[NAPAP: National Association for the Purification of Art and the Press] were pursuing the same purpose - to make life conform to the ideals agreed upon by the principle Christian Protestant denominations ... they would merely state to the representatives of the people what they wanted, and get it.
Does this sound like a reincarnation of the Moral Majority?
Are Christian evangelist scandals like those with Jim & Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Ted Haggard recent phenomena?
Has the power of the Religious Right reached unprecedented heights?
80 years ago, "almost certainly the most systematic ... of all American novelists," Sinclair Lewis wrote about evangelist and fundamentalist preachers in America, especially the red states, the heartland, the Midwest. The book Elmer Gantry is of interest not only as a historical record, but as a commentary, reflection, and illustration of the strange mixture of religion, money, and politics today.
Sinclair Lewis received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930, and this well-written book supports that honor. However, as this was written in the days before word processors and computer printing, and the author is thought to have been drunk while writing the last 100 pages, the editors were not as vigilant as today's protectors of the reader's time and energy. For example, unless you're a student of philosophy or religion, preferably both, you can skip the abstract discussion that occupies the entire 28th chapter.
Definitely something to read before the 2008 presidential election.