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The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America Paperback – February 1, 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I have just read this brilliant book . . . almost without a break, and I am stunned and horrified . . . ." -- Richard Dawkins, Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, author of Unweaving the Rainbow

"In other words, this book is a "must read" volume." -- Gerald A. Larue, Emeritus Professor and Religion Adjunct Professor at University of Southern California, author of Playing God: Deciding Your Life and Death

"a blockbuster exposé of the activities of the Religious Right. . . . This is . . . a thorough analysis of a present crisis." -- John Shelby Spong, best-selling author of Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism

"an especially important book for all who care about the rights and well-being of women and children." -- Nadine Strossen, President of American Civil Liberties Union, Professor of Law, New York Law School

"the most careful and devastating evaluation of the impact of fundamentalism . . . ever produced in the United States. . . ." -- John M. Swomley, Emeritus Professor of Social Ethics, Saint Paul School of Theology, author of Liberation Ethics

This book is an encyclopedic indictment of the extreme Christian right, but . . . can be applied to any extremist belief system. -- Cultic Studies Review, Frank MacHovec

This book's authority hinges on meticulous documentation of a slow but tangible national shift... to an unabashedly apostolic theocracy. -- San Antonio Current, Review by Anjali Gupta

[The Fundamentals] is filled with astonishing citations that demonstrate the virulence of the Christian fundamentalists and... their agenda. -- Swans, Review by Gilles d'Aymery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

On September 11, 2001, Americans witnessed horrific carnage inspired by religious extremism. We saw that religious fundamentalists will stop at nothing to reign terror on those they regard as their enemies. In our response, we began to focus on the oppressive treatment of women and children in other parts of the world where religious fundamentalism rules.

Yet, even now, most Americans fail to realize the magnitude of problems posed by our own country’s Christian fundamentalism and Religious Right. We regard such dogmatism as odd but non-threatening. We reason, "Why should we be concerned, so long as it doesn’t affect us?"

But the problem does affect all of us. It affects those women and children in fundamentalist Christian homes who suffer severe emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. It affects minorities, particularly African-Americans, and gays and lesbians.

Equally disconcerting, the problem affects adherents of non-fundamentalist faiths and those with no religious beliefs who are prime targets of fundamentalists’ prejudicial attitudes. To the Christian Right in America, even mainstream Christians whose tenets differ from those of conservative Christianity are violators of the will of God and must reform. American Christian fundamentalists are working to change laws of our land and thus force all Americans to conform to strict religious ideologies.

Kimberly Blaker’s The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America is not just another book on the Religious Right. John Shelby Spong, best-selling author of Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism calls Blaker’s book "a thorough analysis of a present crisis." In this stark and troubling account of the Religious Right’s vision for America, readers will come face-to-face with fundamentalist goals and tactics that have long been under way.

Blaker’s carefully documented and compelling narrative exposes the full spectrum of issues on the Christian fundamentalist agenda. Rarely have these issues been examined so thoroughly; at least one has never been examined and exposed nationally.

This absorbing exposé urges mainstream Americans to recognize and oppose the encroachment of Christian fundamentalism on our secular society. It is a stirring appeal for religious freedom and the protection of civil liberties for all—including for the extremists who would deny such rights to others. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Boston Books (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972549617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972549615
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Dondiego on September 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
The collected essays in The Fundamentals of Extremism offer a much-needed update of the revolutionary political agenda that is being promoted and heavily funded by the American religious right. Editors Blaker, et al use these extremists' own words to exemplify the extent to which right-wing Christian politicians, ministers, pundits, and social engineers will go to attract like-minded absolutists who are bent on controlling the hearts and minds of not only other Christians, but ALL Americans.
While the previous 9 of 10 reviewers have adequately described and rated this book, I must point out that the latest review is an accurate illustration of the mindset explained by the authors of The Fundamentals of Extremism: reactionary, single-minded, and utterly unwilling to accept opposing viewpoints.
If this book displays "extremism" of any type, it is the extreme fairness of Blaker's objective criticism, in which she and her co-contributors continually point out that not all fundamentalists are not extremists. The Fundamentals of Extremism does focus, however, on the true extremists of the Christian Right and their theocratic agenda, which is without a doubt, UN-American.
But naturally, the reactionary types who write trashing reviews of books they haven't read would not know this.
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An important warning of the political forces organizing to turn America into a Christian theocracy at the earliest possible opportunity.

