Oct. 11, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723
J.H.Kunstler: Religious Theocrats May Spark New Civil War in U.S.
New Apostolic Reformation is a Real Threat to American Civilization
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (Oct. 11, 2011) — Noted social critic James Howard Kunstler believes a new American civil war may be on the horizon, and that the lines may be drawn between secular Americans and right-wing religious extremists like the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement.
“When, and if, battle lines form over who is going to control whatever remains of the national government in America, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the battle lines were drawn again between the North and the South, only this time between a fanatical religious right and a secular, humanist rest of the country,” Kunstler said, because “much more of the religious fanaticism in this country emanates from the South.”
Kunstler is best-known as the author of “The Geography of Nowhere” (Simon & Shuster, 1993), “The Long Emergency” (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005) and the “World Made By Hand” novels (Grove-Atlantic, 2008, 2010).
Throughout his career, Kunstler has famously argued that America is largely a suburban nation and that suburbia is an unsustainable, spiritually degrading “living arrangement with no future.” He believes that an impending energy crisis, an unfolding financial collapse, political unrest and the unknown effects of climate change are converging to create a very disorderly 21st century in America. He sees these disorders leaving Americans vulnerable to right-wing religious despots like the New Apostolic Reformation, an evangelical Christian movement which has ties to Presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michele Bachman, as well as Sarah Palin.
“The whole political system is threatened by this idea that a particular Christian group wants to take it over, literally, and makes no bones about it,” he said. “I am not ready to surrender American government as we have known it, especially not to power authorities that pretend to speak to God.”
Kunstler made these remarks during a recent installment of his weekly audio podcast, “The KunstlerCast,” after listening to an Oct. 3, 2011 Fresh Air interview by Terry Gross with Colorado Springs “apostle” C. Peter Wagner. Wagner is a leader of the New Apostolic Reformation, who believes that Japan has suffered a tsunami, a nuclear meltdown and a declining stock market all because its emperor literally had sex with a demon. Another leader of the NAR, Alice Patterson, has said that the Democratic Party is a demon structure.
The NAR has a mission to take “dominion” over business, government, media, arts, entertainment, education, family and religion. When pressed by Gross, Wagner denied that his group wants to take over all aspects of American culture, offering instead that it simply strives “to have people” committed to the kingdom of God in positions of influence. Kunstler sees this statement as obfuscation.
“I think they are simply being dishonest about it,” he said. “They don’t just want elected officials to be interested in being saved by Jesus. They want to get hold of the levers of power and actually run a theocratic state. They will not admit it…but it’s clearly what they want to do.”
SECULAR MILLENNIALS MAY TURN TO RELIGIOUS TYRANNY
Though studies have found the millennial generation to be the least religious of all generations in America, Kunstler believes that financial, political and social uncertainties could sway young people in the other direction.
“I’m very troubled by the idea that there are going to be so many people in the United States who have lost the structure in their life that they may end up succumbing to movements like the New Apostolic Reformation,” he said. “I don’t know that they will be able to resist forces as sure of themselves as this kind of fanatical Christianity.”
As a newspaper reporter in the 1970s, Kunstler focused on religious cults. During that time, he said, young people became so lost that “they were willing to accept almost any crazy narrative to adhere to if it would provide them with an armature for them to hang their life on and give them some structure and dimension.”
An agnostic, Kunstler was raised in a religion-free household. “I don’t have a particular animus against religion per se. But I do have an animus against dishonest and insane religious fanatics,” he said.
If Americans do not challenge groups like the New Apostolic Reformation and the real threat they pose to civilization, “It’s basically an invitation to tyranny and despotism,” he said.
New episodes of The KunstlerCast are released Thursday nights, hosted by Duncan Crary. To read a transcript of this episode, visit: http://kunstlercast.com/religiousright
For information and to request an interview with James Howard Kunstler, contact Duncan Crary at 518-274-2723.