First my complaints. The characters are flat, just clumsy tools to get Rich’s point across. The female characters are less than flat. To use a geometry metaphor, they are mere lines to the two-dimensional male planes. Another cringe inducer is the exaltation of Mayor Bloomberg as a secular saint. The dialogue is what I would expect in a “purpose-driven” novel.
Despite my sympathy with Rich’s perspective, it’s impossible to avoid comparisons with Ayn Rand’s novels, The Turner Diaries and I presume The Left Behind series and Glenn Beck’s novels–books that value the readers’ instruction over their entertainment. Rich wants to inspire action, not deepen the human experience. But I knew that going in. Just glancing at the cover tells you this is a polemic in a novel’s clothing.
But for all this, Christian Nation doesn’t deserve to be dumped in the didactic dustbin with the aforementioned and their ilk. Polemic novels can be great. Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here, which is Christian Nation’s inspiration, is a great novel.
Christian Nation extrapolates from what is already known about the Christian Right in America. Rich provides numerous quotes from the movement’s leaders that explicitly call for the theocracy in the novel. Those who insist the U.S. is a Christian nation and seek to install the Bible as the law of the land cannot compromise. There are tens of millions who seek to make every American submit to their interpretation of biblical law. And they’ve been working for decades to achieve this goal.
"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them."
They made a lot of progress under the Bush administration with restrictions on stem cell research and Faith-based initiatives. And they’re always trying to funnel public money into supporting private Christian schools. A Sarah Palin presidency would open the floodgates for theocratic legislation and ensure a theocratic SCOTUS majority. Add a little more conceivable bad luck and we could live under the crushing rule of Christian Nation.
Christian Nation is a rallying call to defend our values, our American values that are under attack. There is a force that claims to be TRUE AMERICAN, but they have no respect for the Constitution or the liberal values enshrined in it.
Most certainly it can happen here. I hope it’s unlikely. But in the great mass of Americans there is the capacity for great cruelty.