The Antigay Agenda: Orthodox Vision and the Christian Right

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The Antigay Agenda: Orthodox Vision and the Christian Right by Didi Herman is a smart, thorough, concise book describing why and how conservative Protestant evangelicals employ antigay rhetoric in politics, journalism, and worship. Herman–a legal scholar at Keele University in Great Britain–has a convincing mastery of sociology, theology, rhetoric, and politics, in addition to her field of specialty. Herman deploys all these talents in an introduction that puts such phenomena as “ex-gay ministries” in the context of the conservative Protestant worldview. Most valuable may be her explanation one of the most fundamental and least understood tenets of the Christian right, called premillennial dispensationalism, which describes the conditions of Christ’s return and the apocalypse, ending with the destruction of sinners and this world. To Herman, the forward thrust of premillennial dispensationalism suggests that the Christian right is not merely a backlash against liberal society. Therefore, she notes, ardent conservatives believe that fighting gay-rights initiatives is a battle of cosmic significance. Herman sees conservative Christianity as a form of progressiveness in its own right, with a mission to prepare the world for Christ’s return–no small job, considering the mess they say we’re in right now.

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