With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House

Esther Kaplan, Author New Press $24.95 (322p) ISBN 978-1-56584-920-4
This well-written, fast-paced and engaging book scores points for style, though its decidedly liberal slant will most appeal to readers who already share Kaplan's view that George W. Bush's cozy relations with evangelical Christian activists represents a grave threat to the future of America. Kaplan, a journalist and former editor at The Nation, rehearses how Bush's evangelical Christian faith has dictated his decisions on international issues, such as his determination to invade Iraq, and domestic ones, including his anti-abortion stance, promotion of abstinence, silence on the AIDS epidemic and conservative court appointments. The book is best when Kaplan discusses the ""holy war"" mentality that she feels is prevalent in the Bush administration, whether in Attorney General John Ashcroft's stark approach to the war on terror or Karl Rove's machinations in promoting judicial appointees who would be accepted by both corporate and religious conservatives. Kaplan writes vividly of the people involved and offers memorable human-interest stories, such as a day in the life of two Tennessee abstinence activists. But in many places, she veers away from her focus on the Bush administration to castigate the ""Religious Right"" more generally. She also fails to appreciate the ideological nuances of American evangelicalism. For example, she dismisses Intelligent Design Theory as ""pseudoscience"" and incorrectly claims that its proponents believe the earth is only a few thousand years old, thus conflating it with biblical creationism.
Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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