Anointed with Oil: God and Black Gold in Modern America


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project probes evangelical Protestantism's ideological and institutional ties to oil, 1850 to the present. By way of rich narrative and deep analysis, it argues that oil-patch evangelicals have always considered petroleum their special providence, a fragile gift bestowed by God to be used for the advance of “His Kingdom.” Driven by sacred notions of production, stewardship, and dominion over the earth, they have long found an ally in the oil business, which has grafted these ideals onto an ideology of wildcat capitalism. This marriage has spawned power structures with global impact. While oil funds have helped clerics build thriving international ministries, evangelical businessmen and politicians have used their religious connections to expand US oil's interests at home and abroad.