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.