Accounting for Fundamentalisms features treatments of fundamentalist movements, groups that often make headlines but are rarely understood, as part of the multivolume Fundamentalism Project. This book remains a standard reference source for comprehending the dynamics of fundamentalist movements around the world. Surveying fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, the contributors to Accounting for Fundamentalisms describe the organization of these movements, their leadership and recruiting techniques, and the ways in which their ideological programs and organizational structures shift over time in response to changing political and social environments.
On the face of it, most of us would agree that catastrophe is harmful and avoiding it is key to human survival and progress. And yet, the planet warms, 30,000 more Americans are killed by guns each year, and Donald J. Trump creates political chaos with his rage tweets. American Catastrophe explores such examples to argue that, in fact, we live in an age where catastrophe not only functions as a dominant organizing rhetoric but further as an appealing and unifying force for many communities across America.
Luke Winslow introduces the rhetorical homology as a critical tool useful for understanding how catastrophic appeals unite Americans across disparate religious, ecological, cultural, and political spheres. More specifically, the four case study chapters examining Christian fundamentalism, anti-environmentalism, gun rights messaging, and the administration of Donald Trump reveal a consistent formal pattern oriented toward catastrophe. In teasing out this orientation toward catastrophe, Winslow offers a fresh, provocative, and insightful contribution to our most pressing social challenges.
Why do so many evangelicals follow leaders with dubious credentials when they have other options in their own faith? Exploring intellectual authority within evangelicalism, the authors reveal how the concept of anointing—being chosen by God to speak for him—established a conservative evangelical leadership isolated from secular arts and sciences.
In The Antigay Agenda, Didi Herman probes the values, beliefs, and rhetoric of the organizations of the Christian Right. Tracing the emergence of their antigay agenda, Herman explores how and why these groups made antigay activity a top priority, and how it relates to their political history.
"A penetrating analysis of the Christian Right's antigay agenda and of how that agenda is derived from the Christian Right's peculiar vision of American history and the Christian faith."—Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Boston Book Review
"Public intellectualism at its best. . . . A comprehensive summary of the conservative Protestant worldview."—Michael Joseph Gross, Boston Phoenix Literary Section
"Presents considerable information not previously part of the nation's political discourse. . . . [Herman] dissects the Christian Right's antigay stance dispassionately giving, as it were, the devil his due. For anyone on either side of this passionate and important conflict, that is an impressive accomplishment."—Hastings Wyman, Jr., Washington Post Book World
Since 1979 Southern Baptists have been noisily struggling to agree on symbols, beliefs, and practices as they attempt to make sense of their changing social world. Nancy Ammerman has carefully documented their struggle. She tells the story of the Baptist reversal from a moderate to a fundamentalist outlook and speculates on the future of the denomination.
Ammerman places change among the Southern Baptists in the context of the cultural and economic changes that have transformed the South from its rural past into an urbanizing, culturally diverse region. Not only did the South change; Southern Baptists did as well. Reflecting this diversity, the Southern Baptist bureaucracy was relatively progressive. During the 1960s and 1970s, moderate sentiments prevailed, while fundamentalists remained on the margins. These two were, however, becoming increasingly divergent in what they considered important about being a Baptist, in their views about the Bible, in their attitudes on the origination of women, on Christian morals, and on national politics.
Late in the 1970s, a fundamentalist coalition emerged, followed by unsuccessful efforts by moderates to oppose it. The battles escalated until 1985, when 45,000 Baptists gathered in Dallas to decide between contending presidential candidates. That dramatic event illustrated the extent to which organized political resources were determining the course of the conflict. Ammerman studies these strategies and resources as well.
Examining how this tension affected Baptists, Ammerman begins with case studies of the change it is producing in Baptist agencies. But she also brings us back to the local churches and individual believers who are renegotiating their relationships within their denomination. She asks whether the denomination’s polity can accommodate an increasingly diverse group of Baptists, of whether the only way dissidents can have a voice is through schism.
When rock ’n’ roll emerged in the 1950s, ministers denounced it from their pulpits and Sunday school teachers warned of the music’s demonic origins. The big beat, said Billy Graham, was “ever working in the world for evil.” Yet by the early 2000s Christian rock had become a billion-dollar industry. The Devil’s Music tells the story of this transformation.
