Monday, May 22, 2006
Kingdom of the Blind
What I describe as Christian nationalism is not synonymous with evangelical Christianity or even Christian fundamentalism. It is, rather, a movement that purports to have extrapolated a complete governing program from the bible, and that claims divine sanction for its campaign of national renewal. It promotes a revisionist history in which the founders were conservative Christians who never meant to separate church and state, and in which America's true Christian character has been subverted by several generations of God-hating leftists. It explicitly condemns the Enlightenment and denies that Enlightenment values had anything to do with our nation's original ideals. ...
You don't just see it in the federal government -- if anything, it's even more pronounced on the state and local level, where I've often heard officials cite fake facts from Christian nationalist books at contentious school board meetings and the like. Indeed, the teaching of Christian nationalist history may turn out to be the next big educational battle after intelligent design -- a curriculum developed by several leaders in the movement has already been introduced in school districts nationwide.
What I try to describe in "Kingdom Coming" is a subtle but powerful change in the way our country works -- the slow encroachment of conservative religious doctrines into government policy, the increasing sectarianism pervading politics and public institutions, the shift in the very way our society apprehends truth. As I write in the book, "As Christian nationalism gains influence, it is changing our country in troubling ways, and its leaders say they've only just begun. It is up to all Americans to decide how far they can go."