July 18, 2006

The Growing Threat of Right-Wing Christians Below are excerpts from an interview with Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism. Link: AlterNet: The Growing Threat of Right-Wing Christians. I'm fascinated by the parallel world Goldberg describes, a world of alternative science, bureaucracy, history, and normativity with its own standards for assessing validity. In some ways, it reminds me of the UFO community, which also has scientific journals, specific investigation procedures, a set of historical narratives. Yet, a key difference, it seems to me, is that a signficant portion of ufologists seek to establish the truth of their claims via dominant scientific norms. Differently put, few ufologists contest the procedures or claims of mainstream science. Instead, they want mainstream scientists to investigate further witness reports. Many ufologists, moreover, are well attuned to the vagaries of first person claims, the problems of memory, and they rely on a variety of methods to try to distill fact from fantasy. So, if ufology is closer to something like mainstream science, what should we think of these Christian Nationalist groups? Should they be understood as analogous to another culture, with its own traditions and standards? One might say that multiculturalism emphasizes the validity of different cultures and beliefs and that tolerance would require acknowledging these views. There are at least two arguments against thinking Christian Nationalism together with multiculturalism. One comes from within the academic discourse around multiculturalism itself, namely, the point that cultures are not separate totalities; rather they are mutually informing, infilitrating, mixing, hybrid, all...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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