A Publishers Weekly Best Religion Book of the Year A Choice Outstanding Academic Title
For many Americans, being Christian is central to their political outlook. Political Christianity is most often associated with the Religious Right, but the Christian faith has actually been a source of deep disagreement about what American society and government should look like. While some identify Christianity with Western civilization and unfettered individualism, others have maintained that Christian principles call for racial equality, international cooperation, and social justice. At once incisive and timely, Christian delves into the intersection of faith and political identity and offers an essential reconsideration of what it means to be Christian in America today.
“Bowman is fast establishing a reputation as a significant commentator on the culture and politics of the United States.” —Church Times
“Bowman looks to tease out how religious groups in American history have defined, used, and even wielded the word Christian as a means of understanding themselves and pressing for their own idiosyncratic visions of genuine faith and healthy democracy.” —Christian Century
“A fascinating examination of the twists and turns in American Christianity, showing that the current state of political/religious alignment was not necessarily inevitable, nor even probable.” —Deseret News
Ezra Taft Benson's ultra-conservative vision made him one of the most polarizing leaders in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His willingness to mix religion with extreme right-wing politics troubled many. Yet his fierce defense of the traditional family, unabashed love of country, and deep knowledge of the faith endeared him to millions. In Thunder from the Right, a group of veteran Mormon scholars probe aspects of Benson's extraordinary life. Topics include: how Benson's views influenced his actions as Secretary of Agriculture in the Eisenhower Administration; his dedication to the conservative movement, from alliances with Barry Goldwater and the John Birch Society to his condemnation of the civil rights movement as a communist front; how his concept of the principal of free agency became central to Mormon theology; his advocacy of traditional gender roles as a counterbalance to liberalism; and the events and implications of Benson's term as Church president. Contributors: Gary James Bergera, Matthew Bowman, Newell G. Bringhurst, Brian Q. Cannon, Robert A. Goldberg, Matthew L. Harris, J. B. Haws, and Andrea G. Radke-Moss
How do women who are members of a predominantly male-led church experience personal agency in formal religious settings, in intimate relationships, and within themselves? From Jane Manning James, an African American woman who found empowerment and strength in Mormon ritual despite suffering exclusion based on her race, to contemporary church members who are more likely to prioritize personal revelation than hierarchy, Mormon women have answered this question in a number of ways.
This engaging and seminal volume employs a variety of sources—vivid primary documents, candid surveys, and illuminating oral histories—to explore the perspectives of Latter-day Saint (LDS) women. The expansive approach of this essay collection highlights an assortment of individuals, viewpoints, and challenges that ultimately invigorate our understanding of women and religion. Contributors include lay members and prominent scholars in multiple disciplines, including both LDS and non-LDS viewpoints.