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281 of 306 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary, important reading, May 25, 2006
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This review is from: Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism (Hardcover)
Michelle Goldberg has researched and written an important book, one that will provoke discussion. I was impressed by the depth and breadth of her research and of the interviews with the people she writes about. She claims her biases up front.

The most important aspect of the book is a delineation of the opposing world-views she describes, something that may be news to blue-staters: there are two competing views of American and world history, two competing standards for "science," two competing notions of reality in American life today: an Enlightenment/humanist viewpoint and a viewpoint from which the Christian God, as interpreted by the Christian Right, is King of the United States. She suggests that dialogue between the two is impossible because there is so little common ground, and that those on the center and left underestimate the seriousness of the challenge to the U.S. Constitution and values.

My only gripe with this book is that the scenario she paints is so dark that many readers may be tempted to defend themselves against the thought, rather than against the threat. She is describing real institutions, real people, real organizations whose own mission statements can be checked out with a few keystrokes at the keyboard.

This is a must-read book for anyone who values free speech, freedom of religion, or is concerned for the way their tax dollars are spent.
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Showing 1-10 of 35 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 28, 2006 9:44:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 28, 2006 9:53:17 AM PDT
John says:
The problem that I had with the book was that the author was trying to say that the Christian Right are fascists. I am very critical of the Christian Right, but to say that they are Nazis is just totally out of line. I had the feeling all through her book that she studied fascism a lot, for instance, in college. A lot of people have a tendency to label whatever they don't like as "fascist". I think that is kind of dangerous, because we do need to differentiate things that we consdider wrong and primitive with real fascism.

Also, I do think that evangelical Christianity is not a monolith. I think that one problem that the people who claim that the "Christian Right" is trying to build a "theocracy", is that, if you really look closely at it, there is no unity to it. Sure, there are people like Dobson and "Focus on the Family", but the very nature of modern evangelical Christianity is that it is not a unified, traditional church. It consists of millions of individuals. They do not all believe the same thing (35 % of them voted for John Kerry in 2004, for instance). And yet, the author claims that they all basically believe the same thing. If all evangelicals are fascists, then those 35 % that voted for Kerry are also fasicsts ??

Posted on Oct 31, 2006 1:40:32 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Oct 31, 2006 1:41:33 AM PST
Books like this depend too much on generalizations and straw men.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2007 2:57:29 PM PDT
You are right. It's not right to call Christians Nazis. They are worse than Nazis.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 7:09:05 PM PDT
LindaT says:
I would cordially invite you to read Dietrich Boenhoffer. He was a dedicated Christian who, along with other Christians, strongly opposed what Hitler was doing.

Saying that the Christians are worse than Nazis is very simply ignorant and uninformed. And the first person who would disagree with you would be Michelle Goldberg, the author of this book. I've only just now begun to read this book and I already know that.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2007 10:25:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2007 10:42:05 AM PDT
Linnea says:
John and Cuong, you are half right. I don't think anyone claims that all (or most) Christians are Nazis. But just as some (few) Moslems are terrorists, some (few, I hope) Christian fundamentalists are espousing a form of Christianity that is intolerant, perverse, and dangerous to the faith, AND profoundly UN-American. This is the case where a critical mass of Christian evangelicals have come to dominate a government institution (like the U.S. military, the National Institute of Health, or the National Weather Service) and use their positions of authority to shape policy, enforce the law or to require those under their command to convert or conform to their idea of what a good Christian is. To a jew, this smells a lot like nazism, but it represents something in the American character and current political reality that is ugly and painful to contemplate. (see 'With God on Our Side', by Michael Weinstein.)
It is at least as important that Christians who love and respect the U.S. Constitution recognize and resist this threat, as it is for Moslems reject Al Qeada. If you regard EVERY criticism of ANY Christian (or tenet of christianity) as anti-Christian, you will blind yourself to threats as perverse as the Taliban.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2008 4:38:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2008 4:42:33 PM PST
John says:
Just do this "experiment" for me some time: go into a company in Oklahoma and tell a Jesus joke, and then see if you get any calls from HR.

Now do the same in a place like Berkeley or Santa Monica: tell a joke about gays or women. Now see if you get a call from HR there.

So which group is more "intolerant" of other points of view ?

I think it is kind of funny that the people in our society who really are intolerant of other points of view - liberals - toss the term "intolerant" around a lot. I can tell you, I am a non-believer ("atheist") and have had such discussions here in Texas, and there were no repurcussions or animosity. Most "Christian Right" people will listen to your point of view and might even respect it, and then try to convince you, not suppress you (I really dislike religion, but I just have to make this point, because I think it is true).

In contrast, liberals - when opposed with something outside their "orthodoxy", often react with intolerance and threats and try to suppress you.

Just my experience on that.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2009 4:06:39 AM PDT
JDE says:
But you know, John, there's an important difference - the liberal doesn't think you're going to burn in hell for eternity. The fundamentalist attitude isn't one of tolerance; rather, it's an attitude of indifference to what s/he believes to be your fate.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2009 2:50:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 6, 2009 2:51:28 PM PDT
Tawny says:
That may be because making a joke about a belief is fundamentally different from making a joke about someone's physical gender or sexual orientation. As a woman, I find anti-women things wholly offensive. However, I have no problem with (well-told/good) jokes about liberals, law students/lawyers, Christians, or anything else that are things I have chosen in life to be associated with. Hell, even *I* joke about those things.

The fact that you equate sexist, bigoted remarks with jokes is basically another way of saying, "Man, I wish the libruls hadn't made it where everyone was equal to the straight white man." Or, put another way, if you had said something about racist jokes, the equivalent of getting mad about "all those PC terms I have to use in public."


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2009 2:06:51 PM PDT
Dingfelder says:
There is no necessary dichotomy between liberalism and tolerance(certainly no more so than between conservatism and tolerance), or for that matter between liberalism and religious belief. You are just muddying the waters out of political cant that is out of place here and at best less than useful.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2010 5:06:23 PM PDT
laguna_greg says:
Hi John,

Yours: "the author was trying to say that the Christian Right are fascists"

Well. Fascism is a political philosophy that embraces violent means to achieve political ends. It is not Nazism, although one can say that the Nazis were fascist. I'm sure you knew this already, but your comment is a little unclear about what exactly fascism is. Fascism is originally an Italian word and came from Mussolini's stated political philosophy. It has been used to describe many political movements in the past, not just the Nazis. Stalin, for example or Pol Pot.

I don't have a problem describing someone like Jerry Falwell as a fascist. I believe the he knowingly engaged people in a dialogue of fear, animosity, half-truths and implied violence to raise money and achieve his political ends. He succeeded brilliantly, I'm sorry to say. I see more and more of that kind of thinking forced on people through the media every day. Woe is us.

You say that evangelical Christians are a diverse and disunited group. If that's the case, then why are so many of them reacting the same way politically? Why are so many of them espousing the same "family values" to the exclusion of any other way of thinking? And why is this agenda now a litmus test in many communities for electability? Are they all just afraid of the same things, regardless of their diversity of belief?

Contemporary Christians might be a diverse bunch, but they sure do believe a lot of the same things. Like creationism, which is now a political hot potato that no one can ignore. And how they are mostly against gay marriage. And how conservatism is actually a christian value. Heck, if you're a conservative in this country, you'd also better be a Christian! And you'd better support school prayer, Christian of course!! Can you imagine a Buddhist conservative? I can't, not in politics anyway. And I can't see any of the evangelicals I know embracing somebody like that.

If that's not the beginnings of a theocracy, I don't know what is.

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