100 books like Jesus and John Wayne

By Kristin Kobes Du Mez,

Here are 100 books that Jesus and John Wayne fans have personally recommended if you like Jesus and John Wayne. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Hijacking History: How the Christian Right Teaches History and Why It Matters

From my list on the Christian Right as a political power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Southern Methodist University. When some students in my university classes believed that the Enlightenment was so evil I should not be allowed to teach it, I wondered what they were taught in high school. I became more directly involved when I spoke before the State Board of Education of Texas against the ahistorical standards they stipulated for history, including that Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were central to the Enlightenment and Moses to the founding documents of the United States. These standards distorted history to emphasize the role of religion in the American founding. I wondered: How could a state school board stipulate such ahistorical standards? Where had they come from? Who supported them and why? I wrote Hijacking History to address these questions.

Kathleen's book list on the Christian Right as a political power

Kathleen Wellman Why did Kathleen love this book?

This Pulitzer prize-winning history, thoroughly researched and engagingly written, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the history of American evangelicalism. While it now defines the religious right, evangelicalism has espoused different religious and political positions from its eighteenth-century founding to the present, as Fitzgerald thoroughly documents. Initially, a populist rejection of established churches, in the nineteenth-century evangelicals split over the issue of slavery; Southern evangelicals insisted that the Bible endorsed it. In the twentieth century, evangelicals separated from fundamentalists and became more politically engaged as American business interests used religion to wrest evangelicals from the Democratic Party and political conservatives identified abortion as the issue most likely to galvanize them.

Since the 1980s evangelicals have become a dependable voting bloc for the Republican Party, but Fitzgerald concludes, younger evangelicals are more open and concerned with climate change and gender equality. There is no book I can recommend…

By Frances FitzGerald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Evangelicals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Winner of the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award
* National Book Award Finalist
* Time magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book of the Year
* New York Times Notable Book
* Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017

"A page turner...We have long needed a fair-minded overview of this vitally important religious sensibility, and FitzGerald has now provided it." -The New York Times Book Review

"Massively learned and electrifying...magisterial." -The Christian Science Monitor

This groundbreaking book from Pulitzer Prize -winning historian Frances FitzGerald is the first to tell the powerful, dramatic story of the Evangelical movement in America-from the Puritan…


Book cover of Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Hijacking History: How the Christian Right Teaches History and Why It Matters

From my list on the Christian Right as a political power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Southern Methodist University. When some students in my university classes believed that the Enlightenment was so evil I should not be allowed to teach it, I wondered what they were taught in high school. I became more directly involved when I spoke before the State Board of Education of Texas against the ahistorical standards they stipulated for history, including that Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were central to the Enlightenment and Moses to the founding documents of the United States. These standards distorted history to emphasize the role of religion in the American founding. I wondered: How could a state school board stipulate such ahistorical standards? Where had they come from? Who supported them and why? I wrote Hijacking History to address these questions.

Kathleen's book list on the Christian Right as a political power

Kathleen Wellman Why did Kathleen love this book?

A central assertion of the Christian right is that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and should be again. But this argument, as Green documents in his meticulous study of historical and legal sources, is deeply embedded in Americans’ sense of their national history as exceptional. He examines a series of claims made about critical junctures in the early history of the nation that purportedly support this view--the religious founding of the English colonies, the American Revolution as a religious cause, American government formed to be Christian. His careful examination of the evidence for and against the crucial claims of the Christian nation thesis provides a nuanced history of the religious terrain of early America by studying those who made such assertions and why. Green concludes that these claims developed during the nineteenth century rather than during the nation’s founding. More importantly, they are largely mythic but…

By Steven K. Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inventing a Christian America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Among the most enduring themes in American history is the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. A pervasive narrative in everything from school textbooks to political commentary, it is central to the way in which many Americans perceive the historical legacy of their nation. Yet, as Steven K. Green shows in this illuminating new book, it is little more than a myth.

In Inventing a Christian America, Green, a leading historian of religion and politics, explores the historical record that is purported to support the popular belief in America's religious founding and status as a…


Book cover of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Hijacking History: How the Christian Right Teaches History and Why It Matters

From my list on the Christian Right as a political power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Southern Methodist University. When some students in my university classes believed that the Enlightenment was so evil I should not be allowed to teach it, I wondered what they were taught in high school. I became more directly involved when I spoke before the State Board of Education of Texas against the ahistorical standards they stipulated for history, including that Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were central to the Enlightenment and Moses to the founding documents of the United States. These standards distorted history to emphasize the role of religion in the American founding. I wondered: How could a state school board stipulate such ahistorical standards? Where had they come from? Who supported them and why? I wrote Hijacking History to address these questions.