Rock’s origins lie in part with the energetic Southern Pentecostal churches where Elvis, Little Richard, James Brown, and other pioneers of the genre worshipped as children. Randall J. Stephens shows that the music, styles, and ideas of tongue-speaking churches powerfully influenced these early performers. As rock ’n’ roll’s popularity grew, white preachers tried to distance their flock from this “blasphemous jungle music,” with little success. By the 1960s, Christian leaders feared the Beatles really were more popular than Jesus, as John Lennon claimed.
Stephens argues that in the early days of rock ’n’ roll, faith served as a vehicle for whites’ racial fears. A decade later, evangelical Christians were at odds with the counterculture and the antiwar movement. By associating the music of blacks and hippies with godlessness, believers used their faith to justify racism and conservative politics. But in a reversal of strategy in the early 1970s, the same evangelicals embraced Christian rock as a way to express Jesus’s message within their own religious community and project it into a secular world. In Stephens’s compelling narrative, the result was a powerful fusion of conservatism and popular culture whose effects are still felt today.
Doctrine and Race examines the history of African American Baptists and Methodists of the early twentieth century and their struggle for equality in the context of white Protestant fundamentalism.
By presenting African American Protestantism in the context of white Protestant fundamentalism, Doctrine and Race:African American Evangelicals and Fundamentalism between the Wars demonstrates that African American Protestants were acutely aware of the manner in which white Christianity operated and how they could use that knowledge to justify social change. Mary Beth Swetnam Mathews’s study scrutinizes how white fundamentalists wrote blacks out of their definition of fundamentalism and how blacks constructed a definition of Christianity that had, at its core, an intrinsic belief in racial equality. In doing so, this volume challenges the prevailing scholarly argument that fundamentalism was either a doctrinal debate or an antimodernist force. Instead, it was a constantly shifting set of priorities for different groups at different times.
A number of African American theologians and clergy identified with many of the doctrinal tenets of the fundamentalism of their white counterparts, but African Americans were excluded from full fellowship with the fundamentalists because of their race. Moreover, these scholars and pastors did not limit themselves to traditional evangelical doctrine but embraced progressive theological concepts, such as the Social Gospel, to help them achieve racial equality. Nonetheless, they identified other forward-looking theological views, such as modernism, as threats to “true” Christianity.
Mathews demonstrates that, although traditional portraits of “the black church” have provided the illusion of a singular unified organization, black evangelical leaders debated passionately among themselves as they sought to preserve select aspects of the culture around them while rejecting others. The picture that emerges from this research creates a richer, more profound understanding of African American denominations as they struggled to contend with a white American society that saw them as inferior.
Doctrine and Race melds American religious history and race studies in innovative and compelling ways, highlighting the remarkable and rich complexity that attended to the development of African American Protestant movements.
Terrorism is a cancer, an infection, an epidemic, a plague. For more than a century, this metaphor has figured insurgent violence as contagion in order to contain its political energies. In Epidemic Empire, Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb shows that this trope began in responses to the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and tracks its tenacious hold through 9/11 and beyond. The result is the first book-length study to approach the global War on Terror from a postcolonial literary perspective.
Raza Kolb assembles a diverse archive from colonial India, imperial Britain, French and independent Algeria, the postcolonial Islamic diaspora, and the neoimperial United States. Anchoring her book are studies of four major writers in the colonial-postcolonial canon: Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Albert Camus, and Salman Rushdie. Across these sources, she reveals the tendency to imagine anticolonial rebellion, and Muslim insurgency specifically, as a virulent form of social contagion. Exposing the long history of this broken but persistent narrative, Epidemic Empire is a major contribution to the rhetorical history of our present moment.
"These personal narratives of distinguished Baptists illustrate the adverse consequences of exclusive fundamentalism, and the need for unity among traditional Baptists." -Jimmy Carter
“This book is an excellent example of just how fragile religion and religiosity are and how harmony can turn to animosity over trivia.”
-Will D. Campbell
It has been one of the major news stories in religion and culture of the past twenty-five years. From 1979 to 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was rocked by assaults on its leadership by fundamentalists, who used questionable
tactics to gain top positions and then used their power to purge Baptist seminary presidents and professors, church pastors, lay leaders, and women from positions of responsibility. America's largest Christian, non-Catholic denomination is firmly locked in a “holy war” to secure its churches and membership for a never-ending struggle against a liberal culture.
