Skip to comments.Chris Hedges: "AMERICAN FASCISTS" The Christian Right vs USA [*barf alert* ten-bagger!]
Posted on 04/09/2007 3:39:51 PM PDT by EternalVigilance
Anti-Christian bigotry on vivid display.
Christianity Is an Enemy That Gives Hedges Meaning
By Ryan T. Anderson
Wednesday, March 7, 2007, 8:39 AM
The audience was shocked. Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prizewinning reporter, delivered a Princeton University lecture on the religious right so appalling that even his supporters were embarrassed. One university administrator apologized that Hedges was so reductionist and offensive, promising that she wouldnt have invited him had she known. A dean said Hedges behavior was disappointing to everyone and did not reflect the intentions of the sponsors.
Maybe he was just having a bad day? He wasnt. In his new book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Hedges insists that todays evangelical Christians are good old-fashioned fascists and Nazis reborn.
A former New York Times foreign correspondent, Hedges got some attention for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, a 2002 book drawn from his twenty years of field reporting on armed conflicts. Now, in American Fascists, he offers a critique of contemporary Christianitydrawing, he tells the reader many times, on his own experience as a Christian and the son of a Presbyterian minister. In fact, he writes, it was while studying at Harvard Divinity School that he first learned American Christians are the Nazis modern ideological inheritors. Bearing not swastikas and brown shirts but patriotism and the pages of the Bible, these new fascists are led by a theocratic sect of Calvinism called Dominionism.
Hedges isnt just name-calling; when he says fascist, he means it. The Dominionist movement shares prominent features with classical fascist movements. It has, like all fascist movements, a belief in magic along with leadership adoration and a strident call for moral and physical supremacy of a master race. If Christian fascists win, then labor unions, civil-rights laws and public schools will be abolished. Women will be removed from the workforce to stay at home, and all those deemed insufficiently Christian will be denied citizenship.
The key, Hedges claims, is the certainty of evangelical faith. Confidence, we are told, is a fascist ploy, while real Christians accept that we do not understand what life is about. . . . Faith presupposes that we cannot know. We can never know. Those who take comfort in evangelical dogmas are fleeing what Hedges terms our Culture of Despairthe social and economic conditions of modern industrialized America.
The religious right caused this despair in the first place, according to Hedges: Back in Ronald Reagans day, Americas Christians ruined the nation, so that, in George W. Bushs day, they could take it over. Mostly they did it when they sanctified a ruthless unfettered capitalism, which eroded community and security. And the whole idea of a culture war was merely the religious rights useful attempt to create a mentality of us vs. them. To keep their followers docile, Christian leaders have launched a war on truth (especially on evolution) and created pseudo-scientific organizations to provide a veneer of intellectual credibility. These, says Hedges, are the modern fascists propaganda machines.
Fascist, too, are the cults of personality surrounding televangelists and the structure of the male-dominated authoritarian church. For Hedges, such submission to church authority is a potent form of emasculation. It entails a surrendering of conscience and personal control and deadens emotions.
Of course, Hedges is drawing caricatures of evangelical spirituality, even at its worst. He certainly shows no sign of having grappled with serious Christian theology, much less intellectually rigorous conservative political thought. And it quickly becomes clear that Hedges real target isnt Dominionism but any form of Christian orthodoxyand any orthodox Christian active in politics. On his own admission, his opponents extend beyond evangelicalism: Antonin Scalia is steeped in this ideology, right-wing Catholics have joined forces with the movement, and the movement has seized control of the Republican Party.
If the traits he picks out from American evangelicalism make it a manifestation of fascism, then the entire classical tradition of Christianity is fascist, too. By understanding faith as an intellectual act, its object truth, and its result knowledge, John Henry Newman must have been an anti-intellectual fascist, in Hedges definition. American Fascists contains an exposé of family members crying over their childrens salvationwhich makes St. Augustines mother, St. Monica, a fascist ahead of her time. And Hedges analysis of the male-dominated authoritarian church defines Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and many non-Christian faiths fascist from the start.
