News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Rise of the Empire of the Failed Self

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Rise of the Empire of the Failed Self

If you have not yet seen or read the review of Kevin Phillips' book at NYTimes, I suggest you look at the whole thing. This book reflects many things I have discussed in previous posts at this site concerning the rise of the religious Right--especially the Reconstructionists and the Dispensationalists. ...

According to the NYTimes review:

On the far right is a still obscure but, Phillips says, rapidly growing group of "Christian Reconstructionists" who believe in a "Taliban-like" reversal of women's rights, who describe the separation of church and state as a "myth" and who call openly for a theocratic government shaped by Christian doctrine. A much larger group of Protestants, perhaps as many as a third of the population, claims to believe in the supposed biblical prophecies of an imminent "rapture" — the return of Jesus to the world and the elevation of believers to heaven.

Prophetic Christians, Phillips writes, often shape their view of politics and the world around signs that charlatan biblical scholars have identified as predictors of the apocalypse — among them a war in Iraq, the Jewish settlement of the whole of biblical Israel, even the rise of terrorism. [Phillips] convincingly demonstrates that the Bush administration has calculatedly reached out to such believers and encouraged them to see the president's policies as a response to premillennialist thought. He also suggests that the president and other members of his administration may actually believe these things themselves, that religious belief is the basis of policy, not just a tactic for selling it to the public.

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