Evangelical Christianity and conservative politics are today seen as inseparable. But when Jimmy Carter, a Democrat and a born-again Christian, won the presidency in 1976, he owed his victory in part to American evangelicals, who responded to his open religiosity and his rejection of the moral bankruptcy of the Nixon Administration. Carter, running as a representative of the New South, articulated a progressive strand of American Christianity that championed liberal ideals, racial equality, and social justice - one that has almost been forgotten since.
Randall Balmer's Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory is an insightful and engaging journey into the world of conservative Christians in America. Originally published 25 years ago and the basis for an award-winning PBS documentary, this timely new edition arrives just as recent elections have left an ever-growing number of secular Americans wondering exactly how the other half thinks.
For much of American history, evangelicalism was aligned with progressive political causes: nineteenth-century evangelicals fought for the abolition of slavery, universal suffrage, and public education. But contemporary conservative activists have defaulted on this majestic legacy, embracing instead an agenda virtually indistinguishable from the Republican Party platform.