Writer/researcher Katherine Stewart has just released a new book. The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism is a sobering, shocking exposé of the ongoing power of Christian nationalism in American politics. This book is guaranteed to disturb you – but it will enlighten you as well.
I received an advance copy of The Power Worshippers (and provided a cover blurb). What struck me is the way Stewart deftly draws connections between well-heeled, right-wing think tanks in Washington, D.C., that hate government and seek to undermine public services and grassroots efforts around the country led by Christian fundamentalists who want everyone to live under their narrow version of faith. (Project Blitz is a good example of this troubling nexus.) Stewart also makes it clear that the rise of Christian nationalism is a global phenomenon, in part a backlash to the increasing secularism of the times.
Stewart is an old-fashioned shoe-leather journalist. She travels, she talks to people, she gathers information and she reports what she has experienced. Thanks to her fluid writing style, you feel like you’re there alongside her, whether she’s sitting in the pew of a fundamentalist church in California or visiting the Museum of the Bible in the nation's capital.
In addition, Stewart is an excellent researcher who knows how to dig, expose connections and follow the money. This formula served Stewart well in her previous book, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, which chronicled efforts by fundamentalist Christians to infiltrate public schools to proselytize young children, and it anchors The Power Worshippers as well.
You can get a good feel for the book in this excerpt, which ran on Hemant Mehta’s popular “Friendly Atheist” blog. And remember, if you’re attending Americans United’s National Advocacy Summit later this month, you’ll have the opportunity to meet Stewart in person. She’s taking part in a panel titled “Power Worshippers: Defining and Combatting Christian Nationalism.”
The Power Worshippers is available through online booksellers and in book stores. Pick up a copy, read it and get informed. Then, work with Americans United to oppose those who yearn to use the power of the government to force you to live under their religion.
Photo: Attendees of the Religious Right's Values Voter Summit, 2015