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Chris Hedges: America’s Holy Warriors

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Posted on Dec 31, 2006
Blackwater guard
From Salon.com

A bodyguard from Blackwater USA protects former Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer in Iraq in 2004. Blackwater’s founder is a right-wing Christian whose paramilitary contractors may be operating outside constitutional restrictions imposed on the police and military.

By Chris Hedges

Editor’s note: The former New York Times Mideast Bureau chief warns that the radical Christian right is coming dangerously close to its goal of co-opting the country’s military and law enforcement.


The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies, which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincy appointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a much larger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement.  This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signal the end of our democracy.

During the past two years I traveled across the country to research and write the book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.”  I repeatedly listened to radical preachers attack as corrupt and godless most American institutions, from federal agencies that provide housing and social welfare to public schools and the media.  But there were two institutions that never came under attack—the military and law enforcement.  While these preachers had no interest in communicating with local leaders of other faiths, or those in the community who did not subscribe to their call for a radical Christian state, they assiduously courted and flattered the military and police.  They held special services and appreciation days for all four branches of the armed services and for various law enforcement agencies.  They encouraged their young men and women to enlist or to join the police or state troopers.  They sought out sympathetic military and police officials to attend church events where these officials were lauded and feted for their Christian probity and patriotism.  They painted the war in Iraq not as an occupation but as an apocalyptic battle by Christians against Islam, a religion they regularly branded as “satanic.” All this befits a movement whose final aesthetic is violence.  It also befits a movement that, in the end, would need the military and police forces to seize power in American society. 

One of the arguments used to assuage our fears that the mass movement being built by the Christian right is fascist at its core is that it has not yet created a Praetorian Guard, referring to the paramilitary force that defied legal constraints, made violence part of the political discourse and eventually plunged ancient Rome into tyranny and despotism.  A paramilitary force that operates outside the law, one that sows fear among potential opponents and is capable of physically silencing those branded by their leaders as traitors, is a vital instrument in the hands of despotic movements.  Communist and fascist movements during the last century each built paramilitary forces that operated beyond the reach of the law. 

And yet we may be further down this road than we care to admit.  Erik Prince, the secretive, mega-millionaire, right-wing Christian founder of Blackwater, the private security firm that has built a formidable mercenary force in Iraq, champions his company as a patriotic extension of the U.S. military.  His employees, in an act as cynical as it is deceitful, take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution.  These mercenary units in Iraq, including Blackwater, contain some 20,000 fighters.  They unleash indiscriminate and wanton violence against unarmed Iraqis, have no accountability and are beyond the reach of legitimate authority.  The appearance of these paramilitary fighters, heavily armed and wearing their trademark black uniforms, patrolling the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, gave us a grim taste of the future.  It was a stark reminder that the tyranny we impose on others we will one day impose on ourselves. 

“Contracting out security to groups like Blackwater undermines our constitutional democracy,” said Michael Ratner, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.  “Their actions may not be subject to constitutional limitations that apply to both federal and state officials and employees—including First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights to be free from illegal searches and seizures.  Unlike police officers they are not trained in protecting constitutional rights and unlike police officers or the military they have no system of accountability whether within their organization or outside it.  These kind of paramilitary groups bring to mind Nazi Party brownshirts, functioning as an extrajudicial enforcement mechanism that can and does operate outside the law. The use of these paramilitary groups is an extremely dangerous threat to our rights.”

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The politicization of the military, the fostering of the belief that violence must be used to further a peculiar ideology rather than defend a democracy, was on display recently when Air Force and Army generals and colonels, filmed in uniform at the Pentagon, appeared in a promotional video distributed by the Christian Embassy, a radical Washington-based organization dedicated to building a “Christian America.”

The video, first written about by Jeff Sharlet in the December issue of Harper’s Magazine and filmed shortly after 9/11, has led the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to raise a legal protest against the Christian Embassy’s proselytizing within the Department of Defense. The video was hastily pulled from the Christian Embassy website and was removed from YouTube a few days ago under threats of copyright enforcement.

Dan Cooper, an undersecretary of veterans affairs, says in the video that his weekly prayer sessions are “more important than doing the job.” Maj. Gen. Jack Catton says that his being an adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a “wonderful opportunity” to evangelize men and women setting defense policy. “My first priority is my faith,” he says. “I think it’s a huge impact…. You have many men and women who are seeking God’s counsel and wisdom as they advise the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs] and the secretary of defense.”

Col. Ralph Benson, a Pentagon chaplain, says in the video:  “Christian Embassy is a blessing to the Washington area, a blessing to our capital; it’s a blessing to our country. They are interceding on behalf of people all over the United States, talking to ambassadors, talking to people in the Congress, in the Senate, talking to people in the Pentagon, and being able to share the message of Jesus Christ in a very, very important time in our world is winning a worldwide war on terrorism. What more do we need than Christian people leading us and guiding us, so, they’re needed in this hour.”

The group has burrowed deep inside the Pentagon.  It hosts weekly Bible sessions with senior officers, by its own count some 40 generals, and weekly prayer breakfasts each Wednesday from 7 to 7:50 a.m. in the executive dining room as well as numerous outreach events to, in the words of the organization, “share and sharpen one another in their quest to bridge the gap between faith and work.”

If the United States falls into a period of instability caused by another catastrophic terrorist attack, an economic meltdown or a series of environmental disasters, these paramilitary forces, protected and assisted by fellow ideologues in the police and military, could swiftly abolish what is left of our eroding democracy.  War, with the huge profits it hands to businesses and right-wing interests that often help bankroll the Christian right, could become a permanent condition.  And the thugs with automatic weapons, black uniforms and wraparound sunglasses who appeared on street corners in Baghdad and New Orleans could appear on streets across the U.S.  Such a presence could paralyze us with fear, leaving us unable to question or protest the closed system and secrecy of an emergent totalitarian state and unable to voice dissent.

“The Bush administration has already come close to painting our current wars as wars against Islam—many in the Christian right apparently have this belief,” Ratner said.  “If these wars, bad enough as imperial wars, are fought as religious wars, we are facing a very dark age that could go on for a hundred years and that will be very bloody.”


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By Ishmael, January 2, 2007 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hope all these right winger religious nuts join the army and go get their asses shot off in Iraq. 

I was sitting in the Phoenix airport the other day talking to this guy (singing the blues on how tough things are) and out of no where he tells me that he is a devout Christian and that the end of days is coming and he expects to see it in his life time.

I start laughing my ass off.  I tell him that is the biggest horse crap I have ever heard and who does he think he is or the preacher that is telling him this crap is that they thing they have any comprehension of what God thinks.  I quoted a Russian friend of mine who says Americans are so into themselves that when times get a little hard then we start rolling around in self pity and saying the end of the world is coming.  Get over it.  Needless to say the guy got up and left.

You could take all of the military and all of the paralegals and put them together and attempt to control this country.  You thing Iraq is tough.  There are hundreds of million of guns in this country.  Now with that said it could boil down to some kind of civil war.

Personally, I wonder if this is something like when Cromwell, the Lord Protector came to power.  The people got so tired of him and his kind that it all fell apart after Cromwell died and all of the fundamentalist christians were ran out of England to here.  That is how all the Anabaptist ended up here.  England became very intolerant of christian religious extremist.

I laugh at all of these right wing religious nuts!  I have laughed at them my whole life—a bunch of whinging nut cases!  No fear mate!  Have them attempt a coup.  I will be more than happy to show a few of them the End of Time!

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, January 2, 2007 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All the comments in this article only further convince me that an all voluntary army and mercenary military force such as Blackwater should be eliminated, and in its place the U.S. should establish a National Service where all young adults—-men and women must serve without deferments in some capacity.  It would prevent the further privatization of the military, and the continued expansion of private mercenary forces whose only motivation is profit and NOT patriotism.

National service would also ensure heterogeneity in the enlistment process—-joining the military would not be based on ones economic needs or financial deprivation; it would be inspired by an interest to serve this country.  There is much work that needs to be done to restore the infrastructure in New Orleans, and in other inner cities that should be done by bright ambitious young men and women partaking in a national service program.

There are many who slap a yellow sticker on their SUVS that say “support the troops”—but the thought of their own children serving in the military is unbearable.  It is interesting that only two percent of the U.S. military is Jewish, but I am sure there were a greater percentage of Jews that wanted us to invade Iraq; it would be only logically for those who support the war to partake in its military operations.  It would also allay the fear that the military will be theologically overrun by Christian Right ideologues.

If National service was implemented, it would also remove the probability of the military becoming a homogeneous force comprised of soldiers with identical ideological
beliefs—-heterogeneity in race, class, and gender would return the military to a patriotic endeavor rather than just an economic gold mine for companies like Backwater or becoming a last resort for the disadvantaged.

Young adults with limited opportunities who do not have access to well-paying jobs and financial aid to attend college are especially susceptible to the enticements of recruitment.  Those who sign up in the National Guard need the monthly payments to supplement their income and some were under the false impression that they would stay in their state, perhaps helping out with civil disasters and doing their one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer—similar to what George Bush did, after his father used his high level connections to ensure that, he would stay in Texas during the Vietnam War.  Now, however, the National Guard and Reserve units are deployed to Iraq.
       