Exiled: Voices of the Southern Baptist Convention Holy War is a compilation of first-person narratives by conservative and moderate ministers and lay leaders who were stripped of their positions and essentially became pariahs in the churches to which they had devoted their lives.
While other books have described the takeover in historical, political, and theological terms, Exiled is different. Individual people tell their personal stories, revealing the struggle and heartache that resulted from being vilified, dispossessed, and exiled. Kell includes a variety of perspectives-from lay preachers and church members to prominent former SBC leaders such as James Dunn and Carolyn Crumpler.
The emotion captured on the pages-sadness, shock, disbelief, resignation,
and anger-will make Exiled moving even to readers who know little about the Southern Baptist movement. Exiled will also be of particular interest to historians, sociologists, philosophers of religion, and rhetorical historians.
Carl L. Kell is professor of communication at Western Kentucky University. He is the author, with Raymond Camp, of In the Name of the Father: The Rhetoric of the New Southern Baptist Convention and, with Paul R. Corts, of Fundamentals of Effective Group Communication, and of Let's Talk Business.
The Fundamentalism Project
Edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby
Around the world, fundamentalist movements are profoundly
affecting the way we live. Misinformation and misperception
about fundamentalism exacerbate conflicts at home and abroad.
Yet policymakers, journalists, students, and others have
lacked any comprehensive resource on the explosive phenomenon
of fundamentalism. Now the Fundamentalism Project has
assembled an international team of scholars for a multivolume
assessment of the history, scope, sources, character, and
impact of fundamentalist movements within the world's major
Fundamentalisms and Society shows how fundamentalist
movements have influenced human relations, education, women's
rights, and scientific research in over a dozen nations and
within the traditions of Islam, Judaism, Christianity,
Buddhism, and Hinduism. Drawn from the fields of
anthropology, sociology, history of religion, and history of
science, the contributors cover topics such as the
educational structures of Hindu revivalism, women in
fundamentalist Iran and Pakistan, and the creationist cosmos
of Protestant fundamentalism. In a concluding essay, William
H. McNeill situates contemporary fundamentalisms within a
world historical context.
The Fundamentalism Project, Volume 2
Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby direct the
Fundamentalism Project. Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone
Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Modern
Christianity at the University of Chicago, is the senior
editor of the Christian Century and the author of
numerous books, including the multivolume Modern American Religion, also published by the University of
Chicago Press. Appleby, a research associate at the
University of Chicago, is the author of “Church and Age Unite!” The Modernist Impulse in American Catholicism.
Brasher, Brenda E Rutgers University Press, 1997 Library of Congress BV639.W7B68 1998 | Dewey Decimal 277.30829082
One of Choice Magazine's Outstanding Academic Books of 1998
Fundamentalist women are often depicted as dedicated to furthering the goals and ideas of fundamentalist men and thus of ancillary importance to the movement as a whole. Godly Women, Brenda Brasher's groundbreaking ethnographic study, reveals the paradox that fundamentalist women can be powerful people in a religious cosmos generally understood to be organized around their disempowerment. Brasher spent six months as an active participant in two Christian fundamentalist congregations to study firsthand the power of fundamentalist women. In addition to the narrow set of religious beliefs that constitute each congregation, she discovered that gender functions as a sacred partition which literally divides the congregation in two, establishing parallel religious worlds. The first of these worlds is led by men and encompasses overall congregational life; the second is a world composed of and led solely by women. Brasher explores how and why women become involved in this highly gendered religious world by examining women's ministries, Bible study groups, and conversion narratives. She discovers that women-only activities create and sustain a parallel symbolic world within and among congregations, which improves women's ability to direct the course of their lives and empowers them in their relationships with others. The women develop intimate social networks that act as a resource for those in distress and provide the basis for political coalition when women wish to alter the patterns of congregational life. Brasher's study sheds new light on the ideas and faith experiences of fundamentalist women, revealing that the religiosity they develop is not as disempowering as one might think. Brenda Brasher is an assistant professor of religion at Mount Union College.
Is Bethany Baptist Academy God's choice? Ask the fundamentalist Christians who teach there or whose children attend the academy, and their answer will be a yes as unequivocal as their claim that the Bible is God's inerrant, absolute word. Is this truth or arrogance?
