's unlikely evangelicals will read the book, they ought to. They know they are accused of racism and it's time for them to learn why and grow from it. Well, one can dream.

  9. 4 out of 5

    J Earl

    White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America by Anthea Butler is a clear and concise history of how contemporary Evangelicalism is not a sudden phenomenon but the result of the racism built into its early strands and maintained as a foundational element throughout. There is a faux educator on Netgalley (unless maybe he works (mis)educating people for Breitbart) who can be counted on to spew nonsense whenever he stumbles across any book that supports anything other than white pseu White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America by Anthea Butler is a clear and concise history of how contemporary Evangelicalism is not a sudden phenomenon but the result of the racism built into its early strands and maintained as a foundational element throughout. There is a faux educator on Netgalley (unless maybe he works (mis)educating people for Breitbart) who can be counted on to spew nonsense whenever he stumbles across any book that supports anything other than white pseudo-Christian patriarchal society, and this is no exception. He pretends that Butler does not acknowledge that some early Evangelicals did lead the fight against slavery (she does acknowledge it). He cites an economist (though by the wrong first name, William is his middle name and not the one he publishes under) who won a Nobel prize for a theory on slavery, though that is not what Fogel is mentioned for. The book mentioned is questionable at best and, even giving some of it the benefit of the doubt, does not refute Butler's points at all. This bigoted faux-educator hopes that no one has read or is familiar with any previous scholarship or, for that matter, historical events and will not notice the stench coming from his mouth. And, since he is really just preaching to others like himself, they are probably as unfamiliar with the books and events as he is, he is clearly cribbing his racism from someone else, but he still spreads his filth on far too many good books that could help bring people together, except he has a narrow view of who qualifies as people. Okay, I feel better now, cowards like that just irk me. This book disrupts what Evangelicals have been doing for generations not so much by uncovering new information but by bringing all of these things together so we can see the big picture. And the big picture is that racism is at the heart of white Evangelicalism in the United States and has been for many years. Once they finally left any Christianity behind and became a full-fledged cult intent on gaining power, they were no longer able, in a rational person's mind, to hide behind any form of morality. Yes, this book fired me up because it makes very clear, in well argued and supported points, the things many of us have known and/or sensed for some time. Maybe someone who doesn't live in stupidity central (Lynchburg, VA, home of the faux university Liberty run by the cult Falwell) will be able to stand back and have their understanding improved by this book. I see this hatred and inbreeding daily and get fired up. If I have offended anyone, too bad. Considering the people in cages, dead or dying, going hungry and/or homeless because of what these people do, I don't care if I hurt someone's little feelings. I am not worried since you're all cowards anyway. So, highly recommended for those who want to learn. For those who don't, well, you probably wouldn't be able to read it anyway, there are polysyllabic words in the book. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

    I agreed with the ideas expressed in this book, especially … evangelicalism is not a simply religious group at all. Rather, it is a nationalistic political movement whose purpose is to support the hegemony of white Christian men over and against the flourishing of others (Kindle location 1289). If you don't agree with this view or others like it, I suggest that this book is still worth reading, because it is short and clearly written. If you wish to build up an argument against people you disagr I agreed with the ideas expressed in this book, especially … evangelicalism is not a simply religious group at all. Rather, it is a nationalistic political movement whose purpose is to support the hegemony of white Christian men over and against the flourishing of others (Kindle location 1289). If you don't agree with this view or others like it, I suggest that this book is still worth reading, because it is short and clearly written. If you wish to build up an argument against people you disagree with, the best place to start with is the writer who has confidence in her argument and does not bury her views under a mountain of blather. At Kindle location 602, the author references this 2014 article by Randall Balmer in Politico Magazine which, Butler writes, debunked one of the most durable myths in recent history, the conceit that the religious right, fundamentalism, and conservative evangelicals emerged as a political movement in response to the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973. This is an important argument in this book. I think it would be worth it to read this article before or while you read this book. The real reason that conservative evangelicals emerged as a political force, Balmer says (and Butler agrees), is that evangelicals wished to exact revenge on the federal government, because the feds forced segregated schools to integrate by threatening to revoke religious schools' tax-exempt status. Again, I found this convincing. (Digression: Thinking about the facts in the previous paragraph led me to wonder: Who first said “When somebody says 'It's not the money, it's the principle of the thing', …. it's the money.”? Find the answer here.) At Kindle location 1234, the author briefly mentions the Supreme Court case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which was decided in favor of a cake shop that refused to provide a wedding cake to a gay couple. It's an interesting case, and again I agree with the conclusion that Butler drew from the facts. To know more about the facts of this case, read two good articles about it on the site Scotusblog. One was written before the decision, the other after. Thank you to Netgalley and University of North Carolina Press for making a free electronic galley copy of this book available to me for review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jordan McPeek

