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Ultimately, both on the surface and within the substance, Orban's "Christian Democracy" is not Christian. It is cut from the same cloth that prepared Germany for WWII and the Holocaust. There is little to difference between Hitler's Nazism and Stalin's Communism or Soviets, nor with Putin's plan to restore Soviet Russia. Hitler's Holocaust and Stalin's starvation of Ukraine to establish state operated agriculture are both founded on the debasement of humanity. None of this right up to the DeSantis's attacks on on freedom and equality in the name of "Christian values" are Christian. They all twist vocabulary, terms and values on their head to make what's wrong right, and what's right wrong. This deception is addressed in the Bible as Satan.

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"Hitler's Holocaust and Stalin's starvation of Ukraine to establish state operated agriculture are both founded on the debasement of humanity."

One of the most well written and clear sentences I have ever read summarizing the far right government models. Well done.

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Except that Stalin came from the far Left of Communism, Communism gone awry. Both Hitler and Stalin were ruthless dictators, totalitarian despots but each came from opposite ends of the political spectrum. It would seem better proof that any sort of absolute power, whether from the Left or the Right ultimately and inevitably leads to corruption of whatever first principles originally animated them.

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

JohnM.

I would argue that the far right defined Stalin's government as "far left" to enable more effective demonization of Stalin's approach.

In fact, "Communism", in its earliest definition, does not look even remotely like what Stalin created. Stalin created a right wing, centrally controlled, top down government where ONLY what Stalin wanted mattered.

In true "communism" a "community" of people come together to govern themselves, share their lives, their assets and their talents in a common, communal manner, much as the early disciples did (as described in the Acts of the Apostles).

The bastardization of "communism" by Stalin forever made "Communism" ugly to those unaware of what "communism" actually was in its early forms during early industrialization and during the time immediately following Jesus death.

But, if you carefully read the Acts of the Apostles, describing true communal sharing and living of Jesus early followers, you will see a community effort at self government AND sharing.

Not altogether different than what John Adams set out in his ground breaking Massachusetts's Constitution.

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I can’t even tell you how upsetting it is when a word with a wholesome meaning gets turned into an ‘evil’ word. Communism, Socialism, and now Christian and Republican. I did not know words can be kidnapped and used for different purposes. It is very effective for those who want to steal your mind.

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And it's not just words. The American flag has also been commandeered by the far right.

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The stealing of the flag just fries me. Not patriots, not Christian, not even decent.

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You are so right! It’s a sickness! It’s an effort to say: we’re more patriotic than the rest of you. Today at the beach, we saw a woman, in a beach chair, surrounded by little American flags she had stuck into the ground. It was like her “fence” against the rest of us. Crazy!!!

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And the color red.

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But the left has let the right commandeer the American flag. A tactical error that goes back at least to the Vietnam War protests. We have to proudly bring American flags to all our protests. This is our America and our flag!!!

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Not mine. Before the election, I flew mine right above my Biden and Mark Kelly signage.

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I don't think the right commandeered it. I think during and in the aftermath of the Vietnam War the left disowned it. It's our fault. After I got a new (used) car years ago, I put a flag decal on it. when I visited my best friend with that car, thinking the car had come with the flag, he started to try to scrape it off. We need to take the flag back.

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Mar 12, 2023·edited Mar 12, 2023

Only because we let it. I began flying the flag at home because it is the flag of my country. When I see it flown on a large pole on the back of a bubba truck, I see that as disrespecting the symbol. We sure can't just let them have it.

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How has the flag been commandeered? Obviously I've missed something important!!!

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Susan Burgess "I did not know words can be kidnapped and used for different purposes. It is very effective for those who want to steal your mind."

'𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘐 𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘢 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯 — 𝘯𝘦𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴.’

’𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘴,’ said Alice, ‘𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴.’

’𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘴,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 — 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭.'

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What about all the words hijacked by the LGBT community?:

Gay, Queer, Pride, Woman, He, She, Marriage, Husband, Wife, Partner, to name but a few?

Less of your blatant, in your face, evangelism and we might all be able to get on better together. I, and a lot of people I know will never accept mandated speech or pronouns.

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You haven't watch enough faux angertaintment then. 😉

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Faux angertaintment! You win my 'award' for best coinage of a new word. At first I was going to change your spelling to angertainment (off entertainment) but then I realized the "taint" was probably intentional and applied 3 different concepts to the totally understandable word.

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

And you can add WOKE to that list of coopted words.

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Yes. How could I have left WOKE out?

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Like "jihad," whose original meaning is, to struggle for the sake of God. It is not violent and does not mean to attack anyone or go to war. The word has been mainstreamed into the American lexicon and is discriminatory and derogatory.

Most people don't even understand what communism and socialism mean, either.

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Mary If virtually no one knows what ‘socialism’ really mean, what about ‘woke?’ Talking about obfuscation! If you ain’t woke, you are brain dead [my modest interpretation]

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Marycat2021 No one understands what socialism means.

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Susan Burgess, "those who want to steal your mind"

George Orwell ominously predicted this in "1984" with Big Brother's newspeak. Change the language and people will be limited in how they can think, which eliminates their ability to challenge rulers.

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

Susan I agree that wholesome words have been ‘evilized.’ What further boggles me is that those who oppose American principles have kidnapped the American flag and those who are anti-abolition march under their ‘pro-life’ hypocrisy.

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So true, and it's what they do.

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It’s, at least to me, a super effective form of terrorism, to steal words and change the meaning while kidnapping the group under that word’s banner at the same time.

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Susan, read "Alice Through the Looking Glass", Chapter 6, by Lewis Carroll where Humpty Dumpty gives Alice stern instruction on giving words their meanings, as many meaning as the "master" determines.

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David As a college sophomore, my English professor quoted this to me after reading my flowery language essay. Subsequently, when I became a professor, I did the same with some of my students.

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David,

Thanks for the reference.

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I recommend you read Orwell's 1984 ASAP

This ( hijacking of language) is exactly what always happens when totalitarian states establish themselves. The book is a roadmap to what we are seeing. Extremely prescient

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Joan I have recently re-read Orwell’s 1984 and re-watched the movie. Chilling and a reflection of DeSantis. In Animal Farm, Orwell was a bit more optimistic. With the pigs ‘more equal than the others, an authoritarian pig-dominated society was eventually overthrown by a coalition of animals.

