Chris Hedges on “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America”
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the religious right and the rise of it in this country. A new book by Chris Hedges is called American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America” . It investigates the highly organized and well-funded dominionist movement. The book looks at their agenda, examines the movement’s origins and motivations and uncovers its ideological underpinnings. American Fascists argues that dominionism seeks absolute power in a Christian state. According to Hedges, the movement bears a strong resemblance to the young fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and ’30s.
Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times for many years, where he won a Pulitzer Prize. He’s also the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Losing Moses on the Freeway. Chris Hedges has a Master’s degree in theology from Harvard University and is the son of a Presbyterian minister. He is currently a senior fellow at the Nation Institute and joins me in studio now. Welcome to Democracy Now!
AMY GOODMAN: Christian Zionist Movement, how does it fit into this?
CHRIS HEDGES: Well, the relationship between this radical movement and the radical right in Israel is one that really brings together Messianic Jews and Messianic Christians who believe that they have been given a divine or a moral right to control one-fifth of the world’s population who are Muslim. It’s a really repugnant ideology. The radical Christian right in this country is deeply anti-Semitic. I mean, look at what they — you know, when the end times come, except for this 144,000 Jews who flee to Petra and are converted — I think this was a creation of Tim LaHaye — Jews will be destroyed, along with all other nonbelievers, including people like myself who are nominal Christians, in their eyes. You know, there is no respect for Judaism in and of itself. It’s an abstraction. It’s, you know, Jews have to control Israel, because that is one more step towards Armageddon. And I find that alliance strange and very shortsighted on the part of many rightwing Israelis and rightwing Jews in the United States.
AMY GOODMAN: This latest story, the Anti-Defamation League calling on Georgia State Rep. Ben Bridges to apologize for a memo distributed under his name that says the teaching of evolution should be banned in public schools, because it is a religious deception stemming from an ancient Jewish sect. The memo calls on lawmakers to introduce legislation that would end the teaching of evolution in public schools, because it’s “a deception that is causing incalculable harm to every student and every truth-loving citizen.”
CHRIS HEDGES: And there’s a bill now in the Texas state legislature that will abolish all mention of evolution in school textbooks and make Bible study mandatory in public schools. And the role of creationism is extremely important in this movement. It’s not just wacky pseudoscience. It is really a war against truth. It is not about presenting an alternative. It’s about saying facts are interchangeable with opinions, that lies are true, that we can believe whatever we want. And once they successfully elevate creationism, which, of course, is a myth — I mean, teaching creation out of the Book of Genesis is an absurdity. The writers of the Book of Genesis thought the earth was flat with rivers of above and below us. But what it does is destroy the possibility or sanctity of honest, dispassionate, intellectual and scientific inquiry. And when they do that, they have made a huge step towards creating a totalitarian state.
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