I first started exploring evangelical masculinity and militarism nearly a decade ago, not knowing that the presidency of Donald Trump would be its culminating chapter. It was in October 2016 that things clicked for me. Even after the Access Hollywood tape, white evangelicals continued to support Trump. How could they embrace a man who made a mockery of their deeply held “family values”? But then I realized that popular evangelical literature on masculinity had prepared evangelicals for a man like Trump. Trump didn’t represent the betrayal of American evangelicalism, he was its fulfillment. Or so I argued at Religion & Politics the week of Trump’s inauguration. I then set out to tell the whole story in Jesus and John Wayne. It’s been a wild ride.
Early praise for Jesus and John Wayne:
“The well-researched narrative is reasoned and dispassionate…. Readers not on the fringe right will find it difficult to take issue with her arguments. An evangelical-focused anti-Trump book that carries academic weight.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Jesus and John Wayne demolishes the myth that Christian nationalists simply held their noses to form a pragmatic alliance with Donald Trump. With brilliant analysis and detailed scholarship, Kristin Kobes Du Mez shows how conservative evangelical leaders have promoted the authoritarian, patriarchal values that have achieved their finest representative in Trump. A stunning exploration of the relationship between modern evangelicalism, militarism, and American masculinity.”
– Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism
“Politically, Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s new book, Jesus and John Wayne, offers an extremely important―and underrated―insight into why white evangelicals have fallen so deeply in love with Donald Trump. Personally, and for all of us who lived through this history, the book surfaces deep continuities between different people, events, movements, and trends that we may not have noticed. It is a scholarly work of history, but it is so well written that it promises to be popular with a wide audience. Highly recommended, especially at this critical moment in religious, cultural, and political history.”
– Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith
“This deeply perceptive book establishes Kristin Kobes Du Mez as the Christian critic of this crisis moment. She demonstrates how a certain warrior fantasy saturated white evangelicalism and decided American elections. Along the way, we discover how our political life became defined by the conjunction of religion and popular culture. Required reading.”
– Kathryn Lofton, Yale University, author of Consuming Religion
“Wielding supreme command of evangelical theology, popular culture, history and politics, as well as rare skill with the pen, Kristin Kobes Du Mez explodes the myth that evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in spite of his crude machismo. It turns out that the opposite is true: for generations, white male evangelical leaders and their supportive wives have been building a movement of brazen masculinity and patriarchal authority, with hopes of finding a warrior who could extend their power to the White House. In Trump they found their man. This is a searing and sobering book, one that should be read by anyone who wants to grasp our political moment and the religious movement that helped get us here.”
– Darren Dochuk, author of Anointed With Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America
“I endorse Kristin Du Mez’s lively and readable account of evangelical political history, having personally seen it from the inside during nearly three decades with the National Association of Evangelicals. Those who legitimately ask “How can evangelicals support Donald Trump?” need to read this book to understand why. An extraordinary work.”
– Reverend Richard Cizik, President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
My first book is about Katharine Bushnell. Not exactly a household name, but that was kind of the point. Once an internationally-known anti-trafficking activist and feminist theologian, Bushnell had all but disappeared from the historical record. Her story tells us a lot about the relationship between Christianity and feminism in America. And, once you read about her remarkable, radical-yet-orthodox revision of the Christian scriptures, you’ll never read the Bible the same way again. Is it possible to be a Christian and a feminist? After this book, you might wonder if it’s possible not to be.
For a preview of Bushnell’s theology and why it matters today, here’s a recent blog post that pulls everything together: Hey, John MacArthur. You have a culture. It’s called white (Christian) patriarchy.