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They don't call it Orwellian for nothing!👍

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I was called a douche bag by a "christian" minister for saying Jesus was a socialist

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Carole, that is priceless. I’m sorry for your confrontation, but irony of the juxtaposition of “minister” and “douche bag” is so ironic

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Prefacing his name calling with, " I am going to have to ask forgiveness tonight"

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Well isn’t THAT special?

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...Dana Carvey aka The Church Lady

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Find a new minister!

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Consider the source!

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Thank you Mike. The more facts I read the more I worry about ever knowing what is really in our history. So much to digest. I do feel that the desire for some to control others is a definite evil. To come together in a purpose of kindness and caring and sharing is very different from what I am hearing from the MAGA crazies.

Several years ago my husband and I visited a museum in Italy. In one room was a group of fabulously realistic marble statues. The carvings were so beautiful that it was hard not to touch. One was of a beautiful woman lying on a couch. Even though the marble was hard and cold the bedding on the couch seemed warm and inviting. It was a miracle of art and thousands of years old. The woman figure had both breasts and a penis. I show this photo to people who seem to think this is a new phenomena. The human animal has come with many variants of genetic makeup. For those who abhor the idea try putting oneself in the confusion this natural phenomenon presents. Think of the child or adult who is faced with this overwhelming difference. Remember that while the far right members deny fact, somewhere, everywhere humans suffer through hate and denial of self. Would any of us want to hurt another to that extreme? Ask Jesus .... if you are truly Christian your answer should jump out at you like a miracle.

I do not count myself as a “Christian”, but I do think of myself as a miracle human animal. That is all and that is everything.🎶🦋🌺🌎🪐💫

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Jean, beautifully written and expressed. Thank you.

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Absolutely love this post. I wish everyone would watch the new ¨Next In Fashion¨ ( I know, I know, I know) on Netflix. There is a trans person as one of the contestants. To be a being trapped in a body that does not belong to you is a form of hell. To be able to free your being from that body and transform into who you are is such a rightful gift. 🧜‍♀️🎊⭐✨🐬🦢🦚

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I agree that Stalin was far from what Marx envisioned. In my view Russia merely changed from one autocracy to another...no revolution actually just more of the same under a different name. Kudos for including a part of the NT here.

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Beautifully written, Mike S. Hitler and Stalin are ultimately the same, mean men in pursuit of power. I say “mean” because both came to their evil pursuit of power from feeling aggrieved and both found ways for “payback.” Look at Trump for a tinpot version.

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Thank you, Mike S., for so eloquently describing Communism and its principles. You are absolutely correct. Anyone understanding communism would immediately see that while it might be idyllic it would never be ideal. In a small commune, such as the 12 disciples, the hippy communes of the 1960's and 70's it worked well for short periods of time. No one in their right mind would suggest communism for more than 100 persons - and even that is stretching it. Socialism where a country is ruled for the good of all inhabitants can work, with much effort to keep it honest. As there is no such thing as a Communist Country, there is also no such thing as a classless society. What we have tried (until now) in America to have a society based on the ability of people to move up or down in class. Now as we have drifted first into oligarchy since the 1970's, we are fast approaching a dictatorial fascist form of government, Thankfully I will not be around to witness it. I hope the rest of you can turn it around to save our representative republic.

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Fay,

Agree on all. Thank you.

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

Authoritarianism is brutal whatever brand is attached to it, right, left, or theocratic. And yes, I think the Enlightenment Era philosophies that informed much of the social theories of our founding documents tilt leftward. However, I am impressed by the Oracle at Delphi (Pythia) and the three maxims engraved before the temple:

Know thyself

Nothing to excess

Surety brings ruin, or "make a pledge and mischief is nigh"

I note that biological systems are a mind-boggling array of mutually interactive balances (thus we are unwise to %#@& with our climate) but we humans are more comfortable with simple answers. Back in the '70s I met people who thought there should be no private property at all. I have since met or read people who think that any public property whatsoever (even pubic roads) is an anathema. Both seem to me to throw out the babies with the bathwater. I seems to me that both robust private enterprise and public works are the right tool for the right job. Reconciling both can be tricky, but extreme purity loses the plot. In any case, unaccountable power tends to corrupt.

The social theories of Jesus always seemed to me to lean leftward. So did Lincoln. Lincoln's "The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities" sounds more like Marx, or even the "Declaration" than Reagan or Trump, as does “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” Lincoln was not attacking capital, just placing it in its proper perspective.

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To JL Graham: you hit the complexities quite squarely. Kermit the Frog sang “It’s not easy being green.” I would substitute “human” for green. Your approach to the problem is commendable. Practicing it will give you lots of friends. When the next pandemic hits, I look forward to the discussion we might have.

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In the context of history (written or sung), Lincoln looks good. These days if you characterize him as “left,” however, there’s stigma.

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Can anyone say “Kibutz”?

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I think that's where we're going to end up, assuming we don't all kill each other before the planet does.

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

Kibbutzim were great for agriculture and small manufacturing. And a great place to raise a family. They haven't worked on a larger economic scale, though. So maybe yes, but not quite the bucolic picture on most people's minds.

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Yes, Dave, those too, operated for a short period of time (less than one hundred years) as communist style communes, one for all and all for one.

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When it comes to authoritarians, "left" and "right" have virtually no meaning. Like Big Brother, they twist words and concepts to fit what they perceive to be their own interest at the moment. (Sounds a bit like TFG, doesn't it?)

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GODS WORD! The Early CHURCH, is the EXAMPLE that OUR LORD! would Have US ! ( MANKIND) to Follow ! the Book, of ACTS, IS the GREAT EXAMPLE! THANKS ! MIKE!

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It's not the left- or right-ness, but the degree of stuck-ness: unwilling to listen, unwilling to think or be thoughtful, unwilling to care about others, unwilling to see ramifications or downsides (because there always is).

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Most of all unwilling to be wrong.

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A perfect expression of our current conundrum. Thanks for a timely reminder of such.

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Back when I was majoring in Russian Language and Literature, one of my professors pointed out that right and left are a circle, rather than a line. Far right and far left end up meeting, because at the extremes, the only philosophy is control and power. This idea has resonated with me ever since.

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This is an observation that I have made for a long time. Moderates at the top of the circle look and sound a lot alike, can often work with each other. Extremists at the bottom of the circle who come close to sounding alike, and certainly share the same destructive authoritarian means and methods.

However, this circle concept does not mean right and left are equally distributed around the circle. During Eisenhower's time the distribution might have been equil on each side with moderates heaviest on top. Now Republicans heavily weighted on the side to bottom, with Democrats more evenly spread from top to middle, tapering off toward the bottom.

