This I should have known, but didn't. And it does reveal some of the contours of the latest rebellion against modernity and embrace of fundamentalist religion at the heart of the American right:
"Leap," first published in 1981, is a heavily illustrated and factually challenged attempt to explain American history through an unspoken lens of Mormon theology. As such, it is an early entry in the ongoing attempt by the religious right to rewrite history. Fundamentalists want to define the United States as a Christian nation rather than a secular republic, and recasting the Founding Fathers as devout Christians guided by the Bible rather than deists inspired by the French and English philosophers. "Leap" argues that the U.S. Constitution is a godly document above all else, based on natural law, and owes more to the Old and New Testaments than to the secular and radical spirit of the Enlightenment ... The book reads exactly like what it was until Glenn Beck dragged it out of Mormon obscurity: a textbook full of aggressively selective quotations intended for conservative religious schools like Utah's George Wythe University, where it has been part of the core freshman curriculum for decades (and where Beck spoke at this year's annual fundraiser).
Fascinating. The author, Willard Cleon Skousen, has a long history in the annals of conspiracist far-right. I figured it would get worse on the right before it got better. But this trend - a combination of theoconservatism, American exceptionalism and populism - is truly disturbing. Mormonism is its natural religious base: the supremely American religion.
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