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Tim Alberta has stared into the abyss of extreme partisan Christianity in America - and somehow still sees light at the end of the tunnel. The Atlantic writer and onetime pastor's kid has witnessed firsthand how segments of the evangelical movement have gotten consumed by a toxic, us-vs-them mindset fueled by apocalyptic conspiracy theories. But in his latest book, he searches for the remaining voices of moderation who could help rein in these dangerous excesses.

His latest book, "The Power and the Glory" examines how segments of the evangelical Christian movement have become entangled with extreme partisan politics and conspiracy theories.

Tim Alberta's Personal Reckoning

The topic hits close to home for Alberta. He was raised in an evangelical Presbyterian church in suburban Detroit, where his father was the pastor. As a 14-year-old, Alberta had a crisis of faith after his pastor delivered a disturbing sermon praising the murder of an abortion doctor as saving lives. This prompted Alberta to leave and join a more progressive Methodist church against his parents' wishes.

When Alberta's father passed away in 2018, he returned home for the funeral. Some parishioners angrily confronted him over his newly released book, "American Carnage," which was critical of Donald Trump. This ugly scene exposed the divide between Alberta's religious upbringing and his journalistic objectivity.

The Rise of the Religious Right

Alberta examines the origins of religious rights political activism in the 1970s to understand the modern landscape. The Moral Majority, founded by Jerry Falwell Sr., helped merge conservative Christian theology with partisan Republican politics during the Carter administration.

Falwell saw an opportunity to fundraise by portraying liberals and secularists as persecuting true Christianity in America. His newly rebranded "Liberty University" promised to train a generation to "take this country back" for Christian values.

The Blurring of Faith and Partisanship

Over time, Alberta argues, the boundaries between faith and hyperpartisan politics became increasingly blurred in some evangelical circles. What started as policy disagreements descended into an "us vs. them" mindset of cosmic, spiritual warfare against perceived demonic enemies.

By the Trump era, Alberta witnessed a "toxic brew" taking hold, where extreme MAGA politics became religiously justified through misinterpretations of scripture and pseudohistory. Conspiracy theories like QAnon or claims of election fraud against Trump took on a spiritual dimension as existential threats to Christianity itself.

Alberta recounts how David Barton, a prominent evangelical author, has rewritten American history to falsely depict the Founding Fathers as intending a Christian nationalist nation - justifying efforts to "reclaim" it from secular forces.

The Racial Divide

The racial divisions within white evangelical ranks also run deep, Alberto finds. He traces how the Southern Baptist Convention originated as an explicitly pro-slavery denomination after breaking off from abolitionists in the 1840s.

Today, the SBC remains riven by tensions over how to grapple with this legacy, having driven many Black congregations to leave in recent years amid backlash over racial injustice talks. The quest to restore an idealized white Christian dominance also underpins the rising "Christian nationalist" movement, Alberto argues.

A Search for Remedies and Hope

Despite the toxic rhetoric he documents, Alberta expresses optimism that more moderate evangelicals can help rein in extremist tendencies. He calls for renewing the core Christian virtues of loving one's neighbor - even ideological enemies - and turning the other cheek.

At his book tour events, Alberta has found diverse audiences still share a common yearning to preserve America's democratic traditions and community bonds amid polarization. He believes evangelicals can find their way back from the brink of apocalyptic partisan warfare through mutual goodwill and faithfulness to Christianity's peaceful teachings.

While not dismissing the dangers of bad-faith conspiracy-mongering, Alberta holds out hope that love and spiritual humility can ultimately defuse the "fiery mix of politics and religion" gripping some evangelical churches today. By recentering on the unifying values of their faith, he argues, Christians may help heal America's ailing civic culture.

Buckle up for a wild ride into modern America's fiery nexus of religion and politics. In this riveting interview, Atlantic writer Tim Alberta takes us inside the evangelical subculture he was raised in, where he witnessed a growing embrace of extreme partisan ideology and probed the roots of this toxic, us-vs-them mentality.

Book: The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism

by Tim Alberta


In his critically acclaimed new book, journalist Tim Alberta takes readers on a deeply reported journey into the fiery heart of modern American evangelicalism. Drawing on his own upbringing as a pastor's kid, Alberta provides an unsparing yet empathetic look at how a once-respected religious movement has become increasingly entangled with extreme partisan politics, embracing a "blood-and-soil idolatry" that supplants Christ's teachings.

With remarkable access to leading figures across the evangelical spectrum, from smalltown preachers to televangelists and Trump insiders, Alberta documents the disastrous merger of faith and far-right nationalism, conspiracy theories overtaking theology, and the moral wreckage left by perpetual sex scandals and cynical power grabs - all while searching for the remaining voices that could help disentangle the church from its seductive "earthly kingdom."

Click here for more info and/or to order this hardcover book. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

jenningsRobert Jennings is co-publisher of with his wife Marie T Russell. He attended the University of Florida, Southern Technical Institute, and the University of Central Florida with studies in real estate, urban development, finance, architectural engineering, and elementary education. He was a member of the US Marine Corps and The US Army having commanded a field artillery battery in Germany. He worked in real estate finance, construction and development for 25 years before starting in 1996.

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