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Christianity in America has become almost synonymous with right-wing fanaticism, conservative politics and—thanks to Mel Gibson—a brutally sadistic version of the religious experience. Millions of devout Christians, like Dan Wakefield, are appalled by this distortion of their faith that stands for peace, equality, healing, and compassion for society's outcasts.
In The Hijacking of Jesus, Dan Wakefield asks how and why the Christian faith has been so effectively appropriated by the Bush administration. Why is it that Republicans have become the party of "moral values?" How is it that mainline Christian denominations and leadership, both Catholic and Protestant, have remained remarkably silent on the war in Iraq, the civil rights erosion of the Patriot Act, the growth of poverty, the Terry Schiavo debacle, and the fact that over 40 million people now live without health insurance? And how can Christians recapture and reclaim their faith from the cynical manipulations of Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, and George W. Bush?
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Dan Wakefield is a novelist, journalist and screenwriter whose best-selling novels "Going All The Way" and "Starting Over" were produced as feature films. He created the NBC prime time TV series "James at 15." A documentary film has been produced of his memoir "New York in the Fifties". His non-fiction books on spirituality include "Returning: A Spiritual Journey;" "Creating from The Spirit;" "The Story of Your Life: Writing a Spiritual Autobiography," "Expect a Miracle," and "How Do We Know When It's God ?: A Spiritual Memoir."From Publishers Weekly:
By his own admission, Wakefield, a journalist, novelist, screenwriter and Protestant who comes from several generations of Baptist ministers, was "one of the great slumber party of mainline American Protestant 'liberals'... whose response to the outrages of those who stole our identity as Christians was the cheap and comfortable scorn and smugger-than-thou ridicule of the disengaged." This patchwork of interviews on topics ranging from megachurches to the "wedge issues" of abortion and homosexuality, stitched together with rather snide commentary, does little to convince us that his thinking has evolved. Despite decrying the religious right's use of military terminology to establish its position, Wakefield posits that in crafting a meaningful response to the "Christian jihad," liberal Christians must similarly procure "ammunition, troops and a battle plan, a strategy." Disappointingly absent of journalistic distance, this diatribe fails to provide constructive suggestions for change. Any hopes for a refreshing ecumenical Christian defense of the true ideals of Jesus—the Jesus of the Gospel who "had no possessions, ministered to the poor and the sick, befriended societies outcasts, [and] blessed 'the peacemakers'..."—have been bitterly suppressed by a derisive, condescending tone. (Apr.)
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