Military obligations that was supposed to end are NOW NOT ENDING, soldiers are being retained under a new strategy called “STOP-LOSS DRAFT”—it’s basically a method of protracting military service, so instead of finishing their tour of duty, they are reassigned for four or five additional tours.  Stop Loss is now being challenged by a lawsuit as involuntary servitude—I can’t imagine why.

If Middle-class and affluent children were dragged into Iraq and Afghanistan, political consciousness would be raised at lightening speed—self-interest has a way of sparking enlightenment.  The draft is a “volatile issue” and politicians are clever they know what issues to avoid; the memories of the Vietnam War are still ever-present.  But is it fair, to ask the poor and working-class to fight a war, only to make war profiteers rich?

When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.”—Jean-Paul Sartre

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By Mark Plus, January 2, 2007 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

But, but, I thought Jesus is supposed to return this year and rapture these people!

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By Lefty, January 2, 2007 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Senor Polyglot:

You make a good point.  There can be no bigger fool in the world than a right wing Jew.  The question is begged, will this small minority of fascist-republican Jews die from old age, disease, accident, or perhaps gas chambers built by their fellow republicans, with their tax dollars, assuming they pay any taxes.

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By John Malford, January 2, 2007 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am sick and tired of your constant attacks on Christianity. What have Christians done to you that makes them deserve this kind of treatment. Every group has their faults, yet you constantly try and bring out Christians’ faults and failures. You don’t do this to any other group. Christians try their best to contribute to our society. You refer to Hurricane Katrina in the article, but if you had actually been there you would have seen that most of the support came from churches. But no, you were sitting on your butt typing up some article ridiculing others. Christians are doing more to help this world than you are, so stop cutting on them. Maybe, for a change, you should highlight some of the contributions a group of Christians has made to this world.

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By snackster, January 2, 2007 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

re:“If the United States falls into a period of instability caused by another catastrophic terrorist attack.”

Just a minute, sir; are you implying that the so called events of 911 were actually a surprise attack by outside forces and not a false-flag operation? That quaint and dangerous notion has been shot full of holes in numerous web sites.
After all, didn’t 911 give the military-intelligence slash Israel lobbly complex everything it could ever wish for? And did it not turn Bush the bumbler into a statesman-like figure for a while? That could not be accomplished without a script. So let it be affirmed that if the United States falls into a period of instability caused by another false-flag terrorist operation it will transpire because the cabal has yet to be exposed.

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By D.J., January 2, 2007 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s only fitting that the Christian Right’s trail of ideological slime would lead them in the direction of those who can wield force; as Bill Maher has pointed out, all these people really worship is power.

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By Christian Livingstone, January 2, 2007 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

——————
Dear Chris,
I submitted the same below comments almost a day ago, and now notice there are many comments now that seem to show you’ve passed over my input. They are relevant to your article. But, if you find them objectionable for some reason, please let me know what those reasons are, so I can consider them or so I can stop bothering to read your articles or visit your site. (Was it the eat what you kill part?)
Peace to you,
C. Livingstone
——————-


Well,

Almost every single denomination and “church” in North America is a State Corporation and a federally qualified 501 (c) 3 organization.

They have all sold their souls by pledging obedience to their master, Caesar. And for nothing more than a proverbial mess of pottage in the form of a few tax exemptions garnered their Clergy elite.

That all goes back to Caesar Constantine, with the Edict of Milan in 312 AD. When the Church was enticed to come out from political-underground and become a State Corporation, so long as the Clergy supplied Constantine with fresh “Christian” soldiers on Roman battlefields. Pretty savvy of Caesar to “get religion” and save the Empire by mingling the Body of Christ with the Body of the State.

So, whenever I encounter statist idolators or state-incorporated churchgoers who are foolish enough listen to guys like Pat Robertson or to join the Legion of the Damned, i.e., US military or other mercenary forces, I always give them the same good, ole American hunting advice:

Eat everything you kill!

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

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By Senor Polyglot, January 2, 2007 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WAIT A MINUTE!!!  What if Blackwater, et al., someday turned on the Wolfowitzs, Fieths, Libbys, eliot cohens, etc.,.  Now tHAT WOULD BE GRAND DAY WITH DOZENS OF HEADS ON PIKES.  oH DON’T FORGET HERR PERLE

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By Louise, January 2, 2007 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(On the other hand, why the hell do we even have to think about these idiots?) Comment #44962 by Ed

Watching history and the history of art, one cant help but notice the powerful influence the use of God and Religion have had on both. In art, wealthy patrons commissioned artists to reproduce a story from their religious tradition, often instructing the artist to place the patron in the scene. The clear message being, “I stand as witness to ...” whatever.

I wonder, what great works might we have seen if allegiance to the “God” of the moment wasn’t required to receive recognition? The same can be said for all religions and all areas where any religion has been allowed to be the controlling force in society. And, that’s most! The fact of the art stands as witness to the power and the control.

For that reason, thinking about “these idiots” is important, because this may very well be the turning point when man will finally grow up enough to realize that each individual must answer for their individual behavior. Perhaps we may actually see the rule of law firmly placed back where it belongs. Where the wise men who laid out the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended.

Perhaps we may actually realize, finally, that we are governed by ourselves, our own moral standard, our relationship to others and our respect, or absence of respect for the rule of law. Perhaps we will stop giving others permission “in the name of God” to make our life decisions.

What is missing from the dialog is while this tired repetitious story plays out over and over again all down through history, we are now where we have never been before. We now have literally at our fingertips the tools to completely destroy the world and end human life. And the man with his finger on the trigger is one of them!

Some may welcome that as “prophecy” I see that attitude as unparalleled ignorance. To welcome the destruction of one and all ... even ones own children as the fulfillment of prophecy is not only dangerous, it is monumentally selfish. And further speaks to how weak is the faith of the so-called faithful. If there is a God and if he means to bring the world to an end, I think he can do it without their help!

Judging from most of the comments, I think true “Christians” will agree.

So lets deal with the hidden side of this. Take religion out of the picture and call it what it is. “double high authoritarians: self-righteous, mean-spirited, amoral, manipulative, bullying.” Radical’s that are destroying the Republic along with the very foundations of American democracy. And USING the name of God, they threaten to destroy the world.

Nobody likes that, not even deeply religious Christians.

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By LivingFree, January 2, 2007 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right out of the Charlie Manson playbook…

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By celph, January 2, 2007 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please note the overweight and out of shape individual in the foreground. Especially note that his finger is IN the triggerguard. For all you New York residents and non-gunsels out there, this means that this hapless lardass is more likely to blow his own foot off than to successfully defend the viceroy. America has nothing to fear. Any twelve year old with a .22 will easily be able to take this “merc” out if fatty doesn’t do the job himself!

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By Dianne C. Foster, January 2, 2007 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s another way to look at it: opportunity for big burly men who have nothing else to do in the American society their immigrant and pioneer ancestors once built with their muscle. We have no heavy industry to speak of. This is not, like China, an up and coming place.

The prayer groups, I heard, got started in Texas to salvage the spirits of the men who were ruined when the oil industry went largely overseas.

Raising a son who is descended from generations of manual laborers whose genes are evident in his football player build, I can see that his main form of socializing (at college and with his high school friends at home), is in the “pack”. The founders of the Boy Scouts understood this well.

Nature does not wait for us to find useful work and high aspirations for young men. If we don’t lay the groundwork of society properly—- you will get this, as well as the constant gang warfare in ghettoes, and the anarchy in the mess that is Iraq.

The short-term need is to decommission these illegal mercenaries and never allow them to “cross the Rubicon” again, as they did in New Orleans. And for God’s sake stop funding them.

As for the sky salesmen, they always do great business in unequal times, but even greater business in depressions.
If it ever comes to that, we are in for it. 

You can also see that the Northeast is kind of hollowed out as a moral force anymore, and the sunbelt cultures prevail.  There are a lot of drifting people who may be looking for an identity these days. Not to speak of better pay than the conventional military offers. You’ve got a drift from the Deep South traditional values to the more materialistic ones of the sunbelt. The traditional rivals (North and South) may still be heard in the Senate, but in the real world, it’s a new ballgame.

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By iraqvet, January 2, 2007 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I realize that many here are not Christian but I humbly ask that you might read what I have to say. 

True Christians do not recognize this president as being anything but a novice and poorly taught Christian if one at all.  True Christians also have stood strongly against the use of the power of the state to advance a religious agenda.  As a Christian who traces his roots back to the Anabaptists, Huguenots, Lollards and Waldenses, we have always decried the marriage of church and state.  The marriage of church and state gave us the persecution of the Christian church under Rome, the Catholic church and later persecution by many protestants. 

In America some of the early colonies attempted to establish theocracies and they were disasters.  In one state the Presbyterian church mandated that every town would raise the funds to build a presbytery (church) and hire a minister.  I remember the story of one town populated with nothing but Baptists who had fled the presbyterian tyranny.  These Baptists tolerantly welcomed some presbyterians who, upon building their homes, demanded that the people build them a church and hire them a minister with the baptists funds. 

The Baptists were barely eking out a living and plead to the state for mercy.  The presbyterian theocracy instead took their homes and lands from them. 

