Advocate Bookshelf: Gay Baseball, Perverse Painters, and the Religious Right

Back to school brings a host of offbeat books to the shelves, including the memoir of an influential gay painter, a love story between a gay man and baseball, and the tale of a lesbian teen who wants to go to prom.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

September 27 2012 5:00 AM ET

Attack of the Theocrats! How the Religious Right Harms Us All — and What We Can Do About It by Sean Faircloth (Pitchstone Publishing, $14.95)

It should come as no surprise to the readers of The Advocate that when the religious right wields power it has detrimental effects on LGBT rights and freedoms. In Attack of the Theocrats! author Sean Faircloth, a former state senator in Maine, details the negative impacts religious exemptions have on children, women, and public health. He argues that at no other time in history have religiously conservative politicians held so much sway over the laws of our country, and he identifies the 50 members of Congress who most egregiously violate the separation of church and state, push for religious laws, and attempt to insert Judeo-Christian (especially evangelical) moral values into legislation.

Faircloth, a former director of the Secular Coalition of America, also includes that organization’s blueprint for secular political activism in his book. The political action plan advocates outreach to the LGBT community and women’s organizations and calls for the election of at least 10 openly secular members of Congress by 2020 (at present, Faircloth could find only one). It's a smartly energizing idea that many, no doubt, will agree with.

While the increasing power base of the religious right is truly terrifying, Faircloth’s book doesn't adequately address why its pro-Christian, anti-science rhetoric appeals to so many Americans. In the coming years we’re likely to witness an increasingly powerful religious right as people respond to economic turmoil, global climate change, and an uncertain future by clinging to the security of religion. But there is hope: Recent statistics suggest the younger generation is America’s most secular generation since our founders first established the separation between church and state. When they come to power, perhaps we’ll finally see the secular Congress Faircloth envisions. (PitchstonePublishing.com)

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