Sunday, October 22, 2006

Review: Kingdom Coming, by Michelle Goldberg

I have to admit that Salon Magazine is one of my favorite on-line magazines. It's unabashedly liberal, thoughtful, and has impeccable taste. Michelle Goldberg is a senior editor there, and writes some of the more interesting political articles.

Her book is about the rise of the religious conservatism and Christian Nationalism, whose goal it is to turn the United States into a Christian Nation, with One Nation Under God. That this is a burgeoning grass-roots movement there is no doubt, from both the anti-evolutionary movements, the anti-abortion movements, the anti-gay marriage movements, as well as the christianization of today's politics, where every politician has to at least pay lip-service to Christianity.

There's a lot of fear-mongering in this book, drawing many parallels between the the totalitarian movements (fascism among others) and the goals of the Christian Nationalistic movements. What is stunning though is the pessimism she has, as well as the lack of any intelligent political strategy that she thinks is effective. Off the top of my head I can think of many effective ones relying on the factionalization of the Christian religion. Seriously, Anglicanism, Southern Baptism, Presbytarianism, and many other Christian factions can be considered separate religions with little in common. Many of them, for instance, would be horrified to think of a federal government that's controlled by the Mormons, for instance. This could easily be used to promote a stricter separation of Church and State.

Nonetheless, I do intend to keep an up to date passport in case things do turn out for the worst and I have to flee the country. In any case, foreign investments look more and more appealing --- a country gripped by fundamentalism is likely to become one in which technology and science is neglected, leaving an opportunity for non-Americans to thrive and leave U.S. corporations behind in competitive markets.
Whenever I talk about the growing power of the evangelical right with friends and acquaintances, they always ask the same question: What can we do? Usually I reply with a joke: Keep a bag packed and your passport current. I don't really mean it, but my underlying anxiety is genuine... In the coming months and years, we will probably see the curtailment of the civil rights that gay people, women, and religious minorities have won in the last few decades... From what I've witnessed while researching this book, I'm convinced that Christian nationalist symbolism and ideology will increasingly pervade public life.
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