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Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy Paperback – February, 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Frederick Clarkson's Eternal Hostility provides a chilling road map to a growing movement whose roots go back to the founding days of the country. Clarkson asks the reader to consider what it would be like if having an abortion was punishable by death, if gays and lesbians were thrown into jail, or if our constitutional rights were replaced by biblical law. In a stunning analysis, Clarkson debunks the "objective" bestseller Culture Wars to reveal a tract written by a rightwing church elder. =20 Chastising liberals and the left for failing to recognize the depth of the threat to liberty, Clarkson argues that we must develop a coherent response to a well-organized effort aimed at overthrowing democracy. When he exposes the aims and strategies of such diverse Christian zealots as the "Promise Keepers" and the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, remember that it was Clarkson who first to exposed the Christian Coalition's plans to take over the Republican Party, plans which have largely succeeded in several states and was actually seen as it was acted out on television in the 1996 Texas Republic Convention. Clarkson was also the first to expose how elements of the Christian Right were encouraging the formation of citizen "militias" almost five years before the Oklahoma City bombing propelled the militia movement into general public awareness. Eternal Hostility is a warning bell in the night and is essential reading for any secular humanist or freethinker needing to be aroused from a complacency that "it can't happen here" -- because it has, it is, and it may well succeed if enough good men do nothing to stop it. -- Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Frederick Clarkson is a widely published journalist, author and lecturer who specializes in the Radical Right.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Common Courage Press (February 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567510884
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567510881
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,486,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are some books that forever change the way you see political reality. This is one of them.
In this short and accessible work, Clarkson shows that there are important differences between conservatives who believe in constitutional democracy -- and the antidemocratic theocrats who advocate conservative social issues. The latter are all too often using issues like abortion and homosexuality for a broader purpose -- to destablize constitutional democracy. Real conservatives know the difference or ought to. So should everyone else. Practitioners of identity politics need to look beyond the blinders of such worthy concerns as race and gender and understand more clearly the nature of the threat. Whether you are a progressive engaged in issues of social justice, or a libertarian concerned about matters of personal liberty, the dangers of the Christian right will be more hair raisingly evident to you after reading this book than you might imagine.
Eternal Hostility should be on the required reading list of every American who still thinks religious and reproductive freedom, and constitutional democracy itself are worth preserving.
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Format: Paperback
So-called social conservatives are given a pretty free ride on TV news programs, don't you think?
Have you ever heard a TV journalist use the word "theocracy" or "theocrat" when discussing the Christian Right? If they had read Eternal Hostility, they would know that the word theocrat is not an epithet, its a religious and political point of view held by many -- but certainly not all on the Christian Right.
Wouldn't it be helpful if Americans who think democracy and pluralism are good things, were informed that there are totalitarians in our midst and that they play important roles in influencing public life? Frederick Clarkson thinks so, and his very readable book is an excellent primer for the otherwise politically literate.
I was so glad to see that ABC's 20/20 recently had the good sense to feature his expertise in a segment about antiabortion terrorism. I hope we will hear more from him in the media.
I also I hope you will buy and read Eternal Hostility. If you do,you will never look at politics and political reporting the same way.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an interesting examination of theocratic elements within the Christian Right and more generalist theocratic impulses and influences shaping the agendas of many of the leaders and founders of the Christian Right religio-political movement, the beginnings of which can be traced back to the 1970's.

I only recently discovered this book. Its publication date (the soft cover edition anyway) is 1997--nearly a decade ago.

Reading some of the reviews that were written closer to the time of the book's publication, it's clear that Clarkson's analyses were deemed alarmist or overblown by some. This probably seemed somewhat reasonable given that at the time many print and TV commentators (not Clarkson, obviously) were declaring the demise of the Christian Right, and given that a center-left moderate was in The Oval Office.

However, since the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004 and the openly-declared efforts by Christian Right leaders and Republican elected officials to codify in law their vision of an essentially "Christian 'democracy,'" if you will (my term, not Clarkson's), and given the now more widely-understood influence of genuine theocrats, like R. J. Rushdoony, on neo-conservative and conservative thinkers like Paul Weyrich, Clarkson's book seems prescient.

Consider also the recent "Justice Sunday" event, at which any Americans--be they elected officals, judges, or private citizens--who support the continuation of the practice of filibusters in the U.S. Senate were brazenly branded "enemies" of "people of faith.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of those books where you find yourself talking back to the page. Clarkson presents a well-researched, well-documented history of American theocracy and its threat to the democracy -- and personal freedom -- we cherish so dearly in the US. He makes a strong argument for the history and preservation of the second amendment as it pertains to the separation of church and state. Our "founding fathers" were not the born-again christians Pat Robertson & Co. claim they were: Jefferson, Madison, Paine, Franklin, Adams et als were all deists. Making claims for Jesus in the constitution was specifically overruled at the Constitutional Convention. Clarkson points out the dangers inherent in eroding the wall of separation, all the more frightening in this day and age of "faith-based" social programs. The scariest point he makes over and over again is that when politicians and religious activists talk about prayer in schools and the role of religion in government, they mean christianity: not islam, not judaism, not earth religions, christianity only. That alone is reason enough to uphold the wall of separation.
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