Literature / Christian Nation
Christian Nation: A Novel
by Frederic C. Rich is a 2013 Alternate History Dystopia
set in a theocratic
United States. In this world, Sarah Palin
and John McCain won the 2008 election, with Palin becoming President shortly after McCain dies. The novel itself takes place in 2029. An Audience Surrogate
, a former lawyer named Greg, relates these events after being released from a POW camp for his part in the attempted secession of New York and subsequently obtaining a job at the New York Library where his job is destroying books. Homosexuality is outlawed, a Purity Web has replaced the Internet, Jews are given five years to convert to Christianity or be deported to Israel, and so on.
This novel provides examples of:
- Activist Fundamentalist Antics: Of the horrifying variety. You will convert, or die a heathen.
- All Gays Are Pedophiles: A leaked memo from the White House revealed a stealth plan by Sarah Palin's consultant Steve Jordan to recriminalize homosexuality by having all gays in the media portrayed as being pedophiles.
- The Alternet: The Purity Web which is a sanitized version of the Internet, and everyone's activities are monitored (which sites they visited, which search terms they entered, and how long they spent on each site).
- The Antichrist: Sanjay is viewed as this according to the interpretations of certain evangelical Christians suggesting that the Antichrist must be gay.note However, he doesn't live up to the trope and is ultimately killed after the Civil War.
- As the Good Book Says: Various parts of Scripture are used at the beginning of two chapters to explain and even justify the actions that President Steve Jordan takes to enforce the Fifty Blessings to be the law of the land over all of America.
- The Bad Guy Wins: The American Christian theocrats are seen as the bad guys in this scenario, and they pretty much win as all America ends up subject to them and their President.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: Particularly the evangelical Christian brand that espouses Dominion Theology.
- Big Applesauce: Much of the story takes place in New York.
- Big Bad/President Evil: President Steve Jordan. Once he gets into office and enforces the Fifty Blessings, things really go downhill.
- Big Brother Is Watching: The Purity Web, which leads to the protagonist's use of an old electric typewriter to write his memoirs with, since it's one of the few pieces of technology left that's not being electronically monitored.
- Book Burning: Books that are deemed to promote "satanic" agendas are sorted out and burned by the new Fundamentalist Christian American government. The lead character's job at the present time of the story is to help in the destruction of said books.
- Bury Your Gays: Sanjay, who is portrayed as gay, is killed in a televised stoning. Also a gay Buddhist monk immolates himself during a public protest, and a gay married couple is executed during a wedding. The bombing of the Castro (a gay neighborhood in San Francisco) during the Civil War, which "the F3" and evangelical leaders celebrated as being "divine justice", ended up turning America into a pariah in the eyes of the world.
- China Takes Over the World: With the dissolving of all international treaties, China has grown to engulf much of Asia and Australia, the Muslims take over Africa, and Russia has done the same with Europe.
- Christianity Is Catholic: The Catholic priests who stand against the enforcement of the Fifty Blessings are seen by the author as embodying the true spirit of Christianity instead of the "born-again Christians" who are in the government.
- Civil War: Several states attempt to secede after the fifty blessings are put into law, including New York where the protagonist is captured when Manhattan is retaken. The book's history refers to this as the Holy War.
- The Commandments: The Constitution has been superseded by the "Fifty Blessings," a series of commandments, many of which are vague and unenforceable. Also counts as Dystopian Edicts.
- Corrupt Church: Evangelical Christianity going so far as to abolish the separation of church and state and declaring a "holy war" on the last holdouts of American democracy and freedom, eventually calling themselves Church Of God in America.
- Crapsaccharine World: Surprisingly the New York that exists post-Civil War in the new American theocratic society appears as this.
- Cure Your Gays: Reorientation camps spring up throughout the country to cure gays of their sexual attraction.
- Designated Villain: In-Universe example. Sanjay is deemed a criminal, with the theocratic regime going so far as to accuse him of being the antichrist, solely for the "crime" of seeking to protect people's individual rights from religiously motivated collectivist tyranny.
- Determinator: President Steve Jordan. If he wants all of America to follow the Fifty Blessings, then by God, he's going to have it that way no matter what!
