So far I've just gotten through Part One, for which Blumenthal chooses as an epigram Jeremiah 50:21-22 (march and destroy, etc.). I still have no idea where Blumenthal is going: in the introduction he suggests that he will be explaining the relationship between the Christian Right and the misbehavior of Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Larry Craig, etc. and its commitment to authoritarian government, but by the end of Part One he's just given biographical information on a handful of politically influential Christians:
- Rousas John Rushdoony
- Francis Schaeffer
- Howard and Roberta Green Ahmanson
- Marvin Olasky
- James Dobson
- Chuck Colson
Presbyterian Church in America is not ultraconservative; they're a conservative branch of a mainline denomination), gets basic facts wrong (John Wesley wasn't a Calvinist), and tends to quote single sources as authoritative without adequate justification.
I suspect it's fair to say that Blumenthal isn't interested in putting the Christian Right in whatever form into historical perspective; he's looking to sell books to people who already fear and hate the Christian Right. And that's a double shame: first because the rise of the Christian Right is poorly understood by people who disagree with them, and second because Blumenthal's sloppiness and high rhetorical tone doesn't help anyone's understanding.
There are multiple perspectives on the Christian Right as a religious and political movement, and most of the things written about it look at it from one and only one of these perspectives:
- A grass-roots political movement
- The continuation of some interrupted political story
- A foreign imposition of an antidemocratic authoritarian political system
- A deviant but uniquely American religious phenomenon
- A story of blind faith and political naivete becoming politically savvy
- A conspiracy of a cabal of shady characters