NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERThe “paradigm-influencing” book (Christianity Today) that is fundamentally transforming our understanding of white evangelicalism in America.Jesus and John Wayne is a sweeping, revisionist history of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, revealing how evangelicals have worked to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism―or in the words of one modern chaplain, with “a spiritual badass.”As acclaimed scholar Kristin Du Mez explains, the key to understanding this transformation is to recognize the centrality of popular culture in contemporary American evangelicalism. Many of today’s evangelicals might not be theologically astute, but they know their VeggieTales, they’ve read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, and they learned about purity before they learned about sex―and they have a silver ring to prove it. Evangelical books, films, music, clothing, and merchandise shape the beliefs of millions. And evangelical culture is teeming with muscular heroes―mythical warriors and rugged soldiers, men like Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and the Duck Dynasty clan, who assert white masculine power in defense of “Christian America.” Chief among these evangelical legends is John Wayne, an icon of a lost time when men were uncowed by political correctness, unafraid to tell it like it was, and did what needed to be done.Challenging the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Trump in fact represented the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values: patriarchy, authoritarian rule, aggressive foreign policy, fear of Islam, ambivalence toward #MeToo, and opposition to Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community. A much-needed reexamination of perhaps the most influential subculture in this country, Jesus and John Wayne shows that, far from adhering to biblical principles, modern white evangelicals have remade their faith, with enduring consequences for all Americans. 15 black-and-white illustrations
Kristin Kobes Du Mez
June 8, 2021
File Size: 59 MB
Available File Formats: PDF AZW3 DOCX EPUB MOBI TXT or Kindle audiobook Audio CD(Several files can be converted to each other)
Language: English, Francais, Italiano, Espanol, Deutsch, chinese
“[Du Mez’s] astonishing gifting was in the way she took 1000 puzzle pieces and fit them together. I don’t swallow books whole but the evidence for much of what she’s written is staring us in the face.” ― Beth Moore, on Twitter 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 About the Author Kristin Kobes Du Mez is a professor of history at Calvin University and the author of A New Gospel for Women. She has written for the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Christian Century, and Religion & Politics, among other publications. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more <div id="
Even though she does make some good points on how Trump got elected, I feel she is very agenda driven and not very discriminating when she lumps many different people together under the one “problematic evangelical” banner. Also, she misrepresents many historical events to make her points. From this book it seems like she doesn’t know what the gospel is, what the Bible is all about, and what it means to be a biblical Christian. And I’ve been a Christian for 48 years and I have never heard anyone say John Wayne is a good example of a Christian man.
According to Kristin Du Mez, everything that white Evangelicals [male patriarchs, as well as their female supporters who betray the feminist cause] have done has been to suppress women, poor people, black people and homosexual or effeminate men, in order to reinforce a strong dominating patriarchy. If you enjoy a good conspiracy theory, then put on your tinfoil hat and buckle up. By the time you’re done reading Jesus and John Wayne, you’ll be wondering how Moses used the law of male circumcision for political leverage over women, and how Jesus’ example of God taking care of little sparrows was to further the cause of male dominion to avoid household chores. It really doesn’t get much better than this, folks.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.
This book is amazing. As a child of the 90s that grew up close to the evangelical community (with VeggieTales, Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family, and Wild at Heart), the Christian culture that Dr. Du Mez analyzes was a consistent “background noise” in my life. But at that point, much of the history had happened (though not all). I’ve been left unaware of the historical roots of this type of Christian nationalism, and so was completely blindsided by the eager support of Donald Trump from many within my community.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.
Besides the interview on Morning Edition, in part it was the teaser introduction shown on my Kindle that led me to buy the book. For many years I traveled to northwest Iowa for business were the author grew up. The publicity intro described some of her experiences there, so I hoped the book would shed some light for me on some of the conservative Calvinist-Dutch-Iowan culture I visited over those years. But more than that, the subtitle was intriguing— “How white evangelicals corrupted a faith and fractured a nation”. I’m genuinely interested in a new take on the mental gymnastics some of my evangelical friends must do daily. So, rural Iowa culture and corrupted faith—I bought it. I wanted to like it, but in the end, the book didn’t deliver for me. I don’t really care about the Iowa part, but I expected more insight into the corrupted faith and fractured nation bit. I don’t remember the author describing what un-corrupted faith means, for comparison, just so we know. The fractured nation, I felt, wasn’t adequately supported either unless the fractured nation is assumed. The introduction tells us white evangelicals’ choice of and enthusiasm forTrump isn’t pragmatic or transactional, rather results from their inherited culture of militant masculinity that elevates Trump in all his Trumpy-ness—because of it, not in-spite of it. This thesis is recapitulated in the conclusion.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.
This book left a very bitter taste in my heart and soul. I am surprised Ms. Kobes duMez is a professor in a Christian university. It is biased towards an obviously already forgone conclusion, white males and particularly white male evangelicals are the problem for everything gone wrong in the west, particularly the US. Her definition of evangelicals is pathetic and the book is lacking on any answers to her perceived problems.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
This is a really helpful insight into American white Evangelicalism. You understand why it is so different to that form of Christianity in the rest of the world, where the heritage of social action and personal piety are the hallmarks, rather than the culture wars and strong personalities in the US. The reliance on a particular style of male leadership both in the Church and the political realm is examined carefully to show how it has had a toxic effect on the American culture as a whole.
The author writes of “cultural evangelicalism” and is absolutely correct. Christianity as a lifestyle choice, rather than a life changing encounter. Humilty takes a back seat to machismo; peace to war; turning the other cheek to gleeful revenge. I note a number of reviewers who have gone for one or two stars, decry the lack of Bible references. I would urge them to read the Beatitudes and see if the “masculinity” and misplaced patriotism of the individuals the professor writes about uphold the values highlighted therein. I respect you for reading this book, but you were never going to agree with its contents.
Just read ‘Jesus & John Wayne’ & gotta say I’m impressed. It’s a well researched & well written account of the religious right in America & how ideas about gender laid the ground for Trumpism. I like how it’s nuanced & joins the dots. Really good!
I’ve been waiting for this book for months and it did not disappoint. The author does an excellent job of reviewing several decades of American history, and the increasing emphasis on an aggressive and militant view of masculinity within the white evangelical population of the United States of America. The author highlights leaders within the the white evangelical population and trends of political fortune through the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st. All of this culminates in the election of Donald Trump as President–and far from being out-of-left-field, the author makes a compelling case for Donald Trump being the epitome of the aggressive and militant masculinity the white evangelical population of the USA was clamouring for. This is a must-read book for any who are struggling to see how we got to this place and want a better future for all.
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