In their ideal America, our “secular humanist” society based on science and reason will be destroyed. The Ten Commandments will form the basis of the legal system.
By Chris Hedges
The Supreme Court is relentlessly funding and empowering Christian fascism. It not only overturned Roe v. Wade, ending a constitutional right to an abortion, but ruled on June 21 that Maine may not exclude religious schools from a state tuition program.
It has ruled that a Montana state program to support private schools must include religious schools. It ruled that a 40-foot cross could remain on state property in suburban Maryland. It upheld the Trump administration regulation allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to female employees on religious grounds. It ruled that employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers at religious schools. It ruled that a Catholic social services agency in Philadelphia could ignore city rules and refuse to screen same-sex couples applying to take in foster children.
It neutered the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It watered down laws allowing workers to combat sexual and racial harassment in court. It reversed century-old campaign finance restrictions to permit corporations, private groups and oligarchs to spend unlimited funds on elections, a system of legalized bribery, in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission.
It permitted states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. It undercut the ability of public sector unions to raise funds. It forced workers with legal grievances to submit their complaints to privatized arbitration boards. It ruled that states cannot restrict the right to carry concealed weapons in public. It ruled that suspects cannot sue police who neglect to read them their Miranda warnings and use their statements against them in court. Outlawing contraception, same-sex marriage and same-sex consensual relations are probably next. Only 25 percent of those polled say they have confidence in Supreme Court decisions.
I do not use the word fascist lightly. My father was a Presbyterian minister. My mother, a professor, was a seminary graduate. I received my Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister. Most importantly, I spent two years reporting from megachurches, creationist seminars, right-to-life retreats, Christian broadcasting networks and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with members and leaders of the Christian right for my book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, which is banned at most “Christian” schools and universities.
Before the book was published, I met at length with Fritz Stern, author of The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the German Ideology, and Robert O. Paxton, who wrote The Anatomy of Fascism, two of the country’s most eminent scholars of fascism, to make sure the word fascist was appropriate.
The book was a warning that an American fascism, wrapped in the flag and clutching the Christian cross, was organizing to extinguish our anemic democracy. This assault is very far advanced. The connecting tissue among the disparate militia groups, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-abortion activists, right-wing patriot organizations, Second Amendment advocates, neo-Confederates and Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 is this frightening Christian fascism.
Fascists achieve power by creating parallel institutions — schools, universities, media platforms and paramilitary forces — and seizing the organs of internal security and the judiciary. They deform the law, including electoral law, to serve their ends. They are rarely in the majority. The Nazis never polled above 37 percent in free elections in Germany. Christian fascists constitute less than a third of the U.S. electorate, about the same percentage of those who consider abortion to be murder.
This flagrant manipulation of law was displayed in two of the most recent Supreme Court decisions, where those who support this ideology have a 5-to-3 majority, with the less extremist Chief Justice John Roberts often adding a sixth vote. In overturning Roe v. Wade, the court, in a five to four decision, argued that states have the power to decide whether abortion is legal. The same court conversely came down against “states’ rights,” in striking down strict restrictions on carrying concealed firearms.
What the ideology demands is law. What the ideology opposes is a crime. Once a legal system is subservient to dogma an open society is impossible.
Blow-by-blow autocratic power is being solidified by this monstrous Christian fascism which is bankrolled by the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism. It looks set to take control of the U.S. Congress in the midterm elections. If former President Donald Trump, or a Trump-like clone, is elected in 2024, what is left of our democracy will likely be extinguished.
The Society They Intend to Create
These Christians fascists are clear about the society they intend to create.
In their ideal America, our “secular humanist” society based on science and reason will be destroyed. The Ten Commandments will form the basis of the legal system. Creationism or “Intelligent Design” will be taught in public schools, many of which will be overtly “Christian.” Those branded as social deviants, including the LGBTQ community, immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims, criminals, and those dismissed as “nominal Christians” — meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of Bible —will be silenced, imprisoned, or killed.
The role of the federal government will be reduced to protecting property rights, “homeland” security and waging war. Most government assistance programs and federal departments, including education, will be terminated. Church organizations will be funded and empowered to run social-welfare agencies and schools.
