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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Book Archive: Chris Hedges- 'American Fascists: The Radical Christian Right'


Source: The Book Archive- Chris Hedges, on the American Christian-Right.
"American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America is a non-fiction book by American author Chris Hedges, published in January 2007. Hedges is a former seminary student with a master's degree in divinity from Harvard and was a long-time foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He had previously criticized the Christian right in articles such as his cover story in the May 2005 issue of Harper's magazine called "Soldiers of Christ".

Hedges' title comes from a prediction by his Harvard ethics professor, James Luther Adams, who 25 years earlier had warned his students that they would all be fighting the "Christian fascists".[2] Hedges argues that this prediction has come true in that extreme forms of American Christianity now share many features with totalitarian movements, including suppression of individuality, a belief in magic, a shifting ideology, a "binary" good-or-evil view of the world, and a deep intolerance of people outside the movement. He writes that "Christian radicals" are often so consumed with power and wealth they are no longer practicing Christianity in its traditional sense, as a religion focused on compassion and caring for the downtrodden.

He contrasts the fundamentalist understanding with that of his own, where the Bible is recognized to have contradictory, and even hateful passages, and scientifically, is simply limited to what people knew at the time. For example, according to Hedges, Genesis was not written to explain the process of creation, of which these writers knew nothing. It was written to help explain the purpose of creation...to help us grasp a spiritual truth, not a scientific or historical fact. Hedges says that doubt and belief are not, as biblical literalists claim, incompatible and those who act without any doubt are frightening." 

From The Book Archive

It would be funny, if it weren't so tragic, when hypocrites who complain about big government, are in favor of incorporating the tenets of their religion in government rules to form their own version of big government. A Christian theocracy in the U.S. would be just as oppressive as the Muslim theocracy in Iran. Social freedom would be severely curtailed. Women and ethnic and racial minorities would be treated as second class citizens.  Homosexuals would be treated as criminals. 

The whole idea of America is that the people are in charge of their own lives and have the right to choose the social paths that they take without interference by government. 

Our nation's forefathers rebelled against the United Kingdom to escape high taxes, authoritarian rule, and government enforced religious dictates. Freedom of religion is part of our Constitution, the 1st Amendment thereof, so that Americans would have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to practice religion and which religion, if any, they would practice.

There cannot be any dictation  by the U.S. government on choice of  religion or practice of religious tenets.  The 1st Amendment is explicitly clear that government shall neither sponsor nor intrude upon the practice of a religion.  There is an explicit separation between religion and the State in America, regardless of  what the Christian Right, Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle or Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell says or thinks.

I'm troubled, and somewhat amused, when Christian Conservatives complain about the intrusions of big government while they promote authoritarian Christian theocracy.  Are they completely ignorant of the provisions for separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution or are they just ignoring it to achieve their religious goals? Either one is truly dangerous. They must be prevented from succeeding for the sake of the United States of America.

Associated Press: Mark Hamrick- 'Gridlocked Congress Could Threaten Economy'

Source:Associated Press- John Boehner (R, Ohio) incoming Speaker of the House of Representatives.
"Will the midterm elections, which are expected to leave Congress at least partially controlled by Republicans and squaring off against a Democratic White House, be a help to the economy?  Don't count on it.(Nov. 2)

Source:Associated Press

A few nights ago, this blog  predicted that the House Republicans would pick up 45-50 seats and win control of the chamber.  It also predicted that Senate Democrats would lose seats but retain control.  I was 2/3 right.  The Republicans won control of the House for the 112th Congress. Senate Democrats retained a small majority.  Instead of picking up 45-50 seats, the House Republicans gained in the neighborhood of 65 seats.  This will give them a working partisan majority. Incoming Speaker John Boehner (bayner, as in the vocalization of a jackass, not boner or bonehead) and incoming Leader Eric Cantor will be able to push their agenda through the House even though it will die in the Democratic Senate.

65 is a bad neighborhood to be in if you're a Democrat, especially if you're a House Democrat. It   means that Republicans will be in control of the House for at least two years, which, as a Democrat is bad enough for me, but, also, that the incoming Democratic Leadership, who will run the minority,   has a lot of work to do to get back to majority.  They're looking at being in the high 180's to low 190's.  They'll have to pick up in the neighborhood of 30 seats in the 2012 election to regain majority.

They'll need a very strong showing by President Obama in the 2012 election to regain majority. I don't think a narrow victory by the President in 2012 will bring back a Democratic House. I think the President will have to win the popular vote by around 55%, similar to Ronald Reagan in 1980  (over Jimmy Carter), and win about 35 states. I think thats possible, considering the likely Republican competition, especially if the economy starts to improve and unemployment  follows.

The good news for House Democrats is that while House Republicans are regaining most if not all of the seats they lost in 2006 and 2008, they're also picking up Democratic seats.  Potentially, a lot of freshman Republican Representatives could lose in 2012 because they represent normally Democratic districts. 

As I said a few nights ago, If House Democrats lose big, Speaker Pelosi and  Leader Hoyer need to step down.  It's time that House Democrats go in a new direction and elect new leadership. I would be looking at young but veteran House Democrats, especially outgoing committee chairman, who might be more interested in serving as Minority Leader and potentially the next Speaker of the House  than as ranking member of a committee. 

The good news for House Democrats, in an otherwise bad night, is that this is one election and, depending on how voters view the Republican House over the next two years, it could be a short time in the minority for them.