Stewart pulls back the curtain on the inner workings and leading personalities of a movement that has turned religion into a tool for domination, and whose influence now extends to every aspect of American life, from the White House to state capitols, from our schools to our hospitals.
Throughout this fast-paced account, Stewart brings the reader into the halls of power, past and present, that have given us the world of 2020...making a clear case for how deeply Christian nationalism is intertwined with U.S. domestic and foreign policy ... What stands out the most from this gripping volume is how a reverence for authority—if the right person is in charge—is encoded into the various strands of this movement ... What’s so impressive is how seamlessly she weaves it all together. Her synthesis of previous scholarship, combined with her deft on-the-ground reporting, makes for a strong, if sometimes overwhelming, narrative. One of the best things about The Power Worshippers is Stewart’s ability to paint a vivid, even empathetic, picture of her interlocutors ... required reading for anyone who wants to map the continuing erosion of our already fragile wall between church and state.
The book, in essence an expanded and updated version of 2012’s The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, is a timely and useful introduction to the single most organized force in American politics today ... While she devotes several chapters to a brief history of right-wing evangelicals in America, including Gary North and R.J. Rushdoony, she unfortunately does not address one of the most prominent self-identified 'Christian nationalists' of the twentieth century: Gerald L.K. Smith, who founded the Christian Nationalist Crusade ... While the absence of Smith and other self-identified 'Christian nationalists' is not a fatal omission...he and his followers are worth engaging with ... The Power Worshippers would have benefited from a thorough exploration of this history, particularly in light of Stewart’s excellent reporting on just who the Christian Right’s political fellow-travelers are today ... The most disturbing revelations in Stewart’s book stem from this first-hand reporting ... One of the biggest strengths of The Power Worshippers is its close attention to political economy. In fact, Stewart’s entire body of work demonstrates how the Christian nationalist movement has successfully redirected public resources to fund their own private religious initiatives...
Though its advocates like to speak the rhetoric of abolitionism, Stewart shows us that this movement is suffused with a disturbing affinity for slavery. This is an unsettling echo of an old-time religion ... Stewart has produced both a warning about the influence of religious nationalists and, in a brisk epilogue, the beginnings of a handbook about combating religious nationalists ... This is a book that is both an examination of a new social and cultural phenomenon—and a call for action.