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Old 03-02-2006, 01:17 PM   #1
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The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism

This is related to the fascism discussion in the gay adoption thread. I heard journalist Chris Hedges speak last night and he mentioned his new book coming out in the fall that will be about the Christian right & fascism, and was reminded of this article he wrote a couple of years ago. Hedges is an amazing man--a Christian with deep knowledge and understanding of the Bible, a war correspondent who escaped death from Iraqi kidnappers by entertaining his captors by telling the equivalent of Arabic knock-knock jokes in Arabic, a journalist for the NYT (though he is openly critical of the media and its pandering to advertisers, and is frequently reprimanded by his employer), and IMO one of the most courageous and smartest journalists working today. He said last night that his father was a minister who fought for gay rights and that Chris himself, a straight man following in his father's footsteps, actually founded the Gay & Lesbian alliance at Colgate University when he was there because the gays & lesbians were afriad to come out. I'm sure this article will ruffle some feathers.

excerpts below, entire article here
http://www.theocracywatch.org/chris_hedges_nov24_04.htm

This is an article by Chris Hedges that no major publication would print.

THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT AND THE RISE OF AMERICAN FASCISM

By -- CHRIS HEDGES

15 Nov 2004

Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told us that when we were his age, he was then close to 80, we would all be fighting the "Christian fascists."

The warning, given to me 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global, Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of those who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible.

He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He was in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as The Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo, who suggested he might want to consider returning to the United States . It was a suggestion he followed. He left on a night train with framed portraits of Adolph Hitler placed over the contents inside his suitcase to hide the rolls of home movie film he took of the so-called German Christian Church, which was pro-Nazi, and the few individuals who defied them, including the theologians Karl Barth and Albert Schweitzer. The ruse worked when the border police lifted the top of the suitcases, saw the portraits of the Fuhrer and closed them up again. I watched hours of the grainy black and white films as he narrated in his apartment in Cambridge.

He saw in the Christian Right, long before we did, disturbing similarities with the German Christian Church and the Nazi Party, similarities that he said would, in the event of prolonged social instability or a national crisis, see American fascists, under the guise of religion, rise to dismantle the open society. He despaired of liberals, who he said, as in Nazi Germany, mouthed silly platitudes about dialogue and inclusiveness that made them ineffectual and impotent. Liberals, he said, did not understand the power and allure of evil nor the cold reality of how the world worked. The current hand wringing by Democrats in the wake of the election, with many asking how they can reach out to a movement whose leaders brand them "demonic" and "satanic," would not have surprised Adams. Like Bonhoeffer, he did not believe that those who would fight effectively in coming times of turmoil, a fight that for him was an integral part of the Biblical message, would come from the church or the liberal, secular elite.
...

THE LAUNCHING OF THE WAR

Adams told us to watch closely what the Christian Right did to homosexuals. He has seen how the Nazis had used "values" to launch state repression of opponents. Hitler, days after he took power in 1933, imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations. He ordered raids on places where homosexuals gathered culminating with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin . Thousands of volumes from the institute's library were tossed into a bonfire. Adams said that homosexuals would also be the first "deviants" singled out by the Christian Right. We would be the next.

The ban on same sex marriages, passed by eleven states in the election, was part of this march towards our door. A 1996 federal law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman. All of the states with ballot measures, with the exception of Oregon, had outlawed same sex marriages, as do 27 other states. The bans, however, had to be passed, believers were told, to thwart "activist judges" who wanted to overturn them. The Christian family, even the nation, was under threat. The bans served to widen the splits tearing apart the country. The attacks on homosexuals handed to the foot soldiers of the Christian Right an easy target. It gave them a taste of victory. It made them feel empowered. But it is ominous for gays and for us.

All debates with the Christian Right are useless. We cannot reach this movement. It does not want a dialogue. It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. It is not mollified because John Kerry prays or Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday School. These naive attempts to reach out to a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to them that we too have "values," would be humorous if the stakes were not so deadly. They hate us. They hate the liberal, enlightened world formed by the Constitution. Our opinions do not count.

