SILHOUETTE CITY is an immersive journey through the recent history of American apocalypticism. Using archival video, movement propaganda and original investigative material, the film tracks the movement of apocalyptic Christian nationalism and its most extreme adherents from the margins to the mainstream, the military and beyond. In the midst of a sudden loss of power on the political right and a destabilizing economic crisis, an apocalyptic right-wing populism has gathered force. According to Political Research Associates, the leading right-wing watchdog organization: “When the Right isn’t in power, some right-wing groups become increasingly violent. In the midst of a global economic meltdown, right-wing populism has even greater appeal. We’re watching as the Right mobilizes resentment against gays and lesbians, people of color, immigrants, MuslimsСtactics that frequently find a receptive audience among people hurt by a faltering economy. Already, organized White supremacists are blaming Jews, a perennial standby in scapegoating, for Wall Street’s crisis. Today, the conditions are present for a perfect storm of bigotry and reaction.”
If current events are prompting a resurgence of conspiracy culture and anti-government paranoia, the future of the American Right is at the fringes of contemporary apocalyptic Christian nationalism. In the age of a networked Christian Right, movement propaganda has the potential to reach a greater speed and audience than ever before. The film examines the striking ideological and rhetorical similarities between The Covenant, The Sword & The Arm Of The Lord (CSA)- a group that provided the model for militia group activity in the 1990s-and the mainstream Christian Right of today. It reveals how the apocalyptic intensity and rhetoric of final warfare are symptoms of those impulses opposed to cultural openness-and as the formal and conceptual methods of propagandizing their struggle are laid bare-the CSA provides a case study in grassroots response to right-wing apocalyptic impulses. Globalization, rapid worldwide economic expansion and the subsequent decline have rallied religious extremists internationally to join in a fight against a common enemy: modernism and secularism. This sense of urgent desire for radical closure seeks to find its expression-whether it be grassroots organizing, hate speech or direct violence.