    As Butler puts it, "This book aims to tell the story evangelicals won't." (p. 16) And what is that story? "Evangelicalism is a religion that has benefited and continues to benefit from racism on both an individual level and a structural level, always under the guise of morality and patriotic nationalism." (p. 118) Writing for a general audience, this book is a very quick survey (149 pgs./3 hrs audio) of the history of race and evangelicals in America. Building a chapter around the career of Billy As Butler puts it, "This book aims to tell the story evangelicals won't." (p. 16) And what is that story? "Evangelicalism is a religion that has benefited and continues to benefit from racism on both an individual level and a structural level, always under the guise of morality and patriotic nationalism." (p. 118) Writing for a general audience, this book is a very quick survey (149 pgs./3 hrs audio) of the history of race and evangelicals in America. Building a chapter around the career of Billy Graham, the giant of the evie world in the 20th century, is a masterful move to find resonance with the target audience. It's also unfortunate and damning at how easy it is to build a chapter around him on this topic. Being a survey, it touches on a lot, briefly. I've heard or read some of this content before in greater detail, and like to see the fuller stories. But this kind of quick survey has its place, too, in bringing the longer stories and debates together into an overview. As soon as I finished reading I dove into the selected reading list at the end and added some titles to my pile. Short book by an academic (Ivy League historian) but reads like a magazine article. It's meant to get to a big audience of evies to get them talking. I wonder how many will look at the title and think "You're trying to cancel me" as they toss the unread book aside and retreat into the comforting myth of "Christian persecution". There's bound to be a few brave and honest ones who don't. As a Canadian reading American history, I'm always left wondering how similar the story is up here. Given how intertwined the evie world is across borders, I suspect it's not too different, at least in aspiration. The political context is vastly different. I listened to the audiobook on Scribd. It took awhile to get used to the narrator's cadence. She made me think each sentence, and even some phrases, were being recorded as individual clips, each with its own subtle crescendo and decrescendo. A little distracting but mostly went away by the end.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jai

    "God is not a respecter of persons" is the bible verse my mother says anytime racism comes up in the church. I was raised in the Baptist church and reading Anthea Butler's book confirmed everything (and then some) of what I know about the white evangelical church. I've experienced racism within the church and prior to listening to the book most of what was said I already knew. White Christians will ALWAYS uphold their whiteness and the white race. They never wanted black people or Christians to "God is not a respecter of persons" is the bible verse my mother says anytime racism comes up in the church. I was raised in the Baptist church and reading Anthea Butler's book confirmed everything (and then some) of what I know about the white evangelical church. I've experienced racism within the church and prior to listening to the book most of what was said I already knew. White Christians will ALWAYS uphold their whiteness and the white race. They never wanted black people or Christians to be included in their religion. White Christianity from the beginning of slavery till the present hasn't seen black/brown people as deserving of religion or heaven unless they are docile and shut up about racism and just hope that they go to heaven so they can serve white people. I wanted to vomit and scream when the author talked about a lynching that happened to a black man in the early 1900's. They lynched him at a church. They allowed him to pray before they killed him. Let me say it again....THEY ALLOWED HIM TO PRAY BEFORE THEY KILLED HIM! This type of hypocrisy is what white Christianity is built on. They don't want black people to come to their churches, marry their daughters or participate in anything. They want black people to be quiet and go away. Racism in the church is one of the MANY reasons why I've turned away from religion and why more and more black people are turning away from white religion and connecting with our African and ancestoral religious practices.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Bierley

