BOOK REVIEW 2:  American Fascism: The Christian Right and the War on America (Chris Hedges)

A Review of Chris Hedges’ Christian Fascism

by Stephen Lendman

Chris Hedges is a journalist who for two decades was a
foreign correspondent for the New York Times spending
much of his time reporting from conflict zones in El
Salvador, the Middle East and from Serbia covering the
Balkan wars of the 1990s that divided and destroyed a
country under the guise of humanitarian intervention
providing cover for naked imperialism.  There it
allowed NATO (meaning the US) to expand into Central
and Eastern Europe to keep predatory capitalism on the
march for markets, resources and cheap labor
everywhere using wars to get them and eliminate
“uncooperative” heads of state like Slobodan Milosevic
who was kidnapped, Mafia/Mossad-style, by the ICTY
kangaroo court in the Hague, hung out to dry when he
got there, and in the end effectively or, in fact,
murdered to shut him up and prevent ugly truths coming
out about what the conflict was really about and who
the real criminals were. 

The wars and subsequent show-trials had nothing to do
with myths about it fed us by Western media.  Those
wanting the truth can find it in excellent books like
Diana Johnstone’s Fools’ Crusade; the extensive
research and writings of Edward Herman, Noam Chomsky,
Michael Parenti, law professor Michael Mandel; and the
newest book out on the subject titled Travesty: The
Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of
International Justice by British journalist John
Laughland.  Edward Herman wrote a superb review of the
book in the April, 2007 issue of Z Magazine now
available in which he pointedly says “the rules of the
(illegally constituted) ICTY (established by the US
and UK) stood Nuremberg on its head” and Laughland
states “instead of applying existing international
law, the ICTY has effectively overturned it” to hide
NATO’s crimes and allow more of the same playing out
now in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

The Christian Right supports these type crimes and
motives for them readers will understand from Hedges’
new book. He’s also written many articles and is the
author of four books including his bestselling War Is
a Force That Gives Us Meaning drawing on his
experiences in the conflicts he covered describing how
people and nations behave in wartime.  The book was a
finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
for nonfiction. His newest book is American Fascists -
The Christian Right and the War on America published
in 2007 and subject of this review.  It’s an incisive
examination of the huge threat extremist Christian
fascists pose to a shaky free society most people in
the US take for granted but no longer will after
reading this important book.

Hedges was educated at Colgate University and received
a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School.
For a time he was a seminarian and is now a senior
fellow at the Nation Institute as well as a writer and
lecturer at Princeton University where he teaches in
the Program for American Studies.  He was also an
early vocal critic of the Bush administration’s plan
to attack, invade and occupy Iraq characterizing war
as “the most potent narcotic invented by humankind”
while professing not to be a pacifist.

This review will cover the essence and flavor of
American Fascists beginning with some background on
the Christian right, its influence, and danger it
poses that Hedges covers in detail.  He said he wrote
the book out of anger and fear of the fundamentalist
Christian Right seeking to establish theocratic
dominion over society in America in the name of God
and is using the Republican party as their vehicle to
do it.  He compares the movement’s messianic mission
to Italian and German fascism of the last century
cloaking itself in Christianity and patriotism as
their way to gain political power under theocracy’s
literal meaning from the Greek words “Theos” meaning
“God” and “cratein/crasy” meaning to rule. 

They’re not kidding and neither is the risk they’ll
gain control of government with some observers in
Washington believing they already have it including
journalist/commentator Bill Moyers saying “for the
first time in our history, ideology and theology hold
a monopoly of power in Washington.”  Some call them
“The Christian Mafia” noting they’re well-funded by
and allied with wealthy, powerful hard right
businessmen like beer magnate Joseph Coors and Amway
founder Richard DeVos, Sr.  Hedges calls them American
Fascists, and his powerful book leaves no doubt how
great a threat they are to our cherished liberties in
a free society now in great jeopardy.  Below is an
explanation of the Christian Right and fundamentalist
movement overall before getting into the book.

The Christian Right and Its Fundamentalist Movement

The Christian or Religious Right is broadly defined to
include adherents of the radical or hard right
embracing their kind of extremist political, economic,
social and religious ideology falsely called
conservative which is a relative term referring
philosophically to favoring traditional values
including libertarian ones centered on the right of
everyone to be master of his or her own fate.