We have three daughters. The oldest was very rebellious, the middle less so, and the youngest almost not at all. But she was the most confident, bold and adventurous. We could tell that she learned from the oldest that rebellion for it's own sake or for attention, accomplished nothing worthwhile, just a lot of chaos, confusion, and wasted resources. I think Democrats are the reacting the same to Republicans. However, while the oldest was living at home, the youngest had to bide her time.

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Juanita Spot on! Far right and far left are two faces on the same coin, as are love and hate. One possible difference is that the far left may profess to be ‘serving the people,’ while the far right often considers the common people as rabble to be commanded.

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Control of others is the common point which offers the circle as a better metaphor than a continumn (line) for extremes become a singular among attributes and desires that suround human possibility. Otherwise, I was going to suggest that the Extremes know that their recipe for Chilli is the right one. ;))

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Fred Jung was enchanted by the circle for which he was fried by Freud. Love/hate, far left/far right/Native American tradition of life circle for humans and animals.

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Juanita,

correct.

the only good government is one where everyone does what I want them to do.

:-)

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An excellent, helpful memory and point . Thank you for sharing that.

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"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely "- Lord Acton

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I recall General Colin Powell saying (perhaps in sarcasm?) that “Power corrupts, and absolute power is delightful.”

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I was also thinking that it was Henry Kissinger who said that "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac..." Then looking at him...eeeeew...

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Bruce Is venality in his veins keeping KIssinger alive? He was chairman for years of an organization with which I have been involved since 1953, Henry is not a ‘nice’ man and his ego tops Trump’s.

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Given Powell's role in roughly 400,000 deaths of innocent people in Iraq, I guess that was one time when he was NOT lying.

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Mike I attended a meeting at the Asia Society in the spring of 2003 at which Kissinger launched a torrent of criticism at the French foreign minister for not supporting the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld initiative to obtain UN support for a U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The French foreign minister, supported by many others, called for an extension of the UN team that was (often with suggestions from CIA) seeking to identify whether there were any WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in effort. So far they had found none.

I had interviewed Iraqi President Abdul Karim Qassim for 21/2 hours in 1960. He was a creepy guy who was killed in a coup authorized by JFK in 1963 which provided a launching pad for Saddam Hussein.

As a former Foreign Service Officer, I was astonished by former SecState Kissinger’s tirade. General Powell deserves some criticism for his February UN speech, in which he parroted false information provided to him by CIA Director Tenet.

However the overwhelming blame goes to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, with Kissinger’s coaching from the public sidelines.

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Stalin was no more “Communist” than Hitler and his National Socialist party were “Socialist.” Just as the Poser “Christians” never seem to quote Jesus, but always Paul. They are in fact Paulists, like the Puritans who embraced that severe, non-Christian religion. Many so-called “Christians” are anti-Semitic, yet cherry pick from their Buybull’s Old Testament Jewish writings (Leviticus) when Paul’s edicts were not severe enuf. A requirement of the KKK is to be Protestant Christian, yet Jesus would be appalled at their actions. All these Hypocracies are embraced by hateful oppressors whether Soviet, Nazi, or the Repugnant Party.

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John Just as the line between love and hate is narrow (some spectacular divorce battles) so is the line between far left and far right. Hitler and Stalin were both brutal dictators with false creeds. Whether they were driven by communism or extreme nationalism, the results were similarly deadly.

I recall years ago reading a comparison between Stalinism and the Catholic Church. Similarities included 1) authoritarianism; 2) ruthlessness in punishing offenders; the ultimate power. Historically the Jesuits and the Inquisition might match the Stalin ‘trials’ of the 1930s.

Today we might ruminate on the similarities between Hungary’s Orban and the cockatoos who flutter around Trump and post-Trump.

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I think the driving force for them was the intense desire to set up worship in their name, to amass power and to tell people what to think and do. Just like DeSantis.

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But the political spectrum is not a line, it's a circle. Left and right meet in the back. On that circle you could also place rational/ crazy, and cooperative/ individual. Or maybe stack the three.

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30 years ago, while teaching the concept of political spectrum, I used the traditional linear alignment with Communism, Socialism, Liberalism on the left and Dictatorship, Fascism, Monarchy, and Conservatism on the right. Independents were scattered throughout the middle. Same analogy was used within a party; ie, on the liberal side there were radicals, traditional liberals and moderate liberals and on the conservative side there were reactionaries, traditional conservatives, and moderate conservative. I researched alternatives because I couldn't find a place on that scale for anarchists. But it did reflect the challenge for someone one the more extreme ends of the spectrum to look toward the center and beyond and see reasonable people. The radical looks to his/her right and sees fascists/the conservative looks to his/her left and sees communists.

To try to account for that, I created a circular scale that did not quite close at the top. The bottom were independents, the right was conservatives, the left liberals. The "circle" was. more like a Celtic torque-opened at the top. I used that space to describe the explosive effects of anarchists in the manner an electric spark was snap across that gap. It also establishes the concept that communism and fascism are not as far apart as we think, making the jump that Lenin and Stalin made to introduce Marxism to agrarian Russia most understandable as a jump from communism to fascism or ultra-liberalism to ultra-conservatism.

In short, I agree with your circular analogy.

I'd not seen anyone suggest anything like it, so I was on my own; but nobody seems to object to the graphic.

Sounds like you've seen someone or something that uses that circular spectrum. I'd truly like to read anything on that topic you can share with me.

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I have nothing academic, just observations of people and the world. My observations were informed by study of Russian and Chinese history as an adjunct to travel- Soviet Union in '86 and China in '88. We were in Leningrad when Chernobyl blew up and Tianamen Square a year before the massacre. I think it's easier to see the loop when you get first-hand observations of how a government treats it's people.

Add that to college stuff where I could see my fringe friends looking very similar on the stridency and extremity of their arguments. Literally the same arguments, eyeballs and bulging veins: the similarities.

I've carried this theory for a long time and saw it reinforced when the Boogaloos contemplated their relationship with extremes of Antifa. I love your gap and spark analogy because it speaks to how those two synergize and release the every of violence. I've not seen many folks make the circular reference, but it's clear as a sunny day to me. If we all saw it that way, it would be easier to find the common ground. Especially when we all understood the hairy eyeball is reserved not just for the folks across from us, but also those behind us.