This movement will not stop until we are ruled by Biblical Law, an authoritarian church intrudes in every aspect of our life, women stay at home and rear children, gays agree to be cured, abortion is considered murder, the press and the schools promote "positive" Christian values, the federal government is gutted, war becomes our primary form of communication with the rest of the world and recalcitrant non-believers see their flesh eviscerated at the sound of the Messiah's voice.

The spark that could set it ablaze may be lying in the hands of an Islamic terrorist cell, in the hands of the ideological twins of the Christian Right. Another catastrophic terrorist attack could be our Reichstag fire, the excuse used to begin the accelerated dismantling of our open society. The ideology of the Christian Right is not one of love and compassion, the central theme of Christ's message, but of violence and hatred. It has a strong appeal to many in our society, but it is also aided by our complacency. Let us not stand at the open city gates waiting passively and meekly for the barbarians. They are coming. They are slouching rudely towards Bethlehem. Let us, if nothing else, begin to call them by their name.

Chris Hedges, a reporter for The New York Times, is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning . He holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School . His next book , Losing Moses on the Freeway: America 's Broken Covenant With The Ten Commandments is published by The Free Press.
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:31 PM   #2
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I'm too creeped out to respond just yet.

Thank you for posting that, joyfulgirl.
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:49 PM   #3
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too much to read in the 5 minute break i take once an hour to check FYM (yes, perhaps i do have a problem).

will check it out tonight!
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:50 PM   #4
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One of my Uni papers this year is about the Christain Right, creepy and enraging stuff
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Old 03-02-2006, 06:15 PM   #5
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Holy shit.



And I think I mean that literally.
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Old 03-02-2006, 06:23 PM   #6
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Americans have been taught, at least since WWII, the adage of the value of history. That is, if we don't know our history, we're doomed to repeat it. It's good advice, except it did not take into account the fact that history is molded by the victors and obscured through time. As such, to think that we can prevent a resumption of fascism/Nazism will likely be futile. All fascists need to do is change their semantics and wear different clothes, and most people won't recognize them.

But, again, romanticism is our prime culprit here. As a civilization, we need to create meaning to why we are living here and now and not 500 years in the past or future. We don't want to think of ourselves as an invisible footnote in history (such was the fate of a millennium of European serfs, after all), so we use the idea of "God" and "the apocalypse" to give ourselves importance. If we are living "in the end times," then that means that WE are the final piece of the meaning of life. But Jesus never once gave a time span as to when He'd return, even if we are to take the Bible completely literally. If he wants to come in the year A.D. 4367, it still would not contradict any Biblical precepts. But since we will be all dead by that time, we would have to face the unsettling uncertainty of the afterlife in the meantime. In fact, I would say that much of the apocalyse-obsessed elements of Christianity are, in fact, classic Freudian instances of the fear of death.

Anyway, if history is any guide and America is careening towards a fascist state, there's probably nothing that can be done. Marxist theory aptly states that the only way a hegemony can be defeated is through education against it. However, even if you blasted it all across America, most people still wouldn't get it or believe it.

Even if we never become a genocidal regime in the same league as Hitler and Mussolini, we may very well learn the same lessons of the people of Spain, Portugal, and Québec as they learned in the 20th century. A "Christian republic" will eventually yield to a highly disillusioned populace who will reject Christianity in droves and become highly secularist. The short term gains that Christian conservatives desire will lead to long-term defeat.

Melon
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Old 03-02-2006, 06:37 PM   #7
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Melon, your insight is far more rational and informative than the Hedges article.

And you are correct; the Christian Right will lose the long-term battle - in the next couple of years. And they will lose it by pressing ridiculous anti-abortion legislation into place.

As for the Hedge piece (Martha used "holy" - I would suggest "bull"), it does little more than embrace a pattern already criticized by many on this board. If you want to hate a group, you must fear them. Hedges plants and fertilizes the fear.
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Old 03-02-2006, 06:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Melon, your insight is far more rational and informative than the Hedges article.
I know I have a historically polarizing reputation on this board (such is the beauty of perception), but it truly is my goal to search for the "right" path.

