American democracy and the Enlightenment itself are menaced by would-be theocrats and their Republican operatives, contends Salon.com reporter Goldberg.
The author brands conservative Christian influence in public life as proto-fascist and a Western version of Islamism. In her view, the subversives are everywhere, passing anti-gay-marriage initiatives and lobbying for anti-abortion judges; more subversives are on the way, because homeschooling is simply an incubator for revolution. The menace is “Christian nationalism,” a movement whose tenets Goldberg seeks to relate to the Reconstructionist theology of the late R.J. Rushdoony. He was a genuine theocrat, a postmillennialist who held that Christ would return after believers had thoroughly Christianized the world. In contrast, premillennial American evangelicals hold that Christ will return to a collapsing world, which implies that political reform by believers would ultimately be futile. One of the great stories in the history of the past generation has been the search of newly vibrant American evangelicalism for a political theory. The author infers that Reconstructionism is the new master philosophy, in part because conventional politicians and religious leaders sometimes appear at the same public events as Reconstructionists; she makes no mention of the systematic efforts by some evangelicals to engage Catholic social theory. Goldberg does provide some good reporting, however. She shows that the fiscal controls on the Bush Administration’s faith-based initiatives are loose. During her investigation of abstinence-only sex education, she allows its proponents to make a case she finds unpersuasive but plausible. Nonetheless, the author declares that now is the time to fight the Christian nationalists, not to placate them. She ends by exhorting her readers to retake the country from the grassroots up.
If you think that Christianity is the new Communism, then this is the book for you.