“The role of the federal government will be reduced to protecting property rights, ‘homeland’ security and waging war.”
The poor, condemned for sloth, indolence, and sinfulness, will be denied help. The death penalty will be expanded to include “moral crimes,” including apostasy, blasphemy, sodomy and witchcraft, as well as abortion, which will be treated as murder.
Women, denied contraception, access to abortion, and equality under the law, will be subordinate to men. Those who practice other faiths will become, at best, second-class citizens. The wars waged by the American empire will be defined as religious crusades. Victims of police violence and those in prison will have no redress. There will be no separation of church and state. The only legitimate voices in public discourse and the media will be “Christian.” America will be sacralized as an agent of God. Those who defy the “Christian” authorities, at home and abroad, will be condemned as agents of Satan.
How did the historians of Weimar Germany and Nazism, the professors of Holocaust studies, the sociologists and the religious scholars manage to miss the rise of our homegrown Christian fascism?
Immersed in the writings of Hannah Arendt, Raul Hilberg, Saul Friedländer, Joachim Fest, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Theodor Adorno, they never connected the dots.
Why didn’t church leaders thunder in denunciation at the grotesque perversion of the Gospel by the Christian fascists as they sacralized the get-rich-with-Jesus schemes of the prosperity gospel, imperialism, militarism, capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and other forms of bigotry? Why didn’t reporters see the flashing red lights that lit up decades ago?
Most of those tasked with reporting on and interpreting history, social movements and religious beliefs have failed us. They spoke about the past, vowing “never again,” but refused to use the lessons of the past to explain the present. It was not ignorance. It was cowardice.
To confront the Christian fascists, even in universities, meant career-canceling accusations of religious bigotry and intolerance. It meant credible threats of violence from conspiracy theorists who believed they were called by God to murder abortion providers, Muslims and “secular humanists.”
“Most of those tasked with reporting on and interpreting history, social movements and religious beliefs have failed us.”
It was easier, as many academics did in Weimar Germany, to believe that the fascists did not mean what they said, that there were strains within the movement that could be reasoned with, that opening channels of dialogue and communication could see the fascists domesticated, that if in power the fascists would not act on their extremist and violent rhetoric. With few exceptions, German academics did not protest the Nazi assumption of power and the wholesale dismissal of their liberal, socialist and Jewish colleagues.
Although my book was a New York Times best seller, Harvard told my publisher it was not interested in my appearing at the school. I gave a lecture on the book at Colgate University, where I had earned my undergraduate degree, organized by my mentor Coleman Brown, a professor of ethics. I held a seminar, also organized by Coleman, with the professors of philosophy and religion after the talk. These professors wanted nothing to do with the critique. When we left the room, Coleman muttered, “the problem is they do not believe in heretics.”
I was asked in 2006 to speak at the inauguration of the LGBT center at Princeton University when I was the Anschutz distinguished fellow in American studies. To my dismay, the faculty facilitators had invited representatives from the right-wing Christian student group who see any deviation from heterosexuality as a psychological and moral abnormality. Christian fascist pastors in Texas and Idaho, who have driven countless young people struggling with their sexual identity to suicide, have called for the execution of gay people as recently as a few days ago.
“There is no dialogue with those who deny your legitimate right to be,” I said, looking pointedly at the LGBTQ students. “At that point it is a fight for survival.”
The faculty member organizing the event leapt from her chair.
“This is a university,” she said to me curtly. “Your talk is over. You can’t say those kinds of things here.”
I sat down. But I had made my point.
All those tasked in our society with interpreting the world around us forgot, as philosopher Karl Popper wrote in The Open Society and Its Enemies, that
“unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”
These scholars, writers, intellectuals, and journalists, like those in Weimar Germany, bear much of the blame. They preferred accommodation over confrontation. They stood by as the working class was stripped of rights and impoverished by the billionaire class, fertilizing the ground for an American fascism.
Those who orchestrated the economic, political, and social assault are the major donors to the universities. They control trustee boards, grants, academic prizes, think tanks, promotion, publishing and tenure.
