From Christian Jihadist to Reconciler: Meet Author Colonel V. Doner

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I was at the grocery store when I received the call from Colonel Doner about helping him publish his book. I can’t remember what I was there for because he had immediately swept me up with the force of his wit and experience. As I paced aisle 7, talking on my bluetooth and scaring away all the other shoppers, I knew I was in for an amazing journey–and I haven’t been disappointed. Turns out, Doner was not only instrumental in helping President Reagan defeat Carter and Mondale in each election, his campaign savvy also helped defeat most of the democratic incumbant Senators in those years as well. His strategy mobilized evangelical churches to organize and vote on “moral issues,” launching the “moral majority” and firing the first salvo of the culture wars. Thirty years later, Doner has turned a 180. His new book explores how we arrived at this point in history where polarization is rampant and neo-fundamentalists like Sarah Palin and Rick Perry are possible. More importantly, he shows us the way out of this mess.

Here’s a sample of his new book that will be released in March, just in time to once again sway the elections:

It’s a dangerous time for the world and for America. Beset by fearsome challenges within and without, our country and our people need to be at their best—wise, resourceful, stronger, and more united than ever. Instead, dissension is rife within our borders: blue vs. red states, liberals vs. conservatives, Democrats vs. Republicans, the “politically correct” vs. the “biblically correct,” the Tea Party vs. the Establishment, the Christian Right vs. the Christian Left, and many other permutations threaten to turn America into a cultural wasteland.

In this time of global crisis, America is polarized and paralyzed as never before. Our democracy is rapidly disintegrating into a vituperative partisanship fueled by visceral loathing between the faith community and the nonreligious, between left and right, “progressives” and “traditionalists.” All sides are becoming more entrenched, launching fusillades of invective that favor demonization over civil dialogue, wedge issues and propaganda over honest debate. While many fear the Islamic fundamentalists’ plot to place the world under Islamic Law, the Sharia, most Americans may not know that Christian conservatives, long the dominant wing of the Republican Party, are increasingly falling under the spell of theocratic utopianism with its goal of establishing “God’s Law” as the law of the land.

Many of us are weary of being caught in this raging uncivil war, euphemistically known as “the culture wars.” Some even call it a second civil war. Concerned with and confused by the increasingly shrill discourse, toxic atmosphere, and complexity of the culture wars, many Americans from across the politico-religious spectrum are wondering, “What’s all this brouhaha about anyway?” The answer is deceptively simple: Control of our culture. If we define culture as the sum of our shared beliefs and values, and the consequent norms, or expectations, of behavior flowing from them (such as laws to criminalize behavior deemed unacceptable), the stakes become clearer. Culture is nothing less than defining our national identity—our values and purpose as a people.

caleb j seeling

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