I dropped out of the evangelical/fundamentalist subculture soon after that Today appearance (years later I was back on Today in my secular writer incarnation, being interviewed about a book of mine on the military/civilian divide, but I decided not to mention that I'd been on the show about thirty years before in what seemed like either another lifetime or an out-of-body experience).
Fox/Palin and the victimhood mythology
Others like Fox and Palin carried on where I and many others in the first wave of the anti-abortion/religious Right wave left off, pushing the victimhood mythology to the next generation of evangelical/fundamentalists, and they have cultivated a following among the terminally aggrieved based on ceaselessly warning them about "the world."
A host of evangelical/fundamentalist Cassandras tour college campuses reinforcing their followers' perennial chip-on-the-shoulder attitude by telling fearful evangelical/fundamentalist students to hold fast against the secular onslaught. They tell their student listeners (and those students' even more worried parents) to not let "those people" -- professors, members of the Democratic Party, moderates, progressives, and such ordinary American men and women as Jews, gays, and members of the educated "elite" -- strip them of their faith. Hundreds of books by many evangelical/fundamentalist authors could be consolidated into one called How to Get Through College with Your Fundamentalist Faith Intact So You Won't Wind Up Becoming One of Them.
Sometimes right-wing paranoia takes an ugly twist. A website maintained by James Von Brunn, an avowed racist and anti-Semite well known to the netherworld of white supremacy -- and the assassin who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in June of 2009 -- said that Von Brunn tried to carry out a "citizen's arrest" in 1981 on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, whom he accused of "treason." When he was arrested outside the room where the board was meeting, he was carrying a sawed-off shotgun, a revolver, and a knife. Police said he planned to take members of the Fed hostage.
"Mainstream" (in other words, slightly less nutty and less violent) religious-Right Republicans have been saying the same thing as Von Brunn about the Fed for years, particularly the so-called "dominionists" who believe it's their job to reestablish God's dominion on earth. They preach Old Testament-style vengeance and loony gold-standard "economics" from many "respectable" pulpits. They also hate America (as it is), want a revolution in the name of God, and espouse "pro-life" beliefs, anti-gay hate, racism, and far-Right Republican politics. They take the Republican anti-government propaganda to the next step and say that even paying taxes is "unconstitutional." I know them well.
"Reconstructionism" and Palin
I knew the founders of the dominionist movement -- people like the late Reverend Rousas John Rushdoony, the father of "Christian Reconstructionism" and the modern evangelical/fundamentalist home school movement.
What most Americans don't know is that someone like Palin -- who says God is "leading her" -- believe that what God wants them to do is implement the reconstructionist agenda.
Rushdoony (whom I met and talked with several times) believed that interracial marriage, which he referred to as "unequal yoking," should be made illegal. He also opposed "enforced integration," referred to Southern slavery as "benevolent," and said that "some people are by nature slaves." Rushdoony was also a Holocaust denier.
And yet his home school materials are a mainstay of the right-wing evangelical home school movement to this day. In Rushdoony's 1973 book, The Institutes of Biblical Law, he says that fundamentalist Christians must "take control of governments and impose strict biblical law" on America and then the world. That would mean the death penalty for "practicing homosexuals." We see his agenda in the American groups like the Family connected to recent legislation in Uganda to give the death penalty to gays.
Many evangelical leaders -- including Palin -- deny holding Reconstructionist beliefs, but Beverly and Tim LaHaye (of Concerned Women for America and the co-author of the novels we're talking about here), Donald Wildmon (of the American Family Association), and the late D. James Kennedy (of Coral Ridge Ministries and a friend of mine before I left the movement) served alongside Rushdoony on the secretive Coalition for Revival, a group formed in 1981 to "reclaim America for Christ." I went to some of the early meetings.
Many evangelical/fundamentalist's can't get enough of the "end times" rush. And they are Palin's bedrock. They've been sucking doom up up since the early 1970s, and now, in the Left Behind books and Palin's rise, the message has gone viral.
The expanding Left Behind entertainment empire also feeds the dangerous delusions of Christian Zionists, who are convinced that the world is heading to a final Battle of Armageddon and who see this as a good thing! Christian Zionists, led by many "respectable" mega-pastors -- including John McCain supporter, Reverend John Hagee -- believe that war in the Middle East is God's will.
In his book Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, Hagee maintains that Russia and the Arabs will invade Israel and then will be destroyed by God. This will cause the Antichrist -- now, apparently, on re-assignment as the head of the European Union -- to stir up a confrontation over Israel between China and the West.