The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right's Plans for the Rest of Us

The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right's Plans for the Rest of Us

by Rabbi James Rudin, A. James Rudin

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Here, at last, are the war plans of America's own religious extremists. The Baptizing of America exposes the systematic campaign by Christian fundamentalists to co-opt and take over every "room" of American society from the bedroom to the school room, hospital room, operating room, courtroom, work room, reading room and newsroom. This book focuses on the aggressive


Here, at last, are the war plans of America's own religious extremists. The Baptizing of America exposes the systematic campaign by Christian fundamentalists to co-opt and take over every "room" of American society from the bedroom to the school room, hospital room, operating room, courtroom, work room, reading room and newsroom. This book focuses on the aggressive and well-funded war currently being led by fundamentalist Christians to "baptize America." It is a prolonged battle that will determine whether the United States remains a spiritually vital country - but one without an officially established religion - or whether it will become "Christianized," a "faith-based nation" in which fundamentalist Christianity will be the sole legal dominant religion throughout the land. The war will decide whether America follows the path of many other nations and becomes a theocracy, not unlike Iran and the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Political controversies ranging from same-sex marriage to the Terry Schiavo case have brought increased public attention to the agenda of the religious right. Rudin, a syndicated columnist and board member of the American Jewish Committee, believes the efforts of Christian conservatives to turn their moral philosophy into law are an "immediate and profound threat to our republic." He unleashes much impassioned rhetoric in rebutting critics who find his totalitarian vision of a Christian police state excessive, but repetitive use of the term "Christocrats" to describe his political opponents becomes off-putting, if not downright offensive. For sure, Rudin isn't the only one for whom recent Harry Potter book burnings are a chilling reminder of the Nazis, but even the mere existence of Christian-themed cable networks fills him with dread. There is a significant political debate to be discussed here, and Rudin occasionally hits upon it, but too often his argument trickles away with vague warnings. What comes across as a personal distaste for conservative evangelicals derails a much-needed discussion of the consequences of religion-based political advocacy. (Jan. 5) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Rabbi Rudin (senior interreligious advisor, American Jewish Committee), who has worked closely with political and religious leaders in support of the state of Israel and promoting religious pluralism and cultural diversity, writes about what he observes to be the intrusion of fundamentalist Christianity into our lives. The plight of our nation, as Rudin sees it, is that it is humanist and that the Christian Right believes there should be purity of religious belief, ideological conformity, and spiritual submission and obedience. He hopes that his account of discussions with Christian leaders will reveal an underlying theme of the slippery slope down which he believes Americans are heading; a slippery slope that leads to the forgotten history of religious persecution and discrimination. While the rest of the world progresses, he argues, the United States is in danger of becoming a state-controlled, faith-based nation. Though this popular text clarifies the missionary drive of fundamentalist Christians, because it so reflects Rudin's personal views it would best serve as a counter text to a work like Brannon Howse's One Nation Under Man?: The Worldview War Between Christians and the Secular Left. Recommended for larger public libraries and most academic religious collections-L. Kriz, West Des Moines P.L., IA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A less-than-convincing warning that the Christian right is trying to set up a theocracy in the United States. Rudin, a retired U.S. Air Force chaplain, takes a hyperbolic approach, referring to Christian conservatives as "Christocrats . . . willing to sacrifice historic American freedoms and rights for a greater good: God's plan for the United States." An early chapter takes his home state of Virginia as a case study, describing two youthful encounters with religious bigotry, in 1942 and 1950, and a 1995 meeting with Reverend Pat Robertson as "events [that] defined for me in a personal way the goals of today's Christocrats in America and the methods they employ to achieve them." Rudin moves on to explain the differences among the various Protestant denominations; to explore the concept of evangelicalism within varying traditions; and to trace the Christian right's move from political separation to political engagement in the 1980s. He also discusses the complex relationship evangelicals have had with the Jewish community. The book's second half examines fundamentalists' attempts to impose hard-line Christian beliefs on others within the context of varying "rooms": the bedroom, the schoolroom, the courtroom, etc. Throughout these chapters, he provides examples of actions taken by the Christian right in the legal, legislative, educational and media arenas. Rudin has done a great deal of homework, but in the end he simply sounds like a member of one fringe group attacking another fringe group. The aggressive language he utilizes throughout-"the current American Civil War," "Christocratic shock troops," etc.-and his sky-is-falling tone make the author seem as unobjective, if not asunreasonable, as many of the evangelicals at whom he points a self-righteous finger. Written for those who already share the author's point of view, not for the larger number of Americans somewhere between his extremism and that of and the Christian right.

Product Details

Basic Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 8.26(h) x 1.16(d)

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Meet the Author

Over the past 35 years, Rabbi James Rubin devoted much of his time to observing and working with the evangelical and fundamentalist Christian groups in the United States. He is currently the American Jewish Committee's Senior Interreligious Advisor and a member of that organization’s board of governors.

During his tenure as Director of the AJC's Interreligious Affairs Department, the AJC became the internationally acknowledged leader in Christian-Jewish and Muslim-Jewish relations. In that capacity, Rudin served as the leader of many conferences both in the United States and overseas. He is the past chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, and he has participated in ten meetings with Pope John Paul II. Rabbi Rudin has also participated in historic meetings with the World Council of Churches in Geneva and with Eastern Orthodox Christian leaders in Greece.

He has worked in close consultation with leaders of the well-known Oberammergau Passion Play that is presented every ten years in Germany. It was his leadership efforts that resulted in many positive changes in the portrayal of Jews and Judaism at Oberammergau in 1990 and again in 2000.

Rabbi Rudin was a founder of both the National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry and the National Interreligious Task Force on Black-Jewish Relations. He currently serves as a member of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, an interdisciplinary group that focuses on bioethical legislation and issues. Rabbi Rudin was also a member of the Camp David/Presidential Retreat Interfaith Chapel Committee and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission.

Rabbi Rudin is a prolific writer, providing weekly commentaries for the Religion News Service (RNS)/Newhouse Syndicate since 1991. His articles have appeared in numerous publications and he has lectured throughout the world. He has been a frequent guest on many radio and television programs including NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS, NPR, BBC, along with German, Japanese, Korean, Polish and Israeli TV networks.

Before joining the AJC in 1968, Rabbi Rudin served congregations in Kansas City, Missouri and Champaign, Illinois. He was also a United States Air Force Chaplain in Japan and Korea. In 1964 he participated in an interreligious, inter racial voting rights drive in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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