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The Evangelicals by Frances FitzGerald

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The Evangelicals is a masterful review of evangelicals from the time settlers arrived in North America to the most recent U.S. campaign for president. It is scholarly, objective, fascinating, and so well written that it’s hard to put it down.

The book includes a number of references to the Christian Reformed Church, to Calvin College, and to some prominent business, church, and academic leaders from the CRC community. However, it deals mainly with the evangelical Christian Right, Southern Baptists, and popular nondenominational evangelists like Fanny Crosby, Billy Graham, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Rick Warren.

As FitzGerald moves through the centuries, she details how evangelicals became actively involved in U.S. politics, especially presidential politics. Starting with campaigns against abortion, then homosexuality and especially gay marriage, it has transitioned to opposition to “big government” and “big taxes.” Evangelicals today are mostly white, older than average, southern, and definitely Republican. They are at one end of the Christian spectrum, and at the other are liberals who are predominantly northern, urban, multi-ethnic, and emphasize ministries to the poor, refugees, and marginalized members of society.

FitzGerald does not choose sides. She is highly professional in reporting without editorializing. No matter where you may be located on the Christian spectrum, this book will challenge your assumptions. (Simon & Schuster)

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