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  • Cited by 18
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
April 2022
Print publication year:
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Book description

What is causing the American public to move more openly into alt-right terrain? What explains the uptick in anti-immigrant hysteria, isolationism, and an increasing willingness to support alternatives to democratic governance? The Everyday Crusade provides an answer. The book points to American Religious Exceptionalism (ARE), a widely held religious nationalist ideology steeped in myth about the nation's original purpose. The book opens with a comprehensive synthesis of research on nationalism and religion in American public opinion. Making use of survey data spanning three different presidential administrations, it then develops a new theory of why Americans form extremist attitudes, based on religious exceptionalism myths. The book closes with an examination of what's next for an American public that confronts new global issues, alongside existing challenges to perceived cultural authority. Timely and enlightening, The Everyday Crusade offers a critical touchstone for better understanding American national identity and the exclusionary ideologies that have plagued the nation since its inception.


'This ambitious book succeeds in demonstrating how our national myth of American Religious Exceptionalism profoundly shapes the world around us. Marshalling survey data from a variety of sources gathered over a decade, McDaniel, Nooruddin, and Shortle provide us a systematic framework sure to influence research agendas for years to come.'

Andrew L. Whitehead - author of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States.

'In this timely and important contribution, McDaniel, Nooruddin, and Shortle masterfully illuminate how the myth of American Religious Exceptionalism has shaped popular and dominant conceptions of what it means to be an American. Their work is crucial to understanding historic and contemporary political battles over the country’s most pressing and defining issues, including immigration, citizenship, and American identity.'

Ashley Jardina - Assistant Professor of Political Science, Duke University

'In The Everyday Crusade, an impressive group of scholars combines their individual expertise to conduct a strikingly thorough exploration of religious exceptionalism. Not only do they draw evidence from numerous surveys over the course of a decade, but they also examine how religious exceptionalism manifests across groups and even in global contexts. This book will undoubtedly be of great interest to scholars for years to come.'

Nicole Yadon - Assistant Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University

'Blending meticulous analyses of survey data with deep, nuanced interrogation of history, The Everyday Crusade illuminates the longstanding hold of American religious exceptionalism on policy preferences, political beliefs, and American identity. This exploration of the far-reaching imprints of America’s founding mythology offers timely insights for our current state of affairs.'

Davin L. Phoenix - Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Irvine

'This outstanding book couples compelling historical examples and a wealth of data capturing public views to reveal the deep roots and ideological staying power of a potent mix of race, religion, and nationalism shaping U.S. politics today.'

Janelle Wong - author of Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change

‘Highly recommended.'

J. Jaeger Source: Choice

‘… a crisp, helpful analysis of some of the implicit understandings at work in contemporary America.’

Jason C. Bivins Source: Perspectives on Politics

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