JF: What led you to write Christian Reconstruction: R. J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism?
MM: I started preliminary research for Christian Reconstruction in graduate school at the Ohio State University under the guidance of Hugh B. Urban. I entered the Department of Comparative Studies, a cultural studies program with a religious studies concentration, in 2002. Because of the proximity to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many of the seminars I participated in during the first few years of graduate study focused on the themes of religiously motivated violence, cultural exclusion, political extremism, and the problem of secularism/secularization. As I gravitated toward studying twentieth century U.S. religious history, I kept running across an obscure theological movement called “Christian Reconstruction” in many of the studies I read during this period. The brainchild of Calvinist theologian and Presbyterian churchman Rousas John Rushdoony (1916-2001), Reconstructionism emphasizes postmillennial eschatology, the literal application of Biblical law on Christians and non-Christians alike, and calls for Christians to exercise “dominion” in all aspects of life.