Religion, Politics and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Powers and American Empire

“Mark Lewis Taylor is the most prophetic theologian, political activist and cultural critic of his generation. There is simply no one on the scene like him. Don’t miss this book!” Cornel West, Princeton University.

 “A compelling, timely, and thought-provoking book. Mark Lewis Taylor’s critique of American  imperialism is searing, and his vision of radical liberalism is  creative, insightful, and inspiring. Essential reading for all committed to the revolutionary spirit of democratic governance and ongoing  emancipation.”
Sharon D. Welch. Professor of Religious Studies,University of Missouri-Columbia.

Religion, Politics and the Christian Right:  Post-9/11 Powers and American Empire (Fortress Press, 2005)  addresses the political powers at work in the US after the 9/11 attacks. Taylor argues that these attacks on symbols on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon made more explicit and virulent the economic and military projects that always have driven the U.S. imperial enterprise and have mobilized the ideologies that bring public support. Special attention is given to the inflammatory and destructive roles played by the U.S. Christian Right, its Zionism, and the various more “liberal” ideologies that also tolerate reactionary agendas.

The antagonism Taylor sharpens is one that lies deep in U.S. history and culture, and surged forward after 9/11.  This antagonism is one between a U.S. imperial project that maintains itself through the ideologies of American Romanticism and Corporate Liberalism and a revolutionary tradition of “prophetic spirit” pervading a multitude, a “motley crew” of peoples forging coalitions and movements for liberation (in the U.S. and abroad).

Taylor here gives the arts a central role, the “aesthetic imagination,” which the multitude of people forges in resistance, for liberation. He shows how the arts are not just occasional ornamentations of justice movements, but more importantly, can fuse with and spark a public enactment of the values of liberation, and even strengthen popular efforts in deliberative reasoning.

In the book’s treatment of social movements, this 2005 book anticipated today’s “occupy movement,” but envisioned it as even more varied and powerful. Taylor foregrounds the rich panoply of poly-cultural and political groups that could coalesce in the U.S. to help end the U.S. imperial project and corporate agenda. Taylor’s “multitude,” a new “revolutionary subjectivity,” foregrounds a wide array of groups and movements who set a future agenda:  critical veterans of U.S. wars, the imprisoned and their families, black reparations activists, immigrants’ justice movements, diverse organizations fighting poverty and white racism in the U.S., sexual and gender liberation activists, socialist groups, and social justice groups world-wide – from “Arab Spring” to “U.S. decolonize” movements.