Monday, October 14, 2013

The Radical Christian Right

Chris Hedges writes that, if you want to understand what is presently playing out in Washington, you have to understand the Radical Christian Right. They know what they want -- and what they want is frightening:

There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and “Christian” America. Its public face is on display in the House of Representatives. This ideology, which is the driving force behind the shutdown of the government, calls for the eradication of social “deviants,” beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country. Once these “deviants” are removed, other “deviants,” including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible—will also be ruthlessly repressed. The “deviant” government bureaucrats, the “deviant” media, the “deviant” schools and the “deviant” churches, all agents of Satan, will be crushed or radically reformed. The rights of these “deviants” will be annulled. “Christian values” and “family values” will, in the new state, be propagated by all institutions. Education and social welfare will be handed over to the church. Facts and self-criticism will be replaced with relentless indoctrination.

Senator Ted Cruz's father is a radical right preacher and a director of Purifying International. He obviously has gone places since he left Calgary. He and his son espouse the notion of Dominionism, or Christian Reconstructionism:

This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.” It seeks to reduce government to organizing little more than defense, internal security and the protection of property rights. It fuses with the Christian religion the iconography and language of American imperialism and nationalism, along with the cruelest aspects of corporate capitalism. The intellectual and moral hollowness of the ideology, its flagrant distortion and misuse of the Bible, the contradictions that abound within it—its leaders champion small government and a large military, as if the military is not part of government—and its laughable pseudoscience are impervious to reason and fact. And that is why the movement is dangerous.

They are, indeed, dangerous. And, in Canada, they are Stephen Harper's most rabid supporters:

Dominionists believe they are engaged in an epic battle against the forces of Satan. They live in a binary world of black and white. They feel they are victims, surrounded by sinister groups bent on their destruction. They have anointed themselves as agents of God who alone know God’s will. They sanctify their rage. This rage lies at the center of the ideology.

They are 21st century Crusaders, who wish to re-establish The Holy Land. If that can't be done, they are convinced that we are in the End Times.

And we like to think that our prime ministers are rational men.


CK said...

I think it's time I started reading Marcy McDonald's book, "Armageddon..."

Steve harper, hisself, belongs to 2 evangelical churches (one in Ottawa and the other, of course, on a compound somewhere in Calgary). Google them and you'll find out.

And then, while Harper cut funding to many NGOs, he put millions into religious institutions. Here's a short list of them.

This post is a few years old and I'm sure I would find many more since I posted that, but you will get an idea.

Know Harper's evangelical Christian ways. They're key to why Harper is so obsessed with Israel and believe it or not, Rich Jewish lobby groups are only a small part of that. It's because Evangelical Christians who are waiting for end times and believe they're coming soon, also believe that the "chosen people" (Jews) would all be assembled together in Israel when it happens.

Harper doesn't care about Jews themselves. Take a look at the make up of his so-called office of Religious Freedoms.

Also, another noteworthy point not too many people would know. Way back in winter 2011, before Harper called last election, Irwin Cotler held a town hall. When it came time for question period, most of the questions were more of folks "berating" Cotler for his being "anti-semitic" or not supporting Israel enough. He was heckled relentlessly by members of the Jewish community in attendance, until suddently, it was a woman's turn and before she turned to the mike, she turned to the hecklers and told them that their precious Harper had actually endorsed a man to sit on the executive of the Winnipeg Human Rights museum; a man who wanted to shrink the holocaust section of the museum. Apparently this woman used to be associated in some way with this museum.

And also remember that long before the cabinet shuffle, Diane Finley in her old post had said that social programs should all be moved to "charities" and emulate David Cameron's failed experiment, "Big Society".

I'm starting to see the ghost of Maurice Duplessis and his collusion with the Catholic Church during the Periode Noirceur.

As for those scientists, I'm starting to see visions of Galileo when he was forced to recant his findings to the ruling Catholic Church.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, CK. We've known for quite awhile that Harper is connected to the Christian Right.

We've just refused to look at the beliefs they espouse.

Edstock said...

Seventy years ago, Robert Heinlein wrote a novella about an American theocracy, "If This Goes On—", about the overthrow of Rev. Nehemiah Scudder. Part of his "Future History" series, RAH predicted a time of "Crazy Years", as fundamentalists and morons adjust to the future. So far, it seems rather prescient, IMHO.—

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Ed. It would appear that Heinlein's and Orwell's takes on the future were disturbingly accurate.

Lorne said...

Kind of makes me think that the Islamic radicals have something when they chant Death to the Great Satan", a.k.a. the U.S., Owen

Owen Gray said...

The trouble with true believers, Lorne -- of whatever stripe -- is their unshakable faith in who is unworthy.

The Mound of Sound said...

This echoes the theme of Hedges' "American Fascists." It is explored in Kevin Phillips 2005 book,"American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century." As CK points out, a Canadian perspective is offered in "The Armageddon Factor."

Religious fundamentalism - Christian, Islamic, Judaic, even Hindu - is malignant. It posits the faithful of other religions and non-believers alike as enemies of the True Faith.

Andrew Bacevich explores the disturbing union of the U.S. military, the military/industrial/commercial warfighting complex, the radical political rightwing and religious fundmentalists in his essential book, "The New American Militarism." There are general staff officers today, like Boykin, who are just fine with the idea of Holy War.

Those of us with an ingrain ed belief in religious tolerance are easy meat for these dangerous religious radicals.

Owen Gray said...

I've read the Bacevich book, Mound. It was impressive. Certainly, in the American military, there seem to be more than a few theocrats.

And our tendency to write them off as mere lunatics makes them very dangerous, because we tend to overlook the commitment to their mission.

e.a.f. said...

most of these "christian" right wingers are no different than the Taliban. Extremists just can't see anything beyond their own beliefs. it makes for a dangerous world. Whether they are muslin, christen, atheists, etc. they do the world little good. Their religion is hate.

Owen Gray said...

It's strange, e.a.f, that those who Garrison Keillor called the "sanctified brethren" can't see how they have distorted their founders' message.

And yet, Keillor said, they insist that they put the "fun" in fundamentalism.