Journalist Michelle Goldberg has been covering the intersection of politics and ideology for years. Before the 2004 election, and during the ensuing months when many Americans were trying to understand how an administration marked by cronyism, disregard for the national budget, and poorly disguised self-interest had been reinstated, Goldberg traveled through the heartland of a country in the grips of a fevered religious radicalism: the America of our time. From the classroom to the mega-church to the federal court, she saw how the growing influence of dominionism—the doctrine that Christians have the right to rule nonbelievers—is threatening the foundations of democracy.
In Kingdom Coming, Goldberg demonstrates how an increasingly bellicose fundamentalism is gaining traction throughout our national life, taking us on a tour of the parallel right-wing evangelical culture that is buoyed by Republican political patronage. Deep within the red zones of a divided America, we meet military veterans pledging to seize the nation in Christ’s name, perfidious congressmen courting the confidence of neo-confederates and proponents of theocracy, and leaders of federally funded programs offering Jesus as the solution to the country’s social problems.
With her trenchant interviews and the telling testimonies of the people behind this movement, Goldberg gains access into the hearts and minds of citizens who are striving to remake the secular Republic bequeathed by our founders into a Christian nation run according to their interpretation of scripture. In her examination of the ever-widening divide between believers and nonbelievers, Goldberg illustrates the subversive effect of this conservative stranglehold nationwide. In an age when faith rather than reason is heralded and the values of the Enlightenment are threatened by a mystical nationalism claiming divine sanction, Kingdom Coming brings us face to face with the irrational forces that are remaking much of America.
Michelle interviewed on Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Terry Gross, National Public Radio
Michelle Goldberg, a young journalist for Salon magazine, went among some of the fundamentalists to interview them. In Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, she has produced some excellent firsthand reporting of their essential weirdness, even as she overcame their aversion to her Jewishness.
The Bloomsbury Review
Michelle Goldberg has written an excellent primer on the menace the U.S. Christian Right represents for the American people. This is a book that all American citizens who harbor any apprehensions about the role the Religious Right has played in politics recently must read. Goldberg's book is superbly written, encapsulating history, politics, and powerful insights in a short and easy-to-read volume that, surprisingly, will still shock progressives despite their already jaded cynicism regarding the threat posed by politicized Christian fundamentalism in the United States.
News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
I wish I could tell you Goldberg's wrong. But I've been following the movement since first learning about it while covering religion more than a decade ago, and I know independently that she's not.
And I wish I could say she's exaggerating; as she notes, the subject is "hard to discuss without sounding shrill and hyperbolic." But if anything, she downplays the disturbing ramifications of her own reporting: The movement, to paraphrase the late Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, intends to use the political system to write an American suicide pact.
Christian nationalism resembles past U.S. revivals in emphasizing the literal truth of the Bible. But as Goldberg writes, it extrapolates from that truth a practical political program, and it has hitched that program to the Republican Party, whose upper levels now are replete with movement adherents in and out of government.
“Kingdom Coming is an important work of investigative journalism, exposing as it does a mass movement with 'a vision of reality utterly at odds with that of the secular world,' that would use its power to impose a religious worldview on a diverse country. Godlberg's book is also an impassioned plea against, 'fundamentalism, tribalism, Puritanism and obscurantism,' and for, 'modernity, humanism, reason and progress.' Those are the values with which she makes her case."
— Anna Godbersen
Time Out New York
“ ...Though it’s no secret where she stands on issues like the government’s favoritism toward faith-based initiatives, the author utilizes the same sure-handed reporting of her magazine articles and keeps her editorializing confined to the last chapter, “Exiles in Jesusland.” To merely point out that Goldberg avoids the cult-of-personality characteristic of writers working today’s political divide (be it Ann Coulter or Al Franken), however, is to damn Kingdom Coming with faint praise. Regardless of where you fall on the moderate-to-progressive political scale, this well-written chronicle of civil liberties under siege by holy rollers will undoubtedly scare the bejesus out of you.”
— David Fear
"...Unlike so many mainstream pundits – David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof, I'm talking to you – who claim arrogant liberals are out of touch with the Christian common man, and that the prescription is some sort of "Take a Fundie to Work Day," Goldberg has the guts to admit that such dialogue is pointless.
Liberals are often accused of rejecting moral absolutes in favor of a tepid cultural relativism. This world-view, or lack thereof, was challenged on September 11. Many contend the lesson still hasn't sunk in; that the left, to paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, still thinks Karl Rove is more dangerous than al Qaeda. Whether our own mullahs can teach a larger political lesson remains to be seen, but Kingdom Coming could be a good start."
