GOD'S BULLIES: Native Reflections on Preachers and Politics by Perry Deane Young

GOD'S BULLIES: Native Reflections on Preachers and Politics

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Another angry muckraking report on the Rev. Falwell & Co., honest, forthright, and intensely personal--but no more distinguished than other previous exposes of the New Fundamentalism (cf. Conway and Siegelman's Holy Terror, p. 527). Granted, this prolix, disorganized survey does offer a few fresh insights. Young was born in North Carolina to a huge family of poor rednecks (his word); and he was steeped in the culture of backwoods Calvinism, so when he rides into the enemy's camp at Lynchburg, Va. (headquarters of the Moral Majority and home of Liberty Baptist College), he knows the turf. Young is also an acknowledged homosexual, which leads him to concentrate on the ferocious anti-gay bias of Christian conservatives and to pounce upon some of their more vociferous leaders who happen to be gay themselves, notably former congressman Robert E. Bauman of Maryland and Terry Dolan, national chairman of NCPAC. Young's interview with Dolan, who begins by squirming and ends by stonewalling, is perhaps the highlight of his ""rendezvous with hypocrisy."" But otherwise we get a largely predictable melange of mini-biographies (Falwell, Richard Viguerie, Howard Phillips, Edward McAteer, Paul Weyrich, et al.); candid shots of born-again apparatchiks doing their thing (e.g., at a Moral Majority fund-raising seminar); casual historical references (to Thomas Jefferson, the Scopes trial, the origins of the Mennonites); and quotations from all over. It's passable, but Young doesn't know enough sociology or have enough literary artistry to show us the big picture. He can only pile up journalistic miniatures, such as his gossipy notes on the rise and fall of the Anita Bryant crusade. A hectic, heroic effort with middling results.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1982
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston