cover image White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America

White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America

Anthea Butler. Univ. of North Carolina/Ferris and Ferris, $24 (176p) ISBN 978-1-46966-117-9

In this vigorous volume, Butler (The Rise of the New Religious Right) forcefully argues that racism is “a feature, not a bug, of American evangelicalism.” She traces how white evangelicalism has responded to and been influenced by eras of slavery, emancipation, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the civil rights era, and in the rise of the “Moral Majority” and makes a persuasive case that evangelicalism is a “nationalistic political movement whose purpose is to support the hegemony of white Christian men over and against the flourishing of others.” Butler’s narrative revisits famous figures such as Frederick Douglass (whose autobiography “provided fuel for the abolitionist movement” and caused rifts in communities of white evangelicals), Franklin Graham (whose overt Islamophobia demonstrated how “racism became an undeniable aspect of American evangelicals and their public persona”), and Sarah Palin (who “tugged at the heartstrings of older white evangelicals who did not want to see a Black man in the White House”) to show 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. (Mar.)