- Divided States of America: With President Steve Jordan enforcing The Blessings as law of the land instead of the Constitution, several states rebel and form the Secular Bloc States. Unfortunately, the President through his military forces recapture the rebel states and force them back into the Union, with New York City being the last holdout.
- Downer Ending: With the Christian fundamentalists in America having their "perfect society" where everybody is under the watchful eye of the government. However, there is still hope for the return of democracy and freedom.
- Dystopian Edict: The Fifty Blessings act as one of these.
- Fake Defector: The protagonist convincingly fakes being "born again" so he could escape being executed.
- The Fundamentalist: The Christian ones in government are the main antagonists of the story, particularly President Steve Jordan.
- Gold Digger: Greg's girlfriend Emilie, who's only interested in him as long as he's a successful lawyer. As soon as he quits his job to work for Sanjay's Theocracy Watch, Emilie dumps him.
- Heel–Faith Turn: Most of the POWs in the Purity Camp, although the protagonist's conversion was faked.
- Hope Spot: Although true Constitutional democracy and freedom in America has died with the installation of the Christian theocratic government, there is still hope for future generations that it will flourish again, as the protagonist works with an underground cell of people that belong to the Free Minds movement to make sure history never forgets.
- How We Got Here: The protagonist's writing of his memoirs provides the Framing Device for what happened that led to the current situation.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Zigzagged — the person in charge of the POW camp wants those who are "born again" to prove their status by stoning Sanjay without any reluctance.
- Illegal Religion: All religions except for Christianity as defined by the characters in the book.
- Join or Die: The option given to the POWs that survived the Civil War — become a believer in Christ within three years or die.
- The Moral Substitute: To Left Behind, only from a secularist POV and with the roles reversed. The main character even shouts out to the book series as being one of the things he thinks that Dominion Theology believers think about.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Purposely averted. The author uses real people in this story and isn't afraid to show what he thinks they might do in this Alternate History.
- Oppressive States of America
- Police State: What the United States turns into during President Sarah Palin's second term in office following 7/22.
- PoW Camp: The protagonist spends time in one after he's captured during the siege of New York, where Rule #1 is no masturbation.
- Product Placement: Apple is the maker of the Device which is used to monitor people in the new theocratic America.
- Propaganda Machine: Fox News Channel, which in this story becomes Fox Faith & Freedom News, or F3.
- Public Execution: Sanjay is given a televised stoning.
- Released to Elsewhere: Political opponents are made to "quietly disappear".
- La Résistance: The Secular Bloc States were this right up to the Civil War. After that, it's the Free Minds movement, the only Hope Spot left for the return of democracy and freedom.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Various "Christian" militia groups spring up and are used by the government to cause trouble toward groups of people who are opposed to the changes in the government.
- Self-Abuse: One of the Fifty Blessings is no sex acts outside of marriage, including masturbation. The guards at the POW camp enforce this.
- Self-Immolation: The gay Buddhist monk who immolates himself in a public protest.
- The Siege: The American theocratic government under the leadership of President Steve Jordan laid siege against the last holdouts of Constitutional democracy and freedom by cutting off all aid to Manhattan Island, where they were all located. The President even goes so far as to declare Deuteronomy 20:10-12 as "justifiable grounds" for it. The New York governor tries to counter this by also stating Deuteronomy 20:13-14.
- Straw Character: Evangelical Christians in this series are seen as power-hungry, God's-wrath-driven, gay-hating people who want to take control over the country in the name of their religion, who only want "born again" males to be in control of everything, with Sarah Palin and Steve Jordan being the prime targets, demonizing those who would dare to oppose them.
- A Taste of the Lash: How the POWs are treated when one of their own commits an offense worthy of flogging. If one person commits an offense worthy of that punishment, then the whole camp is subject to the same punishment.
- The Theocracy: The United States fully becomes this after the establishment of the Fifty Blessings and the civil war that follows. Later we learn that Israel has followed suit, and become a Jewish theocracy.
- Un-person: Steve Duncan, who helped the people of Manhattan survive during the siege through a smuggling operation, had been removed from all public records on the Purity Web.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: The motivation behind the eventual creation of the American theocracy by the Palin and Jordan administrations, to prepare the United States for the Lord's Second Coming.
- Voice of the Resistance: Sanjay's Theocracy Watch website.
- With Us or Against Us: You're either for promoting the new American theocracy or you're an enemy of God.