In God's Choice, Alan Peshkin offers readers the opportunity to consider this question in depth. Given the outsider's rare chance to observe such a school firsthand, Peshkin spent eighteen months studying Bethany's high school—interviewing students, parents, and educators, living in the home of Bethany Baptist Church members, and participating fully in the church's activities. From this intimate research he has fashioned a rich account of Christian schooling and an informed analysis of a clear alternative to public education.
More than any other individual, William Bell Riley, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, inspired the resurgence of Protestant fundamentalism in 1930s America. Trollinger explores the development of Riley’s theology and social thought, examining in detail the rise of the Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training School and other similar institutions. He sheds light upon the nature, successes, and failures of fundamentalist crusades and makes it clear that, to understand fundamentalist religion in America, one must focus upon its regional and local roots.
It is tempting to regard the perpetrators of the September 11th terrorist attacks as evil incarnate. But their motives, as Bruce Lincoln’s acclaimed Holy Terrors makes clear, were profoundly and intensely religious. Thus what we need after the events of 9/11, Lincoln argues, is greater clarity about what we take religion to be.
Holy Terrors begins with a gripping dissection of the instruction manual given to each of the 9/11 hijackers. In their evocation of passages from the Quran, we learn how the terrorists justified acts of destruction and mass murder “in the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate.” Lincoln then offers a provocative comparison of President Bush’s October 7, 2001 speech announcing U.S. military action in Afghanistan alongside the videotaped speech released by Osama bin Laden just a few hours later. As Lincoln authoritatively demonstrates, a close analysis of the rhetoric used by leaders as different as George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden—as well as Mohamed Atta and even Jerry Falwell—betrays startling similarities. These commonalities have considerable implications for our understanding of religion and its interrelationships with politics and culture in a postcolonial world, implications that Lincoln draws out with skill and sensitivity.
With a chapter new to this edition, “Theses on Religion and Violence,” Holy Terrors remains one of the essential books on September 11 and a classic study on the character of religion.
“Modernity has ended twice: in its Marxist form in 1989 Berlin, and in its liberal form on September 11, 2001. In order to understand such major historical changes we need both large-scale and focused analyses—a combination seldom to be found in one volume. But here Bruce Lincoln . . . has given us just such a mix of discrete and large-picture analysis.”—Stephen Healey, Christian Century
“From time to time there appears a work . . . that serves to focus the wide-ranging, often contentious discussion of religion’s significance within broader cultural dynamics. Bruce Lincoln’s Holy Terrors is one such text. . . . Anyone still struggling toward a more nuanced comprehension of 9/11 would do well to spend time with this book.”—Theodore Pulcini, Middle EastJournal
As immigration from Asia and Latin America reshapes the demographic composition of the U.S., some analysts have anticipated the decline of conservative white evangelicals’ influence in politics. Yet, Donald Trump captured a larger share of the white evangelical vote in the 2016 election than any candidate in the previous four presidential elections. Why has the political clout of white evangelicals persisted at a time of increased racial and ethnic diversity? In Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change, political scientist Janelle Wong examines a new generation of Asian American and Latino evangelicals and offers an account of why demographic change has not contributed to a political realignment.
Asian Americans and Latinos currently constitute 13 percent of evangelicals, and their churches are among the largest, fastest growing organizations in their communities. While evangelical identity is associated with conservative politics, Wong draws from national surveys and interviews to show that non-white evangelicals express political attitudes that are significantly less conservative than those of their white counterparts. Black, Asian American, and Latino evangelicals are much more likely to support policies such as expanded immigration rights, increased taxation of the wealthy, and government interventions to slow climate change. As Wong argues, non-white evangelicals’ experiences as members of racial or ethnic minority groups often lead them to adopt more progressive political views compared to their white counterparts.
However, despite their growth in numbers, non-white evangelicals—particularly Asian Americans and Latinos—are concentrated outside of swing states, have lower levels of political participation than white evangelicals, and are less likely to be targeted by political campaigns. As a result, white evangelicals dominate the evangelical policy agenda and are overrepresented at the polls. Also, many white evangelicals have adopted even more conservative political views in response to rapid demographic change, perceiving, for example, that discrimination against Christians now rivals discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities.
Wong demonstrates that immigrant evangelicals are neither “natural” Republicans nor “natural” Democrats. By examining the changing demographics of the evangelical movement, Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change sheds light on an understudied constituency that has yet to find its political home.
