cover image The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

Katherine Stewart. Bloomsbury, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-63557-343-5

Journalist Stewart (The Good News Club) provides a comprehensive, chilling look at America’s Christian nationalist movement, which she convincingly portrays as a highly organized political coalition that has “already transformed the political landscape and shaken the foundations upon which lay our democratic norms and institutions.” Arguing that Christian nationalism has been misunderstood as focusing on social issues (mainly abortion and gay marriage), Stewart shows, through painstaking reporting over the past decade, that the movement aims “to replace our foundational democratic principles and institutions with a state grounded on a particular version of Christianity... that also happens to serve the interests of its plutocratic funders and allied political leaders.” For example, she writes, Christian nationalists have embarked on an extensive, coordinated campaign to radically reform public education, particularly within the charter school sector, where “egregious examples of church-school fusion are far from anomalous,” an effort spearheaded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Stewart also explores how Catholic ultraconservative Leonard Leo used the Federalist Society to target judgeships and “establish religion in the name of ‘religious liberty’ ” and how multinational Christian organizations, such as the World Congress of Families, are organizing to fight a grassroots “global holy war” against secularism. Her insightful investigation places the power of Christian nationalism into full context. (Mar.)