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Blueprint for Theocracy: The Christian…

Blueprint for Theocracy: The Christian Right's Vision for America

by James C. Sanford

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I have mentioned this book on a number of occasions. It is an excellent and thorough study of the ideological faction that has forged an unholy mix of religion and politics. A blend that the Christian Reconstructionists/World View types are pressing to advance their pernicious theocratic agenda. It is an agenda constructed upon pseudo-history and pseudo-science. Sanford is detailed and assiduous as he traces the evolution of the Christian Right movement and how it has become a force in mainstream politics, with its influence most pronounced in the Republican Party. He is also careful and nuanced as he makes it clear that not all evangelicals share the more extremist mission, so it is not a blanket judgment of Christianity. All the major characters are covered: Rushdoony, Schaefer, Falwell, Robertson, etc.
Highly recommended anyone interested in learning about how the twisted ideological system of thought was shaped and the consequences that loom if they ever are able to fully assert their destructive, anti-democratic, anti-history, and anti-science world view. ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
As a left of Center, secular-minded individual, who does not claim any religious denomination as my own, much that was written by Sanford resonates with me. I can also say that I have learned a good amount of knowledge about the Religious Right movement in the United States, particularly in regards to the careful and premeditated infiltration of our government through grass-roots avenues, ultimately ending at the Supreme Court system. Having said this, as an historian, and information professional who values an unbiased historical monograph, I believe that this book misses the mark. It is obvious that the author has strong feelings where the Conservative Christian mind-set is involved, and his unbridled opinions are clearly evident. To equate Fundamentalist Christian anti-abortionists with Islamic Jihadists is irresponsible at best.

I found this to be an interesting, thought provoking read; Mr. Sanford offers an historical timeline of events, and biographical information on the main characters of the Moral Majority, and the Religious Right. I give this book 3 stars simply for his writing style, which strays from the usual dry tone of a book of this nature, and for a good amount of historical data, although, the one-sided, biased nature of his presentation left me somewhat disappointed. ( )
  Archivist13 | Jun 26, 2014 |
This is a must-read for anyone interested in the current onslaught of control sought by the Christian Right in today's political and secular environment. The author, a retired professor of history at Mt. Holyoke College, has written a unique and long-overdue analysis of the history, methodology, ideology and agenda of the current movement of the hard core fundamentalist evangelical Christian Right to infiltrate and control American secular institutions including public education, national and local politics, secular organizations and businesses. Extensively documented and footnoted, Sanford reveals the interconnection between the Christian Right's anti-modernist, anti-rational, anti-science, authoritarian and theocratic agenda being played out in today's secular and political arenas.

For those who are on board with the Christian Right and their Christian Worldview and Christian Reconstruction, it documents the origins of current ideology beginning with Calvin and moving through Kuyper, Van Til, Rushdooney and others who seek to redefine American society as a theocracy under God. Those supporting such agendas should understand the extent and historical underpinnings of this ideology in order to better understand it as a personal philosophy.

For those who have dismissed the encroachment and infiltration as the temporary work of a minority fringe element, this book is a real wake-up call that outlines the agenda and methodology that is being played out in conservative-controlled areas throughout the U.S., and the biblical links allegedly supporting the ideology of smaller government, unregulated free markets, creationism, public prayer, elimination of taxes and social programs, the war against secularism and an open, pluralistic culture.

Regardless of which side of a theocratic ideology you stand, this is an important book.

This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  mldavis2 | May 21, 2014 |
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king. –Isaiah 33:22

This stuff frightens me. Sanford approaches the topic of the Religious Right much like a journalist struggling mightily to remain unbiased. This goal is too lofty, and though he gives it a good try, the inherent danger of merging church and state nevertheless surfaces in his writing.

The word “theocracy” merely means a form of government where God is in control. It sounds wonderful, until the question arises of who speaks for God. Sanford’s book is the history of the growth of the Religious Right and its infiltration into government, from the Moral Majority through today’s time. It’s deeply researched, written intelligently and straightforwardly, with strong reference material.

Is Christian Reconstructionism, ala Rushdoony’s The Institutes of Biblical Law, really dead? How about Abraham Kuyper’s Christian Worldview? Are personalities like Francis Shaeffer, James Dobson and Charles Colson really under control? By 1984, Pat Robertson, an extremely popular evangelist, was insisting that only Christians and Jews are qualified to govern the nation, and that “God’s people would soon hold sway in Washington.”

Should we fear the emergence of organizations such as the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) or the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) who run their fingers through politics? How about politicians such as Palin, Bachmann and Gingrich who see politics as a battle against secular America?

The fear runs both directions. In 1980, Timothy LaHaye predicted that without a Christian awakening, humanists would achieve their “goal of a complete world takeover by the year 2000.” How did we get so polarized in politics? Will the culture war ever end? Sanford argues that secularism is not hatred of religion; pluralism is not anarchy; tolerance is not indulgence; autonomy is not rebellion. There is nothing to war over. Yet all these are imagined by the Christian Right as undermining a Christian Nation.

Sanford traces the assumption of Divine authority back to Calvin. “Supreme authority makes demands that must be obeyed at all costs, however unreasonable or unpalatable its directives may appear on their face.” The ultimate goal for such Christians is salvation in another world, sometimes reflecting a lack of concern for this world … for the sooner things spiral out of control, the sooner Christ will return.

This book is a probing but necessary read. Still, the solution to ending the culture war is unclear, and it leaves me feeling nervous.

Metacomet Books, © 2014, 278 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9747042-0-3 ( )
1 vote DubiousDisciple | May 12, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0974704245, Paperback)

This investigation sheds new light on the confrontational stance the religious right has taken toward contemporary America by examining the nature and origins of the their highly charged ideas. It traces its belief system, commonly called the "Christian Worldview," to four Christian thinkers (Abraham Kuyper, Cornelius Van Til, Rousas John Rushdoony, and Francis Schaeffer) known for their anti-modernist, authoritarian, and in some cases, openly theocratic ideas. Although virtually unknown to most Americans, these men have been treated like patron saints by the religious right. Their ideas, seriously discussed within the movement and codified in Christian Worldview documents during the 1980s, have been widely disseminated to followers through textbooks and seminars, evolving over time into standard talking points. The book then examines how the ideology buttresses the movement's controversial, right-wing agenda. It explores how the Christian Worldview advances a concept of “total truth” that is unique to biblical Christians and enables them to redefine freedom, law, government, and even history and science, in their own infallible terms. A vision for the future and plan of action are formed on the basis of these certainties. The book concludes by discussing the danger the ideology poses to pluralist society and offers intelligent ways of confronting it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:19 -0400)

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