Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism


"A potent wakeup call to pluralists in the coming showdown with Christian nationalists."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Michelle Goldberg, a senior political reporter for, has been covering the intersection of politics and ideology for years. Before the 2004 election, and during the ensuing months when many Americans were trying to understand how an administration marked by cronyism, disregard for the national budget, and poorly disguised self-interest had been reinstated, Goldberg traveled through ...

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"A potent wakeup call to pluralists in the coming showdown with Christian nationalists."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Michelle Goldberg, a senior political reporter for, has been covering the intersection of politics and ideology for years. Before the 2004 election, and during the ensuing months when many Americans were trying to understand how an administration marked by cronyism, disregard for the national budget, and poorly disguised self-interest had been reinstated, Goldberg traveled through the heartland of a country in the grips of a fevered religious radicalism: the America of our time. From the classroom to the mega-church to the federal court, she saw how the growing influence of dominionism-the doctrine that Christians have the right to rule nonbelievers-is threatening the foundations of democracy.
In Kingdom Coming, Goldberg demonstrates how an increasingly bellicose fundamentalism is gaining traction throughout our national life, taking us on a tour of the parallel right-wing evangelical culture that is buoyed by Republican political patronage. Deep within the red zones of a divided America, we meet military retirees pledging to seize the nation in Christ's name, perfidious congressmen courting the confidence of neo-confederates and proponents of theocracy, and leaders of federally funded programs offering Jesus as the solution to the country's social problems.
With her trenchant interviews and the telling testimonies of the people behind this movement, Goldberg gains access into the hearts and minds of citizens who are striving to remake the secular Republic bequeathed by our founders into a Christian nation run according to their interpretation of scripture. In her examination of the ever-widening divide between believers and nonbelievers, Goldberg illustrates the subversive effect of this conservative stranglehold nationwide. In an age when faith rather than reason is heralded and the values of the Enlightenment are threatened by a mystical nationalism claiming divine sanction, Kingdom Coming brings us face to face with the irrational forces that are remaking much of America.

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Editorial Reviews

Anna Godbersen - Esquire
“An important work of investigative journalism.”
David Fear - Time Out
“Regardless of where you fall on the moderate-to-progressive political scale, this well-written chronicle of civil liberties under siege by holy rollers will undoubtedly scare the bejesus out of you.”
Tony Normal - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Goldberg's book will be recognized as the definitive guide to how a relatively tiny group of intellectuals, politicians, and conservatives religionists positioned themselves to take over America. This stuff is no joke.”
Publishers Weekly
In an impressive piece of lucid journalism, reporter Goldberg dives into the religious right and sorts out the history and networks of what to most liberals is an inscrutable parallel universe. She deconstructs "dominion theology," the prevalent evangelical assertion that Christians have a "responsibility to take over every aspect of society." Goldberg makes no attempt to hide her own partisanship, calling herself a "secular Jew and ardent urbanite" who wrote the book because she "was terrified by America's increasing hostility to... cosmopolitan values." This carefully researched and riveting treatise will hardly allay its audience's fears, however; secular liberals and mainstream believers alike will find Goldberg's descriptions of today's culture wars deeply disturbing. She traces the deep financial and ideological ties between fundamentalist Christians and the Republican Party, and discloses the dangers she believes are inherent to the Bush administration's faith-based social services initiative. Other chapters follow inflammatory political tactics on wedge issues like gay rights, evolution and sex education. Significantly, her conclusions do not come off as hysterical or shrill. Even while pointing to stark parallels between fascism and the language of the religious right, Goldberg's vision of America's future is measured and realistic. Her book is a potent wakeup call to pluralists in the coming showdown with Christian nationalists. (May 15) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal editor Goldberg examines the growing belief among some Chirstians that they have a right to take over governing in Christ's name. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
American democracy and the Enlightenment itself are menaced by would-be theocrats and their Republican operatives, contends reporter Goldberg. The author brands conservative Christian influence in public life as proto-fascist and a Western version of Islamism. In her view, the subversives are everywhere, passing anti-gay-marriage initiatives and lobbying for anti-abortion judges; more subversives are on the way, because homeschooling is simply an incubator for revolution. The menace is "Christian nationalism," a movement whose tenets Goldberg seeks to relate to the Reconstructionist theology of the late R.J. Rushdoony. He was a genuine theocrat, a postmillennialist who held that Christ would return after believers had thoroughly Christianized the world. In contrast, premillennial American evangelicals hold that Christ will return to a collapsing world, which implies that political reform by believers would ultimately be futile. One of the great stories in the history of the past generation has been the search of newly vibrant American evangelicalism for a political theory. The author infers that Reconstructionism is the new master philosophy, in part because conventional politicians and religious leaders sometimes appear at the same public events as Reconstructionists; she makes no mention of the systematic efforts by some evangelicals to engage Catholic social theory. Goldberg does provide some good reporting, however. She shows that the fiscal controls on the Bush Administration's faith-based initiatives are loose. During her investigation of abstinence-only sex education, she allows its proponents to make a case she finds unpersuasive but plausible. Nonetheless, the authordeclares that now is the time to fight the Christian nationalists, not to placate them. She ends by exhorting her readers to retake the country from the grassroots up. If you think that Christianity is the new Communism, then this is the book for you.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393329766
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/9/2007
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 692,284
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michelle Goldberg