Kathleen's book list on the Christian Right as a political power

Kathleen Wellman Why did Kathleen love this book?

Darren Dochuk’s From Bible Belt to Sunbelt is a fascinating account of a crucial development in the evolution of the Christian right—how evangelicals first became Republicans. He argues when many Southern evangelicals moved during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression from the Southern states to urban centers of Southern California, especially Los Angeles and Orange County, they fundamentally altered American politics. Southern evangelical preachers and businessmen argued against the New Deal and the United Nations as incipient communism but also opposed the civil rights movement. These messages flourished within its intended audience who evolved from New Deal Democrats to staunchly right-wing Republicans. This political shift among Southern evangelicals led directly to both the rightward turn of the Republican Party and its Southern Strategy with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. The powerful alliance of Republicans and evangelicals made it a national movement and fostered evangelical business empires, including those of…

By Darren Dochuk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Bible Belt to Sunbelt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Bible Belt to Sun Belt tells the dramatic and largely unknown story of "plain-folk" religious migrants: hardworking men and women from Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas who fled the Depression and came to California for military jobs during World War II. Investigating this fiercely pious community at a grassroots level, Darren Dochuk uses the stories of religious leaders, including Billy Graham, as well as many colorful, lesser-known figures to explain how evangelicals organized a powerful political machine. This machine made its mark with Barry Goldwater, inspired Richard Nixon's "Southern Solution," and achieved its greatest triumph with the victories of Ronald…


Book cover of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

Andrew L. Whitehead Author Of American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church

From my list on Christian Nationalism in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the relationship between Christianity and the United States for decades. Much of my work in the area of Christian nationalism is the result of my personal religious history and experiences, as well as my work as a social scientist. I’ve always been fascinated by how religion influences and is influenced by its social context. Christian nationalism in the US is a clear example of how influential religious ideologies can be in our social world.

Andrew's book list on Christian Nationalism in the United States

Andrew L. Whitehead Why did Andrew love this book?

This book painstakingly traces the powerful people and groups that support and perpetuate Christian nationalist ideologies and efforts across the United States. This book pairs well with social science texts in that it highlights the powerful networks that mobilize the millions of Americans who embrace Christian nationalism. 

By Katherine Stewart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Power Worshippers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For readers of Democracy in Chains and Dark Money, a revelatory investigation of the Religious Right's rise to political power.

For too long the Religious Right has masqueraded as a social movement preoccupied with a number of cultural issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In her deeply reported investigation, Katherine Stewart reveals a disturbing truth: this is a political movement that seeks to gain power and to impose its vision on all of society. America's religious nationalists aren't just fighting a culture war, they are waging a political war on the norms and institutions of American democracy.

Stewart pulls…


Book cover of The South and the North in American Religion

Frances FitzGerald Author Of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

From my list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, 1971, 1973, and 1974. I worked for The New Yorker on the last three dates, and I have been back several times since the end of the war. My book, Fire in Lake won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize for history, and the National Book Award, among other prizes.

Frances' book list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right

Frances FitzGerald Why did Frances love this book?

Strangely, very few books about the Christian right explain the differences between southern and northern evangelicals. Hill’s book is an eye-opener. It links theology directly to politics. A historian, Hill is a wonderful writer.

By Samuel S. Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The South and the North in American Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this comparative history of religious life in the South and the North, Samuel Hill considers the religions of America from a unique angle. Tracing the religious history of both areas, this study dramatically shows how a common religion was altered by hostilities and then continued to develop as separate entities until recently. Coming almost full circle, both North and South now find their religions again to be highly similar. Two factors, Hill believes, were major influences in the diversification of the regional religions: the presence of Afro-Americans as an underclass of people with a distinctive role to play in…


Book cover of The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church

Andrew L. Whitehead Author Of American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church

From my list on Christian Nationalism in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the relationship between Christianity and the United States for decades. Much of my work in the area of Christian nationalism is the result of my personal religious history and experiences, as well as my work as a social scientist. I’ve always been fascinated by how religion influences and is influenced by its social context. Christian nationalism in the US is a clear example of how influential religious ideologies can be in our social world.

Andrew's book list on Christian Nationalism in the United States

Andrew L. Whitehead Why did Andrew love this book?

It was this book that really put the pieces together for me regarding how my personal religious beliefs and my status as an American citizen should intersect.

Growing up in Christian spaces it was assumed that to be a good American was to be Christian, and to be a good Christian was to be American. Boyd’s book helped me distinguish the two in a new and fresh way.

