Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez

  • Trump was not an aberration — culmination of evangelical embrace of militant masculinity, patriarchal authority and condones the callous display of power, at home and abroad
  • derides gentleness for wussies
  • defend faith and nation, secure in knowledge that ends justify means
  • Christian nationalism — white evangelicals belief that america is god’s chosen nation, must be defended as such
  • rugged, aggressive, militant white masculinity
  • bible is ultimate authority, patriarchal authority, gender difference, christian nationalism — intertwines with white racial identity
  • rarely consume media that is not conceived of or produced outside of this world
  • righteousness of white christian america — white christian americans, won hearts and minds of large numbers of american christians
  • about culture and theology
  • John Wayne was an icon of christian masculinity, although not an evangelical christian, he was not
  • militant masculinity linked religious and secular conservatism
  • 40’s and 50’s — believed they had a special role to play to keep america christian, american families strong, nation secure — assertion of masculine power could do this
  • family values politics by the 70’s, defense of patriarchal power as an evangelical distinctive
  • leaders worked to stoke their fears
  • discern god’s will, bring order to uncertain times, extend power
  • early 20th, century, christians had a masculinity problem — men punching a clock, moved to cities
  • women, immigrants a threat — Teddy Roosevelt was framed as an effort to restore american manhood, hypermasculinity
  • WWI — christian loyalty belonged to God’s kingdom, not to the nation — fundamentalists emerged patriotic, combative, cantankerous
  • out of step with mainstream america, american culture
  • WWII and Billy Graham — newfound patriotism and militarism would help them overcome reputation as extremeists and marginal status
  • military welcomed the work of evangelical organizations — was largely drunken, vulgar, promiscuous
  • Graham preached gospel of heroic christian nationalism — wives must submit to husbands, stability of nation and home
  • L.A. Hollywood, Sunbelt, evangelicals flocked — cowboy was frontier freedom, righteous authority
  • John Wayne was the masculine ideal — touchstone for christian manhood
  • defense of white patriarchy, center of cultural and political identity
  • Eisenhower was close with Graham — added In God We Trust, one nation under God
  • Cold war — evangelicals raised the stakes
  • heroic christian man was also a white man — didn’t accept critique by Civil Rights of the nation
  • Barry Goldwater — truculent style and aggressive foreign policy went hand in hand with cowboy mystique
  • white evangelicals significant part of Nixon’s Silent Majority
  • advanced moral equivalencies to Vietnam, minimized violence — pivotal to forming identity, believed that absence of american power leads to catastrophe
  • nationalism, militarism, gender traditionalism defined identity and ideological allies
  • fills and politics, Wayne was the embodiment of a rugged, all american masculinity — white men battling nonwhite populations, good against evil, red white and blue, modeled masculine strength, aggression, redemptive violence — string of broken marriages and abuse allegations, was a crazy racist as well
  • 70’s books and beliefs of submission of wives to husbands, treat your husband like a king, revere and cater to him
  • no gays, no gayrights, no same sex relationships, distinct gender roles
  • Phyllis Schlafly — Women’s rights were achieved through family structure and ensured through men’s chivalry
  • they linked abortion to feminism — assault on women’s god given role, on the family and on christian america itself
  • defend place in the world, protect way of life that depended on gender difference, protection from god
  • the language of critics of the ERA was the same used by segregationists — white fears of imagined black male aggression
  • Schlaffly helped unite white christians around a rigid and deeply conservative vision of family and nation
  • James Dobson — parents should reassert authority over unruly children; children were sinful and unruly creatures, inclined towards defiance and rebellion
  • Focus on the Family — defend the institution of family — Dobson was a fixture in the homes of millions of americans
  • enforcement of women’s sexual and social subordination in the home and promotion of militarism nationally
  • Jerry Falwell — brazen militancy and militarism; the family was in peril, america was failing to protect families
  • Moral Majority — political organization with the purpose of training, mobilizing and electrifying the religious right, christian nationalism
  • in Reagan, the Right found it’s leader — strong, masculine leadership the country needed, not a wuss like Jimmy Carter
  • tough on crime — but domestic abuse, sexual assault and child abuse didn’t register
  • Reagan was adept at using racially coded rhetoric — states rights, law and oder, forced busing
  • southern baptists began to unite with evangelicals based on patriarchal authority
  • Reagan believed in a strong military and aggressive foreign policy, just like evangelicals
  • Oliver North became a hero to the christian right, post Iran Contra — invented Rambo before Rambo, created his own myth
  • myriad of scandals in the church in the 80’s — North was a hero to rally around, and raise money around
  • they hated Hilary in the 90’s — triggered fear, resentment, disdain among many conservative women, some of whom felt devalued by her very existence — especially after she tried to push health care
