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Christian America and the Kingdom of God

Richard T. Hughes

Publication Year: 2009

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._x000B__x000B_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. With extensive analysis of both Christian scripture and American history, Hughes investigates the reasons why so many Americans think of the United States as a Christian nation. Timely and thought-provoking, Christian America and the Kingdom of God illuminates the devastating irony of a "Christian America" that so often behaves in unchristian ways.

Published by: University of Illinois Press


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Title Page

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

I am a citizen of the United States and I love my country. I choke up sometimes when I sing about our land—the purple mountain’s majesty and fruited plain, the spacious skies and amber waves of grain, from the Mojave to the Okeefenokee to the oceans white with foam. ...

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pp. xv-xvi

I wish to thank first the editorial staff at the University of Illinois Press—especially Willis Regier, director, and Elizabeth Dulany, editor—for the invitation they extended to me to write this book, and Geof Garvey for the marvelous job he did in copyediting the manuscript. ...

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Introduction: Getting Our Bearings

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pp. 1-14

The idea of Christian America is a powerful, seductive, and potentially destructive theme in American life, culture, and politics. It therefore deserves thoughtful consideration by every citizen of this republic. And one of the most fruitful ways to explore that theme is to compare it with the biblical vision of the kingdom of God. ...

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1. Christian America As God's Chosen People

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pp. 15-29

On the morning of October 2, 2006, a man entered a one-room Amish school house in the community of Nickel Mines, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, brandishing guns, ammunition, lumber, nails, and sexual paraphernalia. The children in that school—as with all Amish schools—ranged from first to eighth grade. ...

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2. The Witness of the Hebrew Bible

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pp. 30-49

Americans can claim their country as a Christian nation if they wish, but to make that argument stick, they must somehow make it square with the Bible. For it makes no sense to hail the United States as a Christian nation while ignoring the only text that can ultimately define what “Christian” means. ...

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3. The Witness of the New Testament

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pp. 50-104

Of all the biblical concepts that advocates of Christian America fail to grasp, the most important is the biblical vision of the kingdom of God. If they had any comprehension of that notion at all, they would abandon their claim that America is a Christian nation. ...

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4. Why Do We Think of America as a Christian Nation?

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pp. 105-135

As we have made our way through earlier chapters of this book, it has become increasingly clear that the idea of Christian America is an oxymoron. But if that is true, how and why did the notion of Christian America develop in the first place? How and why have Christians sought to promote that notion? ...

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5. A Fundamentalist Vision for Christian America: From the Scopes Trial to George W. Bush

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pp. 136-186

Journalists and historians often use the term fundamentalism to describe a conservative, intolerant, and embattled form of religion that appears in many cultures and many religious traditions worldwide. In the American context, however, the term has a specific historic meaning and points to a religious movement that emerged in the United States ...


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pp. 187-204


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pp. 205-211

E-ISBN-13: 9780252091544
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252032851

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 785781250
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Christian America and the Kingdom of God

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Christianity and politics -- United States.
  • Kingdom of God -- Political aspects -- United States.
  • Particularism (Theology) -- Political aspects -- United States.
  • Kingdom of God -- Biblical teaching.
  • Particularism (Theology) -- Biblical teaching.
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