The Islamic world has experienced extensive social changes in modern times—the rise of new social classes, the formation of massive bureaucratic and military states, and the incorporation of its economies into the world capitalist structure. Yet despite these changes, a national consensus on even the most important principles of social organization—the form of government, the status of women, national identity, and rule making—has yet to emerge.
An ambitious comparative historical analysis of ideological production in the Islamic world from the mid-1800s to the present, Mansoor Moaddel's Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism provides a unique perspective for understanding the social conditions of these discourses. Moaddel characterizes these movements in terms of a sequence of cultural episodes characterized by ideological debates and religious disputations, each ending with a revolution or military coup. Understanding how the leaders of these movements formulated their discourses is, for Moaddel, the key to understanding Middle Eastern history. This premise allows him to unlock for readers the historical process that started with Islamic modernism and ended with fundamentalism.
Both the Christian right and right-wing white supremacist groups aspire to overcome a culture they perceive as hostile to the white middle class, families, and heterosexuality. The family is threatened, they claim, by a secular humanist conspiracy that seeks to erase all memory of the nation’s Christian heritage by brainwashing its children through sex education, multiculturalism, and pop culture. In Lift High the Cross Ann Burlein looks at two groups that represent, in one case, the “hard” right, and in the other, the “soft” right—Pete Peters’s “Scriptures for America” and James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family”—in order to investigate the specific methods these groups rely on to appeal to their followers. Arguing that today’s right engenders its popularity not by overt bigotry or hatred but by focusing on people’s hopes for their children, Burlein finds a politics of grief at the heart of such rhetoric. While demonstrating how religious symbols, rituals, texts, and practices shape people’s memories and their investment in society, she shows how Peters and Dobson each construct countermemories for their followers that reframe their histories and identities—as well as their worlds—by reversing mainstream perspectives in ways that counter existing power relations. By employing the techniques of niche marketing, the politics of scandal, and the transformation of political issues into “gut issues” and by remasculinizing the body politic, Burlein shows, such groups are able to move people into their realm of influence without requiring them to agree with all their philosophical, doctrinal, or political positions. Lift High the Cross will appeal to students and scholars of religion, American cultural studies, women’s studies, sociology, and gay and lesbian studies, as well as to non-specialists interested in American politics and, specifically, the right.
In Native Americans and the Christian Right, Andrea Smith advances social movement theory beyond simplistic understandings of social-justice activism as either right-wing or left-wing and urges a more open-minded approach to the role of religion in social movements. In examining the interplay of biblical scripture, gender, and nationalism in Christian Right and Native American activism, Smith rethinks the nature of political strategy and alliance-building for progressive purposes, highlighting the potential of unlikely alliances, termed “cowboys and Indians coalitions” by one of her Native activist interviewees. She also complicates ideas about identity, resistance, accommodation, and acquiescence in relation to social-justice activism.
Smith draws on archival research, interviews, and her own participation in Native struggles and Christian Right conferences and events. She considers American Indian activism within the Promise Keepers and new Charismatic movements. She also explores specific opportunities for building unlikely alliances. For instance, while evangelicals’ understanding of the relationship between the Bible and the state may lead to reactionary positions on issues including homosexuality, civil rights, and abortion, it also supports a relatively progressive position on prison reform. In terms of evangelical and Native American feminisms, she reveals antiviolence organizing to be a galvanizing force within both communities, discusses theories of coalition politics among both evangelical and indigenous women, and considers Native women’s visions of sovereignty and nationhood. Smith concludes with a reflection on the implications of her research for the field of Native American studies.
In the wake of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, the Christian Right expected major victories in the 1998 elections. Instead, many of its allies lost close contests, and the movement was seen as a liability in some high-profile campaigns. In the only in-depth study of the Christian Right's role in these races, leading scholars analyze the role of the movement in fourteen key states, from Maine to California, and address speculations that the movement is fading from the American political scene.
The book focuses on elections on the state and local levels, where the Christian Right is most influential, and it describes the movement's niche in some detail. Although each campaign described in the book had its unique characteristics, the editors have drawn some broad conclusions about the 1998 elections. While the movement was weak in the areas of candidate recruitment and fundraising, they say, the outcome may have also been related to external factors including a broader turnout of typically Democratic constituencies and the country's boredom with the scandal that conservatives had made the centerpiece of their campaign. Despite the setbacks of 1998, the contributors argue, the Christian Right continues to have an enormous influence on the political dialogue of the country.