By Gregory A. Boyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Myth of a Christian Nation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The church was established to serve the world with Christ-like love, not to rule the world. It is called to look like a corporate Jesus, dying on the cross for those who crucified him, not a religious version of Caesar. It is called to manifest the kingdom of the cross in contrast to the kingdom of the sword. Whenever the church has succeeded in gaining what most American evangelicals are now trying to get - political power - it has been disastrous both for the church and the culture. Whenever the church picks up the sword, it lays down the…


Book cover of Listen America!

Frances FitzGerald Author Of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

From my list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, 1971, 1973, and 1974. I worked for The New Yorker on the last three dates, and I have been back several times since the end of the war. My book, Fire in Lake won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize for history, and the National Book Award, among other prizes.

Frances' book list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right

Frances FitzGerald Why did Frances love this book?

Falwell was the first in US history to attempt to organize white evangelicals into a voting group, and this is his manifesto. It’s a must-read because he introduces all the themes of the movement ever since.

By Jerry Falwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Listen America! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paperback book by Jerry Falwell that is the conservative blueprint for Americ's moral rebirth.


Book cover of God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention

Frances FitzGerald Author Of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

From my list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, 1971, 1973, and 1974. I worked for The New Yorker on the last three dates, and I have been back several times since the end of the war. My book, Fire in Lake won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize for history, and the National Book Award, among other prizes.

Frances' book list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right

Frances FitzGerald Why did Frances love this book?

A liberal Southern Baptist, Leonard describes the fundamentalist takeover of the largest Protestant denomination. The take over accompanied the South’s transformation into a Republican stronghold and made the Christian right a serious force in American politics. Leonard is one of the best-known historians of the Convention and of contemporary religion in the South.

By Bill J. Leonard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God's Last and Only Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analyzes the recent controversy between moderate and fundamentalist Baptists from an historical perspective


Book cover of The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics

Frances FitzGerald Author Of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

From my list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, 1971, 1973, and 1974. I worked for The New Yorker on the last three dates, and I have been back several times since the end of the war. My book, Fire in Lake won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize for history, and the National Book Award, among other prizes.

Frances' book list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right

Frances FitzGerald Why did Frances love this book?

An analysis of Falwell’s theological rhetoric and the changes he made in it to persuade fundamentalists and other evangelicals to go into politics that most had considered taboo. A fascinating book by a great anthropologist.

By Susan Friend Harding,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Book of Jerry Falwell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

National polls show that approximately 50 million adult Americans are born-again Christians. Yet most Americans see their culture as secular, and the United States is viewed around the world as a secular nation. Further, intellectuals and journalists often portray born-again Christians, despite their numbers, as outsiders who endanger public life. But is American culture really so neatly split between the religious and the secular? Is America as "modern" and is born-again Christian religious belief as "pre-modern" as many think? In the 1980s, born-again Christians burst into the political arena with stunning force. Gone was the image of "old-fashioned" fundamentalism and…


Book cover of Intersexion: A Story of Faith, Identity, and Authenticity

Megan DeFranza Author Of Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God

From my list on sex gender intersex bible conservative Christians.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young Christian woman passionate about understanding how to serve God and others, I received mixed messages about what I could do in the world because I am female. One of my college professors encouraged me to get my PhD and return as the first female faculty member in their Department of Bible and Theology. Another professor said if I taught theology at the college level, I would be sinning, violating I Timothy 2:12, where the Apostle Paul commands women not to teach men but to learn in silence. Continuing my study in seminary, I was dissatisfied by both liberal and conservative theologians writing on sex and gender differences. 

Megan's book list on sex gender intersex bible conservative Christians

Megan DeFranza Why did Megan love this book?

This book is a great place to begin as it invites readers into the lives of a conservative Christian intersex person (Danny) and their conservative Christian friend (Cynthia), who worked with Danny to bring his story into the world.

Both of them share the difficulties of navigating challenges to their own belief systems and the painful struggles for acceptance in their conservative Christian families and churches.

Even though I’ve met many intersex people over the years and heard their stories, I couldn’t put the book down because I resonated with the challenge of living a life of integrity while also trying not to lose relationships with beloved family members and Christian friends.

By Cynthia Vacca Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intersexion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

" . . . the most compelling and informative account of the intersex experience that I have ever seen. This book is a triumph." —David Gushee, Professor of Christian Ethics, author of Changing Our Mind: The Landmark Call for Inclusion of LGBTQ Christians

Cynthia, an adjunct professor with a trunk full of ungraded papers and snack wrappers, has been an LGBTQIA+ ally for years—in convenient ways. She enjoys the company of her queer friends—but her support isn’t risky; it hasn’t cost her anything. Until she meets Danny. The youngest child in a conservative religious family, Danny played the role of…


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