Posner’s account starts only in recent years and does not consider the long history of American evangelical movements. She leaves readers with little sense of how divisions may inhere among evangelicals or how they once viewed the constitution as a vehicle for progressive change. For guidance on these subjects, readers will have to turn to Frances Fitzgerald’s The Evangelicals and John W Compton’s The Evangelical Origins of the Living Constitution.
She’s undoubtedly right that white Christian nationalism — and indeed racial animus — plays an important role in all this, but overstates her case. And here is where Unholy falls down. It is driven by ill-disguised contempt. Rather than showing the reader inside the strange land of evangelical Trumpery and letting them decide for themselves, Posner angrily dismisses her subjects as irredeemable white supremacists, ignoring the fact that some people really do care about abortion. There’s no flair or wit, no deep character profiles or colourful reportage to illuminate this foreign world.