Christian America and the Kingdom of God

Christian America and the Kingdom of God

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The idea of the United States as a Christian nation is a powerful, seductive, and potentially destructive theme in American life, culture, and politics. Many fundamentalist and evangelical leaders routinely promote this notion, and millions of Americans simply assume the Christian character of the United States. And yet, as Richard T. Hughes reveals in this powerful book, the biblical vision of the "kingdom of God" stands at odds with the values and actions of an American empire that sanctions war instead of peace, promotes dominance and oppression instead of reconciliation, and exalts wealth and power instead of justice for the poor and needy. With conviction and careful consideration, Hughes reviews the myth of Christian America from its earliest history in the founding of the republic to the present day. Extensively analyzing the Old and New Testaments, Hughes provides a solid, scripturally-based explanation of the kingdom of God--a kingdom defined by love, peace, patience, and generosity. Throughout American history, however, this concept has been appropriated by religious and political leaders and distorted into a messianic nationalism that champions the United States as God's "chosen nation" and bears little resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. Pointing to a systemic biblical and theological illiteracy running rampant in the United States, Hughes investigates the reasons why so many Americans think of the United States as a Christian nation despite the Constitution's outright prohibition against establishing any national religion by law or coercion. He traces the development of fundamentalist Christianity throughout American history, noting especially the increased power and widespread influence of fundamentalism at the dawn of the twenty-first century, embodied and enacted by the administration of President George W. Bush and America's reaction to the terrorist attacks on September 11, more

Product details

  • Paperback | 232 pages
  • 139.7 x 220.98 x 15.24mm | 362.87g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252078896
  • 9780252078897

Review quote

"In this timely contribution to widespread discussion about the United States as a Christian nation, Hughes offers a concise history of the cultural influence of the idea, a critique based on careful reading of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, an interpretation of the appeal of religious fundamentalism to Americans, and an answer to the question, why do we think of the US as a Christian nation? . . . Highly recommended."--Choice "An important sign of the times. Its passion, clarity and critical piety make it the kind of book that could build a movement."--The Christian Century "Hughes provides a solid, scripturally based explanation of the kingdom of God--a kingdom defined by love, peace, patience and generosity."--Peoria Journal Star "Hughes busts the myth of America as a Christian nation by quoting widely from the Bible and showing how American actions since the founding of the republic have often contradicted the central scriptural teaching of peace on earth and goodwill to man. . . . A genuinely thought-provoking read, Christian America and the Kingdom of God makes one wonder if those who wage wars and bloodshed in the name of God do really know the holy canon."--Chicago Sun-Times "As evangelicals continues to struggle with their identify in the post-George W. Bush era, let us hope that gentler, more reasonable voices like that of Richard Hughes prevail over those that prefer stridency and partisanship."--Huffington Postshow more

About Richard T. Hughes

Richard T. Hughes is Director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies and Distinguished Professor of Religion at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Myths America Lives By and How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the more

Table of contents

Introduction: Getting Our Bearings; 1. Christian America as God's Chosen People; 2. Christian America and the Kingdom of God: The Witness of the Hebrew Bible; 3. Christian America and the Kingdom of God: The Witness of the New Testamentshow more

Rating details

40 ratings
4.3 out of 5 stars
5 52% (21)
4 32% (13)
3 10% (4)
2 2% (1)
1 2% (1)
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