[OPE] The rise of American christofascism

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@telfort.nl)
Date: Mon May 12 2008 - 09:46:08 EDT

Christofascism (the name being a portmanteau of Christianity and Fascism) is a concept in Christian theology first mentioned by Dorothee Sölle, a socially-engaged theologian and writer, in her book Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future in 1970. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christofascism

The f-word crops up in the most respectable quarters these days. Yet if the provocative title of this exposé by [Chris] Hedges sounds an alarm, the former New York Times foreign correspondent takes care to employ his terms precisely and decisively. As a Harvard Divinity School graduate, his investigation of the Christian Right agenda is even more alarming given its lucidity. Citing the psychology and sociology of fascism and cults, including the work of German historian Fritz Stern, Hedges draws striking parallels between 20th-century totalitarian movements and the highly organized, well-funded "dominionist movement," an influential theocratic sect within the country's huge evangelical population. Rooted in a radical Calvinism, and wrapping its apocalyptic, vehemently militant, sexist and homophobic vision in patriotic and religious rhetoric, dominionism seeks absolute power in a Christian state. Hedges's reportage profiles both former members and true believers, evoking the particular characteristics of this American variant of fascism.

Christofascists are consumed by their constant conservative desire for absolute, authoritarian certainty rather than truth. Their grasping belief in the pre-Christian view of God as a vengeful, arbitrarily violent Yahweh sets them up perfectly to follow the commands of any authoritarian leader. These triumphant and confidant sounding leaders are always God-ordained and are granted strict unconditional obedience from the sheep in the pews. The Christofascists leaders are all too willing to be judges, juries, and executioners of the unsaved non-believers. http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/02/12/04_christ.html

"God and politics had become very much fused together into a sort of a single entity. Where, in a way, politics was the fourth part of the trinity. God the father, God the son, God the holy spirit, God the politician," says [David] Kuo. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/14/60minutes/main2089778_page2.shtml

Archbishop Severius Hawa, Primate of the Diocese of Baghdad and Basra in Iraq, stated "I heartily believe that we were living better under the old regime. No one could threaten the Christians then." (Stephen Farrell, Christian Priest Killed at Baghdad Home, NYT April 6, 2008). http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/world/middleeast/06iraq.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rssr cha
"At the Junxingye factory in China, the mostly-young women-including several 15 and 16-year-olds-making crucifixes are forced to work 14 to 15 ½ hours a day, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 or 11:30 p.m., seven days a week.  There are also frequent 18 and 19-hour shifts ending at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.  Before shipments of crucifixes must leave for the U.S., there are even mandatory, all-night 22 ½ to 25-hour shifts from 8:00 a.m. straight through to 6:30 or 9:00 a.m. the following morning.  Workers are routinely at the factory over 100 hours a week, including being forced to work 51 hours of overtime, which exceeds China's legal limit by 514 percent.  Young women go for months on end without a single day off. After being forced to work a 19-hour shift, one worker cried out, "Jesus, take pity on me!  I'm going to die of exhaustion." (...) It appears that the $4.63 billion Association for Christian Retail has decided, en masse, to follow Wal-Mart to China, where they can exploit defenseless workers and pay them pennies an hour to produce their religious goods."    http://www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=479

"Sex abstinence programmes do not stop risky sexual behaviour or help in the prevention of unwanted pregnancy, a research team has concluded. The Oxford University team reviewed 13 US trials involving over 15,000 people aged 10 to 21. They found abstinence programmes had no negative or positive impact on the rates of sex infections or unprotected sex, the British Medical Journal said." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6927733.stm  http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/abstract/335/7613/248

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