Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 23 Share on Twitter 3 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/30/19

Onward, Christian Fascists

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   16 comments
Author 28678
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Chris Hedges
Become a Fan
  (455 fans)

From Truthdig


(Image by Mr. Fish/Truthdig)   Details   DMCA

The greatest moral failing of the liberal Christian church was its refusal, justified in the name of tolerance and dialogue, to denounce the followers of the Christian right as heretics. By tolerating the intolerant it ceded religious legitimacy to an array of con artists, charlatans and demagogues and their cultish supporters. It stood by as the core Gospel message -- concern for the poor and the oppressed -- was perverted into a magical world where God and Jesus showered believers with material wealth and power. The white race, especially in the United States, became God's chosen agent. Imperialism and war became divine instruments for purging the world of infidels and barbarians, evil itself.

Capitalism, because God blessed the righteous with wealth and power and condemned the immoral to poverty and suffering, became shorn of its inherent cruelty and exploitation. The iconography and symbols of American nationalism became intertwined with the iconography and symbols of the Christian faith. The mega-pastors, narcissists who rule despotic, cult-like fiefdoms, make millions of dollars by using this heretical belief system to prey on the mounting despair and desperation of their congregations, victims of neoliberalism and deindustrialization. These believers find in Donald Trump a reflection of themselves, a champion of the unfettered greed, cult of masculinity, lust for violence, white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, religious intolerance, anger, racism and conspiracy theories that define the central beliefs of the Christian right. When I wrote "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" I was deadly serious about the term "fascists."

The evangelical magazine Christianity Today, by stating the obvious about Trump, that he is immoral and should be removed from office, became the latest recipient of the Christian right's vicious and hypocritical backlash. Nearly 200 evangelical leaders, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Rep. Michele Bachmann, Jerry Falwell Jr. and Ralph Reed, signed a joint letter denouncing the Christianity Today editorial, written by the magazine's president, Timothy Dalrymple, and outgoing Editor Mark Galli. Evangelical Christians who criticize Trump are as swiftly disappeared from the ranks as Republican politicians who criticize Trump. Trump received 80% of the white evangelical vote in the 2016 presidential election, and in a poll this month 90% of Republicans said they opposed impeachment and ouster of the president. Among Republicans who identify as white evangelical Protestants, that number rises to 99%.

Tens of millions of Americans live hermetically sealed inside the vast media and educational edifice controlled by Christian fascists. In this world, miracles are real, Satan, allied with secular humanists and Muslims, is seeking to destroy America, and Trump is God's anointed vessel to build the Christian nation and cement into place a government that instills "biblical values." These "biblical values" include banning abortion, protecting the traditional family, turning the Ten Commandments into secular law, crushing "infidels," especially Muslims, indoctrinating children in schools with "biblical" teachings and thwarting sexual license, which includes any sexual relationship other than in a marriage between a man and a woman. Trump is routinely compared by evangelical leaders to the biblical king Cyrus, who rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem and restored the Jews to the city.

Trump has filled his own ideological void with Christian fascism. He has elevated members of the Christian right to prominent positions, including Mike Pence to the vice presidency, Mike Pompeo to secretary of state, Betsy DeVos to secretary of education, Ben Carson to secretary of housing and urban development, William Barr to attorney general, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the televangelist Paula White to his Faith and Opportunities Initiative. More importantly, Trump has handed the Christian right veto and appointment power over key positions in government, especially in the federal courts. He has installed 133 district court judges out of 677 total, 50 appeals court judges out of 179 total, and two U.S. Supreme Court justices out of nine. Almost all of these judges were, in effect, selected by the Federalist Society and the Christian right. Many of the extremists who make up the judicial appointees have been rated as unqualified by the American Bar Association, the country's largest nonpartisan coalition of lawyers.

Trump has moved to ban Muslim immigrants and rolled back civil rights legislation. He has made war on reproductive rights by restricting abortion and defunding Planned Parenthood. He has stripped away LGBTQ rights. He has ripped down the firewall between church and state by revoking the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches, which are tax-exempt, from endorsing political candidates. His appointees throughout the government routinely use biblical strictures to justify an array of policy decisions including environmental deregulation, war, tax cuts and the replacement of public schools with charter schools, an action that permits the transfer of federal education funds to private "Christian" schools.

