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Living in the Shadow of the Cross: Understanding and Resisting the Power and Privilege of Christian Hegemony
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Living in the Shadow of the Cross: Understanding and Resisting the Power and Privilege of Christian Hegemony

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Over the centuries, Christianity has accomplished much which is deserving of praise. Its institutions have fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, and advocated for the poor. Christian faith has sustained people through crisis and inspired many to work for social justice.

Yet although the word "Christian" connotes the epitome of goodness, the actual story is much more compl
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by New Society Publishers (first published September 16th 2013)
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Julie Dawson
May 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Some people see the Devil around every corner. Paul Kivel falls into this category. But instead of seeing the Devil, he sees a dark manifestation of the evil of Christian Hegemony. Living in the Shadow of the Cross is a disjointed and shallow attempt to unravel what the author sees as the worldwide threat of Christianity’s power elite.

As a practicing witch and pagan, I completely recognize the dangers of allowing faith-based beliefs to seep into public policy and law. We’ve seen, particularly o
Jun 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Keith by: Cheri Krause
Although recommended to me by a trusted source and dear friend, I find myself unable to slog past chapter 2. It is too polemical even for me, with a level of baby-and-bathwater rhetoric that—even as a recovering Roman Catholic and avowed enemy of the regressive patriarchal authoritarian woman-hating sex-fearing money-grubbing child-raping death cults that generally pass for Christianity today—I find myself entirely unable to swallow. If, instead of Christian Hegemony, you are interested to learn ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
This was an interesting book, to say the least. I was not able to finish the book as his writing style was difficult to digest. Kivel seeks to show that the entire span of western culture has been heavily influenced and driven by a Christian narrative and worldview.

I don't think he succeeds in showing this for a number of reasons:

1. His writing style is extremely polemic and aggressive. He speaks in incredibly over generalizations which are clearly exaggerations. His style of writing undermines
Jim Thompson
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this.

I read this fully expecting it to be a very good book, or at least a very thought-provoking book.

But it wasn't.

Sad thins is, it COULD have been a good book. Could have been great.

The basic premise is a good one-- the "Christian hegemony" influences many things in American government and culture, in the Western world in general. As someone who is very, very tired of hearing Christians complain about how terribly they're persecuted, I thought I'd enjoy reading something on t
Laura Engelken
May 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've been slogging through this book for what seems like forever. I haven't looked whether Kivel published any journal articles addressing Christian hegemony, but I would imagine such a format would have been much more beneficial for the topic. It would have required him to focus his thoughts and observations and clearly ground them in research and resources. Numerous times I found Kivel making interesting, if not a bit questionable, assertions; when I looked up the associated citation, I found ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
While some of his arguments against Christianity may in fact be caused by other, albeit complementary systems, I found the book's focus on how we can harm ourselves by internalizing mainstream American Christian philosophies such as dualism, judgment, and original sin/evil very helpful in understanding myself. ...more
Randy Pease
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As I began using books to explore my secular identity, this book helped me codify the constant sense of unease I felt in my family and my community. I appreciate the attention to detail and the practical explanations of how to be a secular advocate in a Christian America.
Lizz Goldstein
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book was full of information I knew in some level but having it all laid out and connected like this was kind blowing. It really helped me shape and articulate some of my thoughts on the topic.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Paul Kivel addresses what he calls Christian hegemony - the overarching influence and control exercised in terms of public policy, cultural forms and the way issues are framed and carried out. While acknowledging that there are Christians who are working against this hegemony, he gives example after example of conservative Christian groups seeking to impose their theological and political will on the rest of society. Citing such historical trends as the Crusades, the Inquisition, doctrine of dis ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found the topic of this book facimaging. Particularly how American Christianity philosophically lead to the militaristic culture and dismissiveness of non- Anglo cultures. I was disappointed that the topics were not better researched. Particularly certain claims were stated but little proof was provided. That being said, I thought the book reinforced my worldview and I need to broaden my reading list...I.e., read the case FOR religion as a positive force in society.
Apr 15, 2016 added it
Recommended to lauren by: Eden
Shelves: religion
Read chapters 5 and 6, flip through the rest. Those two chapters were really interesting and I'm glad I read them. The rest of the book is weirdly organized and poorly argued. I think it's an important topic, but not sure this book is doing a great job of laying it out. ...more
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Paul Kivel (b. 1948), social justice educator, activist, and writer, has been a leader in violence prevention for more than 45 years. He is a trainer and speaker on men's issues, racism and diversity, challenges of youth, teen dating and family violence, raising boys to manhood, and the impact of class and power on daily life. Paul has developed highly effective participatory and interactive metho ...more

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