You can't live in the United States of America and not notice the shift in politics towards religion. Almost daily we see the lines between Church and State become blurrier and blurrier. Damon Linker calls this movement theoconservatism and outlines the rise and development of this uniquely American point of view in his book The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege.
Linker has a unique perspective as the former editor of First Things, the journal of the theocons. He believes that Americans should be scared enough by this small conservative movement to keep an eye and a check on how far religion is allowed to go in consulting with federal government.
The argument is compelling. We are dealing with an administration that brought in faith based initiatives, faith based counseling, and that involved itself in the Terry Schiavo rigt-to-die case. It is also a proponent of "intelligent design", has passed (or attempted) pro-life legislation, is against gay marriage, and continues to fund and fight a moral global war against terror.
Linker focuses on the major players of the movement, all who have close ties to the current White House administration and who have very radical views of the role religion should play in government. From Catholic conservative Richard John Neuhaus (founder of First Things) and author Michael Novack, best known for his arguments against income tax and theological justifications for George W. Bush's Middle East policies; to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and almost-Justice Robert Bork – we get a good overview of the main organizers of this small but highly vocal and effective group of theorists and political advisors.
The Theocons is a great book, a scary book, an important book for anyone truly interested in the behind the scenes workings of the current U.S. government to read. Be aware that it is not an easy read. Linker writes from an academic focus that can be a bit dry and painful at times, but struggle through as I did and you will ultimately be glad that you did.Powered by Sidelines