I studied ethics at Harvard Divinity School with James Luther Adams, who had been in Germany in 1935 and 1936. Adams witnessed the rise there of the so-called Christian Church, which was pro-Nazi. He warned us about the disturbing parallels between the German Christian Church and the Christian right. Adolf Hitler was in the eyes of the German Christian Church a volk messiah and an instrument of Goda view similar to the one held today about Trump by many of his white evangelical supporters. Those demonized for Germany's economic collapse, especially Jews and communists, were agents of Satan. Fascism, Adams told us, always cloaked itself in a nation's most cherished symbols and rhetoric. Fascism would come to America not in the guise of stiff-armed, marching brownshirts and Nazi swastikas but in mass recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance, the biblical sanctification of the state and the sacralization of American militarism. Adams was the first person I heard label the extremists of the Christian right as fascists. Liberals, he warned, as in Nazi Germany, were blind to the tragic dimension of history and radical evil. They would not react until it was too late.

Trump's legacy will be the empowerment of the Christian fascists. They are what comes next. For decades they have been organizing to take power. They have built infrastructures and organizations, including lobbying groups, schools and universities as well as media platforms, to prepare. They have seeded their cadre into the political system. We on the left, meanwhile, have seen our institutions and organizations destroyed or corrupted by corporate power.

The Christian fascists, as in all totalitarian movements, need a crisis, manufactured or real, in order to seize power. This crisis may be financial. It could be triggered by a catastrophic terrorist attack. Or it could be the result of a societal breakdown from our climate emergency. The Christian fascists are poised to take advantage of the chaos, or perceived chaos. They have their own version of the brownshirts, the for-hire mercenary armies and private contractors amassed by Christian fascists such as Erik Prince, the brother of Betsy DeVos.

The Christian fascists have seized control of significant portions of the judiciary and legislative branches of government. FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, gives 245 members of Congress a perfect 100% for votes that support the agenda of the Christian right. The Family Research Council, which has called on its followers to pray that God will vanquish the "demonic forces" behind Trump's impeachment, is identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group because of its campaigns to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

The ideology of the Christian fascists panders in our decline to the primitive yearnings for the vengeance, new glory and moral renewal that are found among those pushed aside by deindustrialization and austerity. Reason, facts and verifiable truth are impotent weapons against this belief system. The Christian right is a "crisis cult." Crisis cults arise in most collapsing societies. They promise, through magic, to recover the lost grandeur and power of a mythologized past. This magical thinking banishes doubt, anxiety and feelings of disempowerment. Traditional social hierarchies and rules, including an unapologetic white, male supremacy, will be restored. Rituals and behaviors including an unquestioning submission to authority and acts of violence to cleanse the society of evil will vanquish malevolent forces.

The Christian fascists propagate their magical thinking through a selective literalism in addressing the Bible. They hold up as sacrosanct biblical passages that buttress their ideology and ignore, or grossly misinterpret, the ones that do not. They live in a binary universe. They see themselves as eternal victims, oppressed by dark and sinister groups seeking their annihilation. They alone know the will of God. They alone can fulfill God's will. They seek total cultural and political domination. The secular, reality-based world, one where Satan, miracles, destiny, angels and magic do not exist, destroyed their lives and communities. That world took away their jobs and their futures. It ripped apart the social bonds that once gave them purpose, dignity and hope. In their despair they often struggled with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions. They endured familial breakdown, divorce, evictions, unemployment and domestic and sexual violence. The only thing that saved them was their conversion, the realization that God had a plan for them and would protect them. These believers were pushed by a callous, heartless corporate society and rapacious oligarchy into the arms of charlatans. All who speak to them in the calm, rational language of fact and evidence are hated and ultimately feared, for they seek to force believers back into "the culture of death" that nearly destroyed them.

We can blunt the rise of this Christian fascism only by reintegrating exploited and abused Americans into society, giving them jobs with stable, sustainable incomes, relieving their crushing personal debts, rebuilding their communities and transforming our failed democracy into one in which everyone has agency and a voice. We must impart to them hope, not only for themselves but for their children.