Little wonder that the Danbury Baptist Association wrote a letter of thanks to Thomas Jefferson for authoring the 1st Amendment to the Constitution and in their words “erecting a strong wall of separation between church and state”. 

Thus we Christians shook our heads in disgust when Falwell, Reed, Schlaffley and the other charlatans abandoned the Christian faith in pursuit of their false god “politics”.  They used inordinate amounts of Gods money to pursue their shortsighted agendas, money that God had intended for other purposes such as preaching the gospel, charity, missionary work and other backbones of the church.  I pity them on judgment day because they will have to give an account for their rebellion.  No doubt they will proclaim to the Lord Jesus Christ “but Lord, didn’t we fight homosexuals in thy name, crusade against abortion and other good deeds?”  The Lord will probably say “depart from me ye that work iniquity for I know you not”. 

The message of the church must return to that which was proclaimed in The Bible, that there is salvation by no other name or way but by Jesus Christ. 

Thank you for your time,

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By Squirtapotamus, January 2, 2007 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Moderate Christians defend themselves by arguing that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.”  Are you serious?

Then explain to me these quotes of Jesus:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother- in-law….” (Matthew 10:34 repeated Luke 12:51) or

“But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.” Luke 19:27 or

“And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one.” Luke 22:36

Christianity has been a militant ideology since the Roman empire adopted it as its state religion.  The moderates who claim otherwise have willfully forgotten their church history.

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By Wendy Martin, January 2, 2007 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More fanatics, so what else is new?  Religious fanaticism all over the world, now the Muslims and Christians battling it out.  So their slogan should be “My God is better than your God”, that would sound like children singing.

So we live in an infantile world where social conditioning prevails from a very young age and by the time a child is 10 years old, they’re set.  They’ve been indoctrinated first by their parents and then by the schools.  Too bad!!

So America will fall just like Rome and onward we go in history.  Looks like humanity didn’t learn anything and we took our eyes off the ball.  Maybe next time we’ll remember.

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By Al, January 2, 2007 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Using Christianity to gain support for the right-wing neo-cons is only a ploy to gain support. Don’t forget that Bush belongs to a Masonic(satanic) organization and his goal is to bring about the Masonic New World Order. He is not the Commander-in-chief, He is subservient to the Grand-Master of his Lodge. (John Kerry is a member of the same Masonic organization as Bush.) Also don’t forget that the Fraternal Order of Police which is the largest organization representing law enforcement officers in the United States is a Masonic organization.

While you are at it, do some research on FEMA concentration camps

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By Karen, January 2, 2007 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a Christian, I am sad to see that there seemingly is no end to radical views on all sides.  Lumping all people who claim the title of Christian is as bad as people claiming all Muslims are blood thirsty or all liberals are communists or blah, blah, blah.  To try to make a case against war and tyranny,it is not right to take all Christians to task for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Evil men (and women) are just that - evil.  Evil has no religion, ethnicity, race, language, or dialect. 

But to get the the point of the story - I did go check out Blackwater USA, and I am appalled that the US government uses extra-legal and extra-Constitutional security forces “in places around the world”.  HUH?????  The person who mentioned the Nazi SA (later followed by the SS) made a good point that it should be a big concern to Americans when our government hires non-police and non-military security forces and turns them loose on our soil or a foreign one.  Shocking to me - a Christian who despises the senseless war and the dictator in the White House and all his enablers on Capitol Hill.

And just a note to those who want to find some group on which to pile hate and blame.  Lay the blame on the individuals on whom it belongs, and instead of fighting with the same hateful words that right wingers would use against left wingers, Muslims against Christians or Jews, Democrats against Republicans, fight with an educated argument purely against the irrationality of the individual arguments and don’t get caught up yourselves in rabid ideological stances that omit reason.

All people at one time or another are wowed by propaganda or are ignorant of certain facts, especially when facts are buried by corrupt government officials.  It is not until after the fact that many people come to intuit and learn the truth for themselves and are horrified by it.

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By Albert Krauss, January 2, 2007 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some pretty grim projections about these people and their spreading influence among military and enforcement.

Note the odd use of “aesthetic”. Could Hedges have intended “ethic”? Or any other bracketing word?

Can’t afford to be semantically fuzzy in this sort of context, but there’s no email link to check with the writer

Chris Hedges of Truthdig wrote:

They painted the war in Iraq not as an occupation but as an apocalyptic battle by Christians against Islam, a religion they regularly branded as “satanic.” All this befits a movement whose final aesthetic is violence.

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By old benjamin, January 2, 2007 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who moved? Fifty years ago, it was OK to have public Bible reading and prayer in schools. I was in high school then, and I remember. Homosexuals didn’t brag about their preference, and no one advocated same-sex marriage. No one objected to ROTC on campus, nudity in the movies didn’t exist and most expletives were not allowed. There was no Rap “music,” drugs were not easily available, and marriage out of wedlock was not commonplace. I could go on, but you get the point. Who moved? Is it really so shocking that many who value traditional values are considering their options? They see their country disappearing right before their eyes and worry about their children. Did the people change or did the courts impose a radical move toward secularism and cultural relativism? Hedges makes a very poor case for some kind of right-wing takeover. He is high in rhetoric and low on facts. But, consider who moved in the past 50 years. Those who insist on stripping this country of its traditional values may indeed someday unleash a whirlwind.

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By Joshua, January 2, 2007 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m a fan of Chris Hedges however he fails to recognize one of the key problems he writes about.  Faith, not just “radical or extreme faith’ but faith itself is at the root of many of the problems Hedges has covered.  I urge any reader to take a close look at Sam Harris, author of two NY Times bestsellers.  ‘The End of Faith’ and ‘Letter to a Christian Nation.’  Faith-based reason (opposed to evidence-based reason) may be the worst idea humans have ever created.  Without faith, people don’t fly planes into skyscrapers with the idea that 72 virgins await them in “paradise.”  Without faith, stem-cell research would not be an issue.  Without faith there would be nobody to tell the AIDS ravaged people of Africa that contraception is evil.  I do not argue that faith-based reason can’t produce some good results, but I do argue that our best bet is to stick to the facts.  We can build a non-violent compassionate society without resorting to fantastical notions about the nature of reality.await them in “paradise.”  Without faith, stem-cell research would not be an issue.  Without faith there would be nobody to tell the AIDS ravaged people of Africa that contraception is evil.  I do not argue that faith-based reason can’t produce some good results, but I do argue that our best bet is to stick to the facts.  We can build a non-violent compassionate society without resorting to fantasical notions about the nature of reality.

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By clayton kaledin, January 2, 2007 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

to travis roeher:

Violence is never the answer. By making comments like “buy an AK” You really aren’t proving that you are any better than the people in the article.

I believe in jesus, but not the jesus that the radicle right speaks of.  I am sickened by the homophobia the right constantly displays. They are using the lord a scapegoat to justify persecuting innocent people. I am straight, but i have many friends that are homosexual. They aren’t “mosters” as these people would have you believe. These people are just scared, scared of something different, just like the K.K.K were. True Christians know that Jesus would never want an army like this.

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By forveterans49, January 2, 2007 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment
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This is one of the most frightening articles I have read.  I have been aware for some time about the dangers of the Blackwater group of thugs and all I can say is, folks…we better wake up fast!  This is all too real.

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By David K. Meller, January 2, 2007 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment
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If you use the State (any State) and its government apparatus for your purposes, don’t be too surprised or indignant when your enemies use it for theirs!!

The “religious Left” and its secular allies spent the years following the second World War, for example, using the State,its courts, its armed forces and Police power, to advance YOUR egalitarian racial agenda, however disagreeable it was to White people,who felt that they and their families were being disposessed and disenfranchised, even endangered, by black power; to advance your vision of environmental utopia regardless of the well-paying industrial and manufacturing jobs lost in the USA; while your kind of people lobbied for endlessly higher pay and benefits for a cadre of ever more unresponsive and even pathological Public School Teachers and their unions, Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Youth “counselors”, and other overeducated but fundamentally ignorant people, whose jobs favor the displacement of the traditional patriarchal family with the government and its works.

I do think that your viewpoints could use some safeguards about now, along with the rest of us! When your kind of people determined social policy, persuing a reckless and irresponsible egalitarianism, you pulverized the political and legal, even constitutional, restraints that are desperately needed now to keep President Bush and his extremists from wrecking what is left of our country!

Everything possible was done from the ‘60’s to the ‘90s by the “religious left” to deny INBORN BIOLOGICAL differences and inequalities between the sexes, and to attribute these inequalities only to “sexism” and never to nature, and to enforce thoroughly misplaced egalitarianism at the point of a gun. Even less than in racial privacy and civil rights, no consideration was ever given to the appalling disruption of people’s lives, and their family’s well-being as long as your goal of “equality” was pursued!

The notion that there MIGHT be some areas of social and economic life where so-called “Patriarchy” or so-called “White Supremacy” were the best arrangements for everybody in an imperfect world was unthinkable to you, and your certainty was enforced by all the might and power of the US government and its Supreme Court!

Now the other side has THEIR control of the State apparatus, and you are complaining about being excluded, frankly you come across as “too little, too late”.

