How Christian extremists took control of the GOP

An extract from Max Blumenthal’s new book, Republican Gomorrah, on the rise of Sarah Palin:

To those who knew Palin, she was no ordinary hockey mom, but rather an evangelical foot soldier who spearheaded the [conservative Christian] movement’s takeover of local government. Her power base was the Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal mega-church where she was baptized and spent over 20 years as a member.

Most Pentecostal congregations are socially conservative, particularly those that are predominantly white, but Wasilla Assembly of God was in thrall to a radical Pentecostal trend once denounced by church authorities as heresy. Called the Third Wave, it was rooted in an explicitly anti-intellectual creation myth. According to the Third Wave’s founding father, William Branham, a rural Canadian preacher, Satan had sex with Eve and gave birth to Cain—the so-called “Serpent Seed.” “Through Cain came all the smart, educated people down to the antediluvian flood—the intellectuals, bible colleges,” Branham wrote. “They know all their creeds but know nothing about God.”