The collected essays in The Fundamentals of Extremism offer a much-needed update of the revolutionary political agenda that is being promoted and heavily funded by the American religious right. Editors Blaker, et al use these extremists' own words to exemplify the extent to which right-wing Christian politicians, ministers, pundits, and social engineers will go to attract like-minded absolutists who are bent on controlling the hearts and minds of not only other Christians, but ALL Americans.
While the previous 9 of 10 reviewers have adequately described and rated this book, I must point out that the latest review is an accurate illustration of the mindset explained by the authors of The Fundamentals of Extremism: reactionary, single-minded, and utterly unwilling to accept opposing viewpoints.
If this book displays "extremism" of any type, it is the extreme fairness of Blaker's objective criticism, in which she and her co-contributors continually point out that not all fundamentalists are not extremists. The Fundamentals of Extremism does focus, however, on the true extremists of the Christian Right and their theocratic agenda, which is without a doubt, UN-American.
But naturally, the reactionary types who write trashing reviews of books they haven't read would not know this.
Stephen C. Coyle
An important warning of the political forces organizing to turn America into a Christian theocracy at the earliest possible opportunity.
A specialist in legal psychiatry, John M. Suarez,M.D outlines the increased number of attacks on the First Amendment in "The Path to Theocracy." He describes how the First Amendment has saved us from religious war so far and how the most militant forces call openly for war.
The chapter "Inerrancy Turned Political" comes from Herb Silverman, Ph.D., a mathematician who forced the state of South Carolina to make him a notary public despite the fact that he refused to declare a belief in a Supreme Being. Silverman exposes tactics used by the religious right to gain political influence and the damage their victories bring to our public school system. He presents an alarming expose' of the Reconstructionist camp of Christian fundamentalists as he outlines the work of the moral Majority, Christian Coalition, and Catholic League, particularly their grip on the Republican Party.
Edward M. Buckner, Ph.D., executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, in his chapter, "Winning the Battle Royal," reminds us that "the United States established the first significant secular government designed to lead the first truly secular society in history," and argues that only such a society can offer true religious freedom. As he points out the similarities between Islamic and Christian fundamentalism, Buckner explains why fundamentalism is so dangerous and why we must maintain the secular nature of our Constitution and government.
Kimberly Blaker and her co-authors have presented a well-researched, informative, and eye-opening account of the not-so-obvious ways Christian fundamentalists are seeking to overhaul our society, its government, and the educational system. The authors address the serious impact that these radicals have on children's welfare, women's rights, and separation of church and state issues. Anyone interested in preserving our constitutional and religious freedoms, from athiests to conservative believers, will benefit from understanding the epidemic of extreme beliefs in our country. This book has made me realize that it is not safe to sit by passively. The fundamentalists count on that. Instead, we must pay closer attention to the Christian fundamentalist movement and use our voting rights, at local, state, and federal levels, to take action against this very active minority emerging in the United States.
Ignore all the criticisms regarding the production value .. it is what is inside that is important!
These essays are well researched and much of the information comes straight from the Religious Right themselves.
I mean listen to one of the quotations that was in the book .. right from the horses mouth:
"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good ... if a Christian voted for Clinton, he sinned against God. It's that simple. Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country..."
RANDALL TERRY- FOunder of Operation Rescue and Terri Schaivo advocate
How can anyone say that this book is a Left Wing Hate book when the Christian Right themselves are so hateful?
I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting more information about this movement.
Another excellent book that was recently produced by Edwin Kagin, one of the authors of book. BAUBLES OF BLASPHEMY
Just what exactly do religious extremists in the Christian community want to do with the U.S. government? What would fundamentalists do to the Bill of Rights, if given the chance? How would America function under the rule of theocratic extremists?
These questions and others are examined in this book by a whole host of different authors. Kimberly Blaker contributes the most, and she is joined by other concerned authors, like John Suarez, Herb Silverman, Edward Buckner, and others. Each one of the authors contributes to their specific area of expertise, touching on such hot issues as racism, education, homophobia, church/state relations, and government in general.
Some of the quotes from prominent Christian fundamentalists, like Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, and others, will alarm some readers so don't be surprised if you come away from this book with a feeling of shock and concern. Fundamentalist leaders are very well organized and they have a mission to convert the United States into a theocracy and eliminate the separation of church and state. They have already achieved success with the Republican Party, which has adopted many Fundamentalist doctrines into its platform.
Before anyone gets too scared, though, it should be noted that the vast majority of Christians do not share these radical views. These extremist positions are held by a very small fraction of Christian adherents and while they come across as very anti- American in nature, they are still not as frightening as they seem. The reason is because most Americans believe in the Constitution and would never accept or allow these types of changes to take place. Like the authors point out, this won't stop the fundamentalists from trying to force their agenda on the nation, but there is only so far they can go with the present system of checks and balances.
I enjoyed most of this book, but I didn't like the writing style or the contents of chapter 3 (covering education), written by Bobbie Kirkhart. Not only is the writing itself inferior to Kimberly Blaker and the others, it also presents some very weak arguments in defense of the public schools. I can agree that an educational system run exclusively by religious organizations with no room for other choices or opinions would be a bad thing. But I cannot go along with some of Kirkhart's assertions, like her claim that private schools are not really any better than public ones. I think she goes way too far in her unyielding support of public education.
This is an interesting book that explains the extremist views of radical Christian forces in America and how they would like to eliminate most of the freedoms and civil rights that we all take for granted. Their ideas are too outrageous to ever become reality. But they need to be paid attention to and monitored nonetheless, to make sure that they do not succeed any further than they already have in implementing their anti- American agenda.