An individual’s rights (civil or otherwise) are not violated by another person, or even another group of persons, deciding to have nothing to do with him. You could have saved everyone a lot of grief over the past 40 years or so, by allowing people to be as “racist’ “sexist’ or “homophobic” as they wanted, as long as they otherwise minded their own business! They have the same right to their opinions, and to the group arrangements which satisfy them, as people like yourselves have to your “diversity” and multiculturalism”!!

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely…

PEACE AND FREEDOM!!
David K. Meller

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By James V, January 2, 2007 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment
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I, like many others I’m sure, have long been fearful and at least a little skeptical of the true intentions of organized religion. Christianity leads the pack for me in this not so much because it is necessarily worse than the rest but that it is the most familiar to me.

History suggests that all religion seeks to spread itself and multiply. That is a function of practicing it. It is confrontatitional by design in order to survive & conquer. And the fracturing of Christianity that happened in Europe and later in the United States proves to me that without a very clear adversary readily at hand, it is prone to become parasitic and attack itself. Many religions have a variety of sects or branches but I’d venture to guess that Christianity has more than the rest several times over. And with so many “variations” of Christianity out there, I often wonder how any one or group of them can claim any sort of superiority (either morally or divinely). Perhaps it was the hardship (both real and invented) that early Christians endured that resulted in this voracious approach to it’s survival and growth. Either way, I am very concerned about the new surge in puritanical & extremist ideology.

Maybe that was part of the reason that there was to be a separation of church and state. Maybe the founders realized that while it is more than fine for people to hold whatever beliefs they wished, because of it’s volatile and dangerous (both to others and itself) nature, religion should never be allowed to dictate national policy. It can not be trusted to do so. That in the end, once it had “purged” the nation of other religions and beliefs it would inevitably turn on itself as it has done repeatedly in the past. And in the end spelling a painful and likely bloody end to this great experiment.

I find it ironic that there is great trepidation regarding “religious states” that are of the Islamic faith but an aspiration for one that is Christian. The temptation is to look at this move microscopically and say “he/she is a good Christian person, living a good decent life…who could possibly say that that is a bad thing?” But when you step back and look at the movement en masse you see the bigger damage being done. What Christian person (other than the most extreme) would desire to live in the way the Puritans did in early New England? Living in fear of each other? Committing outrages to both people and their own God in his name? Who would feel comfortable having Inquisitors overlooking their every step to ensure that they were practicing the “true faith” as Europeans once did? Forsaking even common sense and rational thought and in its place grasping fear. Ten years ago I would have laughed at such a thought. I am no longer laughing…

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By PatrickHenry, January 2, 2007 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment
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Kinda reinforces my need of my second amendment rights to contend with these non-sworn savants when they get out of control in America.

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By jeffk, January 2, 2007 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment
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Dubya’s “surge” number of 20,000 and the Blackwater number of 20,000 sound suspiciously similar. Makes me wonder if their plan isn’t just to officialize the contractors, and make them into a group that’s government approved, but not under control of the regular military.

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By sam, January 2, 2007 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
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Good, Christianity will never be able to live this down.  I feel cheistianity is on its way out.

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By sandman, January 2, 2007 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment
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I am not surprised by all this,ask your self who is the real dictator and who terrorizes other with bombs,Saddam or dictator BUSH,ask your self why he needs the blackwater group,do you think there will be elections in 08 or 09?

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By Chewbacca, January 2, 2007 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment
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Check out this excellent anti war video, and please help to spread it;

Guernica Iraq

http://911blogger.com/node/5219

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By g singlaub, January 2, 2007 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
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http://www.redstateupdate.net covers the fulminations of fundamentalists, the brayings of bible thumpers and messianic militarists- see stories:

Lawmakers Certify Single Military Messiah
http://www.redstateupdate.net/full-page/fullpage-archive-71.html
Christians Offer Condemnation to Hurricane Victims and Threats to Others
http://www.redstateupdate.net/full-page/fullpage-archive-19.html
Bishop’s Political Catechism Blames Party of Sinners
http://www.redstateupdate.net/full-page/fullpage-archive-67.html
Militant Ministers Concoct Combat Christ to Tempt Teenagers
http://www.redstateupdate.net/full-page/fullpage-archive-71.html

redstateupdate covered 6 of the top 10 most censored stories of 2006 and 13 of the top 25…and a new gwbush comic every week!

http://www.redstateupdate.net
funny, frightening, free
and ‘it’s all true’

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By Travis Rohrer, January 2, 2007 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
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God I hope the christians wake up and realize what the facists plan to do to our country.  The board is set and the checkmate is soon to follow.  The pathetic thing is that when the checkmate comes no one will notice and they will go on living their pathetic little slave lives perferring security to freedom.  Wake up America the time is nigh.  My only advice to anyone listening is to buy an AK and 2000 rounds of ammo.

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By chuch29, January 2, 2007 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
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There has been a new term thrown around a lot lately… this term “Radical Christianity”... it’s funny how this happened. I can actually just look back about what?, 5 years in the past?.. right around the time we started hearing a lot about “Radical Islam”... almost as if someone is trying to equate the two… put them in the same category. As a matter of fact, good ol’ Rosie O’Donnell recently said that “Radical Christianity” is just as dangerous as “radical” Islam… This could not be further from the truth.

The truth is, and this is a “radical” truth, if people were truly “radical Christians” they would be doing what Jesus said. They would be following the commandments, they would be making disciples and discipling others. They would be on the streets proclaiming sin and repentance. They would be spreading the message of salvation through Christ Jesus. They certainly would not be dangerous. No, they would actually bring about peace faster than any politician with the best of intentions could (history has proven this to be so). They would change the world for the better… but alas, there are very few “Radical Christians” sadly…

I propose this, everyone stop using the term Radical Christianity unless it applies to someone living a truly holy set apart life. And to every self-proclaiming Christian out there reading this, get mad that people are doing this to the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. Allow righteous anger to well up inside you, enough to make you actually change your own life to get in line with the words of Christ, and then get on with what he put us here to do, proclaim the Good News!

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By jay, January 2, 2007 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
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Nice idea,  but americans are permitted to have guns.  I am a liberal and I hate what the ridical right is doing to the world.  I am a veteren and father who is working harder every day to try and raise my kids.  I garentee that anyone who tried to impose there religon on my family… well lets just say it ant gonna happen.

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By The Christian Facist will kill me, so NO, January 2, 2007 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
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I am surprised, relieved, thankful to God and saddened to read this. First thankful to God that He cares for the true Christians who wrote the article. Relieved, that I am not the only one who has noticed this uprise of failed men and women of USA who are “into” Christianity (they really have no idea what Jesus preached- i.e. LOVE) just to KILL like their great grand dad did to the Native Americans. Theses are pure KILLER GENES- very dangerous psychotic genes. Their ONLY satisfaction is killing and dominating- for the moment it is muslims, but soon the GUN will point at us. This is how Hitler came to power- using these psychotic SOCIAL FAILURES whose mother never loved them because she had depression. I want to feel sorry for the Blackwell guards, but they are NATURAL BORN KILLERS. Then they are totally unaware of people like me and and a lot of others who have mothers without a bipolar-depressive gene. There are many kinds of depression (Lincoln had a different kind- later in life). We do not have any psych problems in many generation like the messengers of God (Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Bhudda, mother Theresa etc).  The federal government is INDEED filled with these FAKE (two faced Devils) ‘christians’- who are a shame to the religion preached by Jesus. The Veterans Medical Administration is a power hold of crazy KKK members of RADICAL FAKE ‘christians’ who are using the NAME of ‘christianity’ to quench their ‘ancestral blood thirst’ as KILLERS.
The FBI is another psycho-group of ‘chriatians’ and the “CIA”. However, remember GOD is with ALL KNOWLEDGE and HE is watching THEM very closely. He said- “i need a heap of evidence against the sinners, so on the judgement DAY, they will have nothing to defend with”. In other words they WILL be allowed to ‘carry out’ their sins and allowed to produce a HEAP OF EVIDENCE for GOD and the final judgement. As their victims- our fate? Only God will know.

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By Jackie T. Gabel, January 2, 2007 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment
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RE:    •    Comment #44918 by Chinaskee  on  1/01  at  9:36 pm — “Did you forget to take your anti-paranoia medication this week Mr. Hedges ?”

>>>>>>>>>no need with bloggers like this and bruisers like that

fingering the trigger of his assault rifle. MSM reports Iraq is a terrorist magnet — mercenary magnet is more accurate. When capos of the New World Oligarchy travel, it’s only under protection of professionals from top-dollar security providers, preferably ones endorsed by the Mediene and Callie Cartels — world’s fastest growing industry.

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By bill payne, January 2, 2007 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
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We may have been battling “This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state.” for 15 years.

Surprisingly our legal battle may be coming to an end thanks to the FBI.

http://www.prosefights.org/nmlegal/fbifoia/fbiletter3/letter.htm#codirector

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By TAO Walker, January 2, 2007 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment
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Maybe it’s just something in the air these days, all this ideological insanity.  If so, it’ll have to run its course, and efforts to somehow forestall that would be at best exercises in futility.  It might be the most we can hope for is sufficient natural immunity in enough of us that at least a viable population will live to tell this tale to our great-great-grandchildren. 

