Why Waco?

Why Waco?

Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America

eBook - 1995
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
Presents the complete story behind the debacle at Waco in 1993, examining the Branch Davidian movement and exploring the negative impact of Waco on religious freedom in America

University of California Press
"The label "cult" can become a license to kill. . . . A courageous religious scholar, James Tabor, understanding what was at stake, tried valiantly to prevent the tragedy at Waco. Persevering in its wake, he and Eugene Gallagher thoroughly investigated the background, participants, and events leading to the destruction of the Mount Carmel Church and its members. Their findings are presented in this critically important book."--Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General

"Here, at last, is a glimpse of 'the other side' of the tragic confrontation. . . . The authors offer an alternative to the common wisdom about Waco as well as a critique of the anti-cult ideology that helped misdefine the situation and bring about its fateful--and fatal--results."--Dean M. Kelley, Counselor on Religious Liberty, National Council of Churches

"For public debate on a serious issue facing our society, this book deserves wide and sober reading."--John R. Hall, author of Gone From the Promised Land: Jonestown as American Cultural History

The 1993 government assault on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, resulted in the deaths of four federal agents and eighty Branch Davidians, including seventeen children. Whether these tragic deaths could have been avoided is still debatable, but what seems clear is that the events in Texas have broad implications for religious freedom in America.

James Tabor and Eugene Gallagher's bold examination of the Waco story offers the first balanced account of the siege. They try to understand what really happened in Waco: What brought the Branch Davidians to Mount Carmel? Why did the government attack? How did the media affect events? The authors address the accusations of illegal weapons possession, strange sexual practices, and child abuse that were made against David Koresh and his followers. Without attempting to excuse such actions, they point out that the public has not heard the complete story and that many media reports were distorted.

The authors have carefully studied the Davidian movement, analyzing the theology and biblical interpretation that were so central to the group's functioning. They also consider how two decades of intense activity against so-called cults have influenced public perceptions of unorthodox religions.

In exploring our fear of unconventional religious groups and how such fear curtails our ability to tolerate religious differences,Why Waco? is an unsettling wake-up call. Using the events at Mount Carmel as a cautionary tale, the authors challenge all Americans, including government officials and media representatives, to closely examine our national commitment to religious freedom.

Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, ©1995
ISBN: 9780520919181
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xiv, 252 pages) : illustrations
Additional Contributors: Gallagher, Eugene V.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings


Find it at NPL

To Top