Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States



Why do so many conservative Christians continue to support Donald Trump despite his many overt moral failings? Why do many Americans advocate so vehemently for xenophobic policies, such as a border wall with Mexico? Why do many Americans seem so unwilling to acknowledge the injustices that ethnic and racial minorities experience in the United States? Why do a sizeable proportion of Americans continue to oppose women's equality in the workplace and in the home?

To answer these questions, Taking America Back for God points to the phenomenon of "Christian nationalism," the belief that the United States is-and should be-a Christian nation. Christian ideals and symbols have long played an important role in American public life, but Christian nationalism is about far more than whether the phrase "under God" belongs in the pledge of allegiance. At its heart, Christian nationalism demands that we must preserve a particular kind of social order, an order in which everyone--Christians and non-Christians, native-born and immigrants, whites and minorities, men and women recognizes their "proper" place in society. The first comprehensive empirical analysis of Christian nationalism in the United States, Taking America Back for God illustrates the influence of Christian nationalism on today's most contentious social and political issues.

Drawing on multiple sources of national survey data as well as in-depth interviews, Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry document how Christian nationalism shapes what Americans think about who they are as a people, what their future should look like, and how they should get there. Americans' stance toward Christian nationalism provides powerful insight into what they think about immigration, Islam, gun control, police shootings, atheists, gender roles, and many other political issues-very much including who they want in the White House. Taking America Back for God is a guide to one of the most important-and least understood-forces shaping American politics.

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
March 02, 2020
6.4 X 9.3 X 1.1 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Andrew Whitehead is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Clemson University and Assistant Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives. He is the author of numerous articles on Christian nationalism and religion in the modern world.

Samuel L. Perry is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and two books, Addicted to Lust and Growing God's Family.


"Whitehead and Perry map out the extraordinarily diverse and fractured views of Americans on the relationship between Christian nationalism and American government and politics. An essential tool for anyone who wishes to understand the current political moment." -- Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

"Whitehead and Perry have looked beyond the court prophets who defend Donald Trump on Twitter and TV to understand the culture that made the Trump presidency possible. The distorted moral narrative of Christian nationalism has indelibly shaped public imagination in American life for decades. Taking America Back for God demonstrates both the power of that narrative and the importance of reviving a moral movement to revive the heart of democracy." -- Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good

"There has been much talk of Christian nationalism since the 2016 elections. Whitehead and Perry have given us the first systematic analysis. They present lots of data and also offer plenty of surprises. Essential reading for anyone trying to figure out the role of religion in the politics of the Trump era." -- Philip Gorski, Professor of Sociology, Yale University

"Why do so many evangelicals support Donald Trump? One cannot answer that question without an understanding of Christian nationalism. Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry have written a well-researched and very important book. It should be read by anyone trying to make sense of the relationship between religion and politics today." -- John Fea, author of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump