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Thursday, April 05, 2007

There's a Facist Preaching in my Backyard

Last week I attended a lecture by Chris Hedges, a longtime New York Times war correspondent, and most recently, the author of "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America." Hedges told us about his father, a Presbyterian minister in New England who tried to shut down the one local bar, but who was also a progressive, opponent of the Viet Nam war. When Chris was only 12, his father told him earnestly that if the war was still going on when he became 18, he would go to prison with him. To this day, Hedges says, that he carries a rather gloomy image of having to sit with his father in a jail cell while the war raged on.

Hedges says that there are 10's of millions of Christians who are part of the religious right, angry about taxes, entitlement programs, and government regulations in addition to the usual stuff about same sex marriage, creationism, and abortion. He said that they see the war in Iraq as part of an apocalyptic battle between Christianity and Islam. The "Christian Embassy," a Washington D.C. based fundamentalist organization has many ties in the Pentagon. Forty generals attend the weekly bible sessions. Fundamentalists account for about 50% of military chaplaincies. There is a conscious effort to infiltrate the military and law enforcement.

A number of fundamentalist organizations are fighting against hate crime legislation, because they don't want to have to reign in their diatribes against gays and lesbians and immigrants on the hundreds of radio stations they run across the country.

He says that the mainstream media are not examining this humongous story.

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