I am writing these words in the heart of the Bible Belt. I'm in a small town that is traditionally pious but has swelled in recent years with the infusion of well-educated commuters who have left the nearby big city to escape crime and immorality. Here and in neighboring communities, newly built megachurches are growing. They preach a very traditional orthodox theology. Also booming are hardline right-wing political parties which take very conservative positions on issues such as homosexuality, abortion and gender roles.
Philip Jenkins teaches at Penn State and is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He is the author of The Great and Holy War and The Many Faces of Christ.