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American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America [Kindle Edition]

Chris Hedges

Kindle-Preis: EUR 8,71 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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"Chris Hedges may be the most credible figure yet to detect real-life fascism in the Red America of megachurches, gay-marriage bans and Left Behind books. American Facists is at its most daring when it enunciates...the perversities that are obvious to those of us not beholden to political exigencies." -- "New York Observer"



A startling and terrifying expose of the political ambitions of the Christian Right in America - and a clarion call for everyone who cares about freedom.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1173 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 274 Seiten
  • Verlag: Free Press; Auflage: Reprint (9. Januar 2007)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B000N0WT92
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Nicht aktiviert
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  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #220.440 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.0 von 5 Sternen  254 Rezensionen
501 von 534 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen When Unquestioned Obedience Is The Only Test Of Faith 25. Januar 2007
Von W. Szewai - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Most great artists and thinkers are outsiders in some sense or another. This ability to observe from the outside often uncovers patterns that are invisible because they are too close. Chris Hedges spent most of his adult life outside of the United States, covering wars and despotic regimes. On his return to America, he was able to see our society with an eye unblunted by habit or assumptions, which, combined with his theological education and visceral experience and understanding of totalitarian systems, gives him a uniquely penetrating perspective into the growing movement known as the Christian Right.

In "American Fascists," Hedges never makes the simplistic claim that the Christian Right is the Nazi party, or that Bush is Mussolini, or that America will inevitably become a fascist state. His investigation is much more nuanced, identifying the incipient stirrings, invisible to many Americans, of a complex, mass political movement that is mobilizing and gaining strength and support beneath the surface of our democracy.

In characteristically muscular and clear prose that fuses the minister and veteran reporter, Hedges not only details multiple facets of the movement, but also examines the ideological undercurrents that drive them and how they translate into political consequences.

At The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, which "prove[s] that God's word is true," Hedges writes "The danger of creationism is...that it allows all facts to be accepted or discarded according to the dictates of a preordained ideology."

At a Love Won Out conference, an organization founded to "cure" those who suffer from "same sex attraction," and which denounces and warns against unrepentant homosexuals who seek to corrupt children and destroy the family, Hedges observes that "This cultivated sense of persecution - cultivated by those doing the persecuting - allows the Christian Right to promote bigotry and attack any outcry as part of the war against the Christian faith. A group trying to curtail the civil rights of gays and lesbians portrays itself, in this rhetorical twist, as victims of an effort to curtail the civil rights of Christians."

Of the gospel of consumerism relentlessly peddled by televangelists on massive Christian broadcasting networks, which promises its 141 million viewers that all they need to fix their lives is belief in Jesus and a regular "love offering" in American dollars to the network, Hedges writes, "...when faith alone cures illness, overcomes emotional distress and ensures financial and physical security, there is no need and regulatory agencies to exist. There is no need for fiscal or social responsibility... To put trust in secular institutions is to lack faith, to give up on God's magic and miracles. The message...dovetails with the message of neoconservatives who want to gut and destroy federal programs, free themselves from government regulations and taxes and break the back of all organizations, such as labor unions, that seek to impede maximum profit."

Among other events and interviews, we also see an Evangelism Explosion workshop run by D. James Kennedy at his Coral Ridge mega-church which trains participants to convert non-believers, an anti-abortion weekend organized by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an Ohio Restoration Project rally where the Christian cross is superimposed upon a huge American flag.

The collective portrait is that of a non-reality-based movement, based on magic and miracles, which no rational argument can penetrate. The leaders of the Christian Right claim they speak for God, and as such, can brook no dissent. Unquestioned obedience to these ambassadors of God becomes the only test of faith. In totalitarian movements, the responsibility of making decisions about right and wrong is lifted from the people, along with the anxiety that attends that responsibility. But the surrender of conscience only comes with the abdication of democratic power and civil rights.

Yet it would be a mistake to view "American Fascists" as nothing but a frontal assault on the Christian Right. It is also an unexpectedly compassionate hearing of the stories of despair and pain that are the hidden, private side of this movement. Hedges clearly makes a distinction between the leaders and the followers, and his anger at how the movement exploits the shame and guilt of its followers for political and economic purposes is one of the driving forces of the book. The Christian Right is built on economic and personal despair, Hedges argues. Again and again, he encounters followers whose lives were shattered by sexual abuse, drug addiction, child abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, extreme poverty, multiple abortions, broken families, and profound alienation and loneliness. It was this despair that drove them to embrace the Christian Right, which promises them miraculous solutions and apocalyptic revenge against those who had destroyed their lives. These stories of despair turned to rage are vital to understanding this mass movement and its power.

The Christian Right seeks to destroy that which it claims to defend. Hedges accords them no religious legitimacy, as they trample the core values of Jesus' teachings, love and compassion, and seek to use the veneer of religion as a route to political power. There is a vast difference between the "religion" of the Christian Right and the true meaning of faith. Near the close of the book, Hedges writes:

"The radical Christian Right calls for exclusion, cruelty and intolerance in the name of God. Its members do not commit evil for evil's sake. They commit evil to make a better world. To attain this better world, they believe, some must suffer and be silenced, and at the end of time all those who oppose them must be destroyed. The worst suffering in human history has been carried out by those who preach such grand, utopian visions, those who seek to implant by force their narrow, particular version of goodness. This is true for all doctrines of personal salvation, from Christianity to ethnic nationalism to communism to fascism. Dreams of a universal good create hells of persecution, suffering and slaughter. No human being could ever be virtuous enough to attain such dreams, and the Earth has swallowed millions of hapless victims in the vain pursuit of a new heaven and a new Earth. Ironically, it is idealism that leads radical fundamentalists to strip human beings of their dignity and their sanctity and turn them into abstractions. Yet it is only by holding on to the sanctity of each individual, each human life, only by placing our faith in tiny, unheroic acts of compassion and kindness, that we survive as a community and as individual human beings."
250 von 276 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen I could not recommend this book more highly 25. Januar 2007
Von R. Daniels - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This is an excellent study of fascism, its past and present grips on the Religious Right and the catalysts that might usher in a Christian Fascism movement in the United States.

