In the latest salvo of a now decades-old conflict, journalist and author Chris Hedges just published American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. Look closel at the cover (click for a larger image): Jesus is holding an American flag.
Like most of his colleagues, Hedges doesn’t excel at subtlety. According to The National Review reports, the book’s back cover “announces that the legions of “the Christian Right” — the “ideological inheritors” of the Third Reich — have “found a mask for fascism in patriotism and the pages of the Bible.” Inside, Hedges holds the line: Fanatical evangelicals are on the verge of seizing control of the U.S. government, dismantling our liberal democracy, and imposing a regime of theocratic fascism. This thesis is kept up for over 200 pages of hysteria that masquerades as a noble, sophisticated, principled defense of American liberty.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested in this sort of thing. Come election year, it will be difficult to talk with me without my bringing up politics. But I’m mellower than I’ve been in years past. Time was, I’d duke it out with the “radical left” as a dutiful member of the “religious right.” That time is past. Like my friend Cam (and Donald Miller), I’m adopting a more positive approach to elections. Heck, I might even vote for a major party candidate this year. But back to fascism in America.
As any regular reader of this blog knows, I’m no fan of Pat Robertson or his ilk, nor do I think equating Christianity with modern American Republicanism holds any water. But Hedges seems to go a bit far. I mean, do you know anything about fascism? The fascists?
The most famous fascists are famous because myriad human beings lost their lives due to their caprice. Thousands (in Hitler’s case, millions) died at their hands. I know the current rhetoric about President Bush lays the deaths of every person (in the world, apparently) at his feet. But does his picture belong alongside these guys? Really?