There’s a lot of interest in the subject on the Left. An entire issue of Mother Jones is devoted to examining various aspects of conservative religion. (I’ll comment on some of the articles in the coming days.) Then there are these two websites.
Finally, John Judis has an article in Dissent focusing on religion and U.S. foreign policy. One of the interesting elements in the article is the shift from blaming U.S. foreign policy on (Jewish) neoconservatives to attributing it to Christian millenialism. Turns out that Paul Wolfowitz has drunk deeply from the same well that has refreshed Protestant millenialists through the ages. The conclusion also is interesting:
Americans who want to influence our foreign policy have to recognize the existence of a guiding framework inherited from Protestant millennialism. And that certainly includes critics of George W. Bush. Bush’s belief that America has a “mission” or a “calling” from the “Maker of Heaven” to spread freedom around the world puts him in a mainstream of American foreign policy. Yet the critics who point to the influence of the role of religion in Bush’s foreign policy still have a point. What sets this president off from some of his more illustrious predecessors is that in making foreign policy—a task that requires an empirical assessment of means and ends—he has been guided both by the objectives of Protestant millennialism and by the mentality it has spawned. That has made for some stirring oratory, but it has detracted from a clear understanding of the challenges facing the United States. Indeed, it has laid the basis for the greatest American foreign policy disaster since the war in Vietnam.
Earlier, Judis compares and contrasts American millenial foreign policy with earlier European counterparts, who were chastened by failure and subsequently became realistic in a way that he approves of. Does he wish for similar failures on our part? Indeed, whatever the merits of his historical analysis, it’s very clear that his account of the present situation is marked by a kind of death wish for American policy. Everything is bleak; nothing good has happened. This strikes me as at least as unrealistic as the position he attributes to his adversaries.
Real Clear Politics.