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White Evangelical Racism

The Politics of Morality in America

Anthea Butler



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The University of North Carolina Press
30 March 2021
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.
Imprint:   The University of North Carolina Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 191mm,  Width: 127mm, 
Weight:   260g
ISBN:   9781469661179
ISBN 10:   1469661179
Series:   Ferris and Ferris Books
Pages:   176
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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.

Reviews for White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America

White Evangelical Racism has dropped a bomb on the playground of many historians of evangelicalism who have been insufficiently attentive to their subjects' history, specifically to their racism and nationalism from the nineteenth century to the present.--American Religion Butler offers a glimpse at the key power players, institutions, and politicians that shaped the religious right and the Republican party into the White-centered, pseudo-Christian voting bloc that it is today. . . . This book is a significant resource for understanding the non-neutrality and intentional formation of White evangelicals' racism, and by extension, moral politics. As democracy itself is in danger under the gerrymandering leadership of self-proclaimed Christian leaders in the Republican party, this book is an important read to help distinguish the spiritual from the political, as well as to shine a light on the entanglement of faith, politics, and power.--Christians for Social Action Those who claim the name Evangelical should consider Butler's work very carefully.--CHOICE Showcases Butler's prophetic voice. . . . Butler's synthesis is of great value.--Reading Religion Butler's work can be the beginning of a deep dive into the subject but it can also be read by anyone who wants to see below the surface tension of Black Lives Matter for example. Racism can be and is individual. It is also deftly institutional. You won't hear the words 'color blind' the same way again after reading Butler's timely volume. I highly recommend it.--By Common Consent Dr. Anthea Butler offers a succinct and compelling analysis of evangelicalism's racist roots. While some have argued that evangelical racism began in the Trump era, and have loudly cried, 'Not all evangelicals!' Butler gives ample evidence that racism has always been a cornerstone of evangelicalism. . . . Butler's invitation to look, to see, and most importantly to change, is one that we must accept.--Englewood Review of Books [Butler's] ability to weave together history, personal experience, and contemporary reflection in such a cohesive and approachable manner makes White Evangelical Racism stand out. . . . By critiquing and unequivocally condemning White evangelical racism while also acknowledging another evangelical lineage, Butler presents masterful critique while still providing space for a much-needed nuance often missed when speaking about the tradition in America as a whole.--The Christian Century By placing before us a truer narrative of where we are, even as policies of voter suppression are undertaken by self-described Christians in elected office across the country, Anthea Butler has given us a gift of discernment.--Chapter 16 A concise history of the racism that structures white evangelical Christianity in America. . . . [The] clear and forceful synthesis provides a useful entry point for evangelicals and non-evangelicals alike seeking to learn the history and contemporary reality of white evangelical political power in the United States.--Library Journal Show[s] how evangelicals' contemporary embrace of right-wing politics is rooted in its centuries-long problem with race. This scathing takedown of evangelicalism's 'racism problem' will challenge evangelicals to confront and reject racism within church communities.--Publishers Weekly

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