Christian fascism is an emotional life raft for tens of millions. It is impervious to the education, dialogue and discourse the liberal class naively believes can blunt or domesticate the movement. The Christian fascists, by choice, have severed themselves from rational thought. We will not placate or disarm this movement, bent on our destruction, by attempting to claim that we too have Christian "values." This appeal only strengthens the legitimacy of the Christian fascists and weakens our own.

We will transform American society to a socialist system that provides meaning, dignity and hope to all citizens, that cares and nurtures the most vulnerable among us, or we will become the victims of the Christian fascists we created.

 

Must Read 3   Supported 2   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Chris Hedges Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Coming Collapse

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

Rise Up or Die

This Is What Resistance Looks Like

The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

8 people are discussing this page, with 16 comments


Don Smith

Become a Fan (Member since Feb 25, 2009), 22 fans, 145 articles, 597 quicklinks, 1886 comments, 45 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

The book Red State Christians: Understanding the Voters Who Elected Donald Trump says a similar thing to what Hedges says: many evangelical churches fuse a strange hyper-patriotism and love of the military with Christianity. At some churches, love of country and the flag was more prominent than love of God.

Hedges writes, "We will transform American society to a socialist system that provides meaning, dignity and hope to all citizens, that cares and nurtures the most vulnerable among us, or we will become the victims of the Christian fascists we created." There is a third way. We could transform ourselves into a social democracy (the modern realization of New Deal liberalism, aka the Nordic model). Socialism is a further step we needn't take. You may say that there is little difference between socialism and social democracy. I disagree. Socialism implies ownership of the means of production by the workers. It is inconsistent with capitalism, even highly regulated and taxed capitalism. Also, the Republican Party is salivating over the chance to see a self-proclaimed socialist be the nominee. They call even centrist Democrats socialist (total nonsense!). Of course Bernie is just a social democrat, not a socialist, as numerous scholars have pointed out.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 12:30:22 AM

  Recommend  (1+)
Help

Don Smith

Become a Fan (Member since Feb 25, 2009), 22 fans, 145 articles, 597 quicklinks, 1886 comments, 45 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

The book A Warning, by Anonymous is by a senior Trump administration official -- the same person who wrote a New York Times oped in September I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.

In it, Anonymous calls on Republicans not to vote for Donald Trump, who is thoroughly corrupt and incompetent. (Trump refuses to read briefing papers, and his aides often ignore his orders because the orders are illegal or destructive.) . But Anonymous says that if the Democrats choose a socialist as their nominee then there will be no choice but to vote for Trump.

I say this not because I oppose Bernie but to point out what's at stake and the huge battle that is brewing. It will tear the country apart no matter who wins.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 12:45:42 AM

  Recommend  (1+)
Help

John Jonik

Become a Fan
Author 10030
(Member since Jan 16, 2008), 15 fans, 38 articles, 2383 comments, 6 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

(Image by Unknown Owner) Details DMCA

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 5:19:36 AM

  Recommend  (3+)
Help

Tom Calarco

Become a Fan
Author 506489
(Member since Aug 29, 2016), 62 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Very alarming article, Chris. You describe the problem well, but you don't provide any solutions.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 5:50:33 AM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help
Indent

Don Smith

Become a Fan (Member since Feb 25, 2009), 22 fans, 145 articles, 597 quicklinks, 1886 comments, 45 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Tom Calarco:   New Content

Hedges almost never does provide positive steps, just doom and gloom.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 3:46:07 PM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help
Indent

Brenda Schouten-Beckett

Become a Fan
Author 506668
Follow Me on Twitter (Member since Sep 11, 2016), 7 fans, 944 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Tom Calarco:   New Content

So people should just shut up about FACTS until they come up with a solution? That could be one of the reasons we're in this mess.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020 at 11:28:43 AM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help

Mohammad Ala

Become a Fan
Author 8028
(Member since Oct 1, 2007), 10 fans, 25 articles, 40 quicklinks, 1103 comments, 1 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Recognizing problems is very important and first step in looking for solution(s).

I sympathize with Native American people who were slaughtered to make room for new arrivals.

Hollywood demonized Native people and glorified Cowboys. Hollywood has been used as a tool to accomplish hegemonic goals.

