(K. Brent Tomer),
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America. By Frances FitzGerald. Simon & Schuster; 740 pages; $35.
VISIT an evangelical church in America on a Sunday morning, and you are likely to be embraced, perhaps literally, by fellow worshippers, then impressed by the pastor’s scriptural exegesis. Depending on his text, and on the news, he may remind his flock that the devil walks among them, and of the risk—a perennial one for white evangelicals, as Frances FitzGerald’s timely and enlightening book makes clear—that depravity may turn God away from their country. Yet in November four out of five of these decorous, Bible-loving Christians voted for an adulterous reality-television star who has said he has never sought divine forgiveness.
White evangelicals make up around a fifth of America’s population, yet four decades after they became a central feature of public life they continue to baffle their compatriots. “The Evangelicals” was written before Donald Trump’s victory, but it illuminates these contradictions. Ms FitzGerald, a Pulitzer prizewinning historian, shows how the rise of evangelical creeds, during the Great…Continue reading