Posted by: toddzilla | January 29, 2007

Are There Christian Fascists?

 I caught an interesting interview with author Chris Hedges on NPR Sunday morning.  he was discussing his book “American Fascists-The Christian Right and the War On America”. Here’s  the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Fascists-Christian-Right-America/dp/0743284437/sr=1-1/qid=1170102164/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-8837441-5393430?ie=UTF8&s=books

You can glance throught the reviews and their respective comments and easily see how dividing this topic is.  As a Christian who enjoys American History and keeping up with politics, I was very enthralled by the interview.  Hedges is a Harvard Divinity school-educated foreign affairs correspondent.  Yes he finished his seminary schooling, but did not seek ordination.  During the course of the interview Hedges brings up several points about the current state of affairs with what has become known as  the “Christian Right” or the “Evangelicals”.  He noted how 6 companies own about 80% of the media outlets and touched on the trend of politicians seeking approval from religious groups and the ever increasing push of politics in the pulpit especially since 9/11. 

Hedges draws parallels between this Christian Right movement and fascism…yes fascism…the Mussolini kind.  he notes how the Christian Right uses “logocide” (the manipulation of wording, passages, and words themselves) by focusing on certain passages of the Bible and either distorting or dismissing other passages that may contradict their point.  Logocide also “hijacks” certain familiar words and eventually provides a different connotation that is more useful to their cause.  Some terms that come to my mind are “liberal” and “conservative”.  He also notes how Christians may choose to receive all of their news of the world from closed media outlets.  Of course this occurs with any belief…Conservatives may agree that Fox news is unbiased and Democrats may only read the New York Times.  But I know of many families that shelter their children from many aspects fo the world.  Do they do their kids a disservice by not preparing them?  (I guess this is a topic for later discussion).  Hedge quotes Robert Paxton’s definition of fascism as:

“a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cultures of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

Does the Christian Right use their view of America as “going to Hell in a handbasket” as an example of “community decline”.  Are their calls upon the politicians and their emphasis on 9/11’s effects on America an effort to obtain “unity, energy, purity, and a mass based party”?  Are the relationships between politicians (whom I think it could be argued are pandering to certain Christian movements) the “uneasy, but effective colaborations”?  Were the calls for Americans to come together after 9/11 and the subsequent legislation that passed so effectively (Patriot Act, wiretapping, Indefinite incarceration of “enemy combatants) pursuits of internal cleansing and external expansion?

I dunno!  From what I understand, perhaps Hedge is getting a bit “chicken little” over his comparison, but I think he brings up good points to ponder.  What do you think?  Is the Christian religion becoming so fractured now that we have Traditional Fundamentalists, New Radical Fundamentalists, Christian Reconstructionists, Literalists, Dominionists (whom Hedges ties back to Calvinists), and Liberalists.  All of whom may even worship at the same church!

FYI- Here is a link to Chapter 1 of the book.

http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?tab=1&pid=520657&agid=2

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Responses

  1. I’m not smart enough to really get into a lot of what Hodges is talking about. Perhaps he has some points, however could he be referring to the extremes of the Christian right? Same as do the Christian right overreact to the Christian Left?

    I like to think that, as the Bible says clearly, that we are all part of Christ’s church and in that we each have our purpose to the body. Now of course, when we abuse that responsibility we hurt the whole. But, I believe there is room for us all in the one church.

    Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t think I am.

  2. Shannon-You bring up a great scriptural point there. How we should all work together for one overarching purpose.


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