Academics, looking for an exit, ignored the attacks by the ruling oligarchy. They ascribed to the Christian fascists, bankrolled by huge corporations such as Tyson Foods, Purdue, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Warehouse, attributes that did not exist. They tacitly gave the Christian fascists religious legitimacy. These Christian fascists are an updated version of the so-called German Christian Church, or Deutsche Christen, which fused the iconography and symbols of the Christian religion with the Nazi party.
The theologian Paul Tillich, the first non-Jewish German professor to be blacklisted from German universities by the Nazis, angrily chastised those who refused to fight “the paganism of the swastika” and retreated into a myopic preoccupation with personal piety.
Victor Klemperer, stripped of his position as a professor of Romance languages at the Technical University of Dresden when the Nazis came to power in 1933 because he was Jewish, mused in his diary in 1936 what he would do in post-Nazi Germany if “the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands.” He wrote that he would
“let all the ordinary folk go and even some of the leaders … But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lamp posts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.”
Fascists promise moral renewal, a return to a lost golden age. They use campaigns of moral purity to justify state repression. Adolf Hitler, days after he took power in January 1933, imposed a ban on all homosexual organizations. He ordered raids on homosexual clubs and bars, including the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, and the permanent exile of its director, Magnus Hirschfeld. Thousands of volumes from the institute’s library were tossed into a bonfire. This “moral cleansing” was cheered on by the German public, including German churches. But the tactics, outside the law, swiftly legitimized what would soon be done to others.
I studied at Harvard with theologian James Luther Adams. Adams was a member of the underground anti-Nazi Confessing Church in Germany led by the Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller. Adams was arrested in 1936 by the Gestapo and expelled from the country. He was one of the very few to see the deadly strains of fascism in the nascent Christian right.
“When you are my age,” he told us (he was then 80), “you will all be fighting the Christian fascists.”
And here we are.
The billionaire class, while sometimes socially liberal, dispossessed working men and women through deindustrialization, austerity, a legalized tax boycott, looting the U.S. Treasury and deregulation. It triggered the widespread despair and rage that pushed many of the betrayed into the arms of these con artists and demagogues. It is more than willing to accommodate the Christian fascists, even if it means abandoning the liberal veneer of inclusiveness. It has no intention of supporting social equality, which is why it thwarted the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In the end, even the liberal class will choose fascism over empowering the left-wing and organized labor. The only thing the ruling oligarchy truly cares about is unfettered exploitation and profit. They, like the industrialists in Nazi Germany, will happily make an alliance with the Christian fascists, no matter how bizarre and buffoonish, and embrace the blood sacrifices of the condemned.
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR. He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”
Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”
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“A calabash w/holes cannot be filled”
It’s a freak show, “The Republicans In the Womb;” AND, The ELEPHANT In the ROOM: 118 Days since POTUS’ “PRESSER,” so, POTUS goes one-on-one w/Hollywood’s JIMMY KIMMEL:
– “Turn on the television — turn on — no, I’m serious!”
– “No, I’m serious, you turn on the TV, look at the ads, when’s the last time you saw biracial couples on TV? When’s the last time you saw the way — I mean, people are selling products — they do ads to sell products. And they sell products when people — they appeal to people.” Joe Robinette Biden
Imo, Kimmel coulda, shoulda “tested” JOE ROBINETTE BIDEN’S mental acuity, i.e., “Mr. President, WHAT Year is it? W/all due respect, YOUR Vice President & SCOTUS pick, when coupled w/their husband, are what YOU call “biracial couples.“
Granted, “the heart is a marketplace;” but, Biden’s take-away is warped. “Get on board, old man,” We’re @ “It’s ONE Race. The HUMAN Race.” We don’t give a flock what f/color your skin is!!!
IMO, “We the People” have been Bamboozled, Big Time, by the SCOTUS, the Oligarchs, The Gerontocracy, the Democrats, the Republicans, “the Progressives.” The “flagrant manipulation” of “our” psyche is criminal! “Our” human spirit, Zapped!!!