Earlier, sociologist scholar Sara Diamond wrote
extensively on the rise of right wing groups in the
country providing readers with a wealth of information
based on her firsthand research. In her seminal 1995
book, Roads to Dominion, she traced the various
movements over the past 50 years identifying four
types she discovered:

1.  The anti-communist conservative movement that in
the 1970s included moral traditionalism of the
emerging Christian Right.

2. The racist Right including the KKK and other
segregationist groups and later the paramilitary white
supremacist movement.

3. The Christian Right with its evangelical roots, and

4. Neoconservatives with roots in the Cold War and
Democrat party later finding a new home in the
Republican party under Ronald Reagan.

Diamond explained these movements involved scores of
organizations, not monolithic in beliefs, who
nonetheless share a common set of policy preferences
that unite them listing three core areas - the
economy, the “nation-state in global context (military
and diplomatic),” and moral norms relating to race and
gender.  The movements are also unified in their
advocacy of free-market capitalism, anticommunism (now
anything left of center), US worldwide military
hegemony, traditional morality, superiority of
native-born white male Christian Americans, and the
traditional nuclear family.  In addition, Diamond
lists what she calls the “three pillars of the US
Right” calling them “tendencies, not absolutes” -
libertarianism, anticommunist militarism (now all
liberal/progressive/leftist non-extremist Christian
ideology), and traditionalism.

In her book, Diamond included a detailed history of
the Christian Right explaining how it came to be the
largest, most influential movement on the far right
dominating policy-making in Republican-led governments
and especially the one not yet in power under George
W. Bush.  She explained it all in over 300
fact-crammed pages and another 100 pages of notes and
references.  It’s important background information
summarized here briefly to set the stage for Hedges
important account of what the Christian Right is up to
today, why it matters, and why this dominant movement
threatens freedom and democracy in America and the
values most here hold dear, including most of the 70
million evangelicals, a minority of whom are radical
ideologues selling their dogma of hate and domination
to convert the others and destroy non-believers.

Our Secular State Founding Principles

Christians founded America believing church and state
should be separated, and Jefferson called for “a wall
of separation” between them in 1802 after freedom of
religion became part of the First Amendment to the
Constitution.  Today that bedrock founding principle
is jeopardized by the extremist Christian Right.  If
they get their way, they’ll tear down that wall with
considerable public support from the 40% in the
country polls say take the Bible literally, and nearly
one-third believe in the “rapture” as Hedges explains
in his book.  The notion comes from conservative
Protestant eschatology denoting the final happening
when “good Christians” on earth are saved and
“raptured” to heaven to be with Jesus in eternal
immortality while non-believers are doomed to a more
hellish, less “rapturous” fate Hedges characterizes as
suffering “unspeakable torments below.”

These believers and all others are entitled to their
views, but the Constitution forbids them forcing them
on others.  Earlier Supreme Courts agreed in decisions
requiring a “wall of separation” between church and
state prohibiting the adoption of any state religion
and requiring government to avoid undue involvement in
religion, its trappings or expressions.

That status was put in jeopardy following the
introduction in Congress of the “Constitution
Restoration Act of 2004.”  It was then reintroduced in
near-identical form in 2005, never passed, and now
awaits its fate in the Democrat-led 110th Congress or
a future one that may or may not let it die.  If it’s
ever adopted in its present form, it will turn the
country into a de facto theocracy despite its
supporters’ denial.  Don’t believe them as getting
this passed is key to the Christian Right’s mission to
turn America into a fascist theocracy where
constitutional law is abolished in favor of extremist
Christian dogma Dominionists like Pat Robertson, Jerry
Falwell, James Dobson and others in the movement want
to be the supreme law of the land.

In their world, under their law, practitioners of
other faiths will be lawbreakers including about 75
million non-Christians and many others of the faith
not willing to go along with their interpretation of
it.  The “Constitution Restoration Act of 2005” will
also deny the Supreme Court’s right to challenge
anyone in or affiliated with federal, state or local
government acknowledging the Christian “God (in their
canon) as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or
government.”  Henceforth, any judge at any level
interpreting the new law differently would be subject
to impeachment and prosecution in the United
(extremist Christian) States of (fascist) America
ruled by people like Pat Robertson and others like
him.