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JohnM: If you study the concept of political spectrum, you will find communism are the far left and fascism on the far right. However, if you substitute Lenin's tenants of power for Marx's principle of communism, you'll find Lenin (and Stalin) warped Marx's tenants from the power of we to the power of me. At that point, they were no longer Marxist, but simply another brand of fascists.

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With Nazism or Soviet or East German Communism Opposite is not really true. It is an idea that these were opposite but they end up being the same end of the spectrum, that of extremism. In fact, that the "Left" and "Right" are marching together in the same causes quite often these days is an interesting phenomenon. Not just that Matt Gaetz and AOC are aligned on withdrawing the USA from Syria, but I also see this in Germany with the "Left" and "Right" being against Covid vaccines, and against supporting Ukraine, and a lot of other positions in the Bundestag that are very nationalistic and inward focused. One of the reasons that I avoid the former Eastern German states when I am in Germany, is because they had Hitler and then the DDR, so that was a lot of years of totalitarian government. I don't see either system as different in how they manage people. Not opposite at all, even the way that they tell people that they are for them seems the same. Both are systems of "group think." That is what the Republican Party MAGA-ites are engaged in too. TRUMP gets group think. He is the head group thinker. DeSantis is trying it out too. He wants to be the Big Brother. Those Republicans who buck the group think are endangering themselves. I have been wondering whether Mitch McConnells accident was an accident like I might have an accident, or like Putin's friends who don't agree with him have accidents.

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Was thinking about McConnell's "accident" too.

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Stalin was starving Ukraine because he needed the grain for export to generate the capital to industrialize his peasant economy. Collectivization was the means to generate the foreign exchange required to fund this transformation. It was state capitalism.

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James Historians estimate that 3-6 million Ukrainians starved to death in this ‘transformation’ to state capitalism. I have a video that documents this.

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Your assertion is supported by Timothy Snyder in “Bloodlands”

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

James Yes, and in a book by two French historians on deaths under communism. Walter Duranty of the NYT won a Pulitzer for his early 1930s reporting from Moscow. He omitted reporting on the Ukrainian ‘genocide.’ A book was published highlighting this. The NYT ‘investigated’ and then chose not to seek annulment of the Pulitzer. (I have the book in my library upstairs)

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Wow, Keith! That book must be coveted by collectors!

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The movie Mr. Jones by Andrea Chalupa is also about the starvation of Ukraine and Walter Durante. Highly recommended.

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Ramona Sounds interesting. Also, HARVEST OF DESPAIR: THE UNKOWN HOLOCAUST (1984)

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Mar 13, 2023·edited Mar 13, 2023

Thank you! I'll check it out. Mr. Jones was written in 2019. It's streaming on Prime now. I don't know that I can find Harvest of Despair as it was released in 2004.

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I’d readily agree, but our own past has many dark moments in it where history books and the America , the people haven’t done the justice they should (Zinn’s is pretty ‘good’). But here again there’s room to improve, acknowledge, correct...hopefully. Even Evangelicals are opening eyes to a better ‘walk’ ..though JUST a few ...opening their eyes and I’M a STILL learning too....Thanks Rick Warren, Pope Francis, and many more...

Through good writing, gifted writers, light can shine through . And in every facet of group there’s dark people/money/times. Let the US people help pave the wave not quite as eloquently ( I wish) as Heather, Robert, Joyce...but we CAN make some difference. Thanks

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I just about choked on DeSantis’ statement in Iowa this week “Greetings from the free state of Florida”. Free state?!?!?! Are you effing kidding me?!?!? Where books are being banned, speech is being limited, schools are being told what they can/cannot teach, where LGBTQ citizens are being ostracized and erased, where corporations must be careful what they say/support or be penalized, where the press is being asked to register with the state if they want to print anything about “dear leader?!?!?

Oh, and let’s not forget, where people , especially the elderly and minorities, are free to die because the “leaders” give you false information about a deadly virus. Not to mention voter suppression. That is one “free state” I personally will never set foot in again. And all of that is what we can look forward to in a so-called Christian Democracy, which has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with power.

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Calling it a “free” state is very consistent with their use of hijacking words to brainwash people. They do this with everything. The human brain is vulnerable and the study of neuroscience clarifies how this works. Repeating simple phrases with positive connotations while doing the exact opposite is the trick of malice. Experts like TSnyder, RBen-Ghiat, and GLakoff have been warning us for years

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It’s Orwellian doublespeak.

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Yes! And Orwell’s brilliant warning decades ago!!

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My thoughts exactly.

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Cognitive Linguist and Distinguished Professor George Lakoff speaks of repetition as one of the major practices in the “framing” that aspiring leaders, including fascists,use to bring people into their way of thinking.

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Gaslighting

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Did you see the "snowflake" someone presented him?

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Here's a picture...from Twitter...and one was also presented to the Governor of Iowa:

https://twitter.com/SteveGoffman/status/1634358622774861824

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It was so fabulous and creative!

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That's a good chuckle. Wonder how long it took him to figure it out? (Somehow I suspect he didn't until it was posted and one of his staff read it...)

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Seriously?? That happened? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!

I am going to have to see if there's any video or photos of that moment! How brilliant!

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Seriously? Nice little burn 🔥.

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

Whenever anyone talks about freedom and liberty, you have to ask, "For whom?"

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Usually, it's just white, land owning men. That's who the constitution was written for.

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"Freedom for me, but not for thee..."

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If it is a"free state" does that mean it is separate from the US? If that is what he is saying , it would be like Jefferson Davis running for President.

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❗️ ❗️ ❗️

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Ah, yes! The Banana Republican idea of small government! Where the government dictates what you cannot say, think, read, do, or even BE!

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Cathy DeSantis is reading ‘state scripts’ from George Orwell’s 1984. If you accept that black is white and white is black, whenever the state professes this, then you are DeSanitized.

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“DeSanitized”! FABULOUS!!!

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I am saving your comment, Cathy. You speak the scary truth.

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Well, since Florida is free, they should not require FEMA help next time a major hurricane strikes it, right?

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I have never seen Desantis exposed more effectively. Well done.

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My very thoughts exactly. Free state my behind!

There is something in my primal brain that wonders why all these crazy right, white, christian wingers don’t all just mosey on over to Hungary and love what Orban is promoting there.

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They mean freedom for them to be able to go back to their spongy-white-bread world where everyone looked like a 1950s TV show.

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DeStalin is a “joke”! “Free state”? Where does he get off calling Florida a “free state”? It’s far from it. Actually, it’s in the opposite end of the spectrum. DeStalin has made that into his own little country, and he has the state legislature snowed as well. He’s turned it into a deep red state, in more ways than one. I’m so glad I escaped from there 5 years ago. And, I’ll never, ever, call Florida “home” ever again.

Anyone want to know what this country will look like if he’s elected as president. Take a good, hard, long, look at Florida. Then ask yourself, is this how I want to live? Is this the true United States of America? Answer: No, and NO!

DeStalin has stripped citizens of the right to vote, taken freedoms away every step of the way, refused people the right to live their lives as they see fit, deprived a true education of our young people, and threatened educators with prison if they refused to confirm to his way of thinking. Now, I ask you. Just exactly who does this remind you of from our history?

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Daniel My quandary: DeStalin or DeSantisized? Why not both? ‘Let the punishment fit the crime,’ as Gilbert & Sullivan phrased it.

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Free from or free to...

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Jesus was pretty liberal, especially for his era. And very effective liberals tend to be targets.

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Good news though:

Mary Magdalene, through a brilliant methodology, has kept Jesus, and his somewhat forgiving approach followed by (not many) alive for 2000 years. Not a bad accomplishment for a woman that lived 2000 years ago in a highly Patriarchal society.

Not bad at all.

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Mike The early Catholic Church transformed Mary Magdalene—who was extremely close to Jesus and, in the Gospels, discovered that his body was missing—into a prostitute within the first several hundred years. Not so good.

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The whole story of how Mary Magdalene was turned into a prostitute by the early Christian church is horrible. This whole persona was created primarily to be the Yin to the Blessed Virgin Mary's Yang. She was portrayed as the opposite of the pure, unspotted virgin...she was a sinner who could repent. We don't actually know all that much about her, truth be told. I've always wondered if the early church made sure any other information about her was destroyed in order to foist their constructed version of her into doctrine. Those monks transcribing texts in scriptoria in the Dark and Middle Ages pulled did a lot of untold damage...

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

Bruce An interesting ying/yang story. I had the impression that the Virgin Mary was not highlighted by the Catholic Church until about the 11th century, when there was an image-forming campaign to highlight Mary as the Mother of God. I noticed this in the artifacts displayed in Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation. The image of Mary was intended to emphasize the ‘family news’ of Catholics while, of course, even today the Vatican considers women as second class.

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I think the 10th, 11th centuries was when the real "cult" around the BVM got going...creating an "ideal" Mother of God, giving birth, but never having been defiled, and then becoming a model for women, which was of course totally impossible for them to emulate. If you've not read it, I highly recommend "Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary", by Marina Warner. It was published 40 years ago, but is still very relevant today. It gives the whole historical context of BVM and how the "cult" came to be. In my own experience of having sung so much Medieval and Renaissance vocal music dedicated to Mary, I always noted that as a body of music it represents some of the THE most beautiful music to come from this period. Quite simply, composers were essentially writing "love" music in the guise of religious music, some of it at times even verging on the erotic. Warner's book reinforces this and shows how it was possible. Also, music written for the plethora of other female saints and martyrs can be show to have similarities to secular love music. Anyway, the Warner book is a must read, now in paperback. Highly recommended.

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Bruce,

Magdalene's main story was preserved for some reason and that's all that matters.

She went to a tomb of a dead man. Angels came and told her Jesus was arisen. Somehow, Magdalene came up with an arisen Jesus (that the disciples did not initially recognize).

And so it began.

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It's the details of her earlier life before she showed up in the Gospels that are basically unknown and that's what I was talking about. Trying to infer she was a prostitute came about long after the Resurrection.

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This happened even before the monks in the middle ages. The early church fathers are responsible for a lot of the damage. The far right zealots of today remind me of them....destroy anything that does not fit the patriarchal model.

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Keith,

I don't really have much to offer or add. The Catholic Church is so far out in the weeds of Christianity we can effectively write it off.

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Love Mary Magdalene. Excellent in fact.

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 11, 2023

I keep thinking about W saying something about "laser-like focus." And I thought he had a point. Whoever has laser-like focus, will win. My thinking is that the narcissists, the psychopaths, the dictators always have laser-like focus because they don't have a conscience to distract them. Liberals don't have laser-like focus because they care, they understand ramifications and downsides, unless they are a narcissistic liberal. I have to think about that but it might be an oxymoron.

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❗️ ❗️ ❗️

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Well, I've known narcissists who played at being seen as progressive liberals for as long as they could pull it off. And some progressive liberals who could be pretty short-sighted about things like unexpected ramifications. But, yeah, not the same thing.

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Yup. The Xian Nationalists have strayed far from love thy neighbor

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Jesus also practiced and participated in the ethno-centric views of his time, calling the Syrophoenician woman a "dog", no?

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He did, Steve. And she snapped back and changed him. She said, "Yes but even the dogs eat the crumbs from the master's table." Or words to that effect. She turned it back on him in a most clever way. She woke him up. How could he be so unable to imagine a Syrophoenician woman to be someone he ought to care about? Think about the fact that for Christians, Jesus is both human and divine. If we ponder what that means (and its impossible paradox is worth contemplating for a lifetime), we have to leave open a door to thinking of him as, in fact, human. We humans are shaped by the prejudices of our cultures and it can take a woman dismissed from the dominant culture to change minds and hearts. Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Fanny Lou Hamar. . .

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Mar 11, 2023·edited Mar 12, 2023

Oh, Melinda. This is certainly where the story turns for there is much more than what our eyes can read. In this, Jesus knew the culture in which he lived and as a human, he embraced what he came to do, to fulfill the law. The law forbid him to never associate with the "other", the Gentiles. And yet he drove the Pharisees nuts by dining with sinners and prostitutes and in those moments radical inclusivity was introduced. His 1st response was so those he was with wouldn't be offended by what he actually did-acknowledged her faith, granted her request and healed her daughter. I would offer to you to try seeing this story through the lens of Jesus caring for both, those he came for, the Jews, and the Gentiles in that very same human/divine moment. And that the fact that she was a women isn't lost on me.

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This is specifically why the bible is easily used to justify whatever one wishes it to justify as it can be interpreted in countless diverging ways. The bible is a handpicked collection of stories (leaving out many that don’t align with a chosen narrative), includes anonymous authors that contradict each other, and without generous reinterpretation promotes a host of immoral and unethical behaviors and beliefs. The right consists of christians who can be controlled by dishonest leaders because they use the bible to justify the horrors they accept as necessary.

“Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

All that said, we probably do need a 2-prong approach to pushing back this rapidly growing wave of anti-democracy: continuing dueling christian interpretations as well as highlighting the consequences of destroying democracy’s guardrails that will result in all Americans losing freedoms and rights we count on. This needs to be focused directly at middle and lower income families who will suffer the most.

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Johanna, I appreciate you mentioning narrative in your response. The democratic guardrails also referenced lean into on what this country is founded upon- the narrative of a Judeo-Christian ethic as well as the constitution. All that does is package up all the "otherness" and transport it century after century, millennia after millennia up into today. The racism, the sexism, the white supremacy is all one big fat sandwich being served daily.

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SPOT ON ! STEVE! MANKIND, NEEDS to Follow JESUS ! as OUR Example !

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I would like to recommend a book for your consideration. After Jesus Before Christianity

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As so much in the Bible, likely apocryphal. But for a reason: it is an excellent example of the use of metaphor to teach that change is possible, that even Jesus as messiah was capable both of being wrong, and of learning from the least among us. And changing as a result. Thank you, Melinda, for reminding us of this important lesson.

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Anne When I was in Sunday School I was not taught the difference between the Old and the New Testament. Later I learned that the New focused on Jesus Christ, love, and forgiveness, while the god of the Old Testament could Vicious and vengeful.

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Mmm, yes. As a child I was taught that the Old Testament was history, and that the New Testament was about God sending his only child to live among people and teach them the way to salvation, that being "Do unto others...."

I was taught that in Jewish tradition, many stories were not meant to be taken literally: they were metaphors for things that needed to be remembered but dangerous to speak aloud literally. I cannot say anything about the truth of this, not being Jewish, but this is what Jewish friends explained to me, and I've read something about it in some of my explorations. So I came to understand that the Old Testament has to be read in a different way than the New Testament.

I learned the new teachings were taught orally for a long time before being written down by people who did not know Jesus and whose stories varied. Jesus spoke Aramaic, while the writers spoke and wrote Greek that was later translated into various other languages. That many versions of stories existed and there was not agreement about which were valid representations of what Jesus taught and did. That some of the tellers and writers were women who were ignored until copies of their stories were found among other spiritual writings. That the stories existed independently from each other until followers began to gather stories they believed were about Jesus together, with different groups often gathering different stories. That the time came when it became politically expedient to choose some stories to be printed together as dogma, and so there came to be a number of different books of scripture (scripture=writing; bible=book) that scholars are still trying to sort out.

A friend who was a pastor and biblical scholar (PhD), as well as a social activist, told me it is likely that the person represented as Jesus was probably a compendium of a number of different people whose stories came to be connected through oral transmission. Recently someone published a book claiming that Jesus had been a Buddhist monk. This is actually a belief I've held for a long time: Buddhist teaching had been spreading in all directions from India for centuries, and in the area we call the middle east, there had been a number of teachers going back at least 200 years before Jesus whose teachings reflected buddhist philosophy- as did Jesus.

I don't claim to be any kind of authority on the history of Christianity, but that is a kind of brief map of part of my journey, based on scholarly and spiritual study. What the Old Testament is and what it means depends on how it is defined. The Torah is five books, and as the old sayings goes "all the is commentary- that is, interpretation. What books are included in the Christian version of "Old Testament" depends on the sect. Ditto the New Testament. And the meaning of both depends on what kind of assumptions one brings to reading.

So, Keith, there is something to think about.

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And calling women dogs hasn't disappeared. They only need to be unattractive.

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Unattractive according to them/their standards.

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Yes, or women viewed as lesser like prostitutes. It's one of those things that really fries me.

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That was just an allegory like the parables to show the point of God's mercy and love for anyone who has faith in God. The Israelites were the 1st people to have a covenant with El Shaddai, living God on high, thanks to father Abraham who is the founder for not only those of the Jewish faith, but also the Christian and Muslim faithful.

The SyroPhoenician woman was only asking for God's blessing to be part of Jesus's Kingdom of Heaven. Our Lord just chided her gently with the promise of God's covenant fulfilled 1st to the Jewish people as God Almighty had always promised. She was showing her true faith in the son of God by saying that even the dogs live off the scraps of the children, which shows that God loves and accepts everyone who has faith in Him. That's also why the blessings of Christianity passed also unto the Gentiles thru the ministry of St Paul, but that's a further development of why we're all God's children if we want to believe in His everloving salvation.

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Where oh where are the preachers in the pulpits explaining this?

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Lynn,

It is WAY more important to explain to folks why they are at the edge of going to hell than to explain why acceptance, love and forgiveness make sense.

Because, when you scare the shite out of people, they listen much better.

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I always like something I saw about 25 years ago in Knoxville, TN. On the Alcoa highway going south to the airport someone had painted a well done little sign which said HELL IS HOT complete with flames painted at the bottom. It was up for several months in this wooded section of the road. Then one night someone put up another little sign underneath that said "So was your wife". Two days later both signs were gone.

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Dave, a laugh-out loud moment in the midst of some very sobering postings. Thanks!

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I have a friend raised in (escaped from) a cult.

They don't listen better, but they comply better.

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MIKE ! It does take BALANCE, and the Wisdom, of the HOLY SPIRIT, to Draw MANKIND to the LOVE! of GOD! GOD LOVES! But! GOD, is Also JUST! Teaching FEAR, causes MANKIND to not UNDERSTAND GODS Desire that HE would WANT All MANKIND, to be SAVED! Thats why GOD, Gave MANKIND FREEWILL !!

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Would you please stop with the capitalization and exclamation points? Just say it plain mr cramer.

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...and use your own brain.

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Aye, lad.

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Some do

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The good ones are careful about wading too far into the political, it's a fine line.

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Oh, they exist, and there are even some here on LAAF. I am a sort of agnostic Quaker/Buddhist, but when I was a child, my lapsed Mormon mother sent me to Sunday School at a small nearby church, after checking to make sure that the teachers weren't hell-and-brimstone types.

I loved it: we did Bible related crafts meant to understand the culture of the time, and heard bible stories (complete with felt board!) about Jesus and his teachings through example, sang joyful songs, some worshipful, some not. My mother instructed me to come straight home after, and not to ever go to the service right after. She had heard them calling out in response, and feared that they might have the fire-and-brimstone mentality.

