Monday, June 07, 2010

Chris Hedges: The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger

Chris Hedges posted a piece at today that I find alarming to say the least. The rise of the far Christian right wing, its influence in our military, in the halls of Congress, and the culture at large belies their numbers. While it is easy to marginalize the christofascist movement, they manage to to pack an extraordinary punch far beyond their demographics, in no small part through their opportunistic enablers like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. To wit, the recent decision of the Texas School Board to adopt "white-washed" history books and a curriculum that champions the likes of Sen. Joe McCarthy, Phyllis Schafly, and conveniently ignore Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, even Thomas Jefferson.

"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."

For example, The Family, of whom most Americans have never heard, is a secretive fellowship of powerful Christian politicians that centers on a Washington, D.C., townhouse. Investigative journalist Jeff Sharlet has written extensively about the influential group in his book
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. From the book:

"Senator Sam Brownback (R., Kansas), chair of a weekly, off -the-record meeting of religious right groups called the Values Action Team (VAT), is an active member, as is Representative Joe Pitts (R., Pennsylvania), an avuncular would-be theocrat who chairs the House version of the VAT. Others referred to as members include senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate Steering Committee (the powerful conservative caucus co-founded back in 1974 by another Family associate, the late senator Carl Curtis of Nebraska); Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa); James Inhofe (R., Oklahoma); Tom Coburn (R., Oklahoma); John Thune (R., South Dakota); Mike Enzi (R., Wyoming); and John Ensign, the conservative casino heir elected to the Senate from Nevada, a brightly tanned, hapless figure who uses his Family connections to graft holiness to his gambling-fortune name. Some Democrats are involved: representatives Bart Stupak and Mike Doyle, leading anti-abortion Democrats, are longtime residents of the Family's C Street House, a former convent registered as a church and used to provide Family-subsidized housing for politicians supported by the Family. A centrist occasionally stumbles into the fold, but the Family is mostly conservative. Family stalwarts in the House include Representatives Frank Wolf (R., Virginia), Zach Wamp (R., Tennessee), and Mike McIntyre, a hard right North Carolina Democrat who believes that the Ten Commandments are "the fundamental legal code for the laws of the United States" and thus ought to be on display in schools and court houses."

Hedges suggests how the failures of traditional liberalism have opened the door to this movement. The diverse comments left by readers of the piece are as interesting as the article itself. Given the influence of Christian hyper-conservatism among the brass of our armed services (I have a family member who is a high ranking officer and the religious fervor of some his colleagues whom I have met is astounding), a quiet, militaristic coup in the future, especially if we continue to wallow in economic uncertainty, and as climate change transforms global politics and security suddenly becomes no longer unthinkable.

Paranoia? Perhaps so. But I agree with Hedges; we ignore the rise of this stealthy, serpentine and very unsilent minority at our peril.


Anonymous said...

Great Article.
America's religious right has not fallen off- but rather has become more powerful. It constantly attacks Science, global warming, evolution, and other sound theories- not with facts or logical arguments but with nonsense- "the world is 6000 years old cause the Bible says so".

It is in foreign policy that they (and their Jewish Neocon buddies) are the most dangerous. They are the biggest supporters of terror against Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, etc. And love Israel because it hates Yet, they demonstrate fanatically against abortion becuase they love "innocent life". Ha!!!

The defeat of Bush and the rise of Obama was supposed to usher in a new era of tolerance. Unfortunately, white Christian fanatics don't like reason or compromise- sorry to mention race but it is 'white' Christians who are supporting wars, rapes, abortion bombings, etc. Obama should just push his agenda and fcuk the Judeo-Christian right!

The only problem is that the article repeats the argument that the Christofascists hate 'Jews'. Nonsense, they love Jews and will throw billions at Israel for years- but oppose any aid to poor in America because it creates "welfare dependency"? The fact that Jew Israel kills Muslims raises their support among Christofascists actually.

Avram Mirsky said...

Well, a phrase like "Jew Israel" certainly doesn't sound very open-minded either.

Charis said...