It was a trend that I associate with some passages of the Sinclair Lewis novel ELMER GANTRY. More specifically, with the character of Judson Roberts in that novel, a small figure but one with a critical role in the protagonist's career.
"It" is "muscular Christianity," and a blogger I admire, one who goes by the pixel name Ciceronianus, has recently discussed it with erudition and analytical zeal. Here is a link to that blog entry:
I'll expound no more, but leave the rest to Ciceronianus.