A specialist in legal psychiatry, John M. Suarez,M.D outlines the increased number of attacks on the First Amendment in "The Path to Theocracy." He describes how the First Amendment has saved us from religious war so far and how the most militant forces call openly for war.

The chapter "Inerrancy Turned Political" comes from Herb Silverman, Ph.D., a mathematician who forced the state of South Carolina to make him a notary public despite the fact that he refused to declare a belief in a Supreme Being. Silverman exposes tactics used by the religious right to gain political influence and the damage their victories bring to our public school system. He presents an alarming expose' of the Reconstructionist camp of Christian fundamentalists as he outlines the work of the moral Majority, Christian Coalition, and Catholic League, particularly their grip on the Republican Party.

Edward M. Buckner, Ph.D., executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, in his chapter, "Winning the Battle Royal," reminds us that "the United States established the first significant secular government designed to lead the first truly secular society in history," and argues that only such a society can offer true religious freedom. As he points out the similarities between Islamic and Christian fundamentalism, Buckner explains why fundamentalism is so dangerous and why we must maintain the secular nature of our Constitution and government.
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Kimberly Blaker and her co-authors have presented a well-researched, informative, and eye-opening account of the not-so-obvious ways Christian fundamentalists are seeking to overhaul our society, its government, and the educational system. The authors address the serious impact that these radicals have on children's welfare, women's rights, and separation of church and state issues. Anyone interested in preserving our constitutional and religious freedoms, from athiests to conservative believers, will benefit from understanding the epidemic of extreme beliefs in our country. This book has made me realize that it is not safe to sit by passively. The fundamentalists count on that. Instead, we must pay closer attention to the Christian fundamentalist movement and use our voting rights, at local, state, and federal levels, to take action against this very active minority emerging in the United States.
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Ignore all the criticisms regarding the production value .. it is what is inside that is important!

These essays are well researched and much of the information comes straight from the Religious Right themselves.

I mean listen to one of the quotations that was in the book .. right from the horses mouth:

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good ... if a Christian voted for Clinton, he sinned against God. It's that simple. Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country..."

RANDALL TERRY- FOunder of Operation Rescue and Terri Schaivo advocate

How can anyone say that this book is a Left Wing Hate book when the Christian Right themselves are so hateful?

I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting more information about this movement.

Another excellent book that was recently produced by Edwin Kagin, one of the authors of book. BAUBLES OF BLASPHEMY
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Just what exactly do religious extremists in the Christian community want to do with the U.S. government? What would fundamentalists do to the Bill of Rights, if given the chance? How would America function under the rule of theocratic extremists?
These questions and others are examined in this book by a whole host of different authors. Kimberly Blaker contributes the most, and she is joined by other concerned authors, like John Suarez, Herb Silverman, Edward Buckner, and others. Each one of the authors contributes to their specific area of expertise, touching on such hot issues as racism, education, homophobia, church/state relations, and government in general.
Some of the quotes from prominent Christian fundamentalists, like Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, and others, will alarm some readers so don't be surprised if you come away from this book with a feeling of shock and concern. Fundamentalist leaders are very well organized and they have a mission to convert the United States into a theocracy and eliminate the separation of church and state. They have already achieved success with the Republican Party, which has adopted many Fundamentalist doctrines into its platform.
Before anyone gets too scared, though, it should be noted that the vast majority of Christians do not share these radical views. These extremist positions are held by a very small fraction of Christian adherents and while they come across as very anti- American in nature, they are still not as frightening as they seem. The reason is because most Americans believe in the Constitution and would never accept or allow these types of changes to take place.
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