The rule of fear at last stands fully exposed, if not yet so widely recognized, for what it is.  Chris Hedges’ concern that the intentionally terrifying ugliness of it’s American fascist face might “paralyze” many of us to the point of helplessness is certainly not without foundation, especially since in these latter days there is really no place left to run, and the sociopaths have a near monopoly on the most effective means of coercion and control. 

Several thousand years of relentless domestication (okay, most of its artificially individuated subjects prefer “civilization”) has taken a heavy toll on those native human qualities that enabled our ancestors not simply to survive but to thrive in a most challenging world.  Until today an almost completely atomized collection of what is essentially two-legged livestock is entirely cut-off from any chance of fruitful direct engagement with its natural habitat by the interposition of gargantuan institutional structures put in place specifically to first isolate and then to exploit masses of displaced and dispossessed human beings.

Caught in a clever system of overt and covert restraints, the most “civilized” among us still entertain delusions of somehow escaping their captivity while keeping the superficial comforts and conveniences that so effectively lured them in in the first place, and to which they’ve by now become so completely addicted.  It has yet to dawn on any of ‘em that the bait IS the trap…..nevermind the fact it is virtually all make-believe anyhow. 

And therein lies the core of its “power” over so many of us.  It has captured not just their bodies and their minds but their imagination, that ineffable attribute which most makes us human, and turned it against them.  So that those within its confines can no longer remember, much less see their way clear to, an organic integrity native to our kind and essential to living free and wild in a living universe that instinctively quarantines whatever threatens to substitute electro-mechanically derivative shapes for the generative forms of natural vitality.

Ultimately, of course, domesticated humans (like those of our relatives here subjected to the same destructive process by people) sicken and die in captivity, sickening and killing those who feed on them at the same time.  We’d best prepare for the effects of all this to get a whole lot worse before things can get better. 

The response-abilities that might get at least some of us through this massive attack on our living world reside still in all of us.  These are our actual human heritage…..not the “products” of industrialized knowledge and institutionalized ignorance, which we can live happily, once again, without.

HokaHey!

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By Me Too, January 2, 2007 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment
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RubyGlare - Yes. We’re living the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

Chris of the Navy - Ah. Yes. A correspondent in El Salvador could relate to this poem:

Response to Terror

Oh the dread. My face drawn.
That smell is coming from me.
My dignity.
Cold fear. I see it in other faces.
Curious, that I would sweat in this way.
The momentary respite is gone.
I can see. It’s easy to loose one’s mind.
Call it “salvation.”
Wimper. Oh the dread.
Can’t we get it over with?
My prickly hair. Shiver.
I must be white as a ghost.
The vomit.
They are all powerful.
Paid so little to butcher.
Run. If only I could.
Breathe. God Damn it!
I feel sick.
I want to die.
I want to kill,
but not their murderous pawns.
.

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By Jerry Andrews, January 2, 2007 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment
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Well, I write as a former deacon of a Conservative Baptist Church. It is important to realize that there are many committed Christians, evangelicals as myself, who are totally against this administration and what it stands for. I left one church because I got tired of hearing leaders pray for “our president” instead of praying that God put him on the right track. I have had numerous arguments with people who oppose abortion, rightfully in my opinion, especially the partial-birth kind, and yet who support the slaughter of innocent children by our bombs in Iraq. It is a mystery to me! My position is that if you’re not following Christ’s teachings, if you’re not behaving your beliefs, then you can’t lay claim to the title of Christian. This whole matter is one of the biggest disappointments of my personal life, that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have determined that Republicanism and nationalism are one with Christ. It ranks up there with the anger I felt when I realized that the government I so admired as a kid had a hand in the Kennedy Assassination.

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By Ga, January 2, 2007 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment
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Although perhaps not the majority of Christians hold this view, one cannot deny THE FACT that most of the Christian Leadership in this country adhere to the doctrine that all non-Christians are evil and are going to Hell and must be convereted.

One cannot deny the facts. There are many men and women in leadership positions in the U.S.—in government, lobbyist and media positions—who truly believe that everyone on this planet must conform to their interpretation of (King James Version of) The Bible.

That is a fact.

And with this view—this ideology—that means that people of other faiths are not “innocent”. And therefore, since the commandment really means, “Thou shalt not kill innocent people,” it is entirely okay to kill people of other faiths. (Or, to let them be killed through the process of war.)

These are facts.

Or was Pat Robertson really just talking about “dinner and a movie” when he said that the U.S. should “take Hugo Chavez out?”

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By dan stewart, January 2, 2007 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
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What Chris writes should not surprise anyone.  We’ve all seen these wacko evangelical types—they’re everywhere.  And, they’re scary—ignorant, irrational and obsessed.

One need only listen to them talk about Iraq, homosexuality, abortion, Islam, etc., to understand what they’re capable of.  And, moderates won’t be leading the charge in the Christian culture war, only the most extreme.

Be afraid, these people are dangerous.

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By Maureen Black, January 2, 2007 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
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What most Christians (I being one) don’t understand is this:  Despite U.S. private and public life teetering toward Godlessness and immorality, lack of separation of church and state in nation after nation and era after era, has brought the world most of its bloodiest, most murderous wars since its inception.  The problem is not Islam, it’s lack of separation of church and state, which breeds fanaticism and thuggery in any religion.  That’s why it scares me when my fellow Christians (hopefully naively) speak of putting religion back into public life.  Once a religion has gained power and subdued a nation’s citizens, it naturally wants to move forward.  That’s where persecution and totalitarianism come in.  Christians sat in judgement of the Taliban when they blew up those huge Buddhist statues, but surely Jesus was looking down saying “you hypocrites!”  Christians took out Europe’s Pagan cultures, burned their own people at the stake and their sacred groves in their quest to force people to be Christians.  But that wasn’t enough, after they divided into sects, they proceeded to to persecute the former Pagans for being from the wrong Christian sect and refusing to convert.

As a Christian, I believe faith does not count unless it is voluntary and heartfelt.  God gave us free will to make the right decisions, and if we don’t, we pay the price.  If we do because we are forced to, we still pay the price because our faith wouldn’t be genuine.

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By Brian Higgins, January 2, 2007 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
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I like to know where they come up with this bull dung?
I practice Biblical Christianity,no where in the Bible does it say we must overthrow a government and take over. On the contrary the Bible says we must submit ourselves to the authorities put there by God. Only when the government violates Gods rules are we to disobey that government.

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By Perry Noyd, January 2, 2007 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
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Someone explained all of this to us a long time ago:

http://tinyurl.com/y865ez

As did someone else:

http://www.zmag.org/songs/Dumb All Over.htm

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By Mark, January 2, 2007 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
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While it is painfully obvious that Blackwater is essentially now a paramilitary unit with virtually no real oversight and that it has committed egregious abuses here and abroad,  Mr. Hedges hysterical assertion that its founding by a right wing Christian and endorsement by the Bush administration will somehow turn the USA into a theocracy has absolutely no merit. 

Our founders were primarily Christian men who drew upon Biblical values when they wrote the founding documents.

Our Declaration of Independence reads; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

The First Amendment to our Constitutions states that; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

What Mr. Hedges fails to recognize is that our founders knew that our unalienable rights come from God, not the state, and that the United States was formed as a constitutional republic, not a democracy.  The word “democracy” does not even appear in any of the founding documents. 

The irrefutable fact is that the United States was created as a republic and religious freedom within the context of Christianity is part of our birthright as Americans.

That being said, I must also say that I fully agree with Mr. Hedges concerns regarding the move toward total fascism in America.  As a former Marine Corps officer who once took an oath to “support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic”, I completely concur with his well founded belief that we are entering a dark era in the history of our cherished republic. 

What we must contend with is the reality that the draconian legislation passed during the Bush administration will undoubtedly be put to use by the Democrats when they take power this month.  They too are part of the problem, as they have expressed no desire to hold GW Bush and his minions accountable for the horrendous crimes they have committed. 

Remember - Adolf Hitler was a National Socialist, not a conservative.  Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

What is blatantly apparent now is that gross ignorance abounds in America, whether one is a Christian or not.  It is not exclusive to one’s religious affiliations nor is it indicative of one’s political affinities; whether they be Republican or Democrat.  The “left/right pradigm myth” is a lie that has divided our country and perpetuated the erroneous assertion that one party or another is to blame. 

The painful reality we must all face is that the vast majority of Americans were completely blindsided by 9/11, and they were duped en masse by a corrupt media and Administration into believing that 19 Arab hijackers and Usama bin Laden were solely responsible.
 
The endorsement by so called “Christian fundamentalists” of the phony “war on terror” is no different than its endorsement by others in our country - regardless of their beliefs; including the satanists in the Bush administration who are posing as Christians.

Blamining fascism in America on Christians is a foolish and shortsighted as blaming 9/11 on radical Islam.

But then, everyone needs a patsy, now don’t they?

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By Barry, January 2, 2007 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
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Chris,

That quote attributed to Leo X is itself a myth, plus you’ve paraphrased the supposed original. Please do a search next time and verify authenticity before posting such as a real quote.

