Blessed Assurance: A History of Evangelicalism in America, by Randall Balmer
Thirty years ago Dial Press commissioned me to write a book on the Protestant experience in America (Righteous Empire) for its bicentennial series. I was asked to exclude the "evangelical" half of mainly white Protestantism, since William R. Taylor was to write about it. That his book never appeared does not matter so far as the 18th and 19th centuries are concerned, since Protestantism and evangelicalism were largely one and the same then. Only in the 20th century did the two diverge. Even so, I smuggled figures like Billy Graham and some other evangelicals into my account. The two stories cannot really be disentangled.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).