Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism

On one hand, I really should have read this when it came out. At the time, the dominant narrative was that liberals are out of touch with "ordinary Americans," the right wing is growing and represents the mainstream, the Democratic party is in crisis. What a difference a few years make -- now, due to the results of all of two national elections, we hear about how Republicans are becoming a permanent minority due to demographic changes and the liberal social views of young people.

The book itself is overly hyperbolic and annoyingly equivocating at the same time. Goldberg talks about how liberals are being disenfranchised, ruled by people from other states that we don't understand, with little control over our country's future. She also constantly writes things like "this is not to say that all Christians feel this way" when she never said that all Christians feel that way. She writes that liberals and secularists should not apologize for who we are, while at the same time apologizing constantly via taking back statements she never made.

Which is to say, the writing style of this book made me crazy. But her conclusion -- that secularists need a stronger grassroots network and should not buckle under claims that right-wing Christians are the "real" America -- is a reasonable one to be sure. Here in New York, a city of liberals, of immigrants, of open gays, unmarried and childless adults, artists, bohemians, radicals, lefty Jews, and every other group vilifed by people who would use the attack on this city as justification to oppress most of the people in it, we are just as "American" as everywhere else. It's our country too.