“Elmer Gantry” is one of my favorite movies — and the Sinclair Lewis book on which it’s based is pretty damned good, too. So a friend recently referred this book, “Being Christian.” He said it was written by a woman who’d done a lot of research into the Dominionists (who are one of the biggest threats to our democracy and have always fascinated me because of their conviction that it’s perfectly okay to lie, cheat and steal, as long as you’re doing it to bring God’s kingdom on earth), and wrote about it as a satire. I wasn’t all that interested in reading it (if you saw my pile of unread books, you’d understand) — until he sent me this blurb by Mikey Weinstein, who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation as a watchdog organization to protect religious freedom in the military, and of course has been the target of death threats (because the baby Jesus would want it that way). I just love Mikey Weinstein:
Having raced through K.C. Boyd’s astonishing page-turner without being able to put it down, Being Christian – A Novel, I can say there is no fictional portrait of today’s evangelical right that I would recommend more highly. As it says on the back of the book, this is Elmer Gantry, but on mega-steroids.
The story, in its vivid portrayals—with attention to character and place – was emotional crack to me. From the first chapter, Boyd created a story so riveting that not only could I not put it down, but upon finishing it, I found myself, like an addict, craving more. Being Christian screams screenplay, if ever a book did. A totally emotional experience, by book’s end, I was left drained as well as disturbed by the true-to-life portraiture of John Christian Hillcox, Boyd’s main character. A man who all too closely resembles so many of today’s religious con-men we’ve come to know from sexual and financial scandals too many to enumerate. Being Christian – A Novel is brilliant theater of the mind.
It ain’t literature, but it’s a real page turner. Boy, does she know these people and how they operate. (I saw parts of every wingnut preacher I know in this book.)
And if you want an easy way to catch up on exactly how the End Timers are perverting our democracy, this book is right up your alley.