But one Sunday, we children were gathered into the grown-up church "because we have a special preacher visiting us and we want you to be able to listen too". Me: curious and always tending to see what the grown-ups were doing; of course I went. The special teacher turned out to be a small black man, the first black person I'd seen since my family left Portland after WW2. The congregation itself was mostly white, but now sprinkled with black faces: the people who were traveling with the preacher.

It was wonderful. He almost sang his sermon, his voice was at times soft and gentle, other times ringing out. He spoke of joy and hope and love and service to others. He spoke at one point to us children, gently letting us know that we might stumble at times on our path, but to just get up and take the next step. People sang out and called out. During the songs, they sometimes danced, clapped their hands, laughed. It was a revealing moment and it has stayed with me all these years and still informs who I am.

When I went home and told my mom, she was at first upset and I think a little angry. "But, Mommy", I told her, " It wasn't like that. It was all about Loooooove." My parents listened to me describe the sermon and how people were happy and singing and amen-ing. And changed their minds. That winter I got to play Mary in the Christmas pageant, and my parents came to watch.

They stayed apostate Mormons, and I stayed the inquisitive little girl that grew up to explore all kinds of things. I still love old-fashioned gospel music, and have been known to get caught up in the music at gospel events. Yet I turned into an introspective, questioning spiritual agnostic who prefers a quiet meditative Quaker meeting (as opposed to "church Quakers" (we have many flavors). We talk in our Friendly Forums about the same kind of concerns we express here on LAAF, and are active in various causes and social concerns. One of the delights is learning how many other Quakers are here as well, and I suspect many people with Buddhist leanings (even if they don't call it that).

Glad to be here.

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Silent Meeting fir Worship saved my sanity during my last two years in Orange County, Ca.

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Many are preaching CN from the pulpits

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Lynn, they're out there. You just have to search a little bit to find them. They tend to eschew the spotlight and just set about doing the work Christ exhorts them to do, without calling attention to themselves. It's the loud-mouthed evangelists out for themselves who tend to suck all the oxygen out of the room.

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there ARE ! Some Holy GHOST Lead PREACHERS ! that Speak HIS TRUTH ! NOT False Doctrine !!

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It seems to me that a large number of “Christians in Name Only” exist as the “Evangelical Right”; professing an allegiance to The Lord while ignoring his actual message in their zeal to remake society in their own image by brute force. The Power of Christ was his Word and his humanity toward “the least of us”. Where does one find that in Orban, CPAC, Evangelicals, Putin or the Murdoch Empire?

You don’t. Orban et al’s use of the word Christianity is a blasphemy. It should be pointed out each time they invoke it

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Christian Nationalism according to people who study it, like PRRI & WHITEHEAD, it has very little to do with the actual message of Christ. The studies point out that there is a strong correlation between white Protestant evangelicals & CN, not all evangelicals are CN. Christian Nationalism calling themselves Christian's is like the Maga calling themselves Republicans. The PRRI has a good summary of how & what CN thinks/believes. Robert Jones is CEO & author of several books re CN

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Carole, thank you for the specificity re Evangelicals and CN’s. My use of Evangelical seem to be a brush bit too wide.

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It blows me away ! P56 in Taking American Back talks about Jeffress a minister'sermon that was devoid of Christian values & full of political misinformation & literally a call to arms

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In my kid days, on the back of comic books were ads that promoted art schools; Draw Lincoln, send in your picture, win awards…. Or in Mad Magazine, “learn brain surgery by correspondence school”. Matchbook covers had “Divinity School” quick study “get your certified Minister’s badge now”

Kinda makes ya wonder, huh? Sign up now for the DJT University of Theology

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Dave isn’t Jesus Christ/evangelical ‘Christian’ an oxymoron?

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Thank you for your first sentence (and the others, too!). I'm a minister (ret.) and when I hear "Christian Democracy" used by the right wingers (in Hungary or the U.S.) or DeSantis et al talking about "Christian Values" in their very unChristian attacks, I am sickened and angered. If I were DeSantis's pastor (or rabbi or imam), I would go to his home or office and perform an exorcism on him. Sorry to rant!

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Thank you for your perspective, Robert. Should you need backup for that exorcism, I’d like to join you. I will bring my Star of David to burn a hole in his heart.

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Wow. I didn't know...

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I think it is important for people to learn about CN in that not all Christians or evangelicals are CN. The podcast by PRRI &Brookings has some very interesting info of the break down of belief in various religious groups.

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Totally agree. As an example, I find myself explaining to friends (mainly non-religious ones) that evangelicals cannot be lumped into one group. There are the unfaithful ones who totally embraced and kissed the ring of Trump (or a part of his anatomy). Then there those I think who are faithful ones whose lives are lived firmly grounded in the Sermon on the Mount. Disclaimer: I am not an evangelical!

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The sad fact is that the nasty and oppressive ones are the ones who get the most recognition.

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ROBERT ! PREACH IT! How it IS ! The WORD ! is a DOUBLE EDGED SWORD! MANKIND! Needs to Have a Saul/ to PAUL ! MOMENT !

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I am using insults to not be bullied into silence & how not to reply in kind.

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As a non-Christian, I would ask whether any serous person really believes that Jesus would affirm the ideas of the “Christian” nationalists? (Not Christian democracy—-in post-war Europe Christian democratic parties were the liberal answer to Communism.)

Oh, and has anyone pointed out to Viktor Orban that his Magyar ancestors were immigrants to what is now Hungary?

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Jon Jesus would be excluded from evangelical ‘Christianity’ and Eisenhower would be excluded from today’s ‘Republican Party.’

As someone who had the privilege of lunching with David Ben-Gurion in 1954 and then spending over an hour listening to him in his book-filled study, I believe that BG would be banned (for good reason) from Netanyahu’s cabinet. I am now embarrassed that a tree was planted for me in Israel.

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My opinion from observation is that No. The born again Christians do not need to reconcile what Jesus would do in our current situation. To them the end times are upon us. The Christians are going to heaven and the others are not. Jesus would approve because those people who are damned should have listened when we told them they had to say the sentence “I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.” But they didn’t listen and now there is nothing we can do to save them. But we’ll pray for them .🙏🏼

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Well, all of those good "Christians" better run up to the head of the line on Judgment Day, because if they get behind us Jews they're going to wait through eternity while we argue with God.

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Laughter ringing down all over me.

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But you forget our War in Iraq.

300,000 Iraqis dead “from direct war-related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces.”

7,000 U.S. military personnel dead

8,000 Pentagon contractors dead

30,000 U.S. veterans have committed suicide

Today, the coffers of the Iraqi state treasury are empty, even though the country should have earned $500 billion in oil revenues since 2003. Corruption and inefficiency handcuff the country.

