In one of the most insightful, provocative, and witty books yet to explore the fascinating relationship between the Bible and American politics, author Jacques Berlinerblau looks at how the left, right, and everyone in between have used and misused the Bible to advance their political causes and careers.
“The Bible’s ‘raw power’ is surging into American politics with an intensity perhaps not equaled since the nineteenth century,” Berlinerblau writes in his introduction. Politicians, especially those seeking the presidency, know the importance of having, as Berlinerblau calls it, “a good Scripture game.” And no longer do Republicans have a grip on this; blue-state Democrats have begun quoting Scripture, employing religious advisors, and telling their own faith stories in an effort to court the religious vote.
In this engaging book Berlinerblau looks at the recent history of how Scripture has influenced public policy debates about the environment, abortion, stem-cell research, and foreign policy; how recent U.S. presidents have employed the Bible; and how each of the major candidates in the 2008 presidential elections is using and often misusing the Bible in his or her race for the White House.
He concludes that politicians would do well to invoke Scripture with caution because, as he says, too often it can be used to argue both sides of a position. “It is an abuse of the Bible to claim that the answer to highly nuanced and complex modern problems simply sits on its pages. . . . It is a cynical business, politics is. It becomes no less so when public servants and interest groups get it into their heads that God Himself provided proof texts for their policy initiatives two thousand years ago.”
“This book uniquely combines the author’s expertise as a biblical scholar with his canny perception of the American political scene in a volatile presidential election year. Events move quickly and unpredictably, but this kind of analysis may prove useful for a long time to come.”
--J. Philip Wogaman, author of From the Eye of the Storm: A Pastor to the President Speaks Out, and former pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC.
From the Circuit Rider review: "As the general campaign heats up in anticipation of the presidential election in November, this new book offers a fascinating new look at an old issue, namely candidates’ and politicians’ use of the Bible in public political discourse. Prof. Jacques Berlinerblau brings impressive credentials to this work." (Click here to read the entire review.)