How did America's white evangelicals, from often progressive history, come to right-wing populism? Addressing populism requires understanding how its historico-cultural roots ground present politics. How have the very qualities that contributed much to American vibrancy - an anti-authoritarian government-wariness and energetic community-building--turned, under conditions of distress, to defensive, us-them worldviews?
Readers will gain an understanding of populism and of the socio-political and religious history from which populism draws its us-them policies and worldview. Readers will be able to ponder the tragic cast of the white evangelical story: (i) the distorting effects of economic and way-of-life duress on the understanding of history and present circumstances and (ii) the tragedy of choosing us-them solutions to duress that won't relieve it, leaving the duress in place. Readers will trace the trajectory from economic, status loss, and way-of-life duresses to solutions in populist, us-them binaries. They will explore the robust white evangelical contribution to civil society but also to racism, xenophobia, and sexism. White evangelicals not in the ranks of the right--their worldview and activism - are discussed in a final chapter.
This book is valuable reading for students of political and social sciences as well as anyone interested in US politics.