Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out…
(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to each of the new book releases …)
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*** Our Starred New Book of the Week:
(Harvard University Press)
God’s Law and Order tells the complicated history of evangelicals and the post-WWII rise of the American criminal justice system. On one hand, Griffith offers a firm critique of evangelicalism – in a similar vein to that offered in Kristen Kobes Du Mez’s important new book Jesus and John Wayne – and its complicity with the white supremacy of the broader culture that turned the criminal justice system into a highly racialized enterprise over the latter half of the twentieth century. Evangelicals, he notes, not only supported the development of the American carceral state as we know it today, they also “helped make these changes [to the criminal justice system] appealing to other citizens.”
On the other hand, he also explores the ways in which evangelicals have increasingly been one of the most compassionately engaged social groups with those who are incarcerated. Pointing to the evangelical hope for conversion, Griffith observes that they played important roles in advocating for reform (especially for juvenile delinquents) in the final quarter of the last century.
God’s Law and Order is a stunning work that shakes up our preconceived notions of evangelicalism and criminal justice. It is a must-read for any person of faith who longs to see more compassionate and more just responses to crime in our nation. – C. Christopher Smith, ERB Editor
*** LISTEN to a podcast interview with the author …