Thoughts On The Book, American Theocracy

 book jacket for american theocracy
Recently, I was confessing to some of my "girlfriends" (my wife calls them my girlfriends but we are mainly a bunch of old guys who get together a few times a week to BS); that, as I aged, I seem to be worrying more about things that I definitely can't do anything about: the national debt, how mismanaged the Iraq war is, etc. The "girls" didn't give me any comfort, but looked at me as if to say, "So, You're old, You worry! And this is news?"

I just finished the book, American Theocracy with the subtitle, The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. I can definitely say this book did not alleviate my worries about the state of the nation and the world, but I believe every thoughtful person should read this book whether they agree with its premise or not.

As the subtitle indicates the addiction to oil and domestic and international debt threaten the well-being of the United States. But oil and debt problems take a back seat in the book to the author's passionate belief that radical Christianity's intrusion in politics is a major societal threat. I personally think, the author, Kevin Phillips, goes a little over the top when he compares Christianity in politics to the radical control of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Kevin Phillips is especially hard on the Southern Baptists, once a scorned minority of the American Baptist Church but now is so large that it dominates not just Baptists but American Protestantism as well. The Southern Baptist Convention does not speak with one voice; but almost all of its voices, Phillips argues, are to one degree or another highly conservative. Phillips says, this demonination wants the subjugation of women, total marrying of the Church and state. Furthermore, Phillips indicates their belief in the eminent return of Jesus Christ empowers them to think they are right in all their convictions; the world is going end, so there is no need to plan for the future. This is scary. But like I said before, I think Phillips is taking his radical religion in politics fervor a little too far.

Nevertheless, I am not a big fan of right-wing religious zealots. I read about an evangelical group called Vision America, recently that welcomed Tom Delay to a War on Christians Conference. If we are talking about narrow-minded neanderthals, this group is it. Tom DeLay, according to this group is being persecuted mercilessly. This group also thinks all of mankind's illnesses are the fault of the liberal media; that is, the liberal media is responsible for the Iraq war, the beheadings, the kidnappings, and the deaths of scores of Iraqis to include the death of American soldiers. And, of course, we had some "real" "thinkers" attending this conference-NOT!!! in my opinion.

According to polls, most Americans are in the middle. But where are they? The opinions on the left like some of those in the book, American Theocracy. and the opinions on the far right seem to get the most attention. Please, thoughtful Americans in the middle speak up. Heaven help us!!! JHL

April 02 2006
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