God in the White House by Randall Balmer
A History: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



How did we go from John F. Kennedy declaring that religion should play no role in the elections to Bush saying, "I believe that God wants me to be president"?

Historian Randall Balmer takes us on a tour of presidential religiosity in the last half of the twentieth century—from Kennedy's 1960 speech that proposed an almost absolute wall between American political and religious life to the soft religiosity of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society; from Richard Nixon's manipulation of religion to fit his own needs to Gerald Ford's quiet stoicism; from Jimmy Carter's introduction of evangelicalism into the mainstream to Ronald Reagan's co-option of the same group; from Bill Clinton's covert way of turning religion into a non-issue to George W. Bush's overt Christian messages, Balmer reveals the role religion has played in the personal and political lives of these American presidents.

Americans were once content to disregard religion as a criterion for voting, as in most of the modern presidential elections before Jimmy Carter.But today's voters have come to expect candidates to fully disclose their religious views and to deeply illustrate their personal relationship to the Almighty. God in the White House explores the paradox of Americans' expectation that presidents should simultaneously trumpet their religious views and relationship to God while supporting the separation of church and state. Balmer tells the story of the politicization of religion in the last half of the twentieth century, as well as the "religionization" of our politics. He reflects on the implications of this shift, which have reverberated in both our religious and political worlds, and offers a new lens through which to see not only these extraordinary individuals, but also our current political situation.


About Randall Balmer

See more books from this Author
Randall Balmer is professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, and visiting professor at Yale University Divinity School. He is editor-at-large for Christianity Today, and his commentaries on religion in America have appeared in Sojourners, The Nation, the New York Times, and in newspapers across the country. He regularly appears on television and radio to discuss contemporary religious issues in America. Balmer has published eleven books including, Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical's Lament and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, which was made into a three-part documentary for PBS. He lives in Woodbury, Connecticut, with his wife, Catherine Randall, who is also a professor and an author.
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 260 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for God in the White House

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Observing the religious right’s influence on presidential politics, Balmer (Religious History/Barnard Coll.;

| Read Full Review of God in the White House: A His...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Balmer marshals impressive evidence that the religious right arose in reaction to government interference with racist religious schools.

Dec 24 2007 | Read Full Review of God in the White House: A His...

Reader Rating for God in the White House

An aggregated and normalized score based on 22 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review