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The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger

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Posted on Jun 7, 2010
Truthdig collage based on a White House photo by Pete Souza

By Chris Hedges

Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged.

The followers of deviant faiths, from Judaism to Islam, must be converted or repressed. The deviant media, the deviant public schools, the deviant entertainment industry, the deviant secular humanist government and judiciary and the deviant churches will be reformed or closed. There will be a relentless promotion of Christian “values,” already under way on Christian radio and television and in Christian schools, as information and facts are replaced with overt forms of indoctrination. The march toward this terrifying dystopia has begun. It is taking place on the streets of Arizona, on cable news channels, at tea party rallies, in the Texas public schools, among militia members and within a Republican Party that is being hijacked by this lunatic fringe.

Elizabeth Dilling, who wrote “The Red Network” and was a Nazi sympathizer, is touted as required reading by trash-talk television hosts like Glenn Beck. Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, is ignored in Christian schools and soon will be ignored in Texas public school textbooks. The Christian right hails the “significant contributions” of the Confederacy. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, has been rehabilitated, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is defined as part of the worldwide battle against Islamic terror. Legislation like the new Jim Crow laws of Arizona is being considered by 17 other states.

The rise of this Christian fascism, a rise we ignore at our peril, is being fueled by an ineffectual and bankrupt liberal class that has proved to be unable to roll back surging unemployment, protect us from speculators on Wall Street, or save our dispossessed working class from foreclosures, bankruptcies and misery. The liberal class has proved useless in combating the largest environmental disaster in our history, ending costly and futile imperial wars or stopping the corporate plundering of the nation. And the gutlessness of the liberal class has left it, and the values it represents, reviled and hated.

The Democrats have refused to repeal the gross violations of international and domestic law codified by the Bush administration. This means that Christian fascists who achieve power will have the “legal” tools to spy on, arrest, deny habeas corpus to, and torture or assassinate American citizens—as does the Obama administration.

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Those who remain in a reality-based world often dismiss these malcontents as buffoons and simpletons. They do not take seriously those, like Beck, who pander to the primitive yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral renewal. Critics of the movement continue to employ the tools of reason, research and fact to challenge the absurdities propagated by creationists who think they will float naked into the heavens when Jesus returns to Earth. The magical thinking, the flagrant distortion in interpreting the Bible, the contradictions that abound within the movement’s belief system and the laughable pseudoscience, however, are impervious to reason. We cannot convince those in the movement to wake up. It is we who are asleep. 

Those who embrace this movement see life as an epic battle against forces of evil and Satanism. The world is black and white. They need to feel, even if they are not, that they are victims surrounded by dark and sinister groups bent on their destruction. They need to believe they know the will of God and can fulfill it, especially through violence. They need to sanctify their rage, a rage that lies at the core of the ideology. They seek total cultural and political domination. They are using the space within the open society to destroy it. These movements work within the confining rules of the secular state because they have no choice. The intolerance they promote is muted in the public assurances of their slickest operators. Given enough power, and they are working hard to get it, any such cooperation will vanish. The demand for total control and for a Christian nation and the refusal to permit any dissent are on display within their inner sanctums. These pastors have established within their churches tiny, despotic fiefdoms, and they seek to replicate these little tyrannies on a larger scale.


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By Aaron Ortiz, June 7, 2010 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges, fascist is not a word you can use on your enemies and retain your
credibility.

May I suggest a more accurate “insult”: theocrat.

Petty insult only reveals that you are angry and are unable or unwilling to use
accurate words to describe it.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, June 7, 2010 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

With no other modification, you could substitute the word “Muslim” for “Christian”, and all of the posts about it would read just as true.

Examples:
From esi42: “The naive attempts to placate a movement bent on our destruction…”

From C.Curtis.Dillon: “They use Christian doctrine and belief to push normal people into a frenzy of hate and bigotry.  And they conspire to destroy the very democratic institutions that allow them to exist and protect their right to this vile behavior.”