    I have lived my entire life in Alabama, where merely daring to read such a book (without intention to discredit or denounce it) is itself an act tantamount to heresy or treason. Like the author, I was raised and have deep roots in evangelicalism. Reading this felt like a clear voice above the fray validating the things that I have known to be true, but didn't have the documentation to prove. And I can guarantee that they will be rejected vehemently by those who need to hear them most. This is a I have lived my entire life in Alabama, where merely daring to read such a book (without intention to discredit or denounce it) is itself an act tantamount to heresy or treason. Like the author, I was raised and have deep roots in evangelicalism. Reading this felt like a clear voice above the fray validating the things that I have known to be true, but didn't have the documentation to prove. And I can guarantee that they will be rejected vehemently by those who need to hear them most. This is a clear, concise and fair history of how we got to here - where the cracks in evangelicalism have begun to show the rot that is destroying it from the inside, where the "Moral" Majority is exposed for the absolute joke that it always was, where racism and hatred are called exactly what they are. There were so many points where I was screaming "Yes! This! Exactly!" One point that I wish the author had explored further was mentioned in the conclusion: the jealousy of evangelicalism towards the acceptance of maineline churches. I thought this was an interesting theory worthy of further exploration. Possibly Butler could cover it in her next book - I would definitely be the first in line to buy a copy! Thanks to Netgalley for my copy of the book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Evans

    "Why do people who identify as evangelicals vote over and over again for political figures who in speech and deed do not evince the Christian qualities that evangelicalism espouses? My answer is that evangelicalism is not a simply religious group at all. Rather, it is a nationalistic political movement whose purpose is to support the hegemony of white Christian men over and against the flourishing of others. To put it more baldly, evangelicalism is an Americanized Christianity born in the contex "Why do people who identify as evangelicals vote over and over again for political figures who in speech and deed do not evince the Christian qualities that evangelicalism espouses? My answer is that evangelicalism is not a simply religious group at all. Rather, it is a nationalistic political movement whose purpose is to support the hegemony of white Christian men over and against the flourishing of others. To put it more baldly, evangelicalism is an Americanized Christianity born in the context of Christian slaveholders." Every person who considers themself an evangelical or was raised in evangelical culture needs to read this book. Dr. Butler methodically and comprehensively outlines in detail the ways that evangelicalism serves to uphold white supremacy in the United States and how this has always been the implicit purpose of evangelicalism as a culture and an institution. Racism didn't show up in megachurches in 2016; it's baked into the very framework of what it means to be an evangelical, what it means to be pro-life, and what it means to hold "family values." A clean 176 pages—you can read it over a weekend—and if you're waiting for a sign that you need to read this, here is your sign. Get reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Parker

    An interesting read that I hope sparks conversations in many circles, especially evangelical ones. I wish this book was a little longer and had more background on evangelicalism. I feel like laying out the foundational concepts before getting into the history and intricacies would have helped because the word "evangelical" is thrown around in many different contexts. Key takeaways: -"Color-blind conservatism rested on the idea that since the government was "taking care" of race reform, there was An interesting read that I hope sparks conversations in many circles, especially evangelical ones. I wish this book was a little longer and had more background on evangelicalism. I feel like laying out the foundational concepts before getting into the history and intricacies would have helped because the word "evangelical" is thrown around in many different contexts. Key takeaways: -"Color-blind conservatism rested on the idea that since the government was "taking care" of race reform, there was no need for conservatives to discuss racial issues in depth, detail, or sincerity" (59). -Framing evangelicals as a "persecuted minority" & how this narrative remains today -Intersection of racism and capitalism: "Capitalism and Christianity in America melded with free enterprise in the twentieth century. This affinity created an interesting synergy in the twenty-first century, supplanting the values of caring for the poor and the indigent with the values of free markets, individual responsibility, and a sense that the government should not provide assistance to those who Teavangelicals viewed as unable to manage in the marketplace, whatever the reason may be" (123). -Inherent racism in evangelicalism: "Even when Black Christians were killed, evangelicals' responses did not address racial injustice" (133). (Dylann Roof and murder of Black parishioners in South Carolina)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Roslyn K

