34 / CHRONICLESnnewfound sophistication and tolerancento the test. She flunks.nIn a candid and generous “Author’snNote,” Flake complains about the difficultynof writing about the religion shenfled. As an ex-evangelical, I can understandnsome of her ambivalence. But thenmixture of “criticism and kindness” shencame up with as a solution to thendilemma is a peculiar and unpleasantnconcoction. This is the Mary Janenschool of criticism: sarcastic bashingnalternating with (what evangelical femalesnare notorious for) “making nice.”nThe recurring charge of the book isnthat the Religious Right merely reflectsnthe values of self-righteous, materialisticnAmerica instead of leavening thenculture with the sacrificial values centralnto Christianity. One needn’t go farnfor evidence of this. Evangelicals oftennseem to be the only remaining truenbelievers in the middle class. Some ofnthe “prosperity” advocates give the impressionnthat Christ was crucified sonthat all Americans could have two-carngarages.nNot only is this criticism true, butnsome of the noisiest to have voiced it arenevangelicals. A few years back, for example,nChristianity Today took a hardnlook at Robert Schuller’s “possibility”npreaching, which often bypasses unflatteringndoctrines like Original Sin innfavor of psychic pep talks. Alternahvely,npeople like Francis Schaeffer (to choosenonly one) have attempted to provide anBOOKS IN BRIEF—EVOLUTIONnmore thoughtful grounding of evangelicalnbelief and practice. Yet SchaefiFer,nwhom Flake acknowledges as the “gurunof fundamentalism” and who has hadnextensive popular influence, gets only anparagraph while the TV preachersnFlake loves to despise (“Super Savers”nshe dubs them in one of the book’snmany tiresome flippancies) get an enhrenchapter. Of course, to deal with SchaeffernFlake would have to analyze an ideanor two, rather than huffing and puffingnabout TV fund-raising. She’d also havento acknowledge that conservative evangelicalismnhas more variety and depthnthan she’s letting on.nWhile some evangelicals display annabsurd identification of their own notionsnof the American Way of Life withnthe Gospel of Christ, there is no denyingnthe correctness of some of theirnimpulses. But Redemptorama doesnnothing to distinguish the legitimatenfrom the spurious in evangelical goals.nConsider the “pro-family” agenda.nSince Bill Movers’ February TV specialnon the breakdown of the black family, itnis suddenly okay to talk about the damagendone by family dissolution andneven, heaven forfend, the value of chastity.nBut evangelicals have been fightingnfor this in the public arena for 20 yearsnnow. One could even call this stancenprophetic—though Flake doesn’t.nFlake does find some evangelicals shencan admire: those, like the Sojournersncommunity, who inhabit the McGov-nThe Essential Darwin; selections and commentary by Kenneth Korey, Boston: Little,nBrown; $10.95. An intelligent selection from Darwin’s Evolution works, interspersed withnuseful comments on his life and intellectual evolution. Korey’s volume (a contribution tonRobert Jastrow’s Masters of Modern Science Series) provides a solid introduction to Darwin’snthought.nThe Survival of Charles Darwin: A Biography of a Man and an Idea by Ronald W. Clark,nN’ew York: Random House; $19.95. A lively account of the life of Charles Darwin and of hisntheory. Clark’s discussion is occasionally marred with anachronistic swipes at religion and ancurious inability to accept natural selection. The blind spots lead to exaggerated praise ofnT.H. Huxley and Gould and Eldredge’s theory of punctuated equilibria and a failure tonappreciate Bishop Wilberforce, who was not “like most churchmen of his day scientificallynilliterate.” Indeed, like many churchmen (Darwin also studied for the ministry), Wilberforcenwas an amateur naturalist. Ronald Clark, it goes without saying, is a journalist.nCulture and the Evolutionary Process by Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson, Chicago:nUniversity of Chicago Press. An often bewildering attempt to grapple with the problem ofncultural evolution. Boyd and Richerson have the irritating habit of belittling predecessors andncompetitors in an effort to overstate the novelty and significance of their own contribution.nTheir main argument, “that natural selection may act to reduce the importance of individualnlearning and increase that of cultural transmission,” must await a more lucid and convincingndemonstration.nThe Great Arch: English State Formation as Cultural Revolution by Philip Corrigan andnDerek Sayer, Oxford and New York: Basil Blackwell. State formation as an aspect of culturalnevolution has received an enormous amount of attention. Corrigan and Saver, in this badlynwritten and ill-digested hodgepodge of secondary source criticism, misuse G.R. Elton’s TudornRevolution as the basis for a Marxian rewriting of English history.nnnern wing of liberalism. For Flake hasnnew allegiances and creeds that appearnto prohibit certain perceptions. In hisnearly career, Billy Graham was a “tentrattling”nevangelist with an unbecomingninterest in the powerful in businessnand government; but when he wandersntentatively into the peace movement.nFlake thinks she hears prophetic bellsnringing. She quotes Senator Hatfieldn(R-OR) approvingly on the misuses ofnreligion to jushfy national policy, howevernimmoral, but cannot give him anfull endorsement. He hasn’t yet learnednthe entire New Left catechism:nHis conscience remained tornnbetween Christ and Caesar, asnhe continued to vote right onnmost economic matters and leftnon most military issues.nSo, if you identify with the politicalnright, you’re “encultured”; if you identifynwith the political left, you’re Christian.nNever mind transcendence. Nevernmind that voting left on economic mattersnmeans voting MORE power tonCaesar. In fact, never mind anythingnbut the fact that “they” are the Enemy.nLiberals like to cast the debate betweennthemselves and conservativenevangelicals as one between “theocracy”nand “pluralism.” But the lacunae innFlake’s analysis tell a different tale. Shenrecounts the gracious reception of SenatornKennedy at Falwell’s Liberty BaptistnCollege and does not neglect tonmention the cries of “Nazi” with whichnthe good, pluralistic undergraduates atnHarvard had greeted Falwell a fewnmonths earlier. Yet the settled convictionnof the book is that evangelicals havena “hunger for hegemony” and want tonrelieve America of its “shaggy and tanglednpluralism.” Again, on one pagenFlake reports, with apparent sympathy,nthe omission of religious books fromnbest-seller lists and on the next chargesnthat evangelicals have yet to recognizen”the rights and needs of other groupsnwho . . . also . . . claim America asntheir own.”nSuch blindness is not the result of anlack of “fairness,” at least in surfacenreporting; it is indicative of a clash ofncreeds. JVIany people unthinkingly subscribento some form of secular humanismnas a religious attitude (what WalkernPercy has called “a passionate convictionnabout man’s nature, the world, andnman’s obligation in the world”). In thisnview, evangelicals are heretics. Flakenleft the bush league bigotry of Texas fornthe big leagues.nJudith Sears is a marketing analyst innChicago.n