“Victimhood and Vengeance” | Books on Christian Nationalism Featured in The New York Review

Bex Sussman

Writing about books on the rise of Christian nationalism in the February 9 issue of The New York Review, Linda Greenhouse featured recently-released works by David Sehat, Phil Gorksi and David Hollinger, the latter two of whom will be in conversation as part of a BCSR event happening this month. On March 23, Phil Gorski, Frederick and Laura Goff Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at Yale University, will speak about his book The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy (Oxford University Press), co-authored with Samuel L. Perry. David Hollinger, Preston Hotchkis Professor Emeritus of History at UC Berkeley, will be the respondent. Hollinger is the author of Christianity’s American Fate: How Religion Became More Conservative and Society More Secular (Princeton University Press).

Greenhouse writes,

“According to a recent Pew Research poll, 60 percent of Americans believe the country was founded to be a Christian nation, and nearly half (including 81 percent of white evangelicals) think it should be one today. Whether that has changed over the course of US history is beside the point: what’s new is the contemporary political and social salience of Christian nationalism. As mainline Protestantism has faded, David Hollinger observes in Christianity’s American Fate,

Christianity has become an instrument for the most politically, culturally, and theologically reactionary Americans. White evangelical Protestants were an indispensable foundation for Donald Trump’s presidency and have become the core of the Republican Party’s electoral strength. They are the most conspicuous advocates of “Christian nationalism.”…Most of Christianity’s symbolic capital has been seized by a segment of the population committed to ideas about the Bible, the family, and civics that most other Americans reject.

How did this happen? Gorski and Perry, Hollinger, and David Sehat in This Earthly Frame agree that the answer lies in white evangelicals’ response to the profound cultural changes the country experienced during the second half of the twentieth century. That may sound obvious, but with varied approaches, these three books offer insights that are both illuminating and alarming.”

Read the full article on the New York Review of Books website here.

Register here for Phil Gorski’s book talk, presented in-person at UC Berkeley and streaming online via Zoom.

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