Tuesday, August 01, 2006

read and recommended



last week I ignored my better angels - which were whispering in my ear that i should either purchase this volume from amazon or wait until lightway finally receives the item and exercise the old five finger discount – and purchased balmer’s new book straight off barnes and nobles’ shelf. after greedily consuming this manifesto in two or three sittings i am proud to report that it features: well-reasoned, trenchant critiques of the power-as-piety tactics of the religious right, suggests a few helpful ways forward* for evangelicals who are seeking to forego base partisanship as we seek God’s future for this world and a well-documented, wholly surprising, discussion of the origins of the religious right.** while i had a few minor quibbles with balmer’s analysis*** and i was occasionally annoyed with his presumption that he will be martyred by the RR on a progressive evangelical cross****, i think that this little polemic will confirm the suspicions that many evangelicals already have concerning the dominionist fantasies of the religious right and will serve as a reminder to the rest of the literate world that over 40% of shout to the Lord singers did not vote for bush and have long been seeking to take the fun out of fundamentalism.

so there you go…read it!, you stupid cows.

* i especially found his suggestion that focusing on the environment, and thus fulfilling the creation mandate provided for God-followers in the earliest chapters of Genesis, might be first initiative that liberal, moderate and conservative evangelicals can embrace and pursue together.

** did you know that the original issue which bound evangelical leaders together and catalyzed their early action was not abortion but the integration policies at bob jones university? me neither.

*** including his tendency to speak of the religious right in sweeping terms that ignores the movement’s ideological and sociological diversity.

**** but then again, without that martyr complex his evangelical credentials would have to be questioned.

2 comments:

fran said...

I haven't read your blog in years, Jeff, so I reacquainted myself today. I intend to read the book. I was interested in your synopsis of items you did not know before reading it. I didn't know about the integration issue in terms of the religious right, although I do understand that was a major factor in infusing the Republican party as the dominant party in the south. thanks, Fran

g13 said...

thanks for stopping by fran. lyndon b. johnson, scoundrel and scourge that he was, said that signing the civil rights act would alienate the south from the democratic party for a generation. it appears that he was right.

after learning about the RRs connections to segregationist concerns i will never interpret their talk about "state's rights" in quite the same manner again.