Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg

book jact with upraised hand and a crossKingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg, (2006)

To start, I begin with the quote from the conclusion titled Exiles in Jesusland:

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a FREE CIVIL GOVERNMENT. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. –Thomas Jefferson

This is a really excellent book. Well worth buying and reading and rereading because the depth of her discussion and naming names is so complete. Well written so it is easy to follow the arguments she makes and an appreciation for the connections between people and events.

Page 180 at the end of the book,  sets out the reason for anxiety:

It’s one thing to have a government that shows contempt for civil liberties; America has survived such men before. It’s quite another to HAVE A MASS MOVEMENT — the largest and most powerful mass movement in the nation — rise up in OPPOSITION to the RIGHTS of its fellow citizens. The Constitution protects minorities, but that protection is not absolute, with a sufficiently sympathetic or apathetic majority, a tightly organized faction can get around it.

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Wrapped in the Flag by Claire Conner

wrapped in the flagWrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America’s Radical Right¬†(2013) covering the John Birch Society with their rugged individualist slogan of “less government, more responsibility, and — with God’s help — a better world” not withstanding that many people do not agree that their vision is the vision of what a better world would be for the majority of the people. That’s the problem with zealots, they are so sure they are right that they feel an obligation to impose their “right” beliefs on everyone else, facts be damned, or civil rights, or the law. Only what they want is what everyone gets.

Unfortunately for the author, her parents were true Bircher believers. She actually was in Dallas when Kennedy was assassinated. When she talked to her father about it, she reports his response as “Kennedy was a traitor. The Commies killed one of their own.” It is not really very clear to me why someone would buy into all the commie crap in the first place, but I guess McCarthy had really really convinced normal people they were everywhere. She says: “With the help of his arch-right-wing friends, in and out of the John Birch Society, Dad could recite a list of ‘dirty Reds,’ as he called them, who had gotten themselves elected president of the United States. From Franklin Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy to Jimmy Carter, the Oval Office had seen its share of Commie dupes, Commie sympathizers, and out-and-out Commies.”

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