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Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Eliteby D. Michael Lindsay
Synopses & Reviews
Evangelicals, once at the periphery of American life, now wield power in the White House and on Wall Street, at Harvard and in Hollywood. How have they reached the pinnacles of power in such a short time? And what does this mean for evangelicals — and for America?
Drawing on personal interviews with an astonishing array of prominent Americans — including two former Presidents, dozens of political and government leaders, more than 100 top business executives, plus Hollywood moguls, intellectuals, athletes, and other powerful figures — D. Michael Lindsay shows first-hand how they are bringing their vision of moral leadership into the public square. This riveting volume tells us who the real evangelical power brokers are, how they rose to prominence, and what they're doing with their clout. Lindsay reveals that evangelicals are now at home in the executive suite and on the studio lot, and from those lofty perches they have used their influence, money, and ideas to build up the evangelical movement and introduce it to the wider American society. They are leaders of powerful institutions and their goals are ambitious — to bring Christian principles to bear on virtually every aspect of American life.
Along the way, the book is packed with fascinating stories and striking insights. Lindsay shows how evangelicals became a force in American foreign policy, how Fortune 500 companies are becoming faith-friendly, and how the new generation of the faithful is led by cosmopolitan evangelicals. These are well-educated men and women who read both The New York Times and Christianity Today, and who are wary of the evangelical masses' penchant for polarizing rhetoric, apocalyptic pot-boilers, and bad Christian rock. Perhaps most startling is the importance of personal relationships between leaders — a quiet conversation after Bible study can have more impact than thousands of people marching in the streets.
Faith in the Halls of Power takes us inside the rarified world of the evangelical elite — beyond the hysterical panic and chest-thumping pride — to give us the real story behind the evangelical ascendancy in America.
"'Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University who has previously worked with pollster George Gallup Jr., looks at the rise of evangelical Christian influence in the spheres of power of American public life: political, intellectual, cultural and economic. Based on interviews with 360 leaders from these spheres, including two former presidents, as well as a command of what everybody else has heretofore written, Lindsay demonstrates how over the past two decades evangelicals have moved into positions of great influence. From a sociological point of view, their path to power is easy to discern through networks of relationships or institutions that have seeded larger political and economic institutions. This growing network has produced new leaders whose ideas and actions are motivated by their Christianity. The interviews allow Lindsay to cite numerous examples that make his point persuasively. He is a sympathetic observer who understands that evangelicalism is as reformist as any other movement that has ascended to power in America. Yet he also understands that evangelicalism has made accommodation to the larger public life it seeks to reform, a tension he calls 'elastic orthodoxy.' This important work should be required reading for anyone who wants to opine publicly on what American evangelicals are really up to.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"An impressive and admirably fair-minded book: anybody who wants to understand the nexus between God and power in modern America should start here." The Economist
"People of faith have an enormous impact on our society. Michael Lindsay's brilliant book has the story everyone else has missed. You must read this book." Senator Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN)
"Jesus tells his followers to 'be in the world but not of the world.' This has created tension for the faithful from the first century Church until today. D. Michael Lindsay takes the reader where faith meets politics and culture. This book explores how modern evangelicals struggle to apply the principles of Christ to an ever-changing society. Faith in the Halls of Power provides crucial insights into how evangelicals are influencing and being influenced by our world." Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR)
"For more than three decades evangelical Christians have been self-consciously assuming positions of leadership across virtually all sectors of American society. Michael Lindsay's fact-filled book, based on his unique collection of personal interviews, presents a striking self-portrait of this new elite and how they reached power." Robert D. Putnam, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, and author of Bowling Alone
"Quick, which of these fellows exercises more influence upon American life: Michael Moore or Rick Warren? If your answer is Michael Moore, you should read this book. It's an engaging account of how evangelical leaders like Rick Warren and many, many others have swept into the halls of power — from the White House and corporate boardrooms to the Academy and Hollywood. Through interviews with more than 350 evangelicals in leadership positions, Michael Lindsay provides a fresh, valuable portrait of a powerful force in modern America." David Gergen, Advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton
"Michael Lindsay got it right. As someone of faith who has been in the public eye for many years, I can say that he tells the story of faith-based leadership with all its perils and possibilities accurately and with deep insight." Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager and Leading at a Higher Level
"Whether you are a disgruntled evangelical who sometimes fears that the media's caricature of evangelicals is true or a skeptic who dismisses evangelicals as members of the flat-earth society — or something in between — this is the book for you! Through D. Michael Lindsay's first-rate scholarship, we are given a fair and accurate account of who evangelicals really are and how they have influenced our culture for the good. In our age of divisiveness and distrust, this is a welcome contribution." Rebecca Manley Pippert, author of Hope Has Its Reasons and Out of the Salt Shaker
"An outstanding book. If more proof were needed that simple stereotypes about American evangelicals, whether from Left or Right, are inadequate, this book supplies it abundantly." Mark Noll, author of America's God
"Evangelicals are sometimes painted as complete morons; sometimes they're marginalized, sometimes demonized, sometimes ignored. Seldom are they presented as a multifaceted movement with texture, tension, depth, and even paradox. Michael Lindsay strikes the needed balance and presents 'the state of the union' for Evangelicals in the U.S." Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian
About the Author
D. Michael Lindsay is a member of the sociology faculty at Rice University where he is also the Faculty Associate of Leadership Rice and Assistant Director of the Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life. He is the author of two books, both with George Gallup, Jr., and has written many scholarly and popular essays. He has received several awards for his writing, teaching, and speaking and writes a regular column for Rev! magazine.
Table of Contents
I. Campaigns, Coalitions, and the Oval Office
2. Presidents and Politics
3. Allies and Enemies
II. Intellectuals and the Groves of Academe
4. Knowledge to Change the World
5. Life of the Mind
III. Artists, Celebrities, and the Public Stage
6. Protest to Patronage
7. A Cultural Revolution
IV. Corporate Titans and the Corner Office
8. Faith Friendly Firms
9. Executive Influence
Conclusion: Move-The-Dial Christianity
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