Monday, November 5, 2012
Christian Fascism Threatens the U.S.
Fascism is defined thusly: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
Notice the word, "typically." That word opens the door for variations on the theme. German fascism under Hitler in the 1930s was different from Italian fascism under Mussolini, or Spanish fascism under Franco.
Today, in the United States, we are seeing a broad and well-funded movement toward our own specific type of fascism which agrees with the above definition but adds a component ever more dangerous - religion.
It is fascinating to observe that the Roman Catholic Church has combined with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Protestant fundamentalists - some being independent, others connected to the Southern Baptist Convention or the Presbyterian Church, USA, or other conservative/fundamentalist denominations, to form a coalition in order to elect a president other than Mr. Obama. It has less to do with liking Mr. Romney or believing Mr. Romney has the ability to be a good president, than it has to do with the fact Mr. Obama is black and a Democrat and they cannot push him around or force him to change his political stance to suit their desires.
Fifty years ago in the United States, the Protestant majority was appalled at the thought of a Roman Catholic president. A Mormon presidency would have been utterly impossible by any stretch of the imagination. Mormons were and are, as described even today by most Southern Baptists and Billy Graham, a cult. And the word, "cult," is not a positive description. Mormons were out of any mainstream. They were weird and believed weird things and their theology could not be called "Christian" by any stretch of the imagination.
Southern Baptists and fundamentalist Protestants fifty years ago had no use for the Roman Church. If anything they believed the Roman Church to be of Satan and a blot on Christendom and the antithesis of what the Christian church should look like.
They still believe that! Not only so, but Roman Catholics and fundamentalist Protestants still believe that Mormonism is a cult of the devil and is not only not Christian, but anti-Christian. You cannot make me believe that millions of people identifying as Catholic or fundamentalist Protestants have suddenly make a major, earth-shaking reversal in how they view the Mormon organization in just a few months!
The Roman Church has insisted throughout its history that Protestants were doomed to spend eternity in hell. Their cry was always "No salvation except through the Catholic Church!" Protestants, especially the fundamentalists, were just as adamant with their beliefs: Catholics will burn in hell forever and ever for they have paganized the Christian faith with their saints and candles and crazy beliefs such as that the cracker and wine change physically into the body and blood of Christ when the priest says the magic words in the mass.
Both of these groups thought the Latter Day Saints were so far beyond hope that it wasn't worth much discussion. After all, what sane person could possibly accept the Book of Mormon? Who could stifle reason to conclude that an uneducated character named Joseph Smith "discovered" some gold tablets on a hillside (which no one else ever saw) and that these tablets were the word of God, telling how some Jews ended up in the area known as the United States and that that's where Jesus would return to earth to establish his kingdom?
Every group thought the other groups believed nonsense and were outside the pale of salvation.
So what happened? These disparate groups have coalesced for several reasons. One, they dislike Barack Obama. A great deal of this dislike is racist in nature. White fundamentalists in the southern part of the U.S. still have large pockets of people who dislike blacks, who would like to redo the Civil War and enslave blacks once again. The Mormon church disallowed blacks into the priesthood or full membership in the Mormon organization until relatively recently. While you might not find such overt racism in the Roman church, you would certainly find it among Catholics in the south.
There is a distinctive feeling "out there" that a black person should not be president or is, by virtue of his color, unqualified to be president.
Secondly, there remains a fear of "Communism" in this country, although many, if not most people, could not even define the term. But "Communism" becomes significant because it is seen as anti-religious, or even anti-Christian, in spite of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church survived the worst of Communism as it developed in the Soviet Union. The extreme right in the United States, controlled to a large extent by large corporate entities (Koch Brothers) and church leaders have used this fear of Communism to great effect, portraying President Obama as either a Communist, a Marxist or just a plain dupe who is used by the Marxists to instigate their plan to take over the country.