  • Clinton administration threatened parental authority, orderly society and american sovereignty, with gays in the military and peace keeping missions
  • women did not belong in the field of battle
  • saw Anita Hill as representative of the corrupt and conniving influence of modern feminism, stood behind Thomas
  • Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Fox — throwback masculinity was at the heart of their appeal
  • Fox News = nostalgic vision where white men still dominated, liberals demonized, militant masculinity sexualized femininity offered a vision for the way things ought to be
  • into the 90’s, books and other media came out — differences with men and women, father needed to protect sons from feminization, homo’s were made, not born, boys will be boys, men as warriors
  • also female sexual purity culture — men had to protect women and their chastity
  • women were judged for not upholding the ideal, needed to wait until marriage
  • evangelicals didn’t seem to mind abstinence based groups getting federal funding — government intrusion into most intimate matters
  • into 2000’s — men must be hero’s, warriors, too much feminization of men by culture and churches, emasculation of boys
  • 9/11 — call for manly heroes resonated — widely supported Bush going to war in Iraq
  • difficult to distinguish militant masculinity with those closer to the center, margins from the mainstream
  • christian homeschooling became rampant — reinforcing biblical patriarchy
  • exclusion of alternative views would contribute to radicalization of evangelicalism in post 9/11 america
  • Colorado Springs emerged as evangelicals raided the US military growth in the area
  • spiritual gettysburg — female submission, male authority, abuse was rampant
  • evangelicals fucking love Mel Gibson — Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, The Patriot, Passion of the Christ
  • increasingly, evangelicalism was the religion of the majority in the armed forces — tons of sexual assault
  • 9/11 — Islam replaced communism as the enemy of america and all that was good
  • embraced militant interpretation of Islamic faith and their positions of power to advance religious agenda, saw as wholly fused with their military mission
  • Jerry Boykin worked directly with Rumsfeld “global free fire zone” — Gitmo, Abu Ghraib
  • invasion of Iraq = neoconservative agenda and perpetual war they longed for, warrior president as well
  • Obama presidency would strengthen evangelicals sense of embattlement and embolden the more militant voices within the movement — stronger with a clear enemy to fight
  • Walmart became the nations largest supplier of christian merchandise, selling over 1B annually
  • hated Hillary, obviously — looking for a protector, an aggressive, heroic man man, someone who wasn’t restrained by political correctness or feminine virtues, someone who would break the rules for the right cause
  • Trump = aggressive militant masculinity, ultimate fighting champion for evangelicals
  • knew how to get attention, knew how to tap into anger and resentment
  • Trump and Wayne represented white manhood, swaggering glory, strength, power
  • testosterone and recklessness was all part of the deal, Trump would fight for them
  • embodied american strength, on the global stage as well
  • the more bombastic and unconventional he became, the more evangelicals rallied to his side
  • fears about culture displacement far outweighed economic concerns — threatened loss of status
  • support for Trump was strongest among white christian men — not decided by those “left behind”, decided by dominant groups anxious about their future status
  • character flaws would be overlooked in the interest of defending religious freedom and the unborn
  • right and wrong, good and evil, black and white world
  • Trump was the culmination of a half century long pursuit of militant christian masculinity
  • evangelicals tendency to deny and dismiss allegations of abuse were nothing new — endemic to the movement
  • assumptions about sex and power — patriarchal power to masculine aggression and sexual desire — submissive femininity
  • women and children ripe for abuse
  • victims pressured to forgive abusers and avoid involving law enforcement
  • the more an evangelical leader emphasized male authority and female submission, the more twisted his justifications for any personal scandal
  • non chalante about the dangers of unchecked power when that power was in the hands of a patriarch
  • promised protection for women but left women without defense, worshipped power and turned a blind eye to justice, transformed Jesus of the gospels into an image of their own making
  • guns cultivate authentic, god given masculinity
  • common sense of embattlement links rhetoric of NRA to evangelicals — bunker mentality strengthens identity, loyalty, fuels militancy
  • guns carry a symbolic weight in the context of militancy
  • america is vulnerable — tough, aggressive, militant men must defend her
  • building walls to keep immigrants out
  • masculine authority, militarism, sexual and spiritual subordination
  • written by and for white men, largely, creation of white evangelicals, this cult of masculinity
  • without christian nationalism, evangelical militarism makes little sense

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Adam Marks

Adam Marks

I love books, I have a ton of them, and I take notes on all of them. I wanted to share all that I have learned and will continue to learn. I hope you enjoy.