– Imo, there is NOTHING progressive about Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Talib, Pressley, Cori Bush, Jamal Bowman, Bernie $anders. “Squawk, squawk, squawk about HER all night tawk about HER, ” JANUARY 5, 2021, rolls up; AND,
– The SQUAD gifts HER “Nancy,” a “4th TERM $peakership.” Nancy needed 214 votes; Nancy “GOT” 216 of the 221 Democrats who were present.
– “In addition to Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats Reelected, in its entirety, the previous Democrats, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn; &, in the Senate, Charles Schumer”
– Always Remember, “AOC” straight-up Refused To Call For The Release of Julian Assange, “There are considerations and concerns around Assange, to just be completely frank.” (AOFC)
– AOC, the same person “who called [the late US senator and notorious war hawk] John McCain an ‘unparalleled example of human decency and American service.’”
– Imo, that independent, hot-air factory, from Vermont, is a “psychological and moral abnormality.” Bernie Sanders IS a “Company Man.” Hence, Bernie was with HER, Hillary Clinton, in 2016. In 2020, Bernie demanded that his Revolution (The Berners) Vote for Biden. Seconded by Ocasio-Cortez & HER fellow “progressives” Omar, Talib, Pressley, Cori Bush, Jamal Bowman, the DSA, pseudo-lefties.
“When you are my age,” he told us (he was then 80), “you will all be fighting the Christian fascists;” “AND, HERE WE ARE.” JAMES LUTHER ADAMS, Theologian
Imo, in The Divided $tates of Corporate America, “This IS what happens when YOU order a President (Biden-Harris) through the U.S. Mail.” Prepare for the worst for there seems to be NO Brakes, NO Reverse. It’s a Runaway train, on the wrong f/track, headed in the wrong f/direction. “Prepare for the Worst.”
TY, Chris Hedges, for keeping US grounded, real & most f/importantly, “in the loop.” Keep it Lit!!!
Why would a sober Gay couple apply to a Catholic Social Services agency to adopt kids in the first place if not to provoke a confrontation?
I voted for Trump on anti-war grounds. Largely because Woke Fascism is a very serious threat to the world. Woke Fascists are allied with Neoconservatives and they practice extreme violence to achieve political ends, inspired by the same authoritarian moral narcissism you appear to ascribe to most of Christianity.
Please. January 6 was an entrapment case run by the intelligence community. They can’t stand the fact that they are failures at running countries. They know nothing about it. And they expect us to worship their yankee doodle ineptitude. I would rather worship at a deeply flawed Church with corruption issues than pray to the self-appointed gods of the intelligence agencies who manufactured January 6 like gifted Tik-Tok pornographers.
It is they who will strike again in the coming election. I expect you will find linking the church to that coming horror a trifle difficult.
“Why would a sober Gay couple apply to a Catholic Social Services agency to adopt kids in the first place if not to provoke a confrontation?”
You are very quick to pass judgment, and you seem to get some smug satisfaction in doing so. I think a gay couple might really want to adopt kids.
If a social services agency receives any taxpayer money to perform its services, then somebody wanting to make use of its services should have a right to expect to not be discriminated against because of the agency’s religious beliefs or for any other reason. The Supreme Court was wrong to decide otherwise.
Not everything you dislike is thereby ‘fascist.’ Fascism is a peculiarly modern phenomenon, it is not the same as the resurrection of tradition, and definitely not the resurrection of Christian tradition. Its German variant was, in fact, precisely the rejection of that tradition, its replacement by a hybrid pre-Christian paganism and the Nietzschean technocratic Ubermensch. Or perhaps Hedges finds Nietzsche a Christian fundamentalist?
By the logic of this sort of hysteria, the U.S., prior to 1973, was ‘fascist.’ Speaking for myself, I preferred the U.S. of 1972, deeply flawed though it was.
A big part of the left is becoming ever more tedious.
The Nazi leaders where all cathlics. Their version of paganism was the version taught by the cathlic church. They used it to create a german identity. Germany was not a united country up until the mid 19th century. But it was a christian faschist kingdom for about a thousand years called the holy roman empire of german nations. Today we might call it a caliphate.
