(We definitely should make these distinctions, as we do when discussing the extremes of any group. However, it also seems we should be aware of the ways the pulpit is being hijacked in more mainstream churches to preach forms of hatred and discrimination--whether implicitly or explicitly.
As an anarchist/atheist, I’m still an avid reader of Sojourners, listener to APM: Speaking of Faith, fan of Cornel West’s integration of liberation theology/Marxist historicism, and a student of many faiths [and a firm believer that religion, politics and philosophies are all essentially faith-based]. I value religions for their deep insights into the human condition and their continuing efforts to explore the unimaginable. My problem with the current fundamentalist/evangelical movement in the US is their totalizing vision that eliminates any deviation from their cultural scripts and their aggressive attempt to rewrite history, laws and consciousnesses. I have nothing against religion, instead my problem is with intolerance, violence and hatred, in actions, representations and words, no matter the source.
I have the same problem with people who should be my allies, but instead are controlling, abusive and dismissive. Atheists like Hichens who are arrogant enough to believe their own perspective is not faith-based, socialists who believe they need to eliminate en-masse those who stand in the way of revolutionary change, anarchists who mistakenly believe anarchism is a philosophy of selfish individualism, etc… I simply expect “progressive” Christians to do the same with their extremists (and I am grateful that this is what Hedges has done, he has applied the insights of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning to the current discourses of all-out spiritual war coming from right-leaning Christian communities in the USA].
I was raised, for a time, as a kid in fundamentalist Christian communities. For them it is often a matter of simplistic right or wrong, you are with us or you are against us, you are a part of the elect saved or condemned heathen, … this is easily translated into whatever I do for my faith is right, because God is on my side and those I act against are “evil.” That troubles me…
Just a reminder “14 Characteristics of Fascism”)
The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger
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.
To Read the Rest of the Commentary