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.
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. I spoke on the topic at the National Women’s Studies Association and at the Paul Henry Institute, but then I set the project aside for a time. I needed to finish my first book on Christian feminism, and, related to that project, I had begun to investigate Hillary Clinton’s religious formation as well.
It was only in October of 2016 that things clicked. Even after the Access Hollywood tapes, 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 as much as he was its fulfillment. Or so I argued at Religion & Politics. The book will be published with Norton’s Liveright Publishing, with an early 2020 release date.
Side note: For a somewhat related and widely read linguistic analysis of Donald Trump’s rhetoric, written during the heat of the 2016 campaign, see “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, By Their Words.”
Journey of Faith: Hillary Clinton and the Polarization of American Christianity
Having spent a lot of time reading the sermons and diaries of intrepid Methodist women in the late 19th– and early-twentieth centuries, I couldn’t help but see Hillary Clinton as a torchbearer of this vibrant tradition of progressive faith and activism. Yet it puzzled me that so many people, on the left and right, saw her as “secular”–or even “pagan.” The more I began to dig into her story, the more I began to realize that to tell her story is to tell the story of Christianity in recent American history. This narrative is perhaps all the more important given her loss in the 2016 election.