The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism

JD Hoyt

The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism

November 16, 2023 / 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm / Add to Google
220 Stephens Hall

Lecture Topic

The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover reveals how Hoover and his FBI teamed up with leading white evangelicals and Catholics to bring about a white Christian America by any means necessary.

Lerone Martin draws on thousands of newly declassified FBI documents and memos to describe how, under Hoover’s leadership, FBI agents attended spiritual retreats and worship services, creating an FBI religious culture that fashioned G-men into soldiers and ministers of Christian America. Martin shows how prominent figures such as Billy Graham, Fulton Sheen, and countless other ministers from across the country partnered with the FBI and laundered bureau intel in their sermons while the faithful crowned Hoover the adjudicator of true evangelical faith and allegiance. These partnerships not only solidified the political norms of modern white evangelicalism, they also contributed to the political rise of white Christian nationalism, establishing religion and race as the bedrock of the modern national security state, and setting the terms for today’s domestic terrorism debates.

Speaker Biography

Lerone A. Martin is the Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. He is the award-winning author of Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Shaping of Modern African American Religion.


Presented by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Co-sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender, Center for Right-Wing Studies, and Townsend Center for the Humanities.

Contact Information

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Admission Information

The Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall is ADA-accessible. Please view this website for more details about accessing the Geballe Room in the Townsend Center space.

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