I am about as disillusioned with liberals as I am conservatives. Conservatives just happen to have the power to legislate their hysteria at the present moment. If liberals get back in power someday, I'll be waiting to rip them to pieces too. Politics bite.

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Old 03-02-2006, 06:48 PM   #9
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I agree that the Christian Right's agenda is scary, but I don't believe they will succeed in carrying it out. Once they go too far, Americans will want nothing to do with it. Maybe it will be the abortion legislation that turns the tide, as nbcrusader said. Or maybe it will be censorship. Americans may have a disheartening lack of knowledge of the First Amendment, but they sure do love "Desperate Housewives" and "Girls Gone Wild."
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Old 03-02-2006, 07:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


I am about as disillusioned with liberals as I am conservatives.

Melon
For the record, so is Hedges. He spoke very critically last night about liberals and liberal passivity. I'll be interested to see the book next fall and to see how his views have changed since he wrote this preliminary article 1 1/2 years ago.

The talk, however, wasn't even about this subject, although it was touched upon. It was really about his experience as a war correspondent, the devastation he's seen, how journalists get addicted to war, how he himself came close to not being able to "get out" and get away from covering war and having a normal life. He was booed and physically carried off the stage at a commencement address shortly after the invasion of Iraq for his anti-war sentiments. Last night 1000 people gave him a standing ovation (though of course, he was preaching to the choir...).
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Old 03-02-2006, 07:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's shades
Once they go too far, Americans will want nothing to do with it. Maybe it will be the abortion legislation that turns the tide, as nbcrusader said. Or maybe it will be censorship.
I wish I could be this optimistic. Some days I can be.

Right now, so many Americans are more than willing to support abortion laws that they think don't affect them. And so many more Americans think that the government has a right to censor things that don't affect them. We already see this with laws affecting gays and lesbians. As long as people think these laws don't affect them directly, they support them.


And Crusader, have you seen the light about abortion laws? Have you finally realized that how I conduct my reproductive life is none of your business? Or are you just throwing me a bone to distance yourself from the fascists?
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Old 03-02-2006, 07:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha


And Crusader, have you seen the light about abortion laws? Have you finally realized that how I conduct my reproductive life is none of your business? Or are you just throwing me a bone to distance yourself from the fascists?
I had the same question!
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Old 03-02-2006, 07:39 PM   #13
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The Christian Right scares the hell out of me.
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Old 03-02-2006, 08:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
And Crusader, have you seen the light about abortion laws? Have you finally realized that how I conduct my reproductive life is none of your business? Or are you just throwing me a bone to distance yourself from the fascists?
As an intellectual discussion, I've found the arguments in favor of abortion lacking.

But as a matter of implimenting law, the actions of South Dakota and Mississippi are simply improper.
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Old 03-02-2006, 10:50 PM   #15
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Re: The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism

Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
This is related to the fascism discussion in the gay adoption thread. I heard journalist Chris Hedges speak last night and he mentioned his new book coming out in the fall that will be about the Christian right & fascism, and was reminded of this article he wrote a couple of years ago. Hedges is an amazing man--a Christian with deep knowledge and understanding of the Bible, a war correspondent who escaped death from Iraqi kidnappers by entertaining his captors by telling the equivalent of Arabic knock-knock jokes in Arabic, a journalist for the NYT (though he is openly critical of the media and its pandering to advertisers, and is frequently reprimanded by his employer), and IMO one of the most courageous and smartest journalists working today. He said last night that his father was a minister who fought for gay rights and that Chris himself, a straight man following in his father's footsteps, actually founded the Gay & Lesbian alliance at Colgate University when he was there because the gays & lesbians were afriad to come out. I'm sure this article will ruffle some feathers.

excerpts below, entire article here
http://www.theocracywatch.org/chris_hedges_nov24_04.htm

This is an article by Chris Hedges that no major publication would print.

THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT AND THE RISE OF AMERICAN FASCISM

By -- CHRIS HEDGES

15 Nov 2004

Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told us that when we were his age, he was then close to 80, we would all be fighting the "Christian fascists."