    I've got mixed feelings about this book. As a whole, I wholeheartedly agree with Butler's thesis that White evangelicalism is inextricably tied up with racism in the United States and that any attempt to under why White evangelicals vote and act the way they do has to be understood in this framework. But this book felt far too short, without nearly enough citations throughout the text. It was clear that Butler had been an evangelical simply because she wrote like an insider with intimate familia I've got mixed feelings about this book. As a whole, I wholeheartedly agree with Butler's thesis that White evangelicalism is inextricably tied up with racism in the United States and that any attempt to under why White evangelicals vote and act the way they do has to be understood in this framework. But this book felt far too short, without nearly enough citations throughout the text. It was clear that Butler had been an evangelical simply because she wrote like an insider with intimate familiarity with the topic, that not all readers would share. I have never been involved with evangelicalism in any form so while I'm familiar with the basics through pop culture, I wasn't familiar with a lot of the figures and events that Butler referenced. This book just needed to be expanded with more explanations and more detailed critiques. If Butler ever does write something more on this topic, I would be very interested in reading it and I'll be paying attention to what she puts out in the future, but I was somewhat disappointed with this first offering.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Randy Rasa

    Hard truths, sketching the through-line between the launching of the Evangelical movement in post-Civil-War reconstruction, through the Southern grievances exemplified by the Lost Cause myth and Jim Crow, the emergence of Billy Graham and televangelists, on to the explicit tethering of Evangelicalism to white nationalism and the Republican party, resulting in the Trump presidency and a GOP that festers in a bitter stew of anger, demonization, grifts, and endless cultural wars designed to keep th Hard truths, sketching the through-line between the launching of the Evangelical movement in post-Civil-War reconstruction, through the Southern grievances exemplified by the Lost Cause myth and Jim Crow, the emergence of Billy Graham and televangelists, on to the explicit tethering of Evangelicalism to white nationalism and the Republican party, resulting in the Trump presidency and a GOP that festers in a bitter stew of anger, demonization, grifts, and endless cultural wars designed to keep their base engaged and roiling in hatred and resentment. The resulting religious/political alliance bears little resemblance to the morality and values that Christians are supposed to hold dear. This short book packs an incredible punch. I wish people caught up in the cult-like grip of religious white nationalism could read this important book, and with an open heart and mind, accept its hard truths, and move back into the light.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I felt like this was a useful book to read in that it connected some dots I hadn't thought to connect, and pointed out many dog whistles that I hadn't been fully aware of. I think her basic idea will affect the lens through which I see the world. In places I thought she wasn't very thorough in making her arguments, or she talked about related issues (like anti-communism and racism) as if they were just two words for the same thing. Also, and relatedly, the book was weirdly short for a concept th I felt like this was a useful book to read in that it connected some dots I hadn't thought to connect, and pointed out many dog whistles that I hadn't been fully aware of. I think her basic idea will affect the lens through which I see the world. In places I thought she wasn't very thorough in making her arguments, or she talked about related issues (like anti-communism and racism) as if they were just two words for the same thing. Also, and relatedly, the book was weirdly short for a concept that has both a lot of history and contemporary relevance.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J Percell Lakin

