It’s a normal desire to want to live in a place where people share your values. It’s a normal part of humanity to see your culture and way of life as normative and everything outside the norm as a problem to be fixed. This is the basic premise of David Fiorazo’s Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America.
I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review of the book. Even though I was reading to write a review I was anticipating reading. As a moderate Evangelical Christian pastor and a Chaplain in the United States Army Reserve the idea of a society that is slowly taking God out of the picture disturbs me. My hope was that this book could provide a vision for the way ahead – showing Christians how to move forward in the culture in which we live and live as people of faith in a world that does not share that faith.
Alas, this was not what happened.
From the outset, Fiorazo confuses patriotism with faith. He is what I have termed an “Americhristian” – someone who believes that being a citizen of God’s kingdom and a citizen of the USA are one and the same. When that confusions takes place, we place nationalism on the same plane is faith. What the author desires is not necessarily Christian, but conservative American values that may or may not necessarily be Christian. Time and again he reveals his cultural bias. In the introduction he states:
“In spite of all its failures, America is still the greatest, most exceptional demonstration of faith, family, and freedom in the world.”
Such a statement is cultural bias, not fact. If God is the God of all nations then the emphasis of faith should be living, to appropriate the Bible, as strangers in a strange land. All Fiorazo does is call people back to conservative ideology. His talking points are the same you can hear daily from Rush Limbaugh or Mike Gallagher. His primary areas of concern:
2. Planned Parenthood / Abortion
3. President Obama
4. The Media
5. Any form of Christian faith that isn’t old-school Christianity
Regarding education, Fiorazo is not an educator. He’s a media personality. He offers no curricular evidence when he talks about modern students learning “a much different history than you and I once learned in public schools.” He offers no data to verify what he says when he claims, “Parents studied the Bible and took its application seriously.” As a pastor I can tell you that I have not seen the overwhelming majority of ANY generation study the Bible and teach it to their kids. In the end, Fiorazo is merely upset that modern education pushes all of the things he is bothered by, including: environmentalism, illegal immigration, man-caused global warming, social justice, and the Democratic Party (pg. 31). He never stops to consider the possibility that one can be a faithful Christian and support environmentalism or be a Democrat. As I said, he’s confusing faith with politics.
Fiorazo’s chapter on Planned Parenthood and abortion is actually one of his better chapters. He takes an historical look at the development of the organization and its fight for abortion and the pro-choice position.
Then the author returns to his political attacks and writes on President Obama. His thoughts are nothing new and reflect what most in the conservative right already believe – that Mr. Obama is not a Christian and is working to undermine Christianity in America. One of the problems of this book is its dated material. Written before the election, Fiorazo talks about the upcoming election between Obama and Romney and urges people to vote for Romney. Ironically, while he rails against the “unchristian” Obama, he never really touches on the fact that Romney is not a Christian. Again we see politics coming into play above faith. It’s really not a faith issue for the conservative right. Has it ever been?
Fiorazo spends a good deal of time talking about corruption and bias in the media. “We must understand some news outlets are definitely biased, and we need to listen, read, and watch!” (pg. 131). He never addresses the fact that conservative outlets are just as biased as liberal outlets. HE throws around the same pejorative language as Limbaugh and Gallagher, referring to media “elites.” He brings up the media’s love for Mr. Obama, proving once again that his real concern is political, not spiritual.
At the end of the book, Fiorazo rails against any form of faith that does not conform to his understanding of traditional conservative values. He brings up the Emerging Church, New Age, Oprah, Yoga, multiculturalism, contemplative prayer, and every other issue that is seen as a hot-topic issue for the conservative right.
When all is said and done, Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America is more about political ideology than it is about faith and spirituality in culture. You will not find any content that is unique and cannot be heard every day from conservative talking heads.
It is merely the battle cry of conservative Republicans.
You can find the book on Amazon from author David Fiorazo.