Thursday, June 20, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta, excerpt eight)

from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta:

These themes—of patriotism and divine commission, of nationalism and savage conquest—were ubiquitous in the hall. I saw one flag, black adorned with white revolvers, that read “God, Guns & Trump.” They were sold next to decorative license plates that showed soaring eagles and cocked pistols: “God, Guns & Guts Made America,” it read. “Let’s Keep All Three.”

One table over from where copies of The First American Bible were being sold (for a discounted price of $149.99), Road to Majority attendees crowded around a rack of T-shirts that carried slogans such as “Faith Over Fear” and “This Means War.” The top seller, offered in at least seven different colors, was “Let’s Go Brandon,” a bowdlerized euphemism that conservatives chant as a substitute for “Fuck Joe Biden.” The shirts even included a hashtag--#FJB—that jettisoned any plausible deniability.

When I asked Dave Klucken, the booth’s proprietor, what brought him all the way from Loganville, Georgia, to peddle these goods, he replied, “We’ve taken God out of America.”

Did he really think #FJB was an appropriate way to bring God back? Klucken shrugged. “People keep on asking for it,” he told me. “You’ve got to give the people what they want.”

As recently as five or six years earlier, even as the evangelical-political brand was becoming more disputatious, it would have been scandalous to see such vile and violent symbolism at an event associated with Christianity. But Ralph Reed didn’t really care. He was giving the people what they wanted. He was giving them Donald J. Trump.

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