She's more likely becoming a Crunchy Con, if not a Red Letter Christian. What she's most certainly not—and would not be even if her politics were not undergoing reconsideration—is a theocrat. She, like countless other evangelical Christians, voted for George W. Bush twice and has put faith in his policies. She wishes America were more God-fearing and moral. She appreciates some public Christian figures and is ambivalent about others. But she, like many of her fellow evangelicals, doesn't hope for theocracy, and she is embarrassed by the Christians who do.
This year, the New Releases section of your local bookstore would like to suggest otherwise. A quick scan of current titles posits a country at the brink of theocratic takeover by the Christian Right: “The Left Hand of God” by Michael Lerner, “American Theocracy” by Kevin Philips, “Kingdom Coming” by Michelle Goldberg, “Thy Kingdom Come” by Randall Balmer, “Why the Christian Right Is Wrong” by Robin Meyers, and a litany of other titles offer a clarion call against the coming Christian storm. Their warning? That America is under threat by Christian nationalists. Fundamentalists are consolidating power, gaining influence, and are poised to cleanse the country of a host of sins, from homosexual unions to a multi-party political system. These would-be tyrants believe the United States is meant to be a nation under God, and they're willing to make it so by force.
Given the seriousness of the situation, the authors of these books are not just reporting; they are on a mission to steer the nation from the Highway to Heaven and back toward . . . what? The Clinton era? The 1960s? It's hard to say exactly, but the books all exude the fear that something went dreadfully wrong when the Moral Majority formed in the late 1970s, and the nation has been headed for Christian totalitarianism ever since.
Cleary, the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004 has inspired a cottage industry of complaint, just as the tense reign of Bill Clinton in the 1990s helped inspire and sell conservative books (and launch the FOX News network). With these books appearing one after the other in a swelling army of criticism against the Religious Right, it's tempting to see them all as basically the same book. Their uniformly shrill titles and subtitles ("How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America," bellows Balmer's) convey the sense of variations on a theme, and indeed, the books have a great deal in common in addition to hysterics.