The Power Worshippers

Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

A revelatory investigation of the Religious Right’s rise to political power.

For too long the Religious Right has masqueraded as a social movement preoccupied with a number of cultural issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage. But in her deeply reported investigation, Katherine Stewart reveals a disturbing truth: America’s Religious Right has evolved into a Christian nationalist movement. It seeks to gain political power and to impose its vision on all of society. It isn’t fighting a culture war, it is waging a political war on the norms and institutions of American democracy.

Stewart shows that the real power of the movement lies in a dense network of think tanks, advocacy groups, and pastoral organizations, embedded in a rapidly expanding community of international alliances with likeminded, anti-democratic religious nationalists around the world, including Russia. She follows the money behind the movement and traces much of it to a group of super-wealthy, ultraconservative donors and family foundations. The Christian nationalist movement is far more organized and better funded than most people realize. It seeks to control all aspects of government and society. Its successes have been stunning, and its influence now extends to every aspect of American life, from the White House to state capitols, from our schools to our hospitals.

The Power Worshippers is a brilliantly reported book of warning and a wake-up call. Stewart’s probing examination demands that Christian nationalism be taken seriously as a significant threat to the American republic and our democratic freedoms.

Select praise for The Power Worshippers

“Stewart is an old-fashioned shoe-leather journalist. She travels, she talks to people, she gathers information and she reports what she has experienced. Thanks to her fluid writing style, you feel like you’re there alongside her.”

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

“Just as chilling as Stewart’s coverage of the nexus between Christian nationalism and the global far right is what her work suggests about the relationship between Christian nationalism and neoliberalism. One of the biggest strengths of The Power Worshippers is its close attention to political economy. In fact, Stewart’s entire body of work demonstrates how the Christian nationalist movement has successfully redirected public resources to fund their own private religious initiatives.”

The Baffler

“How is it that the Christian right, the self-appointed monitors of American morality, have come to so enthusiastically back a thrice-married chronic adulterer who lies as easily as he breathes? Author Katherine Stewart has the answer: Because the true god these folks worship is power.”


“Stewart has been following the Christian nationalist movement for over a decade as an investigative reporter and journalist. Her latest book highlights the way in which this movement is decentralized, consisting of a dense ecosystem of organizations, operatives, and Christian billionaire clans. Instead of collapsing Christian nationalists to single issues like abortion or gay marriage, she claims that it is an anti-democratic political movement with deep roots in a Christian opposition to civil rights, the New Deal, and abolition.”


“Katherine Stewart’s The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism is a brilliant piece of investigative journalism. It shines a light on significant threats to American pluralism and representative democracy.”

Thomas Ultican

“A journalist who has spent a decade covering the activities of the Christian Right painstakingly exposes the movement's effort to undermine the United States' pluralistic democracy.”

Shelf Awareness

“Bringing some clarity to the make-up of the Christian nationalist movement is just one of the myths Stewart busts in her upcoming book titled: The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, set to be released on March 3rd. Equally important for us to understand is that this movement isn’t simply about culture wars.”

Washington Monthly

“Through painstaking reporting over the past decade...her insightful investigation places the power of Christian nationalism into full context.”

Publishers Weekly

“A must-read for those interested in the influence of religion on politics and the effects on our political institutions.”

Library Journal

“If anyone is wondering how the Religious Right and President Donald Trump ended up in their unholy alliance, Katherine Stewart has the answer. The Power Worshippers provides a fascinating x-ray into the political eco-system of religious conservatives who threaten the health of our democratic institutions. She argues that this movement is much more about power, money and invented pasts than ethics, theology and God. Stewart’s book is an important contribution to our understanding of contemporary politics.”

Julian E. Zelizer, Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton University

“Katherine Stewart knows from years of investigative reporting why the Trumpvangelicals who use faith to whitewash corruption are a preeminent threat to American democracy. Read The Power Worshippers and you will understand why nothing is more important to the health of our common life than challenging the false moral narrative of religious nationalism.”

Rev. William J. Barber, II, President of Repairers of the Breach & Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

“We are faced with a religious movement that is fundamentally opposed to pluralism and has long-term plans to transform America into a Christian nation. While for decades they have worked to infuse our culture with what they think are biblical values and reshape our legal system to conform to ‘biblical law,’ they are now in political power in all levels of government. Katherine Stewart’s The Power Worshippers is a comprehensive study of who’s who of this movement and those efforts as far back as the 1970s. Stewart is an adept journalist who roots her work in the most current scholarship. The result is a highly readable and important book.”

Julie Ingersoll, author of Building God's Kingdom: inside the World of Christian Reconstruction

“Katherine Stewart’s exposé of Christian nationalism couldn’t be more relevant – or more necessary. Employing a sharp investigative eye, Stewart connects the dots between radical theocratic groups that want to create an officially ‘Christian nation’ and extreme free-market libertarians who despise social programs for the poor, taxes and public institutions. Backed by a network of big donors and well-funded think tanks that crank out a steady stream of propaganda, this disturbing partnership yearns to create an America hewing to their narrow definition of ‘traditional’ values, a country that works well for them, but not anyone else. After reading this book, you should be prepared to fight back like nothing less than our democracy is at stake – because it is.”

Rob Boston, Senior Advisor, Americans United for the Separation of Church & State

“Are millions of American churchgoers being inflamed and exploited by a cynical, well-funded alliance of power seekers? Katherine Stewart presents chilling evidence that this is indeed the case. Read it to understand what the relentless political agitation against abortion and homosexuality has really achieved—and for whom.”

Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America

“In this impressive piece of investigative reporting, Katherine Stewart takes on the enormous task of revealing who exactly is pulling the levers of power in our communities, statehouses, and federal government. She repeatedly demonstrates the magnitude of influence wielded by those committed to making the United States a ‘Christian’ nation and the grave consequences of their endgame. This book is a must-read for any who desire to understand our current political moment and what might come next.”

Andrew Whitehead, author of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States