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December 20, 2006


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Bob Allen

Hate to show my age, but "Love It to Death" was Alice Cooper's first big album. Somehow, I find that relevant--seriously, one of the few books I've actually bought recently was Michelle Goldberg's excellent "Kingdom Coming" on this topic...


Don't forget Christian rock concerts and edgy styles! Another excellent book on this topic is Sharon Crowley's _Towards a Civil Discourse_. Crowley, a rhetorician, gorgeously weaves both postmodern rhetorical theory (especially Laclau and Zizek)and rhetorical theory from the ancients together in analyzing the rhetorical situation in the United States today, and what possibilities there are for discourse. The most valuable aspect of this book for me was her careful analysis of rightwing apocalyptic discourses in the middle chapters of the book, that draw heavily on Christian literature, speeches, and social statistics to make her case. A very enjoyable and eye-opening read.

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Bob Allen

In the Goldberg book, I was struck by the story of Marvin Olasky( a big player in the Christian right), an ex-communist who actually shopped around for a church that was as far to the right of Leninism as possible, and it was a Southern Baptist sect(noting Jodi's background) . As a midwesterner whose family lineage goes back to the early Mormons and was married to a Southern Baptist I have plenty of experience with these Calvinist mindsets, and didn't become an atheist/Marxist until 1997, pushing forty. Religion is powerful stuff, but my point is, intellectuals might spend less time trying to figure out how to communicate with these folk and more time tracing out how they were able to overcome this "inner fascism" (Foucalt, Fromm) and mapping out ways for others to do so. As with everything else in the USA, it is a marketing problem, the commodity being mental freedom if you will..


Good post, especially the bit about religion as "one of the organizing struggles of American life" along with race, etc. Wishing for myself in the New Year a chance to return to blog writing.

Anthony Paul Smith

A recent piece by Alberto Toscano has some bearing on the recent discussions:



Thanks APS. When Toscano and others invoke Munzter et al, I'm always wanting time to explore the way, up until the mid to late twentieth century, catholics and protestants continued to identify all anabaptist movements with the revolt there (with schwarmer being one of the chief epithets) in the 1520's.

Anthony Paul Smith

Was that an anabaptist thing?


yes and no. At Munster, adult baptism was the impetus for the break, but they ended with violence, polygamy, etc. and protestants and catholics for long after wanted to say that all anabaptists would do such things if they only had the chance. Menno wrote a response to the munster crisis saying why taking up the sword didn't mesh with radical protestant principles.

Another thinker whom anabaptist still claim for their own, even though he too wasn't against violence is Balthasar Hubmaier who was widely considered at the time to be the author of the 12 Articles, a document at the core of the peasants revolt and responded to directly by luther in the 1525 document mentioned by toscano.

Stan Moody

I fail to see this as an awakening...Instead, I find the Christian Right to be duplicitous in their insistence that God is in charge...In fact, God has been moving too slowly for these Dominionists...They are in control mode because of their comfort in addictive systems...

If this "movement" continues gathering momentum, it will attract all the fascist wing nuts who speak the language without the faith...

Christian Zionism is the most recent push for this "movement."

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