Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist Conservatives and American CultureHardback Religion and American Culture (University of Alabama)
- Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
- Format: Hardback | 328 pages
- Dimensions: 163mm x 235mm x 32mm | 712g
- Publication date: 1 June 2002
- Publication City/Country: Alabama
- ISBN 10: 0817311424
- ISBN 13: 9780817311421
- Edition: 3
- Edition statement: 3rd
Uneasy in Babylon is based on extensive interviews with the most important Southern Baptist conservatives who have wrested control of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) away from moderates. Known to many Americans from their appearances on national TV talk shows, such as Larry King Live, they advocate a return to traditional values throughout the country. Women should be submissive to their husbands, Disney World should be boycotted because of its tacit support of homosexuality, and multiculturalism is the death knell for the American way of life, these culture warriors aver. Almost 40 years earlier, historian Rufus Spain published At Ease in Zion: Social History of Southern Baptists, 1877-1914, showing how Southern Baptists had built a culture of their own in the South in which they were very comfortable. At the end of the 20th century, however, the new Southern Baptist conservatives live in a very different South where they are not at ease and do not dwell in Zion. Rather, asserts Hankins, because they are uneasy in a culture that to them resembles wicked Babylon, they intend to lead the orthodox side of the looming culture war in America. Hankins shows how differing cultural perceptions help explain the great chasm that developed between conservatives in the SBC and the moderates who preceded them as leaders of the denomination. The book covers the elite leaders of Southern Baptist conservatism from the 1960s to the present, focusing especially on how their views were formed as they studied and lived outside the South, how those cultural perceptions functioned in the 1980s and 1990s as they became highly visible activists in American culture, and how their writings have influenced journalists in both the religious and secular media. As the first mainstream historical treatment of SBC conservatism, Uneasy in Babylon will be valuable for religious and academic libraries, southern historians, and theologians, as well as general readers knowledgeable about the century-long battle within the Southern Baptist Convention.
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Barry Hankins is Associate Professor of History and Church-State-Stadies at Baylor University.
"Those who wish to understand the rift in the SBC in recent decades will find Hankin's book a fair and first-rate account."--Douglas Carl Abrams, "Georgia Historical Quarterly"