American Fascists Masquerading as True Christians -
Defiling the Teachings of Christ, His Twelve Apostles
and Others of the Faith

Hedges begins his book with a powerful quote from
Blaise Pascal that “Men never do evil so completely
and cheerfully as when they do it from religious
conviction.”  Until the modern era, the best examples
in Christendom were the first Crusades when Popes like
Urban II sanctioned holy wars between 1095 - 1291 to
wrest Jerusalem and the “Holy Land” from “heretic”
Muslims and later ones in the 16th century against
infidels - in the name of God. 

Today in America, Dominionists are the new “crusaders”
Hedges equates with 20th century fascists because of
their fanaticism.  They cloak their ideology in
Christianity and patriotism as their way to gain
political power they claim is sanctioned by the
Almighty to give the movement moral legitimacy.  But
beneath the surface, their doctrine is dark and
foreboding posing real dangers to a free society not
to be taken lightly.  It comes from their view of
Genesis 1:26-31 they interpret to mean God gave man
“dominion….over all the Earth,” and that Jesus
commanded his followers to impose godly rule over
everyone denouncing people of other faiths and
non-believers.  The modern blueprint for this ideology
comes from the writings of RJ Rushdoony’s 1973 book,
The Institutes of Biblical Law, calling for a
Christian government.  It advocates torture and death
for gays, non-Christians resisting conversion, anyone
committing blasphemy, and women guilty of “unchastity
before marriage.” 

Ideology of Radical Christian Right Fascists

Christian Right extremists advocate a frightening
ideology detailed below.  It includes:

—Racial hatred.

—White Christian supremacy.

—Blind adoration and obedience of the movement’s
leadership while discouraging free and independent
thought.

—Male gender dominance portraying Jesus as a real
man dominating through force like a powerful warrior
ignoring fundamental Christian “thou shall not kill”
doctrine.  It’s an ideology of hyermasculinity
centered in a male-dominated authoritarian church and
in the home where men are encouraged to dominate their
wives, and women and children are taught to submit. 

Well-known Christian Right leader James Dobson built
his career on these ideas and now has a huge media
empire dispensing advice as a Christian therapist over
his Focus on the Family program.  He’s heard on more
than 3000 radio stations and 80 TV stations reaching
200 million people in 116 countries from his 81 acre
campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado employing 1300
people.  He’s fiercely anti-choice and anti-gay and
has backed political candidates advocating
abortionists be executed.  He also calls stem cell
research “state-funded cannibalism” and urges
Christian parents take their children out of public
schools and put them in Christian ones teaching his
ideology.

Dobson preaches male dominance calling non-submission
a violation of God’s law. He also thinks murder is
wrong but not when committed against infidel Iraqis or
Islamic terrorists saying all non-believers, heretics
and sinners will be consumed in an End Times
Tribulation of terrible calamities and torment lasting
seven years with non-redeemers condemned to eternal
punishment.  True believers adhering to holy
scriptures, however, will be saved and “raptured” to
eternal life and bliss in heaven.  But getting there
means going along with what he, End Times guru Timothy
LaHaye, and other dominant Christian Right figures
like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell preach including
that they have a divine right to rule and must be
obeyed.

Hedges notes that televangelists like Robertson, Benny
Hill, Paul and Jan Crouch and others “rule their
fiefdoms as despotic potentates” some adherents might
think isn’t God’s way of doing things.  They travel
with burly bodyguards in kingly luxury on private
jets; have amassed huge personal fortunes, much of it
gotten from listener subjects; and show up everywhere
in limousines with all the pomposity of heads of state
and billionaire CEOs but in their case playing God as
false prophets “clutching the cross and the Bible
(offering seductively), like Mephistopheles, to lead
us to a mythical paradise and impossible, unachievable
happiness and security” provided we surrender our will
to theirs and our money too, which is one way they get
rich.

