The presidency of George W. Bush contains, at its very heart, a fundamental paradox and apparent contradiction. On the one hand, this is the most outspokenly religious president in U.S. history - a man who claims to be called by God to lead our country. Yet at the same time, this is also the most secretive administration in U.S. history, displaying an intense preoccupation with information-control, an obsession with secrecy more extreme than the Nixon White House. The Secrets of the Kingdom is the first book to critically examine the complex relationship between faith and concealment in the Bush White House. The apparent contradiction between religion and secrecy in this administration, the book argues, is really only that - an apparent one. In fact, religion and secrecy not only co-existent in this White House, they are intimately intertwined. For both are, ultimately, about power - namely, the power that comes from the appeal to a divine authority, and the power that comes form the calculated control of valuable information. The result of this mix of religious fervor and obsessive secrecy has been an unprecedented assertion of executive power and defiance of public or congressional oversight. Ultimately, such a blending of religious faith and government secrecy has little in common with the model of democracy outlined in our Constitution; on the contrary, this is its very undoing.
Hugh B. Urban is associate professor of religious studies in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University.
Chapter 1 Introduction: The Kingdom of Secrets: Religion, Secrecy and the Politics of Empire Chapter 2 Prodigal Son, American Moses: The Faith-Based Presidency of George W. Bush Chapter 3 No Need for Explanation: Generalized Secrecy and Unanswerable Lies Chapter 4 New American Century, New American Empire: Religion, Secrecy, and the Neoconservative Movement Chapter 5 Machiavelli Meets the Religious Right: Michael Ledeen and the Politics of Mass Manipulation Chapter 6 Never Say Lie: The Corporate Media and the Construction of the Bush Image Chapter 7 American Left Behind: Millenarian Dreams and the Sorrows of Empire Chapter 8 Conclusion: Rescuing Openness and "Moral Values" for a Post-Bushist Democracy