“The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America,” by Frances FitzGerald

Evangelicals-Book CoverEvangelicals Oral Roberts UniversityEvangelicals Wedding

A healing session led by the evangelist Oral Roberts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1960
A healing session led by the evangelist Oral Roberts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1960

Discussion Questions:

  1. One major question dominates author FitzGerald’s treatment, and it is suggested by her subtitle: Why should the faithful try to shape America at all? Should faith and politics intermix?

    Evangelicals Bush and Graham
    Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush greet evangelist Billy Graham in 2010.
  2. It is interesting to see how Protestant religions struggled with the Scientific Revolution and the major social changes of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Specifically whether the Bible could be read literally (inerrancy) and is free from error in matters of science as well as faith. Where do you come out on the struggle?  How do recent developments, such as exoplanet research, factor into the analysis?Evangelicals-MoodyEvangelicals-People Cover Billy Graham
  3. The struggle between a Biblical versus science-based model for society continues today in issues such as the validity of Intelligent Design theory and sex education. Is it valid to struggle governmental policy around religious beliefs?
    Evangelicals Trump
    Pastors and attendees lay hands on and pray with Donald Trump during the Midwest Vision and Values Pastors and Leadership Conference at the New Spirit Revival Center, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, on September 21, 2016.

    Evangelicals Pat Robertson

    Evangelicals Scopes Trial
    Scopes Trial
  4. The book receives some criticism for focusing on the televangelists and other fringe players of the Evangelical movement and not enough on the positive contribution. Do you think this is a fair point? Did the author demonstrate a bias about her views on Evangelicals?Evangelicals-The Miracle Touch
  5. The heart of the story concerns the emergence of the Christian Right as a main player in US politics from the 1960s and 1970s up through the Bush Jr. and Obama. Yet today that force seems on the decline with the election of Trump, falling attendance, and the disinterest from the Millennials. What is your prediction for the future of the movement?Evangelicals Wheaton ColllegeEvangelicals Roy Moore Cartoon

About the Author:

Evangelicals-Frances FitzGerald (author)

Frances FitzGerald (born October 21, 1940) is an American journalist and historian, who is primarily known for Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (1972), an account of the Vietnam War. It was a bestseller that won the Pulitzer Prize, Bancroft Prize, and National Book Award.

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