The warning, given to me 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global, Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of those who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible.

He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He was in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as The Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo, who suggested he might want to consider returning to the United States . It was a suggestion he followed. He left on a night train with framed portraits of Adolph Hitler placed over the contents inside his suitcase to hide the rolls of home movie film he took of the so-called German Christian Church, which was pro-Nazi, and the few individuals who defied them, including the theologians Karl Barth and Albert Schweitzer. The ruse worked when the border police lifted the top of the suitcases, saw the portraits of the Fuhrer and closed them up again. I watched hours of the grainy black and white films as he narrated in his apartment in Cambridge.

He saw in the Christian Right, long before we did, disturbing similarities with the German Christian Church and the Nazi Party, similarities that he said would, in the event of prolonged social instability or a national crisis, see American fascists, under the guise of religion, rise to dismantle the open society. He despaired of liberals, who he said, as in Nazi Germany, mouthed silly platitudes about dialogue and inclusiveness that made them ineffectual and impotent. Liberals, he said, did not understand the power and allure of evil nor the cold reality of how the world worked. The current hand wringing by Democrats in the wake of the election, with many asking how they can reach out to a movement whose leaders brand them "demonic" and "satanic," would not have surprised Adams. Like Bonhoeffer, he did not believe that those who would fight effectively in coming times of turmoil, a fight that for him was an integral part of the Biblical message, would come from the church or the liberal, secular elite.
...

THE LAUNCHING OF THE WAR

Adams told us to watch closely what the Christian Right did to homosexuals. He has seen how the Nazis had used "values" to launch state repression of opponents. Hitler, days after he took power in 1933, imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations. He ordered raids on places where homosexuals gathered culminating with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin . Thousands of volumes from the institute's library were tossed into a bonfire. Adams said that homosexuals would also be the first "deviants" singled out by the Christian Right. We would be the next.

The ban on same sex marriages, passed by eleven states in the election, was part of this march towards our door. A 1996 federal law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman. All of the states with ballot measures, with the exception of Oregon, had outlawed same sex marriages, as do 27 other states. The bans, however, had to be passed, believers were told, to thwart "activist judges" who wanted to overturn them. The Christian family, even the nation, was under threat. The bans served to widen the splits tearing apart the country. The attacks on homosexuals handed to the foot soldiers of the Christian Right an easy target. It gave them a taste of victory. It made them feel empowered. But it is ominous for gays and for us.

All debates with the Christian Right are useless. We cannot reach this movement. It does not want a dialogue. It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. It is not mollified because John Kerry prays or Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday School. These naive attempts to reach out to a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to them that we too have "values," would be humorous if the stakes were not so deadly. They hate us. They hate the liberal, enlightened world formed by the Constitution. Our opinions do not count.

This movement will not stop until we are ruled by Biblical Law, an authoritarian church intrudes in every aspect of our life, women stay at home and rear children, gays agree to be cured, abortion is considered murder, the press and the schools promote "positive" Christian values, the federal government is gutted, war becomes our primary form of communication with the rest of the world and recalcitrant non-believers see their flesh eviscerated at the sound of the Messiah's voice.

The spark that could set it ablaze may be lying in the hands of an Islamic terrorist cell, in the hands of the ideological twins of the Christian Right. Another catastrophic terrorist attack could be our Reichstag fire, the excuse used to begin the accelerated dismantling of our open society. The ideology of the Christian Right is not one of love and compassion, the central theme of Christ's message, but of violence and hatred. It has a strong appeal to many in our society, but it is also aided by our complacency. Let us not stand at the open city gates waiting passively and meekly for the barbarians. They are coming. They are slouching rudely towards Bethlehem. Let us, if nothing else, begin to call them by their name.

Chris Hedges, a reporter for The New York Times, is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning . He holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School . His next book , Losing Moses on the Freeway: America 's Broken Covenant With The Ten Commandments is published by The Free Press.


And you are accusing Christians as being facists with that post?

Please, pass me that fifty-cent cigar.

It's time for a smoke and cup of coffee.
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