Thirdly, all three of these religious entities share some common beliefs relative to abortion, birth control, separation of church and state, etc. The Republican Party has become an extreme right party which has adopted extreme views on all of these issues. Thus, members of the various religions have common ground on which to stand - the Republican Party - against a president who they have been taught to perceive is anti-religious and anti-democratic.
Paul Ryan is one of the most vicious liars ever to run as a vice president in either party. Ryan is a Roman Catholic although his beliefs owe more to Ayn Rand than the Pope! According to the Huffington Post, Ryan, yesterday evening, "in a town hall-style call, warned social conservatives "that 'Judeo-Christian' values were at risk if President Barack Obama is reelected.
"'This is a huge election,' said Ryan. 'Please know that Mitt Romney and I understand the stakes. We understand the stakes of where this country is headed. We understand the stakes of our fundamental freedoms being on the line, like religious freedom -- such as how they're being compromised in Obamacare.'"
Then he said "that Obama's vision was 'a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty and compromises those values -- those Judeo-Christian, Western civilization values that made us a great and exceptional nation in the first place.'"
You can see how Ryan is playing to the fears of the hoi polloi. Barack Obama is a Christian. He is a believer. He is a far better Christian than Paul Ryan will ever be! But that's all beside the point. This is not a Christian nation and we're not electing a pope!
Everything Ryan said in that speech is a lie! Everything!
But what is happening is not so obvious to people who believe the crap that spews from the mouths of Republicans in this election.
Today, November 4, Sarah Palin finally got around to "endorsing" Mitt Romney. Why did it take her so long? Well, no one knows how Palin's mind works, or if it works at all. But we do know that she is an ultra-conservative Christian fundamentalist extremist who was, a few years ago, anointed to become the Christian president who would usher in a new Christian government in which the Bible as interpreted by her confederates in an international Pentecostal coalition would become the basis for our law.
Sarah Palin, as a Christian, must choke on the fact that a Mormon might actually become president.
But she, as many other extreme right Christianists, has made her peace with that fact because Romney is more likely than Obama to carry out the Christian extremist agenda and perhaps even pave the way for a "true" Christian president in the future.
All of this is brewing and fomenting in our country as we head to the polls. There is a monumental push to break down the wall of separation between church and state. Religious groups, Christian or otherwise, are forbidden by law to endorse candidates for public office. Partisan political activity threatens their tax-exempt status.
Unfortunately, nobody seems to care much anymore. The IRS, it seems, has given up on enforcing the law! Again from the Huffington Post: "...[A]ttorneys who specialize in tax law for religious purposes, as well as advocacy groups who monitor the cases, say they know of no IRS inquiries in the past three years into claims of partisanship by houses of worship..."
Which means that churches now feel they can do whatever they wish without fear. Even Billy Graham and his Association has taken out full-page ads in newspapers around the country telling people, not who to vote for, but to vote for the one who promises to best keep extremist promises relative to abortion, contraception, church/state separation, etc. Which means Romney, wink, wink!
Megachurch pastors have often bent this law and now are emboldened to state from the pulpit who their parishioners should vote for.
None of this bodes well for our democracy. Our democracy has been dramatically weakened in this election cycle by the infusion of dirty money from groups with an extremist agenda hidden from public view. We know that in our country, state and business leaders have come together and monies from the latter to the former have paved the way for laws to be written which favor, not the people, but the corporations. The oligarchy has so much power in hand that a dictatorship of the extreme right is not only possible but probable or may have already taken place and remains hidden until its power is concentrated to the extent it cannot be struck down.
The extremist religious groups are joining hands with this budding dictatorship for their own purposes.
It may all fall apart under the stress of conflicting needs and desires, but there's always the chance (as we have seen) that the various parties will be able to join to rule if they are given enough incentive...thus the dictatorship of the extreme right [purchased with secret/dirty money] will rule (indeed their rule may be validated tomorrow!) and strengthen its power by allowing the extremist religious coalition to achieve their social and religious goals.
Then, my friends, we will have become officially a Christian fascist country!