    An important book that takes the reader through the evangelical movement starting in the nineteenth century to show that racism has always been imbedded in white evangelicalism. The book goes a long way to ensure that we understand that what many have seen as a radial change in the movement over the last several years has actually been the movement being true to its history and roots. As Professor Butler points out at this point in our historical moment, “evangelicals are not being persecuted in An important book that takes the reader through the evangelical movement starting in the nineteenth century to show that racism has always been imbedded in white evangelicalism. The book goes a long way to ensure that we understand that what many have seen as a radial change in the movement over the last several years has actually been the movement being true to its history and roots. As Professor Butler points out at this point in our historical moment, “evangelicals are not being persecuted in America. They are being called to account.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    Wow, this concise text packs a wallop! Ms. Butler, black and a former Evangelical herself, qualifies and quantifies things that I have felt intuitively with compelling history and facts. She makes clear links that result in unavoidable conclusions. And this book isn't merely about a religious group (that makes up a huge chunk of our citizenry). This gets to the bedrock of our culture and our politics. A quick and very enlightening read! Wow, this concise text packs a wallop! Ms. Butler, black and a former Evangelical herself, qualifies and quantifies things that I have felt intuitively with compelling history and facts. She makes clear links that result in unavoidable conclusions. And this book isn't merely about a religious group (that makes up a huge chunk of our citizenry). This gets to the bedrock of our culture and our politics. A quick and very enlightening read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daphne

    The author plainly states evangelicals you have a problem and that problem is racism. Evangelical Christianity is American racism clothed in Christianity and upholding slave traditions. Choices made by leaders and their followers want power and hold on to traditions that give them power over other races and ethnic groups. Butler says Trump was not the cause - they were racist all along. There is a lot to unpack here - it's an overview of American Christianity with all of its flaws. The author plainly states evangelicals you have a problem and that problem is racism. Evangelical Christianity is American racism clothed in Christianity and upholding slave traditions. Choices made by leaders and their followers want power and hold on to traditions that give them power over other races and ethnic groups. Butler says Trump was not the cause - they were racist all along. There is a lot to unpack here - it's an overview of American Christianity with all of its flaws.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thomas (Tom) Baynham,Jr.

    Professor Butler does a remarkable job in describing the unholy union between the Republican Party and evangelicals. This is a "must read" regardless of your political or theological stance. My copy of the book is marked all over, but perhaps her best quote comes on the final page, "Can you step away from the headiness of being in the position of power to see the brokenness of your neighbors and the nation?" Professor Butler does a remarkable job in describing the unholy union between the Republican Party and evangelicals. This is a "must read" regardless of your political or theological stance. My copy of the book is marked all over, but perhaps her best quote comes on the final page, "Can you step away from the headiness of being in the position of power to see the brokenness of your neighbors and the nation?"

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary C

    An eye opening book about the history of the Evangelical Church in the USA. I’ve never been able to figure out why Trump has such strong support from this group – the book certainly provided the answer. It also paints a clear picture about the role the Evangelical Church plays in the huge division that currently exists.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donald Powell

    A powerful analysis of the role racism plays in the Christian Evangelical phenomenon. This book is a well constructed and historically supported call the "Emperor Wears No Clothes." The author is direct and minces no words in her conclusion. The theme of this book needs to be yelled from the rooftops. A powerful analysis of the role racism plays in the Christian Evangelical phenomenon. This book is a well constructed and historically supported call the "Emperor Wears No Clothes." The author is direct and minces no words in her conclusion. The theme of this book needs to be yelled from the rooftops.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Thomas

