God & Apple Pie

Religious Myths and Visions of America

Christopher Buck

An examination of the distinctive perspectives held by ten religious traditions that inform and expand on the notion of America and its place in the world. He invites serious reflection on what it means to be an American, particularly from a religious perspective.
Date Published :
April 2015
Publisher :
Educator's International Press
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781891928154
Pages : 424
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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ISBN : 9781891928451
Pages : 424
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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With an introduction by J. Gordon Melton (Distinguished Professor of American Religious History, Baylor University), God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America, (revised edition) by Christopher Buck, is about an unusual religious topic: the United States of America.

“America” is, at once, nation and notion, country and creed, republic and rhetoric. This book is about Providence and principle — the relationship of the supernatural world to the world’s superpower. “America” is not in the Bible, nor in the Qur’an. Yet “America” today pulsates with religious significance. “America” is a word that has taken on mythic proportions.

Eleven religions have been selected for their distinctive perspectives on America: (1) Native American religion (Iroquois); (2) Protestant Christianity (the Puritans); (3) the Christian Right; (4) Roman Catholicism; (5) Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist); (6) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons); (7) Christian Identity (White nationalists); (8) Nation of Islam (Black nationalists); (9) Islam (especially Radical Islamists and Progressive Muslims); (10) Buddhism (Tibetan and Soka Gakkai); and (11) the Baha’i Faith.

Over the course of American history, religious myths and visions of America tend to reflect an ever-changing American civil society, whether as a function of its social evolution or as a catalyst of it. The result is: Religions re-mythologize America. And: Religions re-envision America.

In his Introduction, Professor Melton writes:

"Far from being an interesting additional topic for the religious dilettante, the discussion around the theological reality that is America periodically bursts forth as an important item on the nation’s agenda, from the place of prayer services in the White House, to the issuance of an annual government report on religious persecution, to the rise of contemporary terrorism. . . .

I can, as a scholar, reflect on the contribution that this book, God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America, is making to our understanding of the American mosaic and how various segments of the religious community have found their way to being American. I welcome its information that allows me to empathize with and make informed decisions relative to those with whom I might align (or oppose) as I sally forth in the public square. And on a personal level, I welcome the author’s invitation for me to meet anew the residents of my neighborhood, those who shop in the same stores I do, send their children to the same schools my grandchildren attend, and diligently work toward their own appropriation of the American dream."

God & Apple Pie invites serious reflection on what it means to be an American, particularly from a religious perspective.


"On the premise that America is both ‘nation and notion,’ this project is a breath of methodological fresh air. Religious Myths and Visions of America is a novel, imaginative, and rigorously scholarly contribution to comparative religion, worthy of serious attention and debate."

- Prof. Todd Lawson, University of Toronto emeritus

"This is an ambitious and unique work, covering a broad range of religious visions of America in their global context. Buck’s firm theoretical framework and rigorous documentation make this a significant contribution to contemporary discussions of the place, role, and future of the diversity of religions that make up America today."

- Prof. Andrew Rippin, University of Victoria, Canada emeritus

“God and Apple Pie is a well-written and researched compendium of this theme of the special role America plays in God’s plan for humanity as it appears across the spectrum of American religions, denominational statements, and sectarian apocalyptic visions. For this reader, one of the great values of the book is that it really underlines the fact that wrestling with the religious ‘meaning of America’ has by no means been confined to the End Times tail of conservative Protestantism or far-right political theologies... chapters, on Black Muslim and contemporary Islamic views, as well as Buddhist and Baha’i visions of America, fill out this book and are, to my knowledge, the very best sources available for summarization of this material.”

- Daniel Liechty, Religion

“Thus, the volume has clear import for theological studies and religious studies, and is unique in that it attempts to summarize, systematize, and synthesize the visionary and mythical examples it deftly surveys. … On the whole, this revised and expanded volume is impressive for the breadth and depth it accomplishes and will be of value to researchers, teachers, and especially general readers.”

- Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, Vol. 20, No. 4 (May 2017)

“As debates over America’s true nature and its ideal role in international affairs saturate current public discourse, Christopher Buck’s latest scholarly contribution is both timely and important. God and Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America offers readers an accessible account of the ways that America’s diverse religious communities have continually revised their understanding of America and their hopes for its future… God and Apple Pie offers a valuable contribution to readers looking to understand why religion matters in America and how different American religious groups have seen their relationship with their country. Any reader, no matter how well versed in religious traditions, would learn a great deal by perusing its pages.”

- Reading Religion

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