And ITW: “What Hedges fails to warn us of is this anti-intellectual movement, if it succeeds will doom the USA to fall into the third world,”

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By Dave24, June 7, 2010 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

Lunatics.  And here, Carlin says it best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=MeSSwKffj9o

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By yrwehere?, June 7, 2010 at 4:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anyone think Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale”? I don’t know if I agree this movement is as pervasive as Hedges, but I’ve personally been aware of this for years. Was living in Kansas when they took evolution out of the textbooks. I was stunned.

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By bogi666, June 7, 2010 at 4:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

INHERIT, the christian fascist movement leaders consist of several promiment alcoholics such as Falwell, Hagard, Beck, Bush 2,McCarthy just name a few of the most promient. Hagee, Falwell attest to their gluttony, Falwell dying of gluttony.That alcoholics, drug addicts are clever at lying is now mystery as their lives used lying to manipulate and deceive people, family, friends and so forth. The success of the christian fascists is attributed to mindlessness, the inability to discern thoughts from facts. The institutions of government, business, pretend christians all use mindlessness which gives mindlessness legitimacy. This christians facist movement is foretold in the bible as the Beast, the One Worlder’s System of globalization.  The Seventh Day Adventists also prophetically predict it in their teaching,as the One Worlders. KERRYROSE, FYI; the Family blatantly endorses totalitarianism for us, they being the totalitarianist.Their heroes; Hitler, Stalin, Sukarno, Mussolini just to name a few. Their goal for the USA is fashioned from Indonesia under Sukarno or Suharto and they believe in the 10 Commandments for all others, excluding themselves. Sanford from South Carlonia,Ensign from Nevada, Vitter from Louisiana are FAmilites. Since recorded history power and control have been a preeminent motivation for men, who haven’t even gotten over the fact of the female ovum existence, 150 year ago, and even the existence of dinosaur bones also about 150 years ago. The christians fascists are neo Platonists, disdaining science, whose teaching ushered in the dark ages which lasted 2000 years and ended only 500 years ago.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, June 7, 2010 at 4:19 am Link to this comment

Although I no longer feel my comments are worth the trouble of posting, I do direct you to a piece written back in 1998:
http://beerdoctor.wordpress.com/
This concerns H.L. Mencken and “beer in our time”. Hope people check it out.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 7, 2010 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

As usual, Hedges is scaring us with his doom-and-gloom predictions.  He also makes his usual unprovable assumptions.

However, he isn’t far off in his analysis.  He’s also not saying anything new.  The Texas school book fiasco (ensuring I never live in Texas) and the Arizona Jim Crow laws (ensuring I never live in Arizona) are actual proof of this.

But it’s not new. It’s been going on a long, long time.  The Scopes trial in 1925(?) was a part of this struggle.  It seemed dead until around 1978, when the televangelist movement began to gain real strength.  Gerry Falwell, Jim Bakker and Bob Jones were part of the early ones.  Only Pat Robertson, of the first round, is still here plaguing us.

But Hedges’ assertion that this movement is made up of reformed alcoholics, drug addicts, hedonists and disenfranchised is a wild, gross distortion in an attempt to show the same people who made up Hitler’s Brown Shirts.

It’s just not that simple.  And there aren’t enough of them.  Nor does it explain their power and influence.  Starting in 1978, the Christian Right embarked on a plan that seemed silly in 1980, but doesn’t seem silly now.  It was to contest every possible election starting with the simplest local-yokel small town school boards and town boards. They started in the most conservative areas, like small-town Kansas, and built from there.  They took the fight to mainstream Liberals and Conservatives at every level, sustaining many losses, but never faltering.  Why should they? They “know” God is on their side.

Why does Hedges seem to think this is so strange? It’s happening in the Islamic world, it’s happening in the Jewish world, it’s happening in the Hindu world, it’s a typical reaction to modernity that has happened repeatedly throughout history.

What Hedges is describing is very similar to the rise of the early Roman Catholic Church, which brutally wiped out its rival the Arian Church and fought millennium-long wars with its only substantial rival, the Eastern Orthodox Church. It led the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, and continued up until the very recent, and very wary reconciliation between the two traditional churches.

