The Blessings of Business: How Corporations Shaped Conservative Christianity
Oxford University Press
Darren E. Grem
Publication Date :
14 Jul 2016
"Ye cannot serve God and mammon," the Bible says. But conservative American Protestants have, for at least a century, been trying to prove that adage wrong. While preachers, activists, and politicians have all helped spread the gospel, Darren Grem argues that evangelicalism owes its strength to the blessings of business. Grem offers a new history of American evangelicalism, showing how its adherents strategically used corporate America-its leaders, businesses, money, ideas, and values-to advance their religious, cultural, and political aspirations. Conservative evangelicals were thus able to retain and expand their public influence in a secularizing, diversifying, and liberalizing age. In the process they became beholden to pro-business stances on matters of theology, race, gender, taxation, free trade, and the state, making them well-suited to a broader conservative movement that was also of, by, and for corporate America. The Blessings of Business tells the story of unlikely partnerships between champions of the evangelical movement, such as Billy Graham, and largely forgotten businessmen, like R.G. LeTourneau; he describes the backdrop against which the religious right's pro-business politics can be understood. The evangelical embrace of corporate capitalism made possible a fusion with other conservatives, he finds, creating a foundation for the business-friendly turn in the nation's economy and political culture. But it also transformed conservative evangelicalism itself, making it as much an economic movement as a religious one. Fascinating and provocative, The Blessings of Business uncovers the strong ties Americans have forged between the Almighty and the almighty dollar.