Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite

Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite

by D. Michael Lindsay
     
 

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Drawing on personal interviews with an astonishing array of prominent Americans-including two former presidents, dozens of political and government leaders, more than 100 top business executives, plus Hollywood moguls, intellectuals, athletes, and other powerful figures-D. Michael Lindsay shows firsthand how they are bringing their vision of moral leadership into the…  See more details below

Overview

Drawing on personal interviews with an astonishing array of prominent Americans-including two former presidents, dozens of political and government leaders, more than 100 top business executives, plus Hollywood moguls, intellectuals, athletes, and other powerful figures-D. Michael Lindsay shows firsthand how they are bringing their vision of moral leadership into the public square. This riveting volume tells us who the real evangelical power brokers are, how they rose to prominence, and what they're doing with their clout.

Editorial Reviews

Alan Wolfe
Should we expect evangelicals, because they are so upfront about their faith, to act differently than the less devout? Evangelicals, as D. Michael Lindsay demonstrates with impressive research and inexhaustible energy in Faith in the Halls of Power, have made great strides in entering mainstream institutions like academia, government, the media and business. Unless we are interested in religion for reasons of pride—the way young Jewish baseball fans would single out Sandy Koufax, or, in my Philadelphia childhood, Saul Rogovin, for special notice—Lindsay's subject matter should pique everyone's curiosity.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University who has previously worked with pollster George Gallup Jr., looks at the rise of evangelical Christian influence in the spheres of power of American public life: political, intellectual, cultural and economic. Based on interviews with 360 leaders from these spheres, including two former presidents, as well as a command of what everybody else has heretofore written, Lindsay demonstrates how over the past two decades evangelicals have moved into positions of great influence. From a sociological point of view, their path to power is easy to discern through networks of relationships or institutions that have seeded larger political and economic institutions. This growing network has produced new leaders whose ideas and actions are motivated by their Christianity. The interviews allow Lindsay to cite numerous examples that make his point persuasively. He is a sympathetic observer who understands that evangelicalism is as reformist as any other movement that has ascended to power in America. Yet he also understands that evangelicalism has made accommodation to the larger public life it seeks to reform, a tension he calls "elastic orthodoxy." This important work should be required reading for anyone who wants to opine publicly on what American evangelicals are really up to. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

This definitive work by Lindsay (sociologist, Rice Univ.), who has coauthored two books with George Gallup Jr., addresses the whos, whys, whats, and implications of the evangelical movement's increasing impact on the realm of politics and the marketplace. Lindsay conducted more than 350 in-depth interviews with politicians, academics, artists, media and film people, corporate leaders, White House staff, and U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. He also interviewed pastors of large churches, seminary presidents, and heads of evangelical organizations. Some participants with whom he spoke are public about their faith, while others express only their beliefs in private; some emphasize a vibrant religious experience, while others primarily promote issues like the environment and welfare. Lindsay explores evangelical social networks and organization: one "nonpartisan" gathering, called Renaissance Weekends, has included key Democrats (e.g., Hillary and Bill Clinton) among its early participants. Another group, Faith and Law, composed mostly of senior staffers on Capitol Hill, was formed to think through the implications of faith-informed public policy. Lindsay predicts we may soon see whether evangelicals become a counterculture for the common good, or, as some critics fear, amount to a religious crusade. Highly recommended for all libraries.
—George Westerlund

From the Publisher
"A clear-eyed, evenhanded analysis of evangelical influence that dispenses with overheated fears of theocracy to present a complex and nuanced portrait."
"Faith in the Halls of Power provides an extraordinary map of faith and power today." —Joseph Kip Kosek, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"A book for serious readers, with insights into how Christians have shaped aspects of Republican Party policy; how they've engaged with the intellectual elite...and how corporate America has many Christians in the boardrooms." —Christianity

"As Lindsay demonstrates with overwhelming evidence, the rise of religious conservatives is a carefully orchestrated, well-financed, and systematic effort to inject evangelicals into the center of American society. ...revelatory." —Symposium

"The single finest account of the goals, ambitions, challenges, and complexities of evangelical elites I have ever read."—The Journal of Law and Religion

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195326666
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/24/2007
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

D. Michael Lindsay is President of Gordon College. He is the author of two books, both with George Gallup, Jr., and has written many scholarly and popular essays. He has received several awards for his writing, teaching, and speaking and writes a regular column for Rev! magazine.

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