Michelle Goldberg is a contributing editor at Religion Dispatches and a senior correspondent for American Prospect. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the New York Observer, the Guardian [London], Newsday, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : taking the land 1
Ch. 1 This is a Christian nation 24
Ch. 2 Protocols of the elders of San Francisco : the political uses of homophobia 50
Ch. 3 Lord of the laboratory : intelligent design and the war on the enlightenment 80
Ch. 4 The faith-based gravy train 106
Ch. 5 AIDS is not the enemy : sin, redemption, and the abstinence industry 134
Ch. 6 No man, no problem : the war on the courts 154
Conclusion : exiles in Jesusland 180
Afterword : solidarity 207
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    'Kingdom Coming' fair warning about fundies

    Michelle Goldberg's 'Kingdom Coming: the Rise of Christian Nationalism' is a measured, thoughtful, and incisive look at the totalitarian impulse currently raising its ugly head in American fundamentalism. While America remains obsessed with the religious Neanderthals in other cultures, they seem to have a beam in their eye when it comes to their own. Ms. Goldberg makes appallingly clear that many in the Christian Right of the U.S. have no sympathy of any sort with democratic pluralism and tolerance. Their goal is a theocratic state in which Bible law becomes the only law of the land. She demonstrates how the Bush government has truckled to these shrill ideologues and how they, in turn, have infiltrated virtually every level of government. Her documentation of this is unimpeachable. For those with values differing from, say, Pat Robertson, this book should be cause for concern. These ugly fanatics have a lot of support in the population and progressivism is going to face a long struggle against this wave of irrationalism. Some in the Democratic party think they should 'reach out' to the fundies and address at least some of their concerns. While this book doesn't address this particular issue, it does implicitly demonstrate the problems of such an attempt. The Christian Right has networked its way through the Republican Party at all levels - it gets (somewhat) what it wants from the Republicans and is unlikely to switch to any other party offering a 'tolerance' it so explicitly despises. Ms. Goldberg's book offers great insights into the creationist/intelligent design controversy(the latter is just an ideological Trojan horse - the Christian Right, as she demonstrates in this book, is fond of Trojan horse politics)and into the history of the Christian Right movement(although I think it could have been more detailed). She draws some interesting connections between the Christian Right and the John Birch Society that I have neither seen nor considered before. While not exhaustive, Ms. Goldberg's research into the ideology of fundamentalism is fairly solid here and worthy of our respect. Ms. Goldberg sees clearly the threats the Christian Right pose to a democratic, pluralistic society. She does point out that the Christian Right does not necessarily represent fundamentalism as a whole. Maybe. Black fundamentalism used to have a huge progressive strain, but sadly that is changing. Ms. Goldberg is also right that progressives should not be defensive about their own beliefs and should become better at presenting the case for their own values. Overall, I think this is a very important book about a very important topic. Americans ignore this book at their own peril. It's going to get worse before it gets better - these fanatics are not going to go gently into that good night. There's a long fight ahead. This book provides you with an excellent topography of the battleground. Chilling and infuriating all at the same time...Greg Cameron, Surrey, B.C., Canada

