Chris Hedges: Beware the Tea Party Dominionists

Dandelion Salad

with Chris Hedges

9-12 March in DC-4

Image by Andrew Aliferis via Flickr

stateofbelief on Oct 15, 2013

“I think that the wider public hasn’t grasped the ideological roots, nor the fact that the destruction of government – and they have found the weapon to do it – has long been part of their game plan, and is something that they rejoice in, rather than see as a temporary evil. They see government as something that, largely, has to be abolished, and they have found the weapon, the mechanism, to essentially do just that.” — Chris Hedges

There’s nothing unfairly partisan about pointing a finger at one political party in criticizing the latest government shutdown. One political party has harbored politicians who overtly denigrate the very concept of government as a force for good, some who even overtly campaigned with promises of shutting down the federal government. As Democrats, mainstream Republicans and the American public struggle to understand what’s happening on Capitol Hill, a growing number of analysts point to the dangerous philosophy of Christian dominionism as a driving force. One of the most respected voices offering this analysis belongs to Chris Hedges, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of The Christian Right and the War on America as well as Days of Destruction, Day of Revolt. He joins Welton on this week’s show to talk about his recent article “The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government,” as well as his firsthand knowledge of dominionist thought and how it benefits from the Tea Party’s actions in Washington.


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Chris Hedges: Afghanistan, the Longest War in US History

Howard Zinn: The Myth of American Exceptionalism (2005; repost)

American Fascism: Ralph Nader Decries How Big Business Has Taken Control of the U.S. Government

Chris Hedges Answers “Why Are We Not Calling This Fascism?”

Exclusive: Blowback and the Religious Right by Shawn S. Grandstaff

22 thoughts on “Chris Hedges: Beware the Tea Party Dominionists

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  4. Sorry Lo, very long screed.

    This really opens up Pandora’s picnic-hamper. There is, of course, inherent ambiguity in the moral paradox of not tolerating intolerance. You can barely slip a cigarette paper ‘twixt extremist Islamist ideologies and incendiary christist dogmatism; both are empowered by fundamental (pun intended) misreadings of tradition. So the deeper problem is embedded in this complex core issue of sacred literacy, contextual cultural comprehension and cognitive subtlety.

    Emotive conditioning has a great deal to answer for. It takes considerable discipline and self-knowledge to analyse such received, reactionary beliefs.

    Leaving Islamic theology outside this discussion for the time being, let’s consider what we mean by Christian history. Clearly there must be as many Christs as there are spiritual orientations that flow from the extant biblical or