What I found over-the-top objectionable in the aftermath of the Scotus decision on abortion was Justice Clarence Thomas’ assertion that the right wing “religious” movement has a number of additional objectives remaining in its agenda which he personally favors. Most shockingly he mused on the notion of making contraception illegal! This should be cause for his recusal on any such cases that may ever come before the court. All judges, especially supreme court justices, should not carry any announced prejudices or societal objectives into court proceedings. They must at least cultivate the appearance of being unbiased and having an open mind on whatever the legal issue at hand, to consider and make any judgement based only upon the evidence presented before it. A commonplace juror would never be seated if he or she suggested such an a priori bias and would be immediately dispatched via a pre-emptory challenge. The judge explains this at great length to the entire jury pool. At least that was the protocol when I served on juries in two different states.
The court, of course, has always had biases but they were to be kept hidden not broadcast far and wide as Thomas is presently doing. The least a justice owes to our legal system is to listen to the evidence before engaging in a rational examination and discussion of it, at which time all the innate biases might inevitably surface. But the process should never start with the verdict. The court does not have any constitutional role in formulating national policy or writing legislation on anything. For any subset of the justices to organise as a movement for social change disqualifies them from their main task: to rule on the validity of laws enacted by congress and signed by the president under the constitution of this country. It is by its very nature a totally reactive entity, not a proactive one under any circumstances. Picking presidents also does not fall under its purview, a fact unfortunately overlooked until too late on at least one occasion.
We can expect there will always individuals who have these extreme views. When they hold positions and speak like this, it is much more serious. When it goes unchallenged in the courts, we are in trouble.
Fortunately I live in England and we have laws about this sort of thing.
What come back is there for gay Texans? They are entitled to the protection the law.
It seems, Mr. Hedges, you are right.
Sorry the attachment didn’t attach
Incitement to murder is a criminal act. The fellow should be prosecuted.
And the so called “Democratic Party” that should have been leading the opposition to this growing fascism is too busy. It’s been preoccupied with starting a new Cold War and feeding its wealthy donors as its own neodem insanity has grown to rival and even surpass the neocon insanity of the GOP.
The American public has long been trained to expect nothing, and that is exactly what it gets. Instead, it has embraced “the lesser of two evils (LOTE)” voting. What is overlooked is that every time you vote “DP” as the LOTE, the “DP” becomes more corrupt. Reward the “DP’s” abhorrent behavior with wasted votes, vain hopes and support, and each time it gets worse until you reach our current situation where there is no valid political opposition, nowhere to run to oppose the organized movement of Christian fascists, whatsoever. So, yes, it could be game over. We have arrived here step by step carried forward by a cowardly, docile public that has forgone any responsibility for their own government. Democracy was lost when the public abandoned its responsibility to oversee their government and what it does in their name.
The GOP is what it is. It does not pretend to be anything different. In contrast, the “DP” pretends to be progressive and thus acts like a fifth column that dissipates any progressive change. Of the two, the “DP” is worse. After all, any actual change from the suicidal status quo will not come from either political party, that is the vainest of all hopes, but from the streets. Want to oppose the takeover of Christian fascists? Ditch the “DP” and start something new from the street up. Depending on the “DP” is simply nailing your own coffin shut.
If a rational “DP” base had dumped the “DP” in 2016 when its criminally corrupt leadership fucked them, or if the base had actually demanded reform, transparency and change, we might almost be there. Now, it’s just more of the same, and time, which will be strictly enforced by global warming and climate change, is now up. Running Biden was the death knell.
And beyond the borders of America, the most important and perhaps finally growing understanding is that there can be no peace in the world under American rule (check out the last 30+ years), irregardless of political party. Allowing Washington to run amok in the world is in particular the responsibility of the “DP” base which is docile and credulous unto despair and may end the great “American experiment” completely. Hell of a job…
I wonder if the “DP” will try to run Obama again in ’26. Of course, he was the beginning of the current Ukrainian war (Maidan, 2014) which, on the bright side, may end America’s uni-polar reign and usher in a new era of the vital cooperation that we all need to survive, or, it may just end us all. In any case, I would not trust the current “DP,” or its credulous base, to clean my kitty’s litter box. I think the American public is about to reap what it has sown. We’ll see where we go from here. More of the same..? Good luck with that.
