Talking "Jesus and John Wayne" with Kristin Kobes Du Mez

Kristin Kobes Du Mez is a professor of history and gender studies at Calvin University — a private evangelical college. Her book, "Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation," has caused a huge stir.

The argument in Du Mez's book is that the attempt to infuse Christianity with more muscle, to make Christian men in particular more aggressive, has gone badly astray. Du Mez documents the roots of this muscular Christianity rising out of a response to industrialization and the loss of meaningful work for many men, over a century ago.

Du Mez writes in the book that "for conservative white evangelicals, the 'good news' of the Christian gospel has become inextricably linked to a staunch commitment to patriarchal authority, gender difference, and Christian nationalism, and all of these are intertwined with white racial identity."

In this episode, we discuss what Du Mez means by gender difference, and what exactly she's critiquing. It's not all gender difference but a kind of black and white thinking about what men and women can and cannot be. And we also talk about the connection between the deification of men in religious subcultures, and the connection to how abuses of power -- especially sexual abuse and harassment -- have been covered up by religious institutions.

Support this show

See for privacy and opt-out information.

See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at