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2007

    Fantastic read, rather depressing in reality though

    Over the Christmas holiday I picked up this and another book of the same ilk and have to say that this is a quick and interesting read. For the devout atheists among us however, it will be upsetting to see how our country has begun to spiral into Christian rule. I would recommend it though to all who want a better grasp on the republican party and Christianity in general.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    A wake up call to all reasonable people of faith.

    Ms. Goldberg's book blows the lid off of the so-called 'Reiligious Right', and their plan to become America's answer to the Taleban/Taliban. The connection between the GOP and the radical right is explored too, a secret not concealed, by one of the 'Right''s own, Richard Viguerie, who helped to get Ronald Reagan elected in the 1980's. This book paints a pretty scary picture of how given the wimpy reaction of the moderates and liberals to the far Right, in America, and have led the way to where we are now. Bush making a mess of everything, the fundamentalist Protestants, and (sad to say) their counterparts in Catholicism [which makes me ashamed to be one] have hijacked our nation trying to turn it into a 'theocracy'. The misuse of the tragedy of 9/11, by Christians, against anyone, Muslims, and others, even their fellow Christians [if they are not fundamentalist] is also pointed up/out. I agree with her call to moderates, leftists, and anyone who cares, who believes in God, but doesn't use this belief as a way of forcing 'conversion' on the rest of the world, to stand up and be counted. We must stem the tide, as she says [in so many words] of this Christian nationalism, which has nothing to do with Christianity, just as jihading,fundamentalist, Taliban/Talebin, Osama Bin Laden, like Islam has to do with true Islam [according to most who just want to practice their faith, as we Christians want to practice ours]. A must read, and an eye opening look at what America could become (more than it is already). Of course, conservatives, Republicans, and fundamentalists would disagree (as is their right-something they don't allow who hold the opposite view to them to have) as they try to replace 'democracy' with 'theocracy', as if to 'save' America from the eventual, biblical, 'Apocalypse'. Apparently, they forget 'judge not, lest ye be judged'. Hopefully, enough people will take her message to heart and work to restore 'balance' to America [beginning in November 2006]. Amen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2006

    Christian Bashing

    From the looks of it, this guy has no clue about Christianity. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell Christians to go and rule over other people, especially by force. It teaches the exact opposite, submit to government and others that would do harm to you.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2006

    clear, simple, frightening

    A remarkably clear exposition. Simple and to the point, never wandering off course. Every symptom I've seen erupt the last twenty years is made clear and woven together into a compelling story. In my long life, I have never feared for my country until a few years ago. This book explains why.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2006

    An engaging political page turner

    Kingdom Coming: The rise of Christian Nationalism is more than a simple survey of the religious right. It is a veritable field guide of the movement. The book documents the movement's recent growth in power and fleshes out its leaders- men who, though previously marginalized by those in power, are now poised to change the way normal Americans live their lives. Never hysterical in tone, this measured (and at times very funny) book never fails to astound the reader with in-depth interviews, unbelievable quotes, and intricately structured cultural critique. Goldberg's quick witted observation and 'let them hang themselves' interview methods bring to mind both Tom Wolfe's 'Radical Chic' and Joan Didion's 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem.' This is truly the new American Journalism.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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