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Christian America? : what evangelicals really want

by Smith, Christian, 1960-

Format: Print Book 2000
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 277.3 SMI
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  277.3 SMI
Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction 277.3 S
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  277.3 S
In recent decades Protestant evangelicalism has become a conspicuous and--to many Americans, worrisome--part of this country's cultural and political landscape. But just how unified is the supposed constituency of the Christian Coalition? And who exactly are the people the Christian Right claims to represent? In the most extensive study of American evangelicals ever conducted, Christian Smith explores the beliefs, values, commitments, and goals of the ordinary men and women who make up this often misunderstood religious group. The result is a much-needed contribution to the discussion of issues surrounding fundamental American freedoms and the basic identity of the United States as a pluralistic nation.

Based on data from a three-year national study, including more than 200 in-depth interviews of evangelicals around the country, Christian America? assesses the common stereotype of evangelicals as intolerant, right-wing, religious zealots seeking to impose a Christian moral order through political force. What Smith finds instead are people vastly more diverse and ambivalent than this stereotype suggests. On issues such as religion in education, "family values," Christian political activism, and tolerance of other religions and moralities, evangelicals are highly disparate and conflicted. As the voices of interviewees make clear, the labels "conservative" and "liberal" are too simplistic for understanding their approaches to public life and political action.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this convincing cultural analysis, Smith, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, aims to debunk the prevailing myth, fed by high-profile elites in the religious right, that evangelical Christians are a uniform body of obedient zealots. Smith focuses on "ordinary Evangelicals" and poses the questions embedded in the title: What do they want from America, and how do they hope to get it? He then combines compelling statistical research with evangelicals' own words from in-depth interviews to show that evangelicals as a group are hardly monolithic in their views, nor do they necessarily constitute a threat to pluralism in America. In matters ranging from politics to public schools and gender roles in the family, the author finds that evangelicals are far more likely to advocate tolerance and change through example and personal Christian discipleship than through public mandates. In his chapter on families, Smith reveals a particularly intriguing complexity of evangelical views: most respondents claim male headship without giving up equality between spouses. These internal contradictions are precisely what Smith wants us to understand; although they may lag behind other Americans in advocating diversity, evangelicals are still more complex than most have assumed thus far. Smith provides a narrated appendix in which he presents his regression analyses in surprisingly readable form, appropriate even for the lay reader. This book is a major contribution, both substantively and methodologically, to understanding America's religious landscape. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Evangelicalism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Christianity and culture -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Christianity and politics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Publisher Berkeley :University of California Press,2000
Language English
Description x, 257 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 243-251) and index.
ISBN 0520220412 (cloth : alk. paper)
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