    White Evangelical Racism by Anthea Butler 9781469661179 176 Pages Publisher: University of North Carolina Press, Ferris and Ferris Books Release Date: March 22, 2021 Nonfiction (Adult), History, Racism, Religion, Politics The author stresses that the term “White” in the title refers to the fact that evangelical moved from theological to political. The movement has changed much since the 1970s when it embraced the Republican party. There are Black evangelicals like Tom Skinner and others, but they do n White Evangelical Racism by Anthea Butler 9781469661179 176 Pages Publisher: University of North Carolina Press, Ferris and Ferris Books Release Date: March 22, 2021 Nonfiction (Adult), History, Racism, Religion, Politics The author stresses that the term “White” in the title refers to the fact that evangelical moved from theological to political. The movement has changed much since the 1970s when it embraced the Republican party. There are Black evangelicals like Tom Skinner and others, but they do not align with the majority of the evangelicals. One of the originators of the evangelical movement was Billy Graham in the 1950s. Things are certainly different now in 2021 where many evangelicals court Trump and the far right. Those that support Trump, believe racism is not a moral disqualification in the president of the United States as stated by Michael Gerson in 2018. The author gives an example of a mixed-race couple looking to rent a hall for a wedding reception in Mississippi. They were told by the event hall owner that it was against their Christian race or belief. This did not happen in the 1950s or 1960s; this happened in 2019. She touches on the topics of racism, birtherism, islamophobia, and discrimination to the LGBTQIA community. She also goes into detail about the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Franklin Graham and how they set the stage for the 2016 election. Donald Trump began pushing birtherism and Islamophobia in 2011 along with evangelical media outlets until Obama released his long form birth certificate. She concludes with her definition of what evangelicalism has become. This book is not for everyone. However, if you believe in equal rights for all, Black Lives Matter, and children should not be in cages at the border, you will understand and appreciate reading this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David Wimer

    This book is a much needed, well-written, and well-researched criticism of the most toxic and hypocritical subculture in America.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    An illuminating, bold, and fearless primer on the history of racism and white supremacy that animates evangelicalism in the US and its investment in conservative politics.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chantale Onesi-Gonzalez

    With "White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America", Dr. Anthea Butler gives us an important piece of work on the origins and continued persistence of White Evangelicalism in American right-wing politics, as well as the foundation of racism that continues to influence the White Evangelical church in America. Through a survey of the White Evangelical's rise to political power through the Republican establishment, Dr. Butler shows just how insipid the movement has been and how Whi With "White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America", Dr. Anthea Butler gives us an important piece of work on the origins and continued persistence of White Evangelicalism in American right-wing politics, as well as the foundation of racism that continues to influence the White Evangelical church in America. Through a survey of the White Evangelical's rise to political power through the Republican establishment, Dr. Butler shows just how insipid the movement has been and how White Christian racism continues to be a force in the Republican party. If you think that White Nationalism started with Trump and the MAGA crowd, you need to read this book! Although I had a cursory knowledge of the subject matter going into the reading of this book, I did not understand how fully intertwined White Evangelicalism is in politics. Knowing that lobbies exist to restrict women's, civil, and human rights is just the tip of the iceberg to fully understanding the motivations and ways in which the right has infiltrated the republican party and played it to their advantage. Dr. Butler clearly maps out the path that has been taken by White Evangelical leaders to embed in the existing structures and mold them to their will. This well researched and presented tome is important reading. If you think you understand the politics of America, but you have never considered how the structures are built upon centuries of racism, you need to read Dr. Butler's work. She also builds upon a wealth of knowledge previously published, shown in her endnotes of selected readings. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Butler for compiling this work for the general public as it will add to the canon of important reads on the topic of race, society, religion, and American political theory.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Silliman

    I was hoping the book would go into more detail and examine specific issues, e.g., with Billy Graham's gradualism or Oral Roberts' diversity, but Butler stays at a pretty high above it. Book is broad and fast. Certain to be divisive. Less certain whether the details marshaled here will change anyone's mind. I was hoping the book would go into more detail and examine specific issues, e.g., with Billy Graham's gradualism or Oral Roberts' diversity, but Butler stays at a pretty high above it. Book is broad and fast. Certain to be divisive. Less certain whether the details marshaled here will change anyone's mind.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Farley

    I read it in one setting. Such a thoughtful book on the history that those academics writing from the center of white evangelicalism have largely left out.

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