Written from an unbiased, nonpartisan perspective, this volume sheds light on a topic that is too frequently mired in controversy.
In Religion, Fundamentalism, and Violence, Andrew Gluck brings together distinguished scholars to address a fiercely debated topic: the intersection of religion and violence. Among the contributions is an anthropological analysis of the violence associated with the Abrahamic monotheistic religions of the Middle East, a compelling essay accounting for the violence in Hindu religious traditions, an informative look at the Israeli-Palestinian tensions of more recent times, and an essay on the Catholic just war theory. Each chapter is followed by a commentary and reply, making this volume indispensable for students and scholars of the history of religions.
Ernest Sandeen’s Roots of Fundamentalism remains a landmark work in the history of religion. A National Book Award finalist, it was the first full-length study to present an intellectual historical critique of the Fundamentalist movement in America. Sandeen argues that our understanding of this movement has been grievously distorted by the Fundamentalist-Modernist debate of the 1920s, as symbolized by William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes trial. Rather than viewing Fundamentalism as a chiefly sociological phenomenon of the 1920s, Sandeen argues from a transatlantic perspective that the Fundamentalist movement “was a self-conscious, structured, long-lived dynamic entity” that had its origins in Anglo-American millenarian thought and movements of the nineteenth century.
"All historians need to face the issues [this book] raises. Serious theological discussion of Fundamentalism tends to be neglected because it is intellectually unfashionable: Mr. Sandeen shows that for the historian such neglect is a luxury he cannot afford.”—David M. Thompson, English Historical Review
“Sandeen’s ‘new approach to Fundamentalism’ eschews the common tendency to see the movement as parochially American, rurally based, and essentially a phenomenon of the twenties. . . . It is a highly valuable addition to American and—more singularly—to comparative theological history.”—William R. Hutchinson, Journal of American History
Since the 1970s, American society has provided especially fertile ground for the growth of the Christian right and its influence on both political and cultural discourse. In Stations of the Cross political theorist Paul Apostolidis shows how a critical component of this movement’s popular culture—evangelical conservative radio—interacts with the current U.S. political economy. By examining in particular James Dobson’s enormously influential program, Focus on the Family—its messages, politics, and effects—Apostolidis reveals the complex nature of contemporary conservative religious culture. Public ideology and institutional tendencies clash, the author argues, in the restructuring of the welfare state, the financing of the electoral system, and the backlash against women and minorities. These frictions are nowhere more apparent than on Christian right radio. Reinvigorating the intellectual tradition of the Frankfurt School, Apostolidis shows how ideas derived from early critical theory—in particular that of Theodor W. Adorno—can illuminate the political and social dynamics of this aspect of contemporary American culture. He uses and reworks Adorno’s theories to interpret the nationally broadcast Focus on the Family, revealing how the cultural discourse of the Christian right resonates with recent structural transformations in the American political economy. Apostolidis shows that the antidote to the Christian right’s marriage of religious and market fundamentalism lies not in a reinvocation of liberal fundamentals, but rather depends on a patient cultivation of the affinities between religion’s utopian impulses and radical, democratic challenges to the present political-economic order. Mixing critical theory with detailed analysis, Stations of the Cross provides a needed contribution to sociopolitical studies of mass movements and will attract readers in sociology, political science, philosophy, and history.
After the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States, religious fundamentalism has dominated public debate as never before. Policymakers, educators, and the general public all want to know: Why do fundamentalist movements turn violent? Are fundamentalisms a global threat to human rights, security, and democratic forms of government? What is the future of fundamentalism?
To answer questions like these, Strong Religion draws on the results of the Fundamentalism Project, a decade-long interdisciplinary study of antimodernist, antisecular militant religious movements on five continents and within seven world religious traditions. The authors of this study analyze the various social structures, cultural contexts, and political environments in which fundamentalist movements have emerged around the world, from the Islamic Hamas and Hizbullah to the Catholic and Protestant paramilitaries of Northern Ireland, and from the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition of the United States to the Sikh radicals and Hindu nationalists of India. Offering a vividly detailed portrait of the cultures that nourish such movements, Strong Religion opens a much-needed window onto different modes of fundamentalism and identifies the kind of historical events that can trigger them.
