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

Overview


Evangelicals, once at the periphery of American life, now wield power in the White House and on Wall Street, at Harvard and in Hollywood. How have they reached the pinnacles of power in such a short time? And what does this mean for evangelicals--and for America?

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 ...

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

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Overview


Evangelicals, once at the periphery of American life, now wield power in the White House and on Wall Street, at Harvard and in Hollywood. How have they reached the pinnacles of power in such a short time? And what does this mean for evangelicals--and for America?

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 first-hand 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. Lindsay reveals that evangelicals are now at home in the executive suite and on the studio lot, and from those lofty perches they have used their influence, money, and ideas to build up the evangelical movement and introduce it to wider American society. They are leaders of powerful institutions and their goals are ambitious--to bring Christian principles to bear on virtually every aspect of American life.

Along the way, the book is packed with fascinating stories and striking insights. Lindsay shows how evangelicals became a force in American foreign policy, how Fortune 500 companies are becoming faith-friendly, and how the new generation of the faithful is led by "cosmopolitan evangelicals." These are well-educated men and women who read both The New York Times and Christianity Today, and who are wary of the evangelical masses' penchant for polarizing rhetoric, apocalyptic pot-boilers, and bad Christian rock. Perhaps most startling is the importance of personal relationships between leaders--a quiet conversation after Bible study can have more impact than thousands of people marching in the streets.

Faith in the Halls of Power takes us inside the rarified world of the evangelical elite--beyond the hysterical panic and chest-thumping pride--to give us the real story behind the evangelical ascendancy in America.

"This important work should be required reading for anyone who wants to opine publicly on what American evangelicals are really up to."
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"For people wanting an understanding of how evangelicals have acquired so much power, money, and influence in the past 30 years, this is the ultimate insider's book."
--Sojourners Magazine

"Anybody who wants to understand the nexus between God and power in modern America should start here."
--The Economist

"Fascinating."
--John Schmalzbauer, Wall Street Journal

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Editorial Reviews

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

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195376050
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 628,070
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (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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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Part I Campaigns, Coalitions, and the Oval Office

1 Presidents and Politics 15

2 Allies and Enemies 38

Part II Intellectuals and the Groves of Academe

3 Knowledge to Change the World 75

4 Life of the Mind 94

Part III Artists, Celebrities, and the Public Stage

5 From Protest to Patronage 117

6 A Cultural Revolution 137

Part IV Corporate Titans and the Corner Office

7 Faith-Friendly Firms 161

8 Executive Influence 186

Conclusion: Move-the-Dial Christianity 208

Appendix 233

Notes 255

References 301

Index 317

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2007

    Filled with Intrigue

    Michael Lindsay has done a terrific job in presenting the growing impact the evangelical elite is having both nationally and abroad. It is a very engaging read that is filled with intrigue. The behind-the-scenes experiences of those evangelicals in places of key leadership is incredibly interesting and even surprising. My interest and curiosity was excited throughout the book. There is a tone of optimism about each of the areas that Lindsay investigates. The best part is that the optimism is based on factual interviews and studies not just wishful thinking. Those in the non-evangelical world would gain tremendous insights from this book as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2007

    Not the Religious Right

    Michael Lindsay's book provides a clear picture of who the evangelicals helping lead this country are, and provides a corrective to a simplistic view of all evangelicals as conservative republicans. He provides a deep analysis of how faith really matters in their lives, and it's a fun read with interview blurbs from over 300 people. It's interesting to hear how people in key positions of power have thought about their religious lives, and how that faith intersects with their vocations, often in unexpected ways.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2007

    An amazing book

    I was amazed at the number and scope of people that Michael was able to interview for this book. That alone made me want to pick up the book and see how many believers there were in the 'halls of power'. An amazing book that you need to read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2007

    Fascinating

    An absolutely exceptional read! Extensive personal interviews of the evangelical elite enable Michael Lindsay to open a rare window of insight into the evangelical world that many may have never imagined was there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2007

    Faith in Action

    D. Micheal lindsay writes engaginly about how important a transforming faith is in the lives of 360 men and women who have reached the top of their professions. Many personal stories and Lindsay's perceptive analyses reveal how their Christian faith is fundamental to their leadership styles and informs their daily lives and work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2007

    A very readable academic book

    Extremely well reserched and yet written in a very accessible way. An informative and thought provoking book about an influential group in American society today. Well worth the read.

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