Monday, July 24, 2017

The Return To Salem

A large portion of Donald Trump's supporters, Chris Hedges writes, are Christian fascists. The data suggests that 81 percent of white evangelicals support him. And he has been delivering for them:

Trump’s moves to restrict abortion, defund Planned Parenthood, permit discrimination against LGBT people in the name of “religious liberty” and allow churches to become active in politics by gutting the Johnson Amendment, along with his nominations of judges championed by the Federalist Society and his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants, have endeared him to the Christian right. He has rolled back civil rights legislation and business and environmental regulations. He has elevated several stalwarts of the Christian right into power—Mike Pence to the vice presidency, Jeff Sessions to the Justice Department, Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Betsy DeVos to the Department of Education, Tom Price to Health and Human Services and Ben Carson to Housing and Urban Development. He embraces the white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, greed, religious intolerance, anger and racism that define the Christian right.

If it seems strange that folks who call themselves Christian support Trump, Hedges suggests that an examination of the movement and its leaders reveals  many similarities between Trump and his "Christian" supporters:

On the surface it appears to be incongruous that the Christian right would rally behind a slick New York real estate developer who is a very public serial philanderer and adulterer, has no regard for the truth, is consumed by greed, does not appear to read or know the Bible, routinely defrauds and cheats his investors and contractors, expresses a crude misogyny and an even cruder narcissism and appears to yearn for despotism. In fact, these are the very characteristics that define most of the leaders of the Christian right. Trump has preyed on desperate people through the thousands of slot machines in his casinos, his sham university and his real estate deals. Megachurch pastors prey on their followers by extracting “seed offerings,” “love gifts,” tithes and donations and by selling miracle healings along with “prayer clothes,” self-help books, audio and video recordings and even protein shakes. Pastors have established within their megachurches, as Trump did in his businesses, despotic fiefdoms. They cannot be challenged or questioned any more than an omnipotent Trump could be challenged on the reality television show “The Apprentice.” And they seek to replicate their little tyrannies on a national scale, with white men in charge.

And what do they want?  They want to takeover the U.S. Government and promote what Hedges calls "an ideology of death:"

It promises that the secular, humanist society will be physically destroyed. The Ten Commandments will form the basis of our legal system. Creationism or “Intelligent Design” will be taught in public schools. People who are considered social deviants, including homosexuals, immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims, criminals and those dismissed as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace the Christian right’s perverted and heretical interpretation of the 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. Church organizations will be funded and empowered by the government to run social-welfare agencies. The poor, condemned for sloth, indolence and sinfulness, will be denied government assistance. 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 will be subordinate to men. Those who practice other faiths will become, at best, second-class citizens and eventually outcasts. The wars in the Middle East will be defined as religious crusades against Muslims. There will be no separation of church and state. The only legitimate voices will be “Christian.” America will become an agent of God. Those who defy the “Christian” authorities will be branded as agents of Satan. 

They want to return to Salem. And the longer Trump is in office, the more convinced they become that the return is just around the corner.

Image: You Tube


Anonymous said...

Y'all Qaeda's radical preachers have been preaching that the Bible's a book about abortion, guns, gov'mint and gays for a long time now. I've never understood how people who obviously flunked Sunday school ever became ordained.


Owen Gray said...

When I was a graduate student in North Carolina, Cap, I met fundamentalists who insisted that separation of the races was recommended in the Old Testament because Negroes were the descendants of Cain.

It all depends who ordains you.

Toby said...

Margaret Attwood nailed it with her Handmaid's Tale.

The Mound of Sound said...

Religious fundamentalism, whether Islamic, Christian, Judaic, Hindu or (as seen in recent years) even Buddhist is faith, what many consider fantasy, taken to a state of malignancy. It is fascist. All other faiths are apostate, enemies of the true faith and, for their affront, must be suppressed - or worse. Christian fundamentalists put up with Jews because their inerrant scripture describes a Jewish restoration of the Biblical state as a precondition to the second coming, their Rapture. Those Jews who stubbornly cling to the Hebraic faith, well the true, fundamentalist god will take care of them in his final cleansing purge.

Hedges book, "Christian Fascists," is a must-read for it lays out, in compelling detail, the raw evil that is Christian fundamentalism. When we've seen the effect of fundamentalism as it spreads within every faith it astonishes me that we tolerate its venom.

Sharia comes in a variety of flavours.

Owen Gray said...

She was remarkably prescient, Toby.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Mound. In 1944,John Thomas Flynn wrote:

But when fascism comes it will not be in the form of an anti-American movement or pro-Hitler bund, practicing disloyalty. Nor will it come in the form of a crusade against war. It will appear rather in the luminous robes of flaming patriotism; it will take some genuinely indigenous shape and color, and it will spread only because its leaders, who are not yet visible, will know how to locate the great springs of public opinion and desire and the streams of thought that flow from them and will know how to attract to their banners leaders who can command the support of the controlling minorities in American public life. The danger lies not so much in the would-be Fuhrers who may arise, but in the presence in our midst of certainly deeply running currents of hope and appetite and opinion. The war upon fascism must be begun there.

There are those who foresaw this moment.

Dana said...

Interesting that Flynn didn't write "If fascism comes...".

It's hard to pin down a time frame but there *is* going to be another shotting war between and among US citizens, of that I am convinced.

And the moderate, liberal side will lose this time. If indeed they even fight very much or very hard. They will talk a lot though.

Be prepared.

Owen Gray said...

That's a thought which offers no comfort, Dana. Our better angels are in retreat.