Christian Fundamentalism is a doctrine and a discourse in tension. Fundamentalists describe themselves as both marginal and a majority. They announce the imminent end of the world while building massive megachurches and political lobbying organizations. They speak of the need for purity and separation from the outside world while continually innovating in their search for more effective and persuasive ways to communicate with and convert outsiders. To many outsiders, Fundamentalist speech seems contradictory, irrational, intolerant, and dangerously antidemocratic. To understand the complexity of Fundamentalism, we have to look inside the tensions and the paradoxes. We have to take seriously the ways in which Fundamentalists describe themselves to themselves, and to do that, we must begin by exploring the central role of “the church” in Fundamentalist rhetoric and politics. Drawing on five fascinating case studies, Superchurch blends a complex yet readable treatment of rhetorical and political theory with a sophisticated approach to Fundamentalism that neither dismisses its appeal nor glosses over its irresolvable tensions. Edwards challenges theories of rhetoric, counterpublics, deliberation, and civility while offering critical new insights into the evolution and continuing influence of one of the most significant cultural and political movements of the past century.
Toward a Civil Discourse examines how, in the current political climate, Americans find it difficult to discuss civic issues frankly and openly with one another. Because America is dominated by two powerful discourses--liberalism and Christian fundamentalism, each of which paints a very different picture of America and its citizens' responsibilities toward their country-there is little common ground, and hence Americans avoid disagreement for fear of giving offence.
Sharon Crowley considers the ancient art of rhetoric as a solution to the problems of repetition and condemnation that pervade American public discourse. Crowley recalls the historic rhetorical concept of stasis--where advocates in a debate agree upon the point on which they disagree, thereby recognizing their opponent as a person with a viable position or belief. Most contemporary arguments do not reach stasis, and without it, Crowley states, a nonviolent resolution cannot occur.
Toward a Civil Discourse investigates the cultural factors that lead to the formation of beliefs, and how beliefs can develop into densely articulated systems and political activism. Crowley asserts that rhetorical invention (which includes appeals to values and the passions) is superior in some cases to liberal argument (which often limits its appeals to empirical fact and reasoning) in mediating disagreements where participants are primarily motivated by a moral or passionate commitment to beliefs.
Sharon Crowley examines numerous current issues and opposing views, and discusses the consequences to society when, more often than not, argumentative exchange does not occur. She underscores the urgency of developing a civil discourse, and through a review of historic rhetoric and its modern application, provides a foundation for such a discourse-whose ultimate goal, in the tradition of the ancients, is democratic discussion of civic issues.
The Transformation of the Christian Right chronicles and analyzes the remarkable changes that have occurred in the Christian Right from its emergence in the late 1970s to the present. It documents the rapid turnover of Christian-Right organizations and explains the forces driving that kaleidoscopic change. Moen also traces the strategic shift of the movement’s leaders, away from lobbying the Congress and toward mobilizing conservative activists in the grass roots; he demonstrates the substitution of liberal language (with its emphasis on “equality, rights, and freedom”) for moralistic language (with its focus on “right and wrong”). Much has been written about the Christian Right’s impact on politics but little about how years of political activism have shaped and influenced the Christian Right. Moen addresses that neglected side of the issue.
In the 1990s, many evangelical Christian organizations and church leaders began to acknowledge their long history of racism and launched efforts at becoming more inclusive of people of color. While much of this racial reconciliation movement has not directly confronted systemic racism's structural causes, there exists a smaller countermovement within evangelicalism, primarily led by women of color who are actively engaged in antiracism and social justice struggles. In Unreconciled Andrea Smith examines these movements through a critical ethnic studies lens, evaluating the varying degrees to which evangelical communities that were founded on white supremacy have addressed racism. Drawing on evangelical publications, sermons, and organization statements, as well as ethnographic fieldwork and participation in evangelical events, Smith shows how evangelicalism is largely unable to effectively challenge white supremacy due to its reliance upon discourses of whiteness. At the same time, the work of progressive evangelical women of color not only demonstrates that evangelical Christianity can be an unexpected place in which to find theoretical critique and social justice organizing but also shows how critical ethnic studies' interventions can be applied broadly across political and religious divides outside the academy.