Wednesday, August 25, 2010

C Street

I'll be talking about my new book C Street, with NPR's Terry Gross on "Fresh Air" today, so now is as good a time as ever to blog the jacket copy. 
Democracy, desire, and the street address for fundamentalism in America 
Jeff Sharlet is the only writer to have reported from inside the C Street House, the Christian Fellowship residence known simply by its Washington DC address. The house has lately been the scene of notorious political scandal, but more crucially it’s home to fundamentalist efforts to transform the fabric of American democracy. And now, after laying bare its tenants’ past in The Family, Sharlet reports from deep within fundamentalism in today’s world, revealing that the past efforts of religious fundamentalists in America pale in comparison to their long-term ambitions.
When Obama entered the White House, headlines declared the age of culture war over—just like they did after the Democratic victories of 2006 and, ten years before, Bill Clinton’s re-election. It’s an American tradition, declaring conflict a thing of the past. In C Street, Sharlet tells the story of why these conflicts endure and why they matter now—from the sensationalism of Washington sex scandals to fundamentalism’s long shadow in Africa, where American culture warriors determined to eradicate homosexuality have set genocide on simmer.
We’ve reached a point where piety and corruption are not at odds but one and the same. Reporting with exclusive sources and explosive documents from C Street, the American-backed war on gays in Uganda, and the battle for the soul of America’s armed forces—waged by a 15,000-strong movement of officers intent on “reclaiming territory for Christ in the military”—Sharlet reveals not the last gasp of old-time religion but the new front lines of fundamentalism.
The Uganda chapter is excerpted in the September Harper's; and an excerpt of the excerpt is now online.