The US is finished and it’s not because it’s “Christian Fascism,” but the work of the those who financed Jeffrey Epstein’s child rape network, covered up their crimes and the crimes of thousands of their associates against kids globally, the same people who gave (Subway) Jared Fogle a slap on the wrist for his crimes against kids, same people who allow Roman Polanski to get away with his crime against kids, that gave Anthony Weiner a slap on the wrist, that gave Harvey Weinstein a slap on the wrist (vs the severity of his crimes), and so on and so forth. What else do Epstein, Fogle, Polanski, Weiner, Weinstein and so many other Hollywood celebs and media celebrities accused of heinous crimes, but get off pretty light have in common? Are these light prison sentences for sex crimes against Christian and Muslim (in Palestine) kids the work of “Christian fascists?” These light sentences were given despite the fact there was overwhelming evidence against the criminals. How many more crimes have been covered up?
It is a fictional narrative, that one is propagandized and conditioned into accepting and believing, often since one is very young, that the so-called “Ten Commandments” were given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. And the same is true about the idea that the Bible is the “inspired Word of God”.
At least one of the “Ten Commandments” is wrong, namely the commandment to “honor your father and mother”, which in the biblical text is unconditional and makes no exceptions if one’s parents are abusive or otherwise not deserving of honor. It is wrong to tell somebody with abusive parents that that person has a duty to honor such parents.
If anything there should be a commandment to parents to treat their children with dignity and respect, so that they (the children) might come to treat themselves and others with dignity and respect. And another commandment to parents to earn and be worthy of the love, honor, and respect of their children.
Really the commandment serves and benefits and gives legitimacy to abusive, narcissistic, or just plain bad parents. I do not see that it serves any need for good parents.
Any bad parent can invoke the commandment when they are displeased or offended by something the child says or does, and say that an affront to one’s parents is an affront to God. This does not necessarily even have to be something the child says or does that is really wrong. The commandment provides a cheap and easy way for a parent to shame one’s children in order to get their way, or to avoid dealing with any issues the parent might have, or just to have power over one’s children. A good parent or one with any self-respect will NEVER want to invoke the commandment or to say or imply that an affront to one’s parents is an affront to God. A good parent would handle any affront or offense or displeasure without any need to bring in God or any alleged commandment from God.
And a child who learns from a very young age not to displease or offend or question one’s parents, under threat of punishment, physical or otherwise, will later be afraid to question other authorities (religious, political, or otherwise) later in life. Such indoctrination and such fear very obviously benefit any religious fascists.
There’s nothing fascist about letting religious organizations act in accordance with their religious beliefs. In fact, government denial of such rights would constitute a form of intolerance expected of a fascist regime.
Fine, “act in accordance with (your) religious beliefs. Just act on these beliefs within your own circle, among people who share your fantasies. The “fascist” part exhibits its ugly head when you want to dominate those who don’t share the fantasy.
Religious freedom fundamentally means that anyone can believe and live as they choose, as long as they do not harm others. Religious organizations have no right to impose their beliefs or their rules on those who do not adhere to their religion.
Religious organizations that receive money from the government, i.e. ultimately from taxpayers, have no right to discriminate based on their religious beliefs. It is wrong to make taxpayers pay for discrimination, whether such discrimination is done in the name of religion or otherwise.
And the “ministerial exception”, which means that some religious organizations can hire and fire their ministers as they choose, does not give these organizations the license to discriminate against employees whose jobs are not religious in nature or who may not even share the beliefs of the organization.
See the web site of Americans United for Separation of Church and State:
In early America, the Catholic Pope was the much-despised exemplar of arbitrary, tyrannical authority. And now five Roman Catholics have converted SCOTUS into a Star Chamber to dictate religious morality instead of interpreting law.
Kruse’s study “One Nation Under God” (Basic Books, 2015) documents how the myth of “Christian America” was constructed by corporate interests in the Depression, to marshal public opposition to FDR’s allegedly communistic New Deal. It has since been forgotten that America’s historic appeal was as much the promise of freedom from religion as freedom of religion.