What really animates Hedges anger at religious conservatives, however, is their recent political power and success on the state level at banning same-sex marriagean issue that has been central to Hedges since his father made him start a gay-rights group at college. According to Hedges, the religious right demonizes homosexuals: Gays and lesbians, like other enemies of Christ, are not fully human.
The truth, of course, is that Hedges is the one who is in the business of demonizing. How open is Hedges open society if it excludes evangelicals, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and faithful Catholics from political debate? He protests, at one point, that democracy keeps religious faith in the private sphere. Yet, a mere seven pages later, he praises the acts of faith of Cardinal Mahoney, the archbishop of Los Angeles, for his stand on immigration, Al Gore on global warming, and select clergy and rabbis on gay rights.
In fact, Hedges isnt opposed to the presence of faith in politics. Faith and politics can meetif theyre Chris Hedges faith and Chris Hedges politics. This isnt surprising, given Hedges admission of his own intolerance toward his opponents. As he sees it, there arise moments when those who would destroy the tolerance that makes an open society possible should no longer be tolerated. That moment is now, and those people are the religious rightwho for Hedges have no religious legitimacy. His contempt is clear: Debate with the radical Religious Right is useless. . . . It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion.
Its all so dated and banal. With dozens of books attacking the religious right already swamping the market, Hedges virulent assault comes well after its sell-by date, which means the book will likely get the attention it deserveslittle. At one point, Hedges thanks several Princeton students who did tremendous and important research, especially under heavy time pressure. Indeed, this is how the book comes across: as a hurried and trite undergraduate diatribe. The organizers of his Princeton lecture ended up apologizing. His publishers should as well.
Ryan T. Anderson is a junior fellow at FIRST THINGS.
Isnt the host of this my tube video the same guy who interviewed Danny Bonaduci(sp)
Oh, cr*p, not another fallen Presbyterian!
The guy writes a book titled, “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America”........and these idiots at Princeton are SURPRISED by his bs. These ivy league types aren’t as smart as they’re touted to be ???
Always remember who the enemy is—the liberals. When the battle starts for real and they side with the muslims it will be time to be armed and they will become the targets.
Well, he is more than qualified to be a staffer on John Edwards’ campaign team. Though, judging by where his head is, any more anal trauma and I fear his last two brain cells will fall out (a mixed blessing - he will then be truly open-minded). Would that make him more or less qualified? Or is additional anal trauma so much of a plus that it doesn’t matter?
Another useful idiot. One who produces NOTHING and will the first up against a wall if the Left really took over. Sounds like his father really messed his mind up.
No kidding. And all this time I've been trying to implement fascism for practically nothing! /s
Yeah, well, when Mr. Hedges can show that Christian fundamentalists are blowing innocent people up because they won’t convert to Christianity, I might take him seriously. Until then, he’s just another anti-religious kook, as far as I’m concerned.
I just knew that he was a homosexual. They always scream the loudest about others being fascist but they are the first to attack anyone with a different point of view. The militants in the gay community are going to push too far and then they will see real anti gay behavior.
I’d have two questions for Mr. Hedges.
1) How exactly is the Republican party racist?
2) What German political party did the NAZI* acronym represent?
(*NAZI = National Socialist Party)
Haven't dedicated researchers discovered at least seven known Dominionists in the country? Meanwhile at least 50,000 unhinged nut cases have been found fretting about the existence of these evil seven.
This is soooo sad. In the first place, Hitler was a leftist. In the second place, I don’t see evidence that the so called “Christian Right” has taken over anything! Abortion is running rampant and we pay for it, crime is going full steam ahead with so many criminals having more rights than the victims and the death culture has taken over the medical field. OH yeah, Christians are in charge all right! Sheesh! If he said one word of this about Islam he would be in prison or on hit list or both!
Another left-wing fascist liar. Hitler was a left-wing Democrat as all multi-killers of the 20th century have been. Hitler (7 to 15 million), Stalin (25 to 35 million), Pol Pot (1 to 5 million), Saddam (1 to 6 million) and the list of left-wing scum goes on and on. The left has been responsible for more killing and dictators than any group who believes in small government and freedom like the right of the Republican party.
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