As a Christian with experience in both conservative and liberal evangelical congregations, I found useful insights into the political and religious shifts I've witnessed since the 1970s and that we've all seen accelerate after 9/11. How is it that well intentioned churches and their members have come to believe that homosexuality is THE problem facing the U.S. today? How can self-professed Christians become unabased cheerleaders for war? How do Christians get so caught up in television personality cults masquarading as Christian ministries?

These and many many other questions are asked and answered by Hedges. The historic background and his logic in reaching those answers are accessibly presented. Where those answers eventually lead is a cause for concern to all U.S. citizens and, as a Christian, the author makes it clear that the responsibility for standing up to the unholy rise of Christian Fascism falls squarely on the shoulders of Christians.

The more "religous" you are, the more important I think it is that you consider the points made by the author. You're not going to like most of them. But I think you will come to agree with too many of them to ignore his overarching concerns.
217 von 245 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Progressive Christian confronts the Christian Right fringe 8. Februar 2007
Von David R. Cook - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Chris Hedges has all the personal and experiential credentials to take on the Christian "dominionists" that pose a danger to our democracy and, by extension, the world. First, he is a fine writer. Second, he has covered from the ground most of the wars of the second half of the 20th Century. And third, he thinks deeply and personally about religion, theology, ethics and morality. His admired father was a Presbyterian minister who cared deeply about tolerance and community. Having said all that, Hedges does not pull any punches in equating the small group of dominionists (about 7% of Christians) with the behavior and belief systems that were part and parcel of fascism. He has read deeply in analyses of fascism, such as Hannah Arendt, and, being the good reporter that he is, has attended some of the different gatherings of dominionists and talked to those who have been affected by their involvement in the cult like movements that pass for Christianity.

America today faces many internal threats to our democracy. Not least of these threats comes from the imperialistic presidency with which we have been inflicted by Bush and Cheney. Would they were the only purveyors of American imperialism, but they have only taken this bent to a new level. The Christian Right, led by the dominionists, is directly tuned in to this imperialism, turning it into "God's will", with the exciting twist that we are heading for the apocalypse when only the saved will attain heaven. Because these so-called Christians are heavily funded and control a disproportionate number of radio and TV outlets, their influence far exceeds their numbers. Elsewhere, it has been observed that history shows that nations cannot maintain an empire abroad and democracy at home. Preserving democracy at home will eventually require giving up the empire. Hedges argues that it will take many acts of faith in the political realm to counter these fascists, two examples of which are passing hate crimes legislation and universal healthcare legislation. Ending the Iraq war will help also.

This is a book intended for consciousness raising about a threat within our democracy that we ignore or placate to our peril. I urge my "mainstream" Christian and secular friends to read this book.
112 von 129 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Compelling & Disturbing Read 5. Februar 2007
Von Anthony M. Zipple - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
If you tend to agree with fundamentalist Christians you will be irate about this book. If you are a progressive, you will cheer. Whatever your perspective, Hedges outlines a compelling case about the dangers of dominionist strains of fundamentalist Christianity in the US today.

The question that readers should ask is not whether the book is "hateful" or "intolerant" but whether the core facts are true and implications are valid. Hedges tries to use factual statements about dominionist behavior and then suggest implications of the behavior. Much of the material is disturbing. For example, there is no question about the historical overlap between this group of Christians and many ugly aspects of out past including segregation, tax evasion, the John Birch Society, etc. Nor is there serious disagreement about the ugliness of many of the attacks by Falwell, Roberts, and others on gay people, Muslims, progressives, etc. Nor is there much disagreement on their efforts to re-define the US as a Christian country instead of a secular country with a Christian majority. Nor is ther much disagreement about the profoundly anti-intellectual/rational bias in the movement (just look at intelligent design or Christian oriented history books). Or about the well nurtured and well documented paranoia of the group. Or the overtly greedy, financially questionable, sometimes illegal behavior of many of its leaders. All of the many examples cited by Hedges suggests that he may not be reaching too far when he categorizes the group as "fascists." However, agree or disagree, the book is challenging and troubling. And it is well worth reading.
94 von 108 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A strong -- but temperate -- argument 5. Februar 2007
Von The Elephant's Child - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I heard about this on Bob Edwards Weekend and was interested enough to go check out the book. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to read more than a page or two. I already have strong and informed opinions about the dangers of religious zealotry, but more to the point, I find name-calling and snide assumptions of superiority to be very offputting. Based on the title, I expected an atheistic screed cum political rant.

Instead, Mr. Hedges opens with Umberto Eco's excellent and thought-provoking description of the essential nature of fascism. Then he goes on to show the ways in which "dominionism", a politically active sort of Christian fundamentalism, conforms to those criteria. Hedges treats with compassion many of those he disagrees with, and he generally refrains from cheap shots and personal attacks. He keeps his focus on the dangers of an ideology that would impose by force rigid conformity of belief (regardless of scientific truth) and behavior (regardless of opposing personal or cultural norms).

There is not a lot of new information here, at least for those who pay attention to the coverage of the alliance between Evangelicals and officials at the highest levels of American government. But Hedges' closely-reasoned, lucidly explained arguments make this a must-read.
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