And there is this, that in a June 21, 1933 memorandum of understanding addressed to the new government, the main German Zionist organization, the Zionist Federation of Germany, characterized Hitler’s revolution as “the rebirth of the national life of a people, which is now occurring in Germany through the emphasis on its Christian and national character…” Before he fell out of favor with the regime, Niemöller himself, campaigning in the 1933 general election, described the NSDAP platform as a “renewal movement based on a Christian moral foundation”. Pope Pius XI, however, in his 1936 Encyclical “Mit Brendenner Sorge” claimed the regime was anti-Christian but in fact Bavarian authorities had uncovered an extensive pedophile ring in 1935, indicting several hundred prominent Catholic clergy and laity. And Hitler himself frequently mentioned in his speeches the Biblical tale of driving the moneychangers from the temple, which he said inspired him how to treat Jews – harshly.
The predominance of description about the fascist effort to “cleanse” human civilization, notably in the nation of the “shining city,” should not be left to the irruptions of the (ir)religious right. There needs be a closer history of the gain of function of fascist ideology and USG tentacles,which, though not absent, are not sufficiently revealed to make the monstrous depiction of Ukraine as a bastion of democracy, deserving the weight of US moral fervor (read, billions of dollars) against the “godless” “communists,” the blatant apostasy that it is. It is certainly in the purview of Chris Hedges to extend and compound the oncoming reign of terror such twisted crusades will bring, as the roots of finance capitalism spring up their legions bent on exacting firm belief.
Well, well, well. Here’s an update:
Chris — Watch out you don’t propose a solution that’s part of the problem. Science and reason currently support a materialistic worldview, but we need science to get behind a worldview where evidence-based reason meets deep inner knowing. Instead of worship of the dollar as the basis for a healthy society we need to acquire a spiritual or transpersonal worldview, where science takes a leap in support of us being one interconnected humanity where we would care about each other as much as we care about ourselves. That’s the crisis as opportunity idea, and we are so up against the wall, where this interconnected world is vulnerable to a wipe-out of humanity that could happen by accident as well as by intention, that it’s urgent to get beyond the oppositional reality we are in.
In many ways Suzanne , humanity seems hard wired to spirituality.
Max Planck the great quantum scientist , said consciousness is intrinsic to the universe. This means it is not a creation of the biological brain. Buddhism is only one of a number of systems which envisage a universal consciousness which we can access through meditation and prayer. As you put it, ‘deep inner knowing’.
The Bible is a number of books written by unknown authors . Parts of them are inspirational, but much is a fictional theological work , using real places as part of religious teaching. Jesus was an inspired teacher but the core of his message is common to a number of spiritual movements.
I would argue there is good reasons to support metaphysical views -a reality beyond the material world. After death communication, near death experiences, shamanistic experience, deep meditational states and past life memories all contribute.
In the US Jeffrey Mishlove’s New thinking Allowed gives access to a number of interviews on these topics.
Thank you for sharing your brilliant understandings even as they become ever more needed and sadly ignored.
I say we learn from parallel institution formation idea you expressed so well. My thinking is there are more like 17% who are rightwing totalitarian committed to religious military capitalist statism. That number appeared in the roster of the Chilean constituent assembly, allied with oligarchy. This number and alliance also also appeared in Bolivia post coup election to oust the coupsters.
Even if this faction is above a committed 17% in the US, Your logic shines brighter with each new article even as doom envelops dimwits.
Have you seen anywhere the successful energy of Chile’s organic structure finally expressed as an oligarch-free government? I haven’t. You have traveled more. Mexico, Honduras and Columbia have weighed in on on the side of fairness and justice after long years of oppression. Can we avoid that?
Are you aware that our sun sings in the key of C? Imagine biology expressed as quarky behavior creating new beings. Biology dates to before the first sun was born. That is the power of democracy among us.
Communication age biology with a will to survive; junk your tv. Ask people what kind of world has a society that leaves Earth richer and healthier with each passing generation. Maybe none to very few automobiles. We will have medicines, schools, and a space program. Population will be declining gently. There will be music.