For the U.S.: $6 trillion spent even before the ISIL campaign of 2014-2019. Without the sums squandered in Iraq, our national debt would still be below our annual gross national product, putting us in a much more favorable economic position in 2023. As in today’s Russia, in the zeros of this century a war mentality fostered a fierce intolerance of dissent and of difference on the right, which is still unfolding.”

from Juan Cole

https://tomdispatch.com/the-american-war-from-hell-20-years-later/?utm_source=TomDispatch&utm_campaign=bed8da6319-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_07_13_02_04_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1e41682ade-bed8da6319-308749077

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For me Christian Nationalism is the clearest explanation of what is being expressed by what I am calling RINOS as they no longer represent the values of the GOP. Staying under cover as R, it keeps those who vote R rather than issues & values , in the flock into the cult. PRRI has a website where the thinking of CN is discussed as well as their research. Andrew Whitehead has TAKING AMERICA BACK FOR GOD. TEACHING CRITICAL THINKING by Bell Hooks gives some insight into understanding CN disruption of schools. It is mental gymnastics to try to understand how far & foreign & disturbing this ideology is.

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Thanks David. Language is our most powerful, least understood and deadliest technology.

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Christianity has never been Christian. By CE 60, Nero was already burning pitch-coated Christians at his infamous Garden Party, alongside other "criminal elements." Christians continued to be a problem for Rome for three centuries, and arguably played a major role in its downfall. Virtually all of the slaveowners in early America were Christian. The "witchfinders" and prosecutors of "witches" based on spectral evidence (dreams) were all Christian.

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Sadly, you are spot-on. During my graduate study at Seminary, I learned for the first time how the two councils (the First Council of Nicea and the Second Council of Constantinople) of The early Fathers were rife with violence and anger, each one of many sides holding that THEIR interpretation of Scripture was the correct interpretation. The Gnostic Gospels were kept out of the Canons, because the Gnostic Gospels did not reside well with the early religious patriarchs. I also learned during my graduate study what "Jesus" did and did not say, often contrary to what I was taught in Sunday School while growing up; or, how my old man decided to interpret his version of Scripture. The Rev'd Dr. Neville, Dean, Boston University School of Theology said at the beginning of his 1999 welcoming to new post-graduate students, "God is wild and cannot be fully domesticated."

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Reality: Those folks are not even close to being truly Christian. They are a blood stain on the Faith, evangelicals having corrupted and contaminated the Faith in such a way that the truly devout shy away from openly claiming Christianity. The false prophets and the apostates thrive in such environs.

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Do not shy away, but rather make distinctions in real time

“I am a Christian and we do not believe what those people profess is Christianity”

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Christian is being used as a red fig leaf.

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I would but I am not a Christian

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I meant "the term/concept" Christian is being used to hide what it actually is. I just wrote a tidbit about using one thing to hide another through shell grass roots organizations. If we argue about it, they've hidden it from us or ... I think that's the plan.

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Good one Kathyinthewallowas, "shell grass roots orgs ..." Careful, con quidado,, Artificial Turf has proven toxic to baseball players.

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on the OR for Food and Shelter shell, we went ahead and banned 6 herbicides from public lands in the NW because our epidemiologist found all the data on cancer for them. OFS did not like that much, but we got them talking to NW Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides by the end of it. Our project had its origins in a court case that resulted from an effort to resolve the knife and gun hostage situation some of our field people found themselves in. It was epic.

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Thank you David , well said.

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You are not the arbitrator of who is and who is not a Christian. You are making a denominational argument, one that is irrelevant to the matter at hand and entrenches Christian Supremacist ideas. Christians ARE what they do in this world. Not what you would aspire for them to be.

This framing is unhelpful. You make sectarian argument that centers you as the arbitrator of True Christianity ™️, that entrenches toxic ideas of Christian innocence and supremacy. Christians ARE what they do in this world. Not what you would aspire for them to be.

Consider the work of @C_Stroop:

https://religiondispatches.org/the-fake-christian-deflection-and-contrarian-concern-trolling-how-not-to-write-about-evangelical-authoritarianism/

https://cstroop.com/2017/05/03/about-those-trump-voters-for-god-stop-calling-them-fake-christians/

https://religiondispatches.org/stop-trying-to-save-jesus-fandamentalism-reinforces-the-problem-of-christian-supremacism/

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jm_rives: Let's be clear about language.

I am hardly the "arbiter" of much of anything, because I have very little power in this world to arbitrate, and I certainly cannot coerce people to my will or my viewpoint.

I CAN have observations, opinions, and arguments about a great many things, and (so far) the freedom to express them. The continuation of such freedom is precisely the point of Heather's post, and precisely what would be forbidden under Illiberal Christian society, or as I prefer to call it, Christofascism.

I am certainly not making a denominational argument. I'm quite familiar with a range of "denominations" of Christianity, both current and historical. Despite their differences, they all have in common broad and consistent deviation in practice from the teachings of Christ in the Gospels.

This is -- in my OPINION -- a direct consequence of their need to govern their congregations. The model of governance is top down, from the extreme case of the Pope and the Curia, down to the small, backwoods Fundamentalist sect that rules from the pulpit, and punishes through social shunning, gossip, and threat of expulsion from the group. One does not openly debate with ANY minister (that I am aware of) in front of the congregation.

If you want a more nuanced OPINION across a larger historical vision, read H. Richard Niehbuhr's Christ and Culture (1951).

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Jm, thank you for your comment. I think I agree with you, if you mean that people are what they do not simply what they claim to be. So if Christian's don't do Christian acts, then they are not Christian? Is that agreeable? I will read your links. I am not an arbiter of who are Christians anymore than anyone is an arbiter of who I am. However to participate in society, I do observe what people do, and comment on it both when its helpful to others and when its harmful. No one should hang for my comments, nor when my comments are mutally shared among many others. However we are dealing with many current issues and situations today where groups holding out their identities by skin color, religion, gender, etc as they hang people in the media, shooting them, or withholding rights, etc. These groups do not tie their hands with self assessment and correction. I doubt we can be perfect in addressing these issues.

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There is a marked and recognizable difference between people who follow Christ’s teachings in context and people who “profess” to do so, but do something else. Playing a Christian on TV is not the same actually being one

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Food for thought…

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We are good at defining the problem, not good at solving.

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And all of these protests that "they aren't really Christians"