Otherwise, your post made some very good points, which I trust are more accurate than that “quote”.

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By Anthony C. LoBaido, January 2, 2007 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
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Oh sure, military chaplains can´t even pray in the name of Jesus Christ. This is not journalism, it is a disgrace.

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By Curt Maynard, January 2, 2007 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
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The idea that 50% of the Chaplaincy is occupied by Christian fundamentalists is laughable. Think about it - the author is suggesting that half of the Military’s chaplains embrace the fundamentalist doctrine - if this were so, there would be a major problem within the military’s secular worldview. The military pushes every single “multicultural” issue - they embrace every single “tolerance and diversity” issue, they allow fags to enlist, just as long as they don’t overtly engage in sodomy, they encourage women to serve, they enable non-citizen immigrants to enlist in order to obtain US citizenship, they embrace affirmative action policies, etc…

The authors premise is a chimera to take away attention from the fact that Israel and US Jews are behind the war in Iraq and the coming wars in Syria and Iran and attempt to place the blame on Christians. Don’t fall for this BS, because that’s what it is, bovine feces.

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By hp, January 2, 2007 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
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To support the war by supporting the soldiers or any of the gears which drive such an unholy endeavor, is hardly religious, doesn’t have anything to do with the “Prince of Peace.” In fact it is quite the opposite.

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By Douglas Smith, January 2, 2007 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
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I’m an evangelical Christian, and the warmongering I see among my church friends is grievous to me.  But I see the problem’s origin the other way around, that is, Christians have been recruited to serve government. 

Over the years, these people have evolved from politically shy, peace promoters to pro-war Republigelicans.  They believe all the propaganda and repeat all the slogans regardless of evidence to the contrary.  It makes these otherwise intelligent and well-educated people appear stupid.

However, they are the same people of strong faith who left their trenches during the Christmas Truce of WWI to fellowship with their “enemies.”  They set aside their governments’ orders and took up the Cross.  This is true Christianity.  It is not liberal or progressive or moderate.  It is orthodox. 

The problem is big central government, not Christians.  Religious radicalism or corporatism or communism or any other “ism” would have no power without it.  Democrats and Republicans love the power of it.  It’s big business.  It’s the state religion.  Notice how long Gerald Ford’s funeral has been running. 

In my opinion, the political slogan that should dominate politics is “It’s the government, stupid!”

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By Boggs, January 2, 2007 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
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Seems to me that religion is just another form of power. A way to gain control of the way followers think…and react.
Religion scares the hell out of me, just like the scary personalities like Falwell, Robertson, Limbaugh, and Coulter.
Makes me think of Mussolini Fascism.

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By LibertyWatch, January 2, 2007 at 9:13 am Link to this comment
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As long as there are “Ministers and Clergy” who promote radical religion we are all in danger. The naive, and under-educated with guns, are just as dangerous as the terrorist with bombs.

Since the 1960’s it has been apparent to anyone with their blinders off that the police do not work for the public but only wish to subjugate it.

Witness New Orleans where the first responders arrived as bull necked SWAT units riding on an armor vehicle. Not medical and food equipment but bullets and grenades. We did better than that for the Muslims in Indonesia after their disastrous tidal waves.

In conclusion, just because they are wearing a uniform does not make them on your side. Stay alert and stay armed, an armed citizenry is the best guard against tyranny. We are all on our own in this chaos created by our idiotic unqualified leadership and false profits fleecing their flocks.

Beware the tree of knowledge! You might actually learn something other than superstitious doctrine?

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By jkoch, January 2, 2007 at 9:05 am Link to this comment
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But how many pacifists or war opponents could stomach a chaplaincy?  By default, doesn’t “what needs to be done” fall into the hands of those committed to the cause?  Whatever their denomination, don’t the “Army padres” have to be literal adherents to Romans XIII, some great divorce between private morality and public action (render unto Caesar, etc), or be flat out believers in holy war?  Does anyone remember singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” with a few of the lyrics corrupted from “marching as to war” to “fighting war after war”?  Or how about “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”?

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By Robert Lee, January 2, 2007 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
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I have read the commentary and I have to say, stop splitting hairs about semantics. This is how the religious fundamentalists of all persuasions get their way.

Any group of people purporting to be mainstream and then goes off to use weasel words and secretive tactics in achieving their goals requires us to watch them closely. This is especially the case for people or groups whose attitude is one of, “If you want to change the world, you’ve got to use all your skills set.”

As the ancient Chinese saying goes, anyone or anything doing something like this “gets all their points deducted.”

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By dEaN, January 2, 2007 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
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What is Jesus’ preferred method of execution?

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By Ed, January 2, 2007 at 7:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve been wondering: has anybody studied the pro-Israel Christian right vis-a-vis the anti-semitic Christian right? I know there’s a lot of overlap there, but how much?

It seems that the pro-Israel group looks forward to the end of the world very soon, with Jews being killed if they don’t convert. The recreation of the biblical-sized, Nile-to-the-Euphrates, Greater Israel is (for some stupid reason) a first step toward this end.

Are there members of the Christian right less convinced that the end of the world is near? Are they less pro-Israel or more anti-semitic than the “End Times” Christians? Is the Christian right divided concerning doctrinal garbage like this? Can this divide be exploited?

(On the other hand, why the hell do we even have to think about these idiots?)

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By Plainas Day, January 2, 2007 at 7:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Judeo-Christianity is an oxymoron.

These so-called “TV evangelist” wackos are spreading this “end times” nonsense…and putting the sheeple into the fear pen.

Bush is as much a christian as Marilyn Manson is, seriously.

He may “claim” to be christian (as are others in his administration) but a person can claim to be ANYTHING, still that doesn’t mean that it is true.

Couple these deluded extreme “evangelicals” with Jewish cabalistic ethnocentrism, and their influencing policy in the middle east, coupled with unchallenged support for Israel, and the Israeli Lobby here in the US and you have a powder-keg of problems waiting to explode.

It’s PAST time for decent Americans to speak out against this insanity, and then DO something to see that it is halted.

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By Ken Schmidt, January 2, 2007 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some attention has to be given to why the dispensationist Christian Right has arisen in the US. It was 70 years of sneering at Christians by snide, urban elites that caused this. Is the Christian Right out of control and obsessed with power? Yes. But, it was all these years of hatred of Christians that caused an un-Christian reaction by Christians. Liberals deserve some of the blame for this.

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By Don Smith, January 2, 2007 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
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I wonder how this Ratner feels about the Jewish zealots such as Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Abrams, Libby who infiltrated our government with the expressed desire to lead this country into war with those who pose a threat to, not the US but, Israel.

I’m more concerned about Schuman, Emmanuel, Lieberman than I am Jerry Falwell.

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By tony, January 2, 2007 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges is a leftwing gatekeeper…
If the mainstream media hasn’t fooled you with it’s spin and omissions….whores like Hedges are bankrolled to keep you from looking at the true powers (and his bankrollers)...zionist influences that also control aipac, neocons, pnac, etc…

amazing how hedges sees republicans, christians, even democrats as part of the problem…but never mentions israeli zionist organizations ?  an example of throwing the puppets in the fire to save the puppet master

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By Jaded Prole, January 2, 2007 at 4:48 am Link to this comment
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Good article and something we need to be publicising and opposing now. Fascism in America is legally in place but not yet implimented. So far, there has been no need and the sham of democracy is still usefull. As this article points out: “If the United States falls into a period of instability caused by another catastrophic terrorist attack, an economic meltdown or a series of environmental disasters, these paramilitary forces, protected and assisted by fellow ideologues in the police and military, could swiftly abolish what is left of our eroding democracy.”

The chances of anger and disaffection rising or our economy collapsing are good in the next decade (at most) and you can bet our ruling class is ready. These are the “blackshirts” and the primary challenge to progressives who hope to lead in those times.

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By rick, January 2, 2007 at 1:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution in a heartbeat.

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By Christian Livingstone, January 1, 2007 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well,

Almost every single denomination and “church” in North America is a State Corporation and a federally qualified 501 (c) 3 organization.

They have all sold their souls by pledging obedience to their master, Caesar. And for nothing more than a proverbial mess of pottage in the form of a few tax exemptions garnered their Clergy elite.

That all goes back to Caesar Constantine, with the Edict of Milan in 312 AD. When the Church was enticed to come out from political-underground and become a State Corporation, so long as the Clergy supplied Constantine with fresh “Christian” soldiers on Roman battlefields. Pretty savvy of Caesar to “get religion” and save the Empire by mingling the Body of Christ with the Body of the State.

So, whenever I encounter statist idolators or state-incorporated churchgoers who are foolish enough listen to guys like Pat Robertson or to join the Legion of the Damned, i.e., US military or other mercenary forces, I always give them the same good, ole American hunting advice:

Eat everything you kill!

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

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By Ian West, January 1, 2007 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Referring to the opening sentence:
“The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies, which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincy appointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a much larger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement.”

I am unclear as to the meaning. 90% of Americans claim Christian affiliation and if this conforms roughly to affiliation in the military it would seem appropriate for at least 50% of the chaplaincy to be Christian. But perhaps Mr. Hedges is separating “radical Christians” from the rest - but how does he do that?  Are Baptists considered “radical” and Methodists “moderate” for example?

