The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism
In December 2019, the venerable evangelical publication Christianity Today caused a furor with an editorial denouncing the "grossly immoral character" of President Donald Trump and calling for his removal from office. The break was noteworthy because of the critical, if not decisive, support evangelical Christians provided Trump in the 2016 election.
But as journalist Katherine Stewart (The Good News Club) makes clear in The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, that enthusiasm had little to do with personal affection for Donald Trump or a favorable judgment of his character. Instead, the project of what she calls "Christian nationalism" is to "replace our foundational democratic principles and institutions with a state grounded on a particular version of Christianity," one that "also happens to serve the interests of its plutocratic funders and allied political leaders."
The Power Worshippers is a comprehensive, if compact, journey through the labyrinth of interlocking organizations and personalities that form the ecosystem of a movement that embraces "identity-based authoritarian rule over pluralistic, democratic processes," and seeks to transform the U.S. to serve that vision. Striving to end the book on an upbeat note, Stewart argues that Americans opposed to the establishment of a Christian theocracy "just need to reclaim the genuine religious freedom that our founders established and that most of our citizens cherish." But as she leaves no doubt, it's a battle that will be fought against well-financed, determined and formidable opposition, and one whose outcome is far from certain. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer