Militant Masculinity

Sneak peek at the first column of September, coming this weekend:

“When I became a teenage crusader for The Man of Galilee, a muscular Christ with a swagger like John Wayne, I proudly joined the Army of Salvation fighting alongside other gladiators for God, soldiers wielding the “sword of the Spirit.” As defenders of the gospel, we put on “the full armor of God” to fight the civil war of faith beside our Commander-in-Chief, Jesus. None of us ever asked why the battle between Good and Evil, God and Satan, never ended. And we neglected to ask why God, and Jesus, needed us to fight for them. Couldn’t they fight their own wars?”

“In her book, “Jesus and John Wayne,” Kristin Kobes Du Mez, professor of history at Calvin University, writes that strong male figures like John Wayne became popular icons of rugged manhood. Though he never actually fought in a war, Wayne “would come to symbolize … a nostalgic yearning for a mythical ‘Christian America,’ a return to ‘traditional’ gender roles, and the reassertion of (white) patriarchal authority.”

“Jesus, John Wayne and Militant Masculinity”

Categories: Christian NationalismTags: , , , , ,


  1. That is a very interesting book, and I agree with most of the authors conclusions. However, John Wayne was a real man’s man as he played football for USC and took up acting in their drama school. He also like Ted Williams was an avid outdoors man and fished at Cabo San Lucas and even up here in BC for Salmon. He often went on vacations to hunt big animals or fish playing the part of the outdoor man that John Muir would have loathed.

    • Well, Marty, if you read that book you might alter your view of the “man’s man” assessment. Football, film and fishing aside, here are a few salient quotes:
      “All of Wayne’s greatest hits involved valiant white men battling non-white populations–the Japanese, Native Americans or Mexicans.”
      “Wayne’s masculinity was unapologetically imperialist.”
      “He [often] plays unapologetically racist characters.”
      In a 1971 interview, Wayne said:
      “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.”
      “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from the Native Americans. . .”
      “That Wayne never fought for his country, that he left behind a string of broken marriages and allegations of abuse–none of this seemed to matter.”

      Boys and men need much better role models for “being a man.”
      I recommend Mark Gerzon’s book, A Choice of Heroes.

      • Chris I think you misinterpreted my comment. It wasn’t to in anyway excuse or offer a counter to his white supremacy position and racist movie roles. I grew up with John Wayne movies. I also went to USC for a year to grad school and he was a good football player and real outdoorsman of a different variety than you or me. I was just commenting on there are other ways to masculinity than fighting in the military etc. I agree with your political and cultural picture of John Wayne and how his character tried to return the 20th century to the 18th and 19th centuries. The old west was full of characters and a culture of white “male” supremacy as many southerner migrated West when they lost the civil war. My first Masters work at USC was the Cultural and Political history of the American West. Most of the stories on TV are real caricatures of what really happened but racism and misogyny was alive and well through all of the states West of the Mississippi. Movies made many of these loathsome characters heroes and they were far from that. If you look at the Trump election and the Red states that bought into the MAGA BS many are the states I love to hike and fish in but rarely get into debates when I stop for dinner at a Sports bar in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho etc. Washington and Oregon and my native state, California are the exception.

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