The story of how a poor church, struggling to meet the needs of immigrant populations, grew into a well-organized machine, and how the resultant so-called Powerhouse has come to endanger a basic tenet of American democracy: the separation of church and state. In a society based on democratic values, an appreciation of diverse religious experience is essential. Lader demonstrates by means of a well-documented and lucid argument that it is just this value that is threatened by the growing alliance between an authoritarian form of Roman Catholicism and Protestant Fundamentalism. The members of the alliance are brought together by their desire to obtain federal funds for parochial schools, and in an opposition to any change in the role of women in society. A serious social problem arises, however, when they use their broadly based organizations and tax-exempt funds to promote specific politicians and political causes. Such action is legally prohibited, but, as Lader shows, more and more common. The web of power has grown to include intervention in women's rights, the determination of foreign policy in Latin America, and the interpretation of immigration law--i.e., just who may seek political asylum in the US. Author of numerous studies dealing with American values and social issues, Lader here illuminates what may well be a crisis not in the Roman Catholic church alone but in American democracy as a whole.