President Putin will have recently passed the reigns to President elect Sergey Lavrov, former minister of foreign affairs. President Lavrov is a cagey dad with a very intelligent daughter. He appoints here to create and staff a department that holds intelligent beauty pageants in the US. Are you tired of being tired of idiots at the central planning department telling you how to live? Earn an airplane ticket to dual Russian citizenship and bodily freedom; Sign up for our Ms, Miss, and Mrs intelligent beauty contests. Some say the intelligent part of the test is tougher than you might think.
Very terrifying, but those of us who think it would be like ” A Handmaid’s Tale’ and that we would become like Gilead, are, I believe mistaken. They would use the terrifying power of our military to first destroy all foreign enemies, but would not stop until the entire planet was gone. I believe they are driven by unconscious desire to not exist in any form, so that it could never, ever be realized, until much too late, that these fascists are the exact opposite of every good person who has ever taken a breathe of life.
It is not the Ten Commandments that will form the new system — it is those ten that have made life liveable until now.
It is the abuse and destruction of the vernacular that makes up the new system.
The right, the moneyed class, the legislators who have bamboozeled the law-abiding majority.
Fascism s the product of consumerism, itself a product of propagand.
Keep writing …
On the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade I watched a generally excellent progressive news program – which has frequently had Chris Hedges on – and was puzzled by the absence of the Christian Right in the discussion of the Courts ruling. Even the comments seemed to overlook the driving force behind this dismal decision. One of the greatest assets of this toxic movement has been a reluctance on the part of liberals and progressives – Christian and otherwise – to openly confront and challenge it. In this era of craven concern about appearing intolerant the Left [with and without scare quotes] has far too often been a defacto Trojan horse for Christian fascism. Unlimited tolerance can and does fuel the forces of intolerance.
Now, give me the ‘others’ the liberal theology/philosophy side who wish to have the ideas this side opposes! I paid for a year to read you, so give me your balance…if you have any.
An attack on civility, free speech and tolerance by an “enemy of fascism” … goodness, with defenders like these, liberal democracy needs no enemies.
Has it occurred to the author that it’s the very intolerance of the modern liberal that gives fuel to whom he feels are the religious fascists? That quasi-religious faith in the rightness of the liberal position (and thus the intolerance for any dissenting points of view exhibited by the more woke than thou class), gives rise to its natural enemy of traditional right?
Spot on. I do not understand how one can go on about this right wing fascism and not acknowledge the current cultural intolerance of the left, the election discrepancies caused by the left, the woke cancelations of anybody not agreeing with the left. The left has gone far enough to start changing historical texts, monuments and any other form of historical information to suit their narrative. How is that not fascism?
The way I see it, one stokes the flames of the other. They are both equally oppressive and dangerous. The problem is not the left or the right, the problem is economic inequality between classes that breeds extremism of all spectrums.
The religious fascists existed long before the modern liberal. They were headed in this direction and with this agenda regardless of if “wokism” ever became a thing. While it’s true that the fake-left identity-obsessed “woke” activists are playing into the hands of the rightwing, they have no muscle nor any real power within the federal government. Certainly the modern Democrats pay lip-service to their concerns and even pass controversial legislation in their favor in certain areas, but it has no impact on actual power. The neofascist contingent of the country has pervaded and dominate the military, the police forces, intelligence, corporate America and now the Supreme Court. Where does an authentic left hold any real power at the federal level? Nowhere. The current administration is hardly a “far-left radical” administration, as so many on the right keep yelling. With the exception of identity-laced tokenism/window-dressing policy, there is nothing “leftist” about Biden or his administration.
You are right of course that the true powers of this country, the 0.1% who rule through their selected (and then our elected) representatives, are not any part of a “true left” … how could they be? True left is the antithesis of their position.
However, they are also not any part of a “true right”, the old conservative “leave me alone” guns and bible right that Trump tapped into so skillfully and has been painted as the bogeyman of the liberal.
The masters are an international, totally amoral, neoliberal (fake woke) body that rules by dividing the people against each other. They LOVE it when they see articles like the above, one more chaos brick left on the ground for someone to pick up and throw. What they absolutely HATE is calm, reasoned, debate, civility, real free speech, real privacy, and tolerance for real diversity (not one of fake constructs like race or gender, but a diversity of thought).