• Jesus and John Wayne

  • How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation
  • By: Kristin Kobes du Mez
  • Narrated by: Suzie Althens
  • Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (2,589 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

How did a libertine who lacks even the most basic knowledge of the Christian faith win 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2016? And why have white evangelicals become a presidential reprobate's staunchest supporters? These are among the questions acclaimed historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez asks in Jesus and John Wayne, which explains how white evangelicals have brought us to our fractured political moment. 

Jesus and John Wayne is a sweeping account of the last 75 years of white evangelicalism, showing how American evangelicals have worked for decades to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism. Evangelical popular culture is teeming with muscular heroes - mythical warriors and rugged soldiers, men like Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and the Duck Dynasty clan, who assert white masculine power in defense of "Christian America." Chief among these evangelical legends is John Wayne, an icon of a lost time when men were uncowed by political correctness, unafraid to tell it like it was, and did what needed to be done. 

A much-needed reexamination, Jesus and John Wayne explains why evangelicals have rallied behind the least-Christian president in American history and how they have transformed their faith in the process, with enduring consequences for all of us.

©2020 Kristin Kobes Du Mez (P)2020 Kalorama
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Jesus and John Wayne

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    5 out of 5 stars

Like reading a history of my evangelical life

I grew up in the exact stream of faith that the author lays out in this book. With one or two exceptions, I was deeply familiar with every person mentioned, every book referenced, every piece of lingo and cultural collateral. I deeply appreciated the fair and historical method the author used in laying out the facts of how one depiction of masculinity dictated the ethos of an entire group of people for generations. The subtitle is the most “inflammatory” thing about this book. Clearly the author has opinions, but this book doesn’t read like a snarky tirade against evangelicals. It’s a thorough history, and having lived it, I can attest to its absolute veracity. I can’t recommend it highly enough if you want to understand the driving force behind right wing evangelicals.

53 people found this helpful

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For Moderate Evangelicals Wondering WTF happened

Written by an insider and filled with keen observation regarding the Graham/Falwell/Dobson/Reagan/Bush/Duggar complex. Homeschooling, purity rings, Veggietales, “boys bibles” from Tommy Nelson ... all the way to the baffling rise of Trump.

This is the story of our consumerist, militarist, and nationalist idolatry reaching its logical consequences. While most of these things were never bad in themselves, loving them over and above honoring God’s word, the humanity of our non-Christian neighbors, and objective truth has brought us to some shockingly low places.

47 people found this helpful

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Seems to be missing support for key conclusions

The substitle of this book implies that white evangelicals corrupted the Christian faith and lead to severe political consequences. After listening to this audiobook, I'm not convinced.

du Mez is certainly correct that there is a large, powerful strange of white evangelicalism that emphasizes masculinity and patriarchy. She provides numerous examples. But examples simply aren't arguments, and it is her arguments that seem to be lacking.

In particular, du Mez wants to make a broad generalization about evangelicalism, and at the end of the book I found myself frustrated by those generalizations. du Mez ignores counterexamples and differences internal to evangelicalism that would complicate her analysis. In the introduction and conclusion she notes that what she says would not be universally true for evangelicals (given opposition to, e.g., war and patriarchy internal to evangelicalism) but her book essentially ignores this in every other chapter. I was left unsatisfied and unconvinced -- though I think there are some important parts to this book, and some of what du Mez says is correct.

33 people found this helpful

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Love the book, not the performance

This book is, hands down, one of the most important books I have read in my life. I am a pastor's wife and also deeply involved at one of the megachurches mentioned within these pages. All of this material was somehow deeply shocking and also entirely expected, as I saw so many similar things first hand. This book is required reading for all evangelicals and for anyone who would like to see a different reality than the one that is sadly and truthfully portrayed in this book.

30 people found this helpful

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Cowboy Christianity

This book is quite insightful, and makes apparent that Trump is the the only logical outcome of the White Christian nationalism that has been ascendant since WW2.
This is a must read for those who seek to pull down the “strongholds” of misogyny, xenophobia, and racism that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God, while cloaking themselves in bad and heretical theology.

29 people found this helpful

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fascinating points, shoddy narrations

The material is interesting and thought provoking. I bet I’d really like the print version of this book. But somehow the narrator seems to inject a sarcastic tone into EVERY line. The end result is less of sn interesting narrative, and more just someone mocking an interesting narrative. It’s hard to stomach this mocking tone.

24 people found this helpful

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So much truth!

As a teenager in the early 80s, this book really resonated with me. Raised in a conservative Christian home and Republican Party parents, I was immersed in this culture. Nevertheless, an addiction to history made me leery of the political Christian. This book solidified the belief that NOTHING should come between me and honoring a biblical Christ- especially any current marketing of faith.

17 people found this helpful

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  • BP
  • 12-31-20

One of the most important books for evangelicals

Would never be able to give enough praise. All the detail with no fat to trim. Just started a second go round so I can actually absorb all the info.

15 people found this helpful

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Incredibly revealing

For a long time, I’ve questioned why so-called evangelical Christians behave in ways that seem to completely counter the Bible and other less radical Christian groups. This book traces the history of this , from the militarization of Christianity, to toxic masculinity and subservient femininity. It explains their love of all things Trump, and how we got there. High recommend.

15 people found this helpful

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An agenda-driven book

While Christian Nationalism is undoubtedly an unbelievably harmful movement, and while this book’s treatment of “militant masculinity” is a helpful spotlight on the subject, the author is FAR TOO OFTEN agenda-driven, factually untrue, over-generalizing, anecdotal, mischaracterizing, and conflating extreme fringe movements as mainstream evangelicalism. This is an unbelievably unscholarly - albeit politically-motivated - scathing review of the past 50+ years of evangelicalism in America.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Winton
  • 01-26-21

Very interesting information

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the reader. So much so, finishing the book was difficult. But the actual content was fascinating. I’ve been very suspicious of big evangelical celebrities but couldn’t quite put my finger on why. This really helped outline the hypocrisy and scandals.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tim Keith
  • 01-08-21

Painful but needed

in breathtaking and disgusting detail, the corruption of faith and poisoning of public life is spelled out. it hurt to read. but is needed as evengelicals recon with what we have wrought.