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God's Rascal J. Frank Norris & the Beginnings of Southern Fundamentalism

by Barry Hankins

  • ISBN: 9780813119854
  • ISBN10: 0813119855

God's Rascal J. Frank Norris & the Beginnings of Southern Fundamentalism

by Barry Hankins

  • List Price: $35.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kentucky
  • Publish date: 09/01/1996
  • ISBN: 9780813119854
  • ISBN10: 0813119855
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Description: Colorful and outrageous, influential yet despicable, J. Frank Norris was a preacher, newspaper publisher, political activist, and all-around subject of controversy. One of the most despised men in traditional Southern Baptist circles, he was also the man most responsible for bringing hard-edged fundamentalism to the South. The life of this religious rapscallion makes 1990s televangelists seem like naughty toddlers. In God's Rascal, Barry Hankins traces Norris, the "Texas Cyclone", from his boyhood in small-town Texas to his death in 1952. Along the way Norris pastored two of the largest churches in America simultaneously, one in Fort Worth and the other in Detroit, together comprising 25,000 members. Among other escapades, he once shot and killed a man in his church office and was accused of burning down his own church for insurance money. Despite such scandals, Norris was a man of considerable public influence who traveled the world, corresponded with congressmen, and attended the inauguration of Herbert Hoover at the president-elect's invitation. Throughout his preaching career he battled anyone and everyone he saw as part of the leftist conspiracy to foist liberalism and immorality on America. His list of evils included evolution, liquor, Catholicism, communism, and organized labor. Hated by moderate Southern Baptist leaders, Norris nevertheless had a larger following than any other American preacher of his time. His thousands of constituents saw him as their spokesman against big government and bigger religion. While recounting Norris's life, Hankins discusses the early history of fundamentalism as well as the social and cultural battles Americans fought during the first half of thetwentieth century. This account reveals a remarkable man who helped shape the current American religious landscape while outdoing the likes of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker as "God's rascal".
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