God is my Lobbyist: Politics, Religion, and the War on Welfare

Faith Based: Religious Neoliberalism and the Politics of Welfare in the United States

By Jason Hackworth

Review by Emily Wojcik
September 25, 2012

Those of us who watched in mild confusion as the Tea Party became a significant political force in a matter of two years—despite its angry and, at times, incoherent blend of libertarian ethos and quasi-religious placards—will find in Faith Based a welcome guidebook to the wilderness of conservative politics. At once a critical history of the more conservative arm of the contemporary Right; a penetrating sociopolitical analysis of the party’s dismantling of social programs, particularly welfare; and a theoretical exploration of the ramifications thereof, Jason Hackworth’s study is a timely and welcome addition to the crowded field of political tomes.

Hackworth, a professor of geography and urban planning at the University of Toronto, tackles a subject that most of us know very little about—the intersection of neoliberalism and fundamentalist Christianity in the United States—and does so in a way that is clear and very readable despite the preponderance of research (this  book is intended for other scholars). I don’t mean to imply that having done his work thoroughly is a problem; it’s refreshing to read a book that tackles a potentially explosive subject so comprehensively without falling back on bombast and snark. But Hackworth’s style is otherwise so engaging that the depth of research can feel a bit oppressive to the more casual reader—one hopes that he might one day write a book for a lay readership. Continue reading