Academic journal article American Studies

GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE KLAN: The KKK's Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930

Academic journal article American Studies

GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE KLAN: The KKK's Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930

Article excerpt

GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE KLAN: The KKK's Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930. By Kelly J. Baker. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. 2011.

This book examines "the prominent place of religion" in the second order of the Ku Klux Klan. Relying primarily on the Klan's print culture, but also material culture and ritual, it uses an ethnographic approach to construct the Klan "worldview." Baker argues that the Klan "was not just an order to defend America but also a campaign to protect and celebrate Protestantism. It was a religious order" (6). Scholars typically place the KKK on the "fringe," but Baker argues that in matters of faith at least, they "were part of the religious mainstream" (11). This is not to legitimate the KKK; rather she challenges religious historians to recognize hidden intolerance and question the nature of American Protestantism, religious nationalism, "narratives of Protestant progress," and "relationships between religion and race" (10).

The first chapter outlines the broad contours of Klan Protestantism. It "rested on freedom" (41), encouraged tolerance (!), and encouraged members to imitate Jesus- selfless, sacrificing, and brave-and was virulently anti-Catholic. Next she examines the Klan's construction of a Christian nationalism where "the flag and the cross were artifacts of both religious faith and devotion to the nation" (73). Chapters 3 and 4 discuss gender: the "muscular" dimension of Klan Protestantism and the ambiguities associated with femininity (domestic ideologies and the defense of vulnerable women mixed with calls for social and political equality by the women's auxiliary, the WKKK). Chapter 5 addresses the Klan's "theology of whiteness" (164), which claimed "God created race" (178) and thus "racism was divinely mandated" (179). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.