Monday, May 30, 2005

I learned from Mefi that Harper's has posted one of its featured articles from its May 2005 issue: Soliders of Christ: Inside America's Most Powerful Megachurch.

I had meant to write about that particular issue while it was still on the newstands because I found that the combination of Soldiers of Christ article - along with Gordon Bigelow's "Let there be markets: the evangelical roots of economics" and Chris Hedges' "Feeling the hate with the National Religious Broadcasters"- some of the most powerful reading I've taken in as of late.

To me, what I have learned from those three articlesare crystalized in the conclusions made by Chris Hedges at the end of his piece...

I can't help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinty School, Dr. James Luther Adams, who told us that we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the "Christian fascists."

He gave us that warning twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelists began speaking of a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all major American institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government, so as to transform the United States into a global Christian empire. At the time, it was hard to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously. But fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Adams had watched American intellectuals and industrials flirt with fascism in the 1930's... Then as in now, Adams said, too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state...

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right's persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, pormised to restore moral values not long aftger he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications... Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first "deviants" singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next."

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