This article originally appeared on April 9, 2021 at Baptist News Global.
Imagine if America’s coalition of conspiracy theorist, cowboy Christianity had colonized its way into the world of international politics and sexual abuse cover-ups under the guise of spreading the gospel. Research scholar Mary Li Ma believes this isn’t an imaginary scenario, but a very real one today.
Li Ma, who is the author of nine books, specializes in social theory and the intersection of China studies, religion, gender, the art market and globalization. She is an advocate for women’s rights and for understanding urban poverty.
Her latest book, Babel Church: The Subversion of Christianity in an Age of Mass Media, Globalization, and #MeToo, discusses how American conservative evangelicalism has exported its gender-driven power dynamics and obsession with Donald Trump to China.
She recently gave an exclusive interview to Baptist News Global about these issues.
The American evangelical culture of the 1990s was a converging of purity culture, Left Behind culture and capitalism that fueled a strong fear among conservative evangelicals of their neighbors on the left, a toxically masculine embrace of hierarchy in the home, and an unparalleled support of political violence and war in the pursuit of retributive justice. How was the culture of Christianity in China developing in the 1990s? Was there a similar conspiratorial culture growing in China as well? And how did it compare or contrast to the culture of conservative evangelicalism in America?