A historian’s discerning, critical take on current American politics
“Believe me” may be the most commonly used phrase in Donald Trump’s lexicon. Whether about building a wall or protecting a Christian heritage, the refrain has been constant.
And to the surprise of many, a good 80 percent of white evangelicals have believed Trump—at least enough to help propel him into the White House. Historian John Fea is not surprised, however—and in Believe Me he explains how we have arrived at this unprecedented moment in American politics.
An evangelical Christian himself, Fea argues that the embrace of Donald Trump is the logical outcome of a long-standing evangelical approach to public life defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and a nostalgic longing for an American past.
As insightful as it is timely, Fea’s Believe Me challenges Christians and to replace fear with hope, the pursuit of power with humility, and nostalgia with history.
— author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
“John Fea’s timely and sobering book shows convincingly how legitimate concerns from white evangelical Protestants about a rapidly secularizing American culture metastasized into a fear-driven brew of half-truths, fanciful nostalgia, misplaced Christian nationalism, ethical hypocrisy, and political naiveté—precisely, that is, the mix that led so many white evangelicals not only to cast their votes for Donald Trump but also to regard him as a literal godsend.”
— senior columnist for Religion News Service
“It would be enough for John Fea to marshal his considerable prowess as a historian in proving how evangelicals have been propelled by fear, nostalgia, and the pursuit of power, as he does so compellingly in this book. But he also speaks here as a theologian and an evangelical himself, eloquently pointing toward a better gospel way. This is a call to action for evangelicals to move beyond the politics of fear to become a ‘faithful presence’ in a changing world.”
— author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America
“In Believe Me John Fea takes evangelicalism seriously, treating it with the honest respect it deserves. He also manages to help us understand American politics in a much clearer way. I highly recommend this book to all who remain confounded by the state of faith and politics today.”
— author of Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World
“While the significant support for Donald Trump by white evangelicals has been the stuff of headlines, there has been little serious probing of the deeper factors at work. John Fea here gives us what we need, with his insightful tracing of the theological-spiritual road that has brought us to this point. A wise and important book!”
— author of Religion and American Culture: A Brief History and Jonathan Edwards: A Life
“For those who think the embrace of Trump by the ‘court evangelicals’ might be an example of yielding to the political temptation that Jesus resisted (Matt. 4:8–10), this is the book to read. Noted evangelical historian John Fea provides a thoughtful and engaging account and critique of how this unlikely alliance came to be.”
Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)
“Clear, concise, and convincing. . . . Fea uses his training as a historian to trace a chronology of the evangelical attraction to political power . . . and offers an alternative way (relying on hope and humility) for evangelical leaders to think about their relation to power.”
“Enlightening. . . . Meticulously researched and grounded in historical and theological contexts. . . . An important book for anyone, Christian or otherwise, who wishes to understand the 2016 election and who believes that we can do better.”