But Catholicism’s history is EXACTLY what Hedges has described for the Christian Right.  As a friend of mine used to say: Without the Catholic Church we would have landed on the Moon 1000 years earlier!

What Hedges fails to warn us of is this anti-intellectual movement, if it succeeds will doom the USA to fall into the third world, as the technology of China and Asia and Europe surge ahead of us, as they already have in manufacturing and in rust-belt heavy industry.

Steve Jobs can’t make enough iPods, iPhones, and iPads to counteract that.  There isn’t ever going to be the “cool ap” the counters the leapfrog jump Asia is taking past us.

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Anna Nomad's avatar

By Anna Nomad, June 7, 2010 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

No cause for alarm, folks.  We’re experiencing just a brief period of self-correction.  As soon as the humans are eliminated, equilibrium will be restored and all will be well.  Until then, why not quell your apprehension with a refreshing beverage or two?  Be of good cheer!

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Anna Nomad's avatar

By Anna Nomad, June 7, 2010 at 3:41 am Link to this comment

No cause for alarm, folks.  We’re just experiencing a brief period of self-correction.  As soon as the humans are eliminated, equilibrium will be restored and all will be well.  Until then, why not quell your apprehension with a refreshing beverage or two?  Be of good cheer!

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, June 7, 2010 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

What I find particularly disgusting about this movement is the blatant hypocrisy it lives by.  I doubt most leaders are even believers.  They have discovered, as most con men do, that a sucker is born every minute.  They prey on the weak and downtrodden while enlisting the wealthy who ‘shop’ religion to find a church that allows their own hypocrisy to flourish.  Thus they find benefactors to build their mega-churches (testaments to their massive egos) and hordes of willing followers who do their bidding.  They use Christian doctrine and belief to push normal people into a frenzy of hate and bigotry.  And they conspire to destroy the very democratic institutions that allow them to exist and protect their right to this vile behavior.  I doubt the founders had this in mind when they created the country.

It will be interesting to see what happens when, down the road a bit, these Christian zealots turn on the conservative politicians who support their actions but do not believe in the Christian ideas that underpin the movement.  A ‘Christian politician’ is an oxymoron but the movement tolerates them, for now, because they serve a useful purpose.  I don’t think that will be the case in the future when the movement has seized power and is cleansing the flock of non-believers.  Politicians should be the first to go.

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, June 7, 2010 at 3:13 am Link to this comment

Chris,
Are you convinced that the rise of the Christian right is so powerful?  I have noticed a strange backlash all around since Obama was elected.

First, there seems to be a racist backlash.  The shouts of ‘Take OUR country back,’  the Arizona immigration law, and the “Tea Party’ which is mainly about race. Racists like Palin leading the way, who would normally be laughed off the stage.

Now, there seems to be a feminist backlash.  In HP there is a woman named Siskind from The New Agenda that is actually promotin Palin, Bachmann, and others as ‘the new feminists.’  (To the horror of all the readers.)  She takes money from the right and Sarah PAC.

You didn’t mention The Family in DC, or Blackwater who have ties to the Christian Right, and who are subverting democracy. What do you feel their role is in current politics?  Are they the ones pulling the strings of the blue collar Christian right?

Beck has also been just called a ‘clown’ by those on the left… playing for ratings.  Your analysis is far more sinister.  Do you believe the doom that you are predicting, or is it fire and brimstone preaching?

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By esi42, June 7, 2010 at 3:01 am Link to this comment

You nailed it Chris:

“Ideological, theological and political debates are useless with the Christian right. It does not respond to a dialogue. It is impervious to rational thought and discussion. The naive attempts to placate a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to it that we too have “values,” only strengthens its legitimacy and weakness our own. If we do not have a right to be, if our very existence is not legitimate in the eyes of God, there can be no dialogue. ”

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By bachu, June 7, 2010 at 2:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

American Christians believe that after one dies they go straight to heaven and then they try to watch over and help their loved ones on earth. Anybody who claims that they go to hell is officially commiting a hate crime.

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