Jesus and Gin is a rollicking tour of the roaring twenties and the barn- burning preachers who led the temperance movement—the anti-abortion crusade of the Jazz Age. Along the way, we meet a host of colorful characters: a Baptist minister who commits adultery in the White House; media star preachers caught in massive scandals; a presidential election hinging on a religious issue; and fundamentalists and liberals slugging it out in the culture war of the day. The religious roar of that decade was a prologue to the last three decades. With the religious right in disarray today after its long ascendancy, Jesus and Gin is a timely look at a parallel age when preachers held sway and politicians answered to the pulpit.
""Faith-based conflicts have dominated the American political landscape for a generation. In Jesus and Gin, Barry Hankins gives us some historical perspective on the present climate and shows us that “…the religiously fueled culture wars of the 1920s were a prologue to our own age.” Hankins skillfully corrals a vivid cast of characters in this helpful and entertaining account, and Jesus and Gin gives us some much-needed context for the issues we face at the contemporary intersection of faith and politics.""--John A. D’Elia
""Neither Jesus nor gin has ever been as much fun as in the capable hands of Barry Hankins. As this engaging history of the twenties makes clear, modern culture warriors Pat Roberson, Jerry Falwell, and Tammy Faye Bakker had nothing on predecessors Aimee Semple McPherson, Billy Sunday and J. Frank Norris.""--Matthew Avery Sutton, author of Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America
“Religion and American public life has a complicated history full of scandals, secrets, saints, and scapegoats. In this careful and highly readable account, Barry Hankins covers all of these and more, showing how some of the biggest issues of today are not as new as we think. He tackles perennial concerns such as the place of religion in society and the nature of freedom while offering a fresh look at the so-called “culture wars” by demonstrating remarkable parallels between the 1920s and our own time. Anyone who cares about religion in the public square ought to read this book.”—D. Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power
“As Barry Hankins makes clear, the culture wars that roil contemporary America had their precedent in the Roaring Twenties, with their battles over evolution, drugs (alcohol), and censorship, and with the fierce debate over the place of religion in public life. Along the way Hankins provides juicy scandals that rival anything we have seen in recent years, including a fundamentalist preacher who killed a man in his church office, a Pentecostal preacher who apparently faked her own kidnapping, and a U.S. President (and Baptist) who conducted an illicit affair in a White House closet. Jesus and Gin is a fun read and a timely book.”--William Vance Trollinger, Jr., author of God's Empire: William Bell Riley and Midwestern Fundamentalism
Historian Barry Hankins colorfully chronicles the spiritual and not so spiritual side of that vibrant decade....a serious book about a fascinating period — but it’s also a lot of fun.""--Blogcritics