LITTLE ROCK — America is a big place, with lots of space and shadow and most of its people clustered around the brightly lit metropolitan areas of its coasts. Maybe you think you can know it through its media avatar, the image of itself projected through Hollywood and the 24-hour news channels. But all you really see is what the marketers and the exploitative press want you to see – the sensationalized good, bad and ugly of Jesusland.
But small things happen back in those hollows in the blank sections of the map; dark ideas foment and little men seek to become large through virtue of personal charisma and a perceived personal connection with God. American religiosity has always had its martial wing – the line runs from the Mountain Meadows Massacre through John Brown to David Koresh.