— John Dicker
“In an impressive piece of lucid journalism, Salon.com reporter Goldberg dives into the religious right and sorts out the history and networks of what to most liberals is an inscrutable parallel universe. She deconstructs "dominion theology," the prevalent evangelical assertion that Christians have a "responsibility to take over every aspect of society." Goldberg makes no attempt to hide her own partisanship, calling herself a "secular Jew and ardent urbanite" who wrote the book because she "was terrified by America's increasing hostility to... cosmopolitan values." This carefully researched and riveting treatise will hardly allay its audience's fears, however; secular liberals and mainstream believers alike will find Goldberg's descriptions of today's culture wars deeply disturbing. She traces the deep financial and ideological ties between fundamentalist Christians and the Republican Party, and discloses the dangers she believes are inherent to the Bush administration's faith-based social services initiative. Other chapters follow inflammatory political tactics on wedge issues like gay rights, evolution and sex education. Significantly, her conclusions do not come off as hysterical or shrill. Even while pointing to stark parallels between fascism and the language of the religious right, Goldberg's vision of America's future is measured and realistic. Her book is a potent wakeup call to pluralists in the coming showdown with Christian nationalists.” (May 15)
Praise for Kingdom Coming
“Michelle Goldberg has done the impossible. She's written a serious, scathing, eye-opening expose of the ongoing takeover of our country by rightwing Christians– and somehow managed to make it witty, funny, and humane. If it were satire, Kingdom Coming would be hilarious. Unfortunately, it's all true – things are even worse than you thought. Read it while you can!”
— Katha Pollitt, columnist, The Nation ; author, Virginity or Death! : And Other Social and Political Issues of Our Time
“America’s theocrats have to be seen, heard, and read to be believed. Not all of us have the acute senses, stamina, guts and intelligence to uncover these forces of unreason and tyranny directly, so we rely on scouts. Michelle Goldberg is one of our indispensable scouts, and Kingdom Coming is a brave and important book. If you cherish plurality and reason, read it to get the bad news—and to restore your faith in journalism.”
— Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism, Columbia University, and author of The Intellectuals and the Flag
“Michelle Goldberg ventured into the heartland of American fundamentalist extremism -- and returned to warn us of the authoritarian ambitions that lie behind the moralistic posturing of the religious right. Every patriot who still cherishes the freedoms we inherited from the nation’s founders should read her book.”
— Joe Conason, author of The Hunting of the President, Big Lies, and The Raw Deal
“Michelle Goldberg takes us on an eye-opening journey through the Christian right grass- roots, from the evolution battles in Dover, Pennsylvania to Roy’s Rock in Alabama and beyond. Along the way, she makes a devastating case that underlying this movement’s campaigns against abortion or gay marriage is a tremendous will to power, an ambition to achieve Christian domination of our public life and laws. Kingdom Coming offers a stark warning that our democracy is under attack from within.”
— Esther Kaplan, author of With God on Their Side: George W. Bush and the Christian Right
“Kingdom Coming reveals just how thoroughly our national discourse has been corrupted by the mad work of religious literalists. Goldberg demonstrates — elegantly and persuasively— that tens of millions of our neighbors are working each day to obliterate the separation between church and state, to supplant scientific rationality with Iron Age fantasies, and to achieve a Christian theocracy in the 21st century. This is a terrifying and necessary book.”
— Sam Harris, author, The End of Faith
“A chilling and lucid investigation into the rise of Christian extremism in America, as well as a how-to guide for thinking Americans who wish to preserve their civil liberties against the coming onslaught. An important book.”
— Julia Scheeres, author of Jesusland
“Tocqueville said in 1840, 'Various forms of religious madness are quite common in the United States.' Michelle Goldberg demonstrates that various forms of religious madness are still quite common. Tocqueville thought that American democracy could contain the danger. Can it still? Only with an effort. That is Michelle Goldberg's well-illustrated and eloquently expressed point, and she is right to make that point, and we had better pay attention.”
— Paul Berman, author of Terror and Liberalism and Power and the Idealists
“Michelle Goldberg provides a critical wake up call for all Americans about a coalition of right wing Christian conservative groups determined to remake the United States into a Christian nation ruled by their conception of Jesus' will. Every American who cherishes religious freedom, civil liberties and the separation of church and state must read Kingdom Coming.”
— Abraham H. Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League; author, Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism
“Michelle Goldberg takes us on a superbly reported inside tour of the far-out Christian Right, distinguished by its contempt for democracy in this world in the hope of total victory over nonbelievers in the world to come. This book should scare every American who cherishes our secular Constitution and its separation of church and state. ”
— Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism