The FBI partnered with white evangelicals in a bid create a Christian nationalist nation

Images via YouTube & Princeton University Press

EDGAR Hoover, who served as the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1935 to 1972, was a thoroughly nasty piece of work who masterminded a programme to identify gays working for federal agencies in order to have them fired.

His animosity towards homosexuals most likely stemmed from his deeply-held religious convictions … and the fact that rumours abounded that he himself was gay.

In 1969, Screw published the first reference in print to his sexuality, titled “Is J. Edgar Hoover a Fag?”

And on learning of Hoover’s death in 1972 Nixon privately referred to Hoover as “that old cocksucker“.

While much has been written about Hoover’s relentless war on communism and “enemies of the state”, a new book by Lerone MartinThe Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism—focuses for the first time on how Hoover partnered with white evangelicals to champion a vision of America as a white Christian nation.

Publishers of the book, Princeton University Press, say:

On a Sunday morning in 1966, a group of white evangelicals dedicated a stained glass window to J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI director was not an evangelical, but his Christian admirers anointed him as their political champion, believing he would lead America back to God.

The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover reveals how Hoover and his FBI teamed up with leading white evangelicals and Catholics to bring about a white Christian America by any means necessary.

Taking readers from the pulpits and pews of small-town America to the Oval Office, and from the grassroots to denominational boardrooms, The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover completely transforms how we understand the FBI, white evangelicalism, and our nation’s entangled history of religion and politics.

In researching material for his book, Martin, now an associate professor of religion at Stanford, found in files obtained from the Department of Justice after he sued to have them released that:

Hoover saw his politics as nothing more than an extension of his faith. And because America is a Christian nation, the FBI is charged with defending and perpetuating that ideal.

At the end of last week, Religion News carried a piece about the book. Bob Smietana wrote:

Martin documents how Hoover saw anyone who upset the status quo and pushed for goals like ‘love, justice, and the brotherhood of man’ or ‘personal freedom’ as part of an atheistic communist plot. He used the power of his office to investigate those who opposed him, including religious leaders like the National Council of Churches and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

He turned his office into a bully pulpit, writing essays for major Christian publications, saying that all the nation’s problems—including issues of race—could be solved if only everyone gave their hearts to Jesus.

The FBI then reprinted those essays, adding an FBI seal as if they reflected official government policies, and shared them with churches, Sunday schools and almost anyone who wanted them.

J. Edgar Hoover in an undated FBI file photo. Photo courtesy of FBI/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

In an interview, Martin said Hoover was a true Christian nationalist, who believed he was working for God—not the Constitution or the American people. He saw enforcing the law as a spiritual battleground, a view he developed as a teenage Sunday school teacher.

He saw Sunday school as spiritual formation—and believed the Bible teaches you how to live your life in a moral way. And if you follow the teachings of God, you will be a great American citizen.

The white Christian nationalism that Hoover espoused, did not, alas, fade with his passing. In fact it has gained alarming traction, as the Trump-inspired Capitol resurrection demonstrated. In fact, it now poses a very threat to American democracy as whole.

Edward Lempinen, writing for Berkeley News last September, said:

In the past few months alone, the Christian nationalist movement has achieved stunning success in its efforts to tear down the wall separating church and state and to weaponize Christianity against perceived foes.

After a decades-long campaign by the religious right, the U.S. Supreme Court in June expanded public funding of religious education, authorized prayer in public schools and then struck down abortion rights.

The Christian right has targeted same-sex marriage and trans rights. Adherents have supported vote suppression efforts that target voters of color. They’ve campaigned to ban books deemed offensive from school and community libraries. They’ve denied the reality of climate change and rejected the life-saving power of COVID-19 vaccines.

That’s the bad news. The good news is latest polls show that President Joe Biden is a clear favorite on betting platforms to be re-elected President of the United States in 2024.

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One response to “The FBI partnered with white evangelicals in a bid create a Christian nationalist nation”

  1. President Kennedy wanted to get rid of Hoover but didn’t dare. Hoover had too much information on Kennedy’s private life i.e. endless sexual episodes with a variety of women. So Hoover, a real scumbag, was also a blackmailer.

    Liked by 1 person

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