The Religious Far Right

Current Affairs

Salon has an article posted on how the leaders of the far-right in the religious movement are responding to economic pressures by creating a social movement gospel that is radically different than our traditional understandings of the social gospel:

Link: The holy blitz rolls on | Salon Books.

[I]n the rise of America’s religious right, Hedges senses something akin to the brutal movements he’s spent his life chronicling. The title of his new book speaks for itself: “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” Scores of volumes about the religious right have recently been published (one of them, “Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism,” by me), but Hedges’ book is perhaps the most furious and foreboding, all the more so because he knows what fascism looks like.

Part of his outrage is theological. The son of a Presbyterian minister and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Hedges once planned to join the clergy himself. He speaks of the preachers he encountered while researching “American Fascists” as heretics, and he’s appalled at their desecration of a faith he still cherishes, even if he no longer totally embraces it. Writing of Ohio megachurch pastor Rod Parsley and his close associate, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell, he says, “[T]he heart of the Christian religion, all that is good and compassionate within it, has been tossed aside, ruthlessly gouged out and thrown into a heap with all the other inner organs. Only the shell, the form, remains. Christianity is of no use to Parsley, Blackwell and the others. In its name they kill it.”

I’ve been reading An Angel Directs the Storm: Apocalyptic Religion & American Empire by Michael Northcott. It’s an attempt to examine how profoundly Dispensationalist theology has influenced the foreign policy decisions of the American government in the past 3 decades or so. It’s a very insightful and depressing read so far. Especially since many classically trained theologians dismiss Dispensationalism as a theological error at best.

Do take a moment to read the whole article. It’s worth watching the advertisement if you don’t have a subscription to Salon.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...