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By RubyGlare, January 1, 2007 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I had dreams of living under some kind of hostile takeover as a kid in the 1980s, & they started up again in January 2001. The water is shut off to certain neighborhoods in these dreams-no explanations, it keeps them confused longer if there’s no comment. It’s the same with the electricity, at first it’s just “those neighborhoods”, ghetto areas, but then it’s also other areas. Those very heavy sounding helicopters come at night & they rappel down like spiders & “secure” Americans in their own homes, not answering any questions. I know these are the stories pastors scare their congregations with(about Liberals)so they’ll go along & ennable these very things to actually occur. Time to wake up.

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By Chinaskee, January 1, 2007 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Did you forget to take your anti-paranoia medication this week Mr. Hedges ?

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By Chris, January 1, 2007 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Perhaps Garry should read some of Chris Hedges other work.  He speaks from knowledge of religion (Chris is a Professor of Religious Studies at Princeton and was a minister) and his knowledge of conflict (Chris was also a war reporter from El Salvador to the current Iraq war.)  His books, the “The Cost of War” and “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” as well as his religious tome “Finding Moses on the Freeway” are all shaped from his objective study of both war and religion as an observer and his intimate first hand experiences of both.  I would trust few other writers on this subject.  As a former member of the US Navy, I found my moderate Christianity (tempered by 12 years of Catholic School and 4 years as a religious studies major) under scrutiny by my zealous born again chaplains who questioned the veracity or validity of my faith.  It is a dangerous road we take.  Our own hubris as Christians and as Americans will lead to a great fall.  For proof, see the Greeks, the Romans…  All great empires consume themselves to death. 

“It has served us well, this myth of Christ.” -  Pope Leo X, Sixteenth Century

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By Buck Johnson, January 1, 2007 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you look through history, every religious group or sect will say that they are fighting against the bad and there religious believe is good and true.  Just because the christian zealots haven’t blown themselves up in suicide bomber fashion (not yet), doesn’t make them less fundamentalist than the arab fundamentalist.  Alot of the religious fervor is coming from the born again fundamentalist that believe that the end times are near, or better yet by instigating the mess in the middle east it will be a self fulfilling prophecy.  Meaning that they will be raptured into heaven after the jews claim jerusalem and be given a choice of either converting to christianity or be destroyed.  Thats another reason why we support no real peace in the palestine and israeli conflict, even when a majority of the israelis want some form of peace deal.  That would fly in the face of prophecy in the coming of christ and the rapture.

When you step out of your house or apt. to go to work or school, majority of us know that you have to curtail our believes and or customs so as to be able to socialize with other peoples that do not look like you, speak like you, and believe in what you believe in.  Thats not whats happening in the world today with the US and the rest of the world.  This sect in christianity has taken over many of the fuctions that govern the United States.

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By Pierce R. Butler, January 1, 2007 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges: ... two institutions that never came under attack—the military and law enforcement.

Some factions of what I call the hyperchristians verbally (at the least) attack law enforcement in terms previously only heard at Berkeley in the ‘60s - see for example the reactions of Operation Rescue et al to their treatment after breaking various laws in their siege of the only abortion-providing clinic in Jackson, Mississippi in the summer of ‘06.

And apparently, oddly, Hedges has somehow remained oblivious to the antics of Fred Phelps & his Westboro Baptist Church, who have cultivated their notoriety for years by picketing funerals of soldiers killed in the US wars on Iraq & Afghanistan.

US progressives may owe the hyperchristians some thanks, in that they have won many of their free-speech cases and thus strengthened the rights of any of us to protest on the streets, in schools, etc. (This last assumes equal enforcement of those rights by the police & courts, which, of course, is not to be taken for granted.)

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By a voice from the wilderness, January 1, 2007 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For more related info, in addition to Dean’s excellent book, all Americans should read the following:
- Kevin Phillips’ “American Theocracy” (a close look at the cover photo should be enough to scare the wits out of us)
- Karen Armstrong’s “The Battle for God,”
- George Lakoff’s “Moral Politics” or his short version “Don’t Think of an Elephant.” 

They lay out much food for thought for progressives and those Christians who still prefer Matthew’s version of Jesus’ teachings as a way to promote peace in the world.

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By Kathlyn, January 1, 2007 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All these pious religionists so well-described by Uncle Screwtape in his letters of advice to his nephew…. What counteraction is there against Blackwaters, KuKluxers, liars, Rapers, Torturers?

If we are serious about our beloved country, if we care deeply about our constitutional democracy, then we will calmly and with heartfelt determination BOYCOTT retailers, manufacturers, stock exchanges, all companies - oil, jewelry, garment, auto, utilities - whose CEOs are overpaid and whose profits are not consistent with decency and honesty; all companies who earn their profits on the backs of underpaid or slave labor.  This boycott will spread household by household, farm by farm, condominium by condominium across the land.  We will boycott greed, boycott treachery, boycott false prophets, boycott the Pelosi/Reid/Clinton/Lieberman collaborationists.

It can be done.  I’ve already started.  Begin your boycott now.  I think Cindy Sheehan would approve and I certainly respect that lady.

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By barry godyrey, January 1, 2007 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

question.  is there any conection between these radical socalled christian rightwing extremis, and the Lord’s day alliance?.another christian rightwing club.
barry.

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By empyrius, January 1, 2007 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great article Chris!

Peace

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By Kellina, January 1, 2007 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are entering the new dark ages.

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By angryspittle, January 1, 2007 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Garry,

Just one thought.

Fascism creep in like the fog, on little cat’s feet.

And,


First, they came for the communists….......

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By Jon B, January 1, 2007 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#44752 richard Blackmoor writes “anytime in history when a rational,scientific society goes up against and irrational and superstious one the rational technologists always win. China is gonna kick our butts….....”

I don’t know about china, perhaps it will. At present, industrialized nations such as japan and germany as well korea are slaughtering US auto industry, fiber optic and some of the tech industries. Japan had wiped out US consumer electronics in their entirety. Worse, these industrialized nations recorded trade surpluses and they have stronger currency relative to the once mighty dollar, thanks to their fiscally responsible governments. Former US senator Corzine, now new jersey governor once said, there is no urgency in the senate with regard to the fiscal and current account deficits. He made the aforesaid statement when he was a freshman senator. Do you see any urgency and what had they done since? Zilch. This country is more into military than economic warfare.

On seperate note, what will happen if blue states seperate from red ones? The seperation would tank red states to a third world nation status. Blue states are known for cutting edge technology, finance, medicine, pharmaceutical industries….. while red ones are primiarily engaged in agriculture, earthly deposits and labor pool for japanese auto makers. There are few industries of minor importance but nothing much to brag about.

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By bg1, January 1, 2007 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Christianity, as referred to in this piece, is being used as a vehicle to create an armed force that operates outside the law, to enable certain right wing and corporate groups to seize and maintain control.  Bush and his cronies and corporate backers are not interested in Christianity; they’re as atheistic and cynical as anybody else in power.  What they have excelled at is using religion, in this case fundamentalist Christianity, as a way to get elected and push through a series of economically and politically regressive policies.  This mobilization of armed groups operating under the banner of “Christianity” is just an extension of the religion baiting used in the elections.

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By Zena, January 1, 2007 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Baloney. They only people set to take over the world are the same: The Global Capitalists. You know, the descendents of the old slave traders and owners? The ones who resent Americans have rights. The shallow and pschopathic Corporate people? Give it up, the gig is up fellows. Let it ride. We’re taking our country back. No more propanganda.
Happy New Year!
Zena

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By Lefty, January 1, 2007 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Comment #44801 by Garry who said:

“. . . That is quite a leap. From being a Christian…to a radical Christian…to radical Chritian brownshirts! What next zombie extremist Christians suicide bombers!! . . . .”

In the end, aren’t they are all one and the same!  Isn’t the most educated, would-be charitable, reasonable, rational Christian still an enabler of the radical, brownshirt, zombie, extremist suicide bombing Christians?

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By Louise, January 1, 2007 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nothing is more tragic than watching values unravel as people willingly follow their leader. And nothing is more terrifying than a leader who calls for killing in the name of God.

When man appoints himself as the mouthpiece of Jesus Christ, he has removed a belief in Christ as the barrier to prevent any depth of immoral behavior. Because no man who truly follows the teachings of Christ will take his name in vain. Christ did not teach war, he taught peace. When people, under the delusion that mans voice IS the voice of Christ, are willing to do anything he asks to gain his favor the unraveling is complete. Christians who choose to believe the man rather than the “word” are no different than any radical group that kills in the name of God.

What kind of people will willingly ignore the obvious and go against their own moral principles?

I suggest you all read “Conservatives Without Conscience” by John Dean.

From an Editorial Review by Vanessa Bush ....
“Dean draws on five decades of social science research that details the personality traits of what are called “double high authoritarians”: self-righteous, mean-spirited, amoral, manipulative, bullying. He concludes that Chuck Colson, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich, and Tom DeLay are all textbook examples. Dean calls Vice-President Cheney “the architect of Bush’s authoritarian policies,” and deems Bush “a mental lightweight with a strong right-wing authoritarian personality.” Dean maintains that conservatives without conscience have produced such a hostile, noncollegial environment in Congress that threats of resistance through filibusters have been met with threats of a “nuclear option” and that conservatives have used fearmongering about terrorist attacks to the point where the nation faces a greater threat of relinquishing its ideals of democracy. Dean appeals to conservatives to find their consciences and to all Americans to take serious heed of what is going on in the nation. Readers of all political perspectives will find this book riveting.”

