In a classic parallel with Islamism and in a similar response to modernity's trials, the evangelical fusion of faith with politics is gathering pace, and rapidly re-defining conservatism as a politico-religious movement. A reader writes:
I realize you rarely get to travel in true "teabagger country" but here in rural Mississippi, there is an interesting phenomenon occurring that the Brit Hume brouhaha brings into clearer focus.
If you travel down any road, you will see churches popping up everywhere. I've lived here my entire life, and it used to be that each community had one church, usually Baptist, with a place name. Now they have names like Bread of Life, The Living Water, and By Faith; single-word names like Cornerstone, Compass, and Centricity.
They pop up in the middle of nowhere, in abandoned storefronts, in closed-down factories, in metal buildings put up in the middle of the woods. And everyone has a preacher who is called Brother, or Elder, or Bishop. And all these fundamental churches spend the majority of their time either directly or indirectly involved with local, state, and national politics, involved in the Tea Bagger Movement, the War on Christmas movement, the myriad boycotts of every hue, and posters and ads of every conceivable variety.
As someone who had become immune to most of it, I can't help but be aware of the way in which religion in this area has been very deeply cheapened. It ceases to occupy a space of personal and public sacredness. It focuses not on the personal, but the political. And I am even beginning to detect this cheapening in acquaintances who I know to be quite religious.
So I think the Brit Hume incident may be very reflective of what is happening here in the South.