The Hijacking of Religion in America
Format: Trade Paperback, 336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-307-39580-1 (0-307-39580-4)
Pub Date: April 7, 2009
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“Jesus never wrote a book, but I recognize his handwriting in Grand Theft Jesus. Like Jesus, McElvaine uses lively illustrations and a serious sense of humor to cleanse the temple of exclusive and exploitative religion.”
–The Reverend Alan Storey,Calvary Methodist Church, South Africa
“We’re mad as Heaven, and we’re not going to take it anymore!” declares historian Robert McElvaine in this passionate and often hilarious rallying cry for sincere Jesus Followers. He lets the rest of society know that the extreme right wing won’t be allowed to speak for all Christians any longer. His whip-smart, take-no-prisoners polemic lays bare the Christian Right’s “Easy Jesus” creed, in which people who claim to accept Jesus get a free pass to lie in his name. Grand Theft Jesus exposes the televangelists and the leaders of megachurches as the people Jesus warned us about–the wolves in sheep’s clothing of our day.
The religion that McElvaine calls ChristianityLite resembles schemes that promise “Lose weight without diet or exercise!” Its leaders say, “Be saved without sacrifice or good works!” Run by a crew of politicians, megachurch preachers, televangelists, hypocrites, and snake-oil salesmen, it has hijacked true Christianity and distorted it into something Jesus wouldn’t recognize. Its leaders have taken the generous and loving ideals of Christ and twisted them into a religion that advocates war and intolerance, values money above charity, preaches hatred instead of brotherhood, and promises “true” believers the keys to the gates of the kingdom of God–and to the bank vault.
Jesus’ radical message of love and peace has been drowned out by the bluster, the hate, and the selfishness that often passes for Christianity in America. McElvaine names names in his list of “Leading Lites” who have earned spots on Jesus’ Ten Most Unwanted List and exposes the hypocritical (Ted Haggard), the disgraceful (Pat Robertson), and the shocking (Ann Coulter). Grand Theft Jesus blends outrage and humor in a compelling argument that will help to resurrect the real Jesus, who has been crucified and interred by the “Right Reverends” who recite the Apostles’ Greed, are pro-choice on wars of choice, and preach the Greater Gory of Christ.
“If Robert McElvaine had been Jesus’s lawyer, Pontius Pilate would have released him on his own recognizance.”
“Grand Theft Jesus will annoy a lot of the sanctimonious neo-Puritans of the Religious Right–and that’s good! For everyone else, especially those seeking a full-throttled Christianity that actually reflects what Jesus taught, Robert McElvaine offers one heck of a ride.”
—The Reverend Barry W. Lynn, executive director, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and author of Piety and Politics
“Robert McElvaine reveals with startling clarity that much of the religious establishment in America has become like the religious establishment that betrayed Jesus: lusting for dollars and fame, obsessed with dubious doctrines and emotional slogans, all the while showing little of the concern for the poor or the oppressed that Jesus commanded. He powerfully argues that Christians must reverse the decline of their faith by re-embracing the biblical witness of Jesus in the gospels and actively rejecting the cheap grace being peddled in his name. Grand Theft Jesus is at times funny, at times infuriating, but always on target. It should be read by everyone who proclaims the name of Jesus.”
—Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., author of The Politics of Jesus
“Jesus never wrote a book, but I recognize his hand writing in Grand Theft Jesus. Like Jesus, McElvaine uses lively illustrations and a serious sense of humor to cleanse the temple of exclusive and exploitative religion.”
—The Reverend Alan Storey, Calvary Methodist Church, South Africa
“Where there is hypocrisy, McElvaine calls it hypocrisy, and where the self-advertised speakers for God are ‘ungodly,’ they get unmasked. And he does this with memorable turns of phrase, no little wit, and seriousness of purpose.”
—Martin E. Marty, author of Pilgrims in their Own Land
“Grand Theft Jesus vigorously and passionately attacks the pseudo-Christianity so prevalent today, but does so from a Christian perspective. It makes its powerful case with humor as well as serious argument.”
—Harvey Cox, author of The Secular City and When Jesus Came to Harvard
“Grand Theft Jesus is one of those rare books that might just make a huge difference in the world! It manages to combine a hilarious satiric voice with passionate, no-nonsense clarity about the lost gospels–of the actual Christian bible! There are few people on the planet who can mobilize such a voice of Christian conviction against right wing Christianity.”
—Catherine Keller, Professor of Theology, Drew University
From the Hardcover edition.
ROBERT S. McELVAINE is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts and Letters and chair of the Department of History at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the author of nine previous books and dozens of articles in such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Newsweek. Visit his website at www.GrandTheftJesus.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
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