Title: The Devil You Know
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Book Condition: New
Num Pages: 330 pages. BIC Classification: HRAM2; HRAX; HRC; JFSR; JKV. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Weight in Grams: 567. . 2016. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9781633881501
Synopsis: In this trenchant examination of Christianity?s dark side, a criminologist argues persuasively that high rates of violent crime in the United States can be correlated with Christian conservative attitudes, especially in regard to social mores and politics. Of particular concern is ?Christian nationalism.? Supporters of this movement argue that America was founded as a Christian nation and they work to install their fundamentalist brand of Christianity as the dominant factor in American political and social life. Far from being a fanatic outlier sect, this group is shown to have significant cultural influence, especially in the American South. Not coincidentally, the author suggests, the South also has the highest homicide rates.
Noting the violent biblical passages often cited by religious conservatives, their sense of righteousness, their dogmatic mindset that tolerates no dissent, and their support for harshly punitive measures toward ?sinners,? Peterson Sparks shows that their worldview is the ideal seedbed for violence. Not only does this mindset make violent reactions in interpersonal conflicts more likely, the author says, but it exacerbates the problems of the criminal justice system by advocating policies that create high incarceration rates. The author also devotes particular attention to the victimization of women, children, and LGBT people, which follows from this rigid belief system.
While not resorting to a blanket condemnation of Christianity or religion as a whole, Peterson Sparks issues a wake-up call regarding conservative Christianity?s toxic mixture of fundamentalism, authoritarian politics, patriotism, and retributory justice.
About the Author: Elicka Peterson Sparks is associate professor of criminology and director of the honors program in the Department of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University. In addition to scholarly articles and contributions to textbooks in criminology, she is coauthor of the forthcoming book Intimate Partner Violence: Effective Procedure, Response and Policy with Kit Gruelle. Her work has been cited in the New York Times and she has consulted on several documentaries, including PBS's Blind Spot: Murder by Women and HBO?s Private Violence.
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