We should all echo the appeal to conservatives to find their consciences and to all Americans to take serious heed of what is going on in the nation.

Scary stuff!
Thanks Chris Hedges

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By Garry, January 1, 2007 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signal the end of our democracy.”
That is quite a leap. From being a Christian…to a radical Christian…to radical Chritian brownshirts! What next zombie extremist Christians suicide bombers!! What have you been smoking? I am not a christian…consider myself a hoper rather that a believer. However the attempt to deamonize christian groups is a commen theme these days among the childless, sushi eating, bmw driving set of journalists. All in all a fine piece of yellow journalism. The author might do better to concentrate his minimal abilities in Area 51!

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By Jeanne, January 1, 2007 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Couple this with other changes like the recent FCC rulings. Here are some excerpts and the link.

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/26/1519200&mode=thread&tid=25

ANTHONY RIDDLE: Yeah. I think the public really needs to be aware of the kind of processes that are taking place. We had this whole year and a half of hundreds of thousands of people contacting their congress people to let them know that we didn’t like the legislation that was going through. There was a combination of local governments, Free Press, the Alliance for Community Media with the Public, Education and Government Access, the consumers’ groups all fighting to a draw with the telephone companies to protect the public interest. And so, the telephone companies, within a month or two, have gone to a body of five people, gotten three votes, and they’ve gotten everything that they wanted in terms of being able to move in on video franchising without a lot of public interest obligations.

....ANTHONY RIDDLE: Well, net neutrality just simply means that if you’re going out and you’re using the internet, that you should be able to get the information that you’re looking for, if it’s out there, that nobody should be able to block you. Nobody should be able to slow it down, and nobody should be able to determine what you see. But the telephone companies and, to some degree, the cable companies who are going to be controlling the physical structure of the internet coming into your home, they want the right to decide who you get to see and what quality that information comes in. And so, this just fits in with everything. They want complete control of your communications system.

This is a dire time for the United States. I don’t think most people see it, and you’re not going to see it in the media. But you have several large companies who are taking over the entire communications system. And, you know, if this goes on with this kind of process, it should happen fairly soon.

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By Lefty, January 1, 2007 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to Benito Mussolini - “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”  So, when you characterize the Christian right as fascists, the first question in my mind becomes, can Christianity reasonably be compared to corporations?  Is the underlying motivation behind the Christian religion different from any other going concern?  In an age or reason, rationality and empirical evidence, does Christianity do more than sell God for money to superstitious suckers?

Assuming arguendo, that Christianity is primarily (if nothing more than) a money getting operation, then I think it’s fair to Characterize a Christian religion that is trying to take over the U.S. government as fascist.  Certainly, history provides numerous examples of Christianized/fascist governments which resulted in The Dark Ages and government financed Christian Crusades, inquisitions, missionaries and holocausts.  Was the European discovery of the New World any more than a government/Christian joint venture for money?

In ancient times, Christianity was the biggest, most powerful commercial force in the world.  In modern times, however, Christianity faces an obstacle (in addition to the lack of empirical evidence for its existence), more powerful than itself - the modern multinational corporation with its unlimited funding and its incomparable capacity for propaganda and brainwashing.  It seems to me that Christianity will fail in its attempt to take over the U.S. government to the extent that Christian dogma interferes with the sales of corporate products.

In addition, there is a reason, other than religious freedom, that the first amendment bars excessive entanglement between church and state - the corrupting influence of the rich and powerful Church of England.  In those times, the biggest commercial concerns were little threat to the government.  However, were the Bill of Rights to be composed today, it would have to include a clause mandating the separation of commerce and state in order to achieve the intent of the founding fathers.

So, the next question becomes: which is a greater threat to America, Islamofascism or Christofascism or corporatefascism?

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By Erik McBain, January 1, 2007 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
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And the liberals don’t stand a chance. Why? Because they are always reasonable. You don’t reason with true believers. They operate on faith, not reason. Be they Christian or Islamic, they will not hesitate to blow your brains out.  Also, most liberals can’t tell you the difference between a 45 Cal. and a 9MM but they can sure debate the merits of a California or a French Cabernet. Simply put: most liberals are wimps.

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By Spinoza, January 1, 2007 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is why it upsets me that the wishy washy “liberals” keep compromising away our rights.  And were is the left? Where is the anti imperialist movement?

And by the way Chris, please document any mainstream Communist party that had a paramilitary associated with it except the partisans during WWII, and they were not all Communists.

The trouble with liberals is that they are as scummy as the right wingers more often than not.  They often come to the defence of the right as we saw with the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.

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By Karl Hildenbrand, January 1, 2007 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jesus as warrior is total bullshit!  Jesus would more likely be railing against these hypocrites.

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By Operation Yellow Elephant, January 1, 2007 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the non-conservative or non-evangelical religious denominations really care about this phenomenon, they will nominate their own clergy to military chaplaincies.

And if they cannot be bothered to encourage their own clergy to minister to our servicemembers, well, they have no right to complain about those from other denominations who volunteer to do so.

Talk is cheap.  Action is essential.

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By witness, January 1, 2007 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These are the very people who would kill Jesus did he come around today, and co-opt his messsage. They may be religious but they are by no means spiritual.

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By Paul Appell, January 1, 2007 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the local guard unit came home from Iraq about a year ago, the commander of the unit started the ceremony with a pray and then told everyone that they were doing God’s work in Iraq.

Four Iraq War veterans were arrested at the chapel at the Pentagon last September for just leaving a paper about Depleted Uranium on the table that had various Christian material explaining the connection between being a good soldier and being a good Christian.  The news conference about the incident can be viewed at
http://www.campdemocracy.org/sites/campdemocracy.org/files/downloads/pentagon5.wmv

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By KISS, January 1, 2007 at 7:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We have such takeover all over the US. Example is Clearwater Florida, where Scientology has taken over the police force. Than there is the controversial sheriff of Maricopa county Arizona, Joe Arpaio. Evidence seems to show small towns through-out the US are becoming more right-winged in police policies, both in enforcement and hiring. As for the military, God and bullets has its’ seeds maturing under Bush more so than any other administration. Rather than Evangelical it is more like Pentecostal.

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By rabblerowzer, January 1, 2007 at 6:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no greater threat to America and the world than American Fascists.

Funded by fascist millionaires and billionaires, the rabid religious right is building an army of SS storm troopers to terrorize and subjugate all Americans.

Anyone can call themselves a Christian, but when the rabid right does it, it’s blasphemy.

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By richard Blackmoor, January 1, 2007 at 5:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is sad because anytime in history when a rational,scientific society goes up against and irrational and superstious one the rational technologists always win. China is gonna kick our butts if we donot reverse course and get back to the scientific expertise which made the USA great in the first place.
  Ideals never trump reality.

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By David, January 1, 2007 at 2:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges, who AFAIK has a notable background in Christian thought, nails the dangers very well. (I have been waiting for his latest book for a bit too long.)

A small suggestion for some rephrasing: Instead of saying just “If the United States falls into a period of instability caused by another catastrophic terrorist attack, an economic meltdown or a series of environmental disasters, ...” we should note that all of these—attacks, grave economic pain, and environmental disasters—are highly likely to occur because they are already in motion and have strong momentum, and futhermore if they converge in a relatively short window of time, ... well, use your imagination. The shrinking, good-natured spirit of America might evaporate altogether.

Unfortunately (as John Dean points out in his recent book), perhaps 29% of Americans have wholly given themselves over to the need for the false safety of authoritarianism. I believe these types are unreachable (save for the Undeniable Power of Consequences). So be it.

The right-wingers are proving their spiritual disqualification and that the god they truly worship is money and power. The adults need to take charge before all is lost. Will we do it? Apathy would prove a traitorous enemy in this case.

Chris, to help the undecideds and temporarily confused, please write a book exhorting those who fancy themselves Christian to realize that Christ actually meant what he said and that we might consider honestly and courageously living according to what he taught.

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By Fadel Abdallah, January 1, 2007 at 12:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is almost a surreal experience to have to spend the first half hour of the New 2007 Year reading Chris Hedges’ informed, yet frightening, report on the Blackwater Group and the Christian Embassy group.

This unholy alliance between these two groups and the military and the police is certainly the most frightening and disturbing fruits of the evil seeds sawn by the neocons in their six years of regressive policies and fear-mongering.

Unless enough progressive and liberal Americans wake up to this danger and take corrective action in due time, America will soon become an openly police state, run by fascists and fanatics. 

May the Merciful God forbid that I live to see this dreadful time; for I, as a progressive and a liberal, with a Muslim name, would be one of their first victims.

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By Sam Thornton, January 1, 2007 at 12:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?

Kind of OT, but, if you’d like to take the Bush Psycopath test, try here:

http://tinyurl.com/ydajxp

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