Negative role of Hollywood.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 4:21:56 PM

  Recommend  (3+)
Help
Indent

David William Pear

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Nov 29, 2014), 51 fans, 80 articles, 404 quicklinks, 3982 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Mohammad Ala:   New Content

The picture is offensive, as it seems to depict a Native American as a fascist with an M-16. Is it supposed to be a picture of Jesus? If so, then that is very appropriate but poor choice of representation of Jesus.

While the myth is that Jesus and the New Testament is about peace and love, it is not necessarily so. Many of Jesus's supposed words provide plenty of fodder for hatemongers and rightwing fascists.

Indeed, Hollywood is one of the most potent forms of propaganda and has long been a tool of the government. The "new Injuns" of Hollywood are West Asians, with the full blessing of the CIA-types in government, the MIC and even some so-called liberals.

The government usually prepares the public for a war with about a decade of negative brainwashing of the public. The hated towards Iran is virulent and considered politically correct. Its intent is obvious to people who can think for themselves.

As for Hedges, I agree with much of what he has written and I have read all of his books. BUT, I cannot respect him because of his subservients to 'the empire' during the US war crimes of the Bosnian War.

My hope that he will someday do a mea culpa is probably futile. He continues to spout 'untruths' about that US/NATO war crime of aggression.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 5:28:16 PM

  Recommend  (4+)
Help
IndentIndent

x_Warrior

Become a Fan
Author 82275
(Member since Oct 2, 2012), 6 fans, 92 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

Take another look at the picture; I see Ronald Reagan's face...

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 10:08:17 PM

  Recommend  (1+)
Help
IndentIndentIndent

Floyd Tolar

Become a Fan
Author 21438
(Member since Sep 8, 2008), 275 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to x_Warrior:   New Content

Yes, so did I. It made me ill.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 11:25:36 PM

  Recommend  (1+)
Help
IndentIndentIndent

David William Pear

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Nov 29, 2014), 51 fans, 80 articles, 404 quicklinks, 3982 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to x_Warrior:   New Content

I saw that too, of course. And I see the nail holes in his hands, although they look more like tattoos. But the first look, and it looks more like cowboy RR in caricature as a Native American. Reagan is not even mentioned in the article.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020 at 1:09:37 AM

  Recommend  (2+)
Help
IndentIndent

x_Warrior

Become a Fan
Author 82275
(Member since Oct 2, 2012), 6 fans, 92 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

sorry about the double post

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019 at 10:08:44 PM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help
IndentIndent

Brenda Schouten-Beckett

Become a Fan
Author 506668
Follow Me on Twitter (Member since Sep 11, 2016), 7 fans, 944 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

I also wonder how someone who can think and so clearly write about facts, make such blunders in judgment. This perticular article contains essential information and warnings. But the shameful disinformation about war crimes of the U.S. with reference to the Bosnian war seem appallingly out of character. Makes me think of Bernie calling Maduro a "vicious dictator" when we KNOW he knows better. What must be going on when someone who usually has integrity goes off track?

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020 at 11:39:15 AM

  Recommend  (1+)
Help
IndentIndentIndent

David William Pear

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Nov 29, 2014), 51 fans, 80 articles, 404 quicklinks, 3982 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Brenda Schouten-Beckett:   New Content

He was chief correspondent for the NYT at the time and reported according to the empire's lies. He stubbornly sticks to that story. I asked him about it once when I met him and all he said was "Meloshevic was a butcher". While the kangaroo International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found him guilty of war crimes and he died in prison, he was posthumously cleared of the charges by the International Court of Justice...Of course, it was not widely reported in the media.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020 at 6:05:54 PM

  Recommend  (2+)
Help
IndentIndentIndentIndent

Don Smith

Become a Fan (Member since Feb 25, 2009), 22 fans, 145 articles, 597 quicklinks, 1886 comments, 45 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

Do you have links to documentation about this story?

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020 at 10:19:39 PM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help
IndentIndentIndentIndentIndent

David William Pear

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Nov 29, 2014), 51 fans, 80 articles, 404 quicklinks, 3982 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Don Smith:   New Content

They're on a website called OpEdNews.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020 at 11:46:30 PM

  Recommend  (1+)
Help