Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Separation of Church and State

The second book by author Joseph Max Lewis is entitled Separation of Church and State and it represents another branch from the same tree as his first book The Diaries of Pontius Pilate. The story is in the Christian thriller genre and centers on up-and-coming TV newsman Tim Lewis. Tim happens to fill in as a guest moderator for a sick colleague on a highly rated "Face the Nation" type show, where a Catholic Cardinal (who is an ex-lawyer and ex-Special Forces!) gets the better of a Harvard law professor on a constitutional debate. This leads to Tim getting in trouble with his boss at the "Fox News" type network called RNN, because his boss wants strict control of all content that is broadcast. It turns out that this is just the beginning of the troubles that young Mr. Lewis will come across. In short order, he makes a recording of his boss at RNN talking about his anti-Christian agenda and the murder of a Supreme Court Justice, who dies the very next day. Tim soon learns that some powerful people are aware of his recording and will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.

The world power organizations from government to industry to law enforcement to the clergy are being infiltrated by members of a fervently anti-Christian organization called the Society for Human Enlightment. Their goal is to neuter the Christian movement and ultimately to wipe Christians off the face of the Earth, much like the Nazi party attempted to do with the Jews in Germany. This group is well funded, well connected, and ruthless. These are the bad guys. Opposing them is the less well connected side of good, the Fellowship of the Essentials. The Society and the Fellowship are engaged in a cloak and dagger game of cat and mouse, tit-for-tat, back and forth, move and countermove. Tim comes to quickly understand that his life is in danger and with the help of Society operatives, comes to realize why his recording is so damaging to the Fellowship. In the end the efforts of the good guys thwart the efforts of the bad guys (for now), and Tim gets his girl back and finds God.

The book wasn't a bad read, but it was awkwardly constructed. I had the very palpable sense on every page that I was reading a book. Stock characters, stilted dialog, and a very cheesy feeling permeate this one. Apparently everyone in the U.S. in every backwoods corner, is connected to the Society. They are so committed that on a moment's notice they will set aside their normal lives and any notions of community and law to kill without hesitation, all to lend support to a secret society bent on pushing the U.S. down a path toward a Christian holocaust. The convoluted plot was so over the top that there was no way to suspend belief and become part of the narrative.