On September 11, 2001, Americans witnessed horrific carnage inspired by religious extremism. We saw religious fundamentalists will stop at nothing to reign terror on those they regard as their enemies. In our response, we began to focus on the oppressive treatment of women and children in other parts of the world where religious fundamentalism rules. But we failed to acknowledge the impact and similarities of Christian fundamentalism.
Even now, most Americans fail to realize the magnitude of problems posed by our own country’s Christian fundamentalism and Religious Right. We regard such dogmatism as odd but non-threatening. We reason, “Why should we be concerned, so long as it doesn’t affect us?”
But the problem does affect all of us. As The Fundamentals of Extremism reveals, it affects those women and children in Christian fundamentalist homes who suffer severe emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. It affects minorities, particularly African-Americans, and gays and lesbians.
Equally disconcerting, the problem affects adherents of non-fundamentalist faiths. It also affects those with no religious beliefs who are prime targets of religious fundamentalists’ prejudicial attitudes. Even mainstream Christians whose tenets differ from those of conservative Christianity are violators of the will of God who must reform. American Christian fundamentalists are working to change the laws of our land. Their goal is to force all Americans to conform to their strict religious ideologies.
Kimberly Blaker’s The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America is not just another book on the Religious Right. John Shelby Spong, bestselling author of Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism calls Blaker’s book “a thorough analysis of a present crisis.” In this stark and troubling account of the Religious Right’s vision for America, readers will come face-to-face with Christian fundamentalist goals and tactics that have long been underway. Blaker’s carefully documented and compelling narrative exposes the full spectrum of issues on the Christian fundamentalist agenda. Rarely have these issues been examined so thoroughly. At least one has never been examined and exposed nationally.
The Fundamentals of Extremism is an absorbing exposé. It urges mainstream Americans to recognize and oppose the encroachment of Christian fundamentalism on our secular society. It’s a stirring appeal for religious freedom and the protection of civil liberties for all—including for the extremists who would deny such rights to others.