They preach a false gospel of prosperity and
well-being preying on the gullible to believe faith
alone cures illness, overcomes emotional distress, and
assures financial and physical security so there’s no
need for traditional secular institutions, social
service organizations and government regulatory
agencies to exist.  The movement preaches those not
trusting them lack faith, that God alone is enough,
and that fate is determined by a personal relationship
with Jesus Christ in a world in which individuals
surrender their will to a higher authority dictated by
the leadership.  Hedges sums it up saying tyranny
follows when “fealty to an ideology becomes a litmus
test for individual worth” and a world of “miracles
and magic” is the only “place to turn for help” ruled
by Christian Right extremists “grow(ing) rich off (the
vulnerable) who suffer” becoming passive in the
process.

—Hatred of gays, the “gay agenda,” and everyone in
the LBGT movement with Christian Right adherents
believing “same-sex attraction” can be cured like a
virus their ideological medicine can fix.  They define
the problem as “male gender deficit” for which
“reparative therapy” is the antidote gotten from a
close connection with a strong heterosexual man
“comfortable in his male role.” With nonsensical
ideological fervor, they believe bonding with a
straight man makes homosexuality disappear while at
the same time denouncing gays as depraved perverts and
criminals threatening all Christians.

—Disdain for non-believers and rational intellectual
inquiry.

—Condemnation of self-criticism and debate as
apostasy.

—Frequent use of the death penalty including for
abortionists, gays, Muslim “terrorists” and other
“heretics.”

—Adoration of militarism, war and apocalyptic
violence.  Adherence to these notions is so extreme
that in the run-up to the Iraq conflict, many
Christian Right leaders and End Times believers
preached opposing war was anti-American and contrary
to God’s plan and what’s written in the Bible as they
interpret it.  Their many supporters in Congress
include Minority Leader John Boehner, who supports
endless wars.  He recently said “The spread of radical
Islamic terrorism is a threat to our nation (and) the
free world….They are (everywhere and) growing right
here in America….dedicated to killing Americans
(and) our allies, and ending freedom and wanting to
impose some radical Islamic law on the entire world.”
With leaders like Boehner in Congress and the
administration, it’s easy to see the influence of
radical Christian fundamentalist poison infecting the
body politic and threatening everyone with it.

—Illegalization of abortion even in the case of rape
and incest.

—Ending public education with Bush administration
help budgeting billions of dollars for extremist
Christian faith-based organizations.  They renounce
proved science like evolution allowing only
creationism repackaged as “intelligent design” to be
taught as well as other extremist Christian values
sold through the “big lie” to trick those in the
movement to believe mysticism and magic are facts.
Hedges calls the process a “war on truth” where the
culture war front lines are in classrooms, and the
battle is one traditional educators are losing.  Core
values of a free and open society are being destroyed
and replaced through a process of thought control
based on pseudoscience assaulting the real thing on
everything challenging extremist Christian ideology
from creation to HIV/AIDS to pregnancy prevention to
global warming to war and peace.

It’s also happening inside government alarming the
nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) advocacy
organization to write in its March, 2004 Scientific
Integrity in Policymaking report: “There is
significant evidence that the scope and scale of the
(scientifically unethical) manipulation, suppression,
misrepresentation of science by the (Christian Right
dominated) Bush administration are unprecendented.”

—A primary Christian mission to proselytize
non-believers to the faith by recruiting “soldiers in
the army of Jesus Christ” quoting Dr. D. James Kennedy
of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Coral Ridge,
Florida near Fort Lauderdale, just north of Miami.
His voice is dominant in the Christian Right and
carried over the huge multimedia empire he built with
his weekly broadcasts heard and seen on more than 600
TV stations, four cable networks and the Armed Forces
Network reaching millions of people. 

He also has a six day a week radio show on 744
stations reaching millions more preaching his radical
ideology that “the Christian view of morality
(according to the Christian Right) is the (only) one
that should prevail in America” while denouncing
liberal churches and other religions as godless.  He
holds workshops teaching how to sell his brand of
religiosity using the same kinds of
brainwashing/marketing techniques political and other
extremist movements know work.  They promise believers
eternal life while those not saved are damned to
eternal punishment.

—Rejection of secular humanist notions of reason,
ethics, social equity and justice believing a better
world is possible through good will in a free and open
society.  Also claims secular humanist organizations
like the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP,
National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood
and others want to destroy a Christian America.  They
further include the major TV networks (for airing sex
and violence); major newspapers and magazines; US
State Department; foundations like Rockefeller, Ford
and Carnegie; the UN; the Democrat party
left/liberals; Harvard, Yale and 2000 other
universities; and all others not buying their gospel
of extremist white Christian dominionism and hate.

—Seizing on the common denominator of pain,
disillusion, dislocation, suffering and despair felt
by millions caused by a culture of “soulless
landscapes filled with strip malls and highways” to
build a mass movement of servile, unthinking
followers.  They’ve replaced the real world of
science, law and rationality with unquestioning belief
in the word of the leadership and a glorious other
utopian unreal world of prophets, mystical signs and
magical mumbo jumbo that’s real to them and in which
they’re “protected, loved, guided and blessed.” It
promises what followers don’t have - a stable home and
family, loving community, fixed moral standards,
financial and personal success, and abolition of doubt
and uncertainty based on religious vision and moral
clarity.  It also frighteningly promises a final
apocalyptic battle of their “good” against all else
they call “evil” exterminating the forces believers
blame on their despair after which they will emerge
victorious and saved.

—A Christian totalitarian ethic based on a gospel of
“free -market” capitalism, militarism and intolerance
of democratic freedom of thought and action.

—A fanatical devotion to and support for the state
of Israel as Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple
Mount Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary, is where
Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians believe the
second coming of the Messiah will be and thus is the
holiest site in the world for Christians and Jews as
well who want it for a third and final Temple.  Enter
Rev. John Hagee of the 18,000-strong Cornerstone
Church in San Antonio, Texas, global TV ministry, and
his Christians United for Israel (CUFI) radical
organization founded in early 2006.  He’s perhaps the
most extremist, bellicose and influential Christian
Zionist in America today preaching Muslims are Islamic
fascists waging war against Western civilization.  His
antidote is a gospel of preemptive war against Islam
in self-defense including one against Iran now if he
had his way.  The danger is warmongering
hate-preachers like Hagee and others reach large
audiences convincing millions of adherents they’re
right.

The Dark Side of Radical Christian Morality

Hedges notes the movement’s appeal is from the
leadership’s promise of a moral Christian nation
promising renewal.  But the message hides a darker
side with Dominionists awaiting a fiscal, social
and/or political crisis great enough to end democratic
constitutional government replacing it with their
vision of a Christian fascist theocratic America.  In
the meantime, they spent a generation working for this
and now have great influence at state, local and
federal levels of government. 

Hedges notes the movement already controls the
Republican party.  In addition, Christian
fundamentalists hold a majority of seats in 18 of 50
states plus large minorities in the others.  Also, (as
of the book’s publication) 45 senators and 186 House
members got 80 - 100% approval ratings from the three
most influential Christian Right advocacy groups: The
Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum and Family Resource
Council.  This represents a dominant mass movement
succeeding because mainstream Christians and the major
media aren’t confronting it, and their passivity
threatens the constitutional rights of a democratic
state on life support sinking fast with help from the
Christian Right on the ascendancy.

They’re influence is spread by Christian broadcasters
commanding large audiences estimated to be 141 million
in the US through radio and TV.  They preach the
Christian Right gospel flaunting their wealth, power
and celebrity status to show it works for believers of
the faith.  They believe in unrestrained free-market
capitalism, divinely sanctioned to freely create a
global marketplace of (non-Christian, non-believing)
serfs, denied all rights, forbidden to organize, and
left to the mercy of a repressive state and corporate
predators out for profit and to be allowed to dictate
wages and control the right to work. 

Compassion for the less fortunate is left to
individual acts of charity and the churches with
government out of it entirely and only dedicated to
social control and aggressive militarism dictated by a
warrior God (meaning Jesus) giving Christian America
the right to rule the world and assure corporate
giants can suck all the profit and life out of it.
Hedges explains the Christian Right sells an ideology
believing it’s a “Christian duty to embrace the
exploitation of others, to build a Christian America
where freedom means the freedom of the powerful to
dominate the weak….to bring about (their notion of )
a Christian utopia (that when no legal or social
protections remain) it will be too late to resist (and
the movement’s leadership will be in control of
everything).”  Their plan is to “convince the masses
to agitate for their own incarceration” shocking as
that notion sounds, but it’s working.

The movement is on a “crusade” against constitutional
government working for now within the political system
it wants to destroy and remake in its own image.
Awaiting the time they’ll take over, they’re creating
a parallel system within the existing one in which
only “Bible-believing” judges, Christian teachers, and
pseudo-reporters on Christian broadcasts are
tolerated.  And only white Christian men championing
their extremist doctrine will be allowed to rule.
Students are taught this ideology in Christian schools
Hedges says are the fastest growing segment of the
private school system.  Textbooks used call Islam,
Buddhism and African religions “false,” Hinduism
“pagan,” and even Catholicism “distorted.”

It’s also heard on the campaign trail from candidates
like “stalwart on the Christian Right” 2006 Ohio
gubernatorial losing candidate Kenneth Blackwell who
as secretary of state and co-chair of Ohio’s Committee
to Reelect George Bush in 2004 “arranged” for enough
votes in the state to go to the sitting president to
swing Ohio and the election for him.  In his own
losing effort in 2006, he appeared at Christian Right
rallies laying out a blueprint for an authoritarian
state where all dissent is heresy yet campaigned
carefully not to offend those outside the movement by
avoiding religious terminology.

Christian Right Fascism in Real Time in “Bush’s Shadow
Army” - Blackwater USA

Journalist and author Jeremy Scahill characterizes
Blackwater USA as “the world’s most powerful mercenary
army” in his new book about them. Like Hedges’ book,
it’s frightening reading needing exposure.  It
describes a “shadowy mercenary company….largely off
the congressional radar….having remarkable power and
protection within the US war apparatus” with no
accountability or oversight on the ground in Iraq,
(working for the State Department, not the Pentagon,
with a $300 million no-bid contract), Afghanistan, on
US streets and in neighborhoods like New Orleans, and
coming soon to a city and neighborhood near you
courtesy of the Gestapo-like Department of Homeland
Security.  With backing from the Bush administration,
it operates outside the law and Uniform Code of
Military Justice (UCMJ) and is immune from civil
lawsuits like the military.  Scahill calls Blackwater
the “Bush Administration’s Praetorian Guard (along
with the CIA long-serving in that capacity and that
uses Blackwater in its illegal covert operations
abroad and at home).”

Blackwater was founded in 1996 by former Navy SEAL and
now super-rich Erik Prince who’s closely tied to the
Christian Right he funds and supports.  It came into
its own post 9/11 becoming a dominant player in the
Bush administration’s “Global War on Terror” (GLOB)
now rebranded “The Long War.”  Today, Blackwater
employs 2300 personnel in nine countries with 20,000
or more private mercenary contractors ready to go
wherever needed and are part of the 100,000
contractors in Iraq, 48,000 of whom are paramilitary
mercenaries.  It also has a fleet of 20 aircraft
(believed to have been used covertly as part of the
Bush administration’s “extraordinary renditions” of
targeted individuals), including helicopter gunships,
a private intelligence division, and operates at home
on its 7000 acre Moyock headquarters Scahill calls
“the world’s largest private military base.”

It’s not enough for Blackwater in the burgeoning world
of privatized secret mercenary paramilitary armies
coming soon to a neighborhood near you, so the company
is preparing by seeking an environmentally sensitive
protected agricultural preserve southeast of San
Diego, CA for it current expansion plans.  It’s an 824
acre site in Potrero, CA surrounded by the Cleveland
Forest Blackwater wants for a military training base
with 15 firing ranges for automatic and non-automatic
weapons and various types of commando-type training
facilities residents don’t want near their community
for obvious reasons concerning safety.  People
everywhere should object, for what may endanger one
isolated community now or a larger one in New Orleans
already may threaten us all in a paramilitarized
America we’re heading for locked down by
Blackwater-type storm troops enforcing Christian Right
fascist dogma.

In the meantime, Blackwater is cashing in big as a war
profiteer getting huge no-bid Bush administration
contracts Congress belatedly is showing interest in
wanting to oversee to eliminate abuses.  Whether it
will happen, however, is problematical as current laws
on the books aren’t enforced making it likely new ones
won’t be either on all matters relating to foreign
wars, so-called “terrorism,” or anything claimed for
national security.  As long as the nation is in wars
both parties support and the Christian Right is
dominant, companies like Blackwater will thrive.  With
them, wars are easier to get into and harder to end
meaning the culture of militarism will grow abroad and
at home that’s part of the Christian Right’s agenda to
impose its extremist theocratic rule on the country
where, if it happens, democratic freedom, as we know
it, is incompatible.  Under it, Blackwater’s private
army will be on our city streets as thuggish
paramilitary enforcers licensed to terrorize and kill
with impunity bringing to America what they’re well
paid to do abroad.

“Eternal” Fascist Chickens Coming Home to Roost

A generation ago, the notion of a “global Christian
empire” was barely credible, but Hedges’ ethics
professor at Harvard Divinity School, 80-year old Dr.
James Luther Adams, warned back then we’d all one day
be fighting “Christian fascists.”  It was when Pat
Robertson and other radical televangelists began
preaching a new political religion aimed at creating a
dominant Christian world according to their extremist
views.  Adams was in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and saw
with horror what happened there firsthand.  Hedges
says he “was not a man to use the word ‘fascist’
lightly.”  He understood before most others the
similarities of that time in Germany to what was
developing here around 1980.  He saw “how the mask of
religion hides irreligion (and) our world is full to
bursting with (various) faiths, each contending for
allegiance.”  It was a virtual “battle of faiths, a
battle of the gods who claim human allegiance.” 

Adams knew deep-seated resentments and bigotry exist
in all democratic societies like Weimar Germany and
saw it emerging in 1980s America promoting the
destruction of democracy.  He feared late in his life
a movement here was on the march, more cleverly
packaged and sophisticated than in the past and this
time with no serious opposition.  He saw hatreds being
stoked, progressive forces weakening, and the despair
of tens of millions of Americans losing good
manufacturing and other well-paying jobs being easy
prey for smooth-talking fanatics like Pat Robertson
and Jerry Falwell promising miracles and visions of
apocalyptic glory.

Adams said then to watch the Christian Right’s
treatment of gays knowing the Nazis used their
“values” to repress opponents and just days after
coming to power in 1933 Hitler banned all gay and
lesbian organizations as his first target with many
others to follow.  Pastor Martin Niemoller warned us
in different versions of his famous quotation listing
Jews, communists and trade unionists targeted but
omitting the one Hitler chose first.  He didn’t speak
out because he wasn’t one of them, and when they came
for him there was no one left.  It was too late.

Adams explained gays in a Christian Right dominated
American would be the first “social deviants” singled
out for condemnation, disempowerment and elimination
as in Nazi Germany.  Other targeted groups would
follow, and we would be next.  He then warned as does
Hedges that forces against American democracy are
“waiting for a moment to strike, a national crisis
that will allow them to shred the Constitution in the
name of national security.”  The Christian Right
awaits that time “with gleeful anticipation” wanting
adherents to be ready.

Hedges warns we also must be ready quoting Alvin
Toffler saying “if you don’t have a strategy you end
up being part of someone else’s strategy.”  It means
challenging the Christian Right’s gospel of hate,
“exclusion, cruelty and intolerance in the name of
God” with a doctrine of life, hope and respect for the
worth and dignity of everyone, and their right to
practice their beliefs openly in a free society.
That’s the American dream shared by free people
everywhere.  At the book’s end, Hedges says preserving
it means giving up “passivity, challeng(ing)
aggressively this movement’s deluded appropriation of
Christianity (and fighting back) to defend tolerance.”
Wishing won’t make it so.  Defending democracy means
working at it every day.  Today we face an imminent
threat to our freedom against which “tolerance coupled
with passivity is a (deadly) vice” that will destroy
us unless we’re on guard to be sure it doesn’t.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen each Saturday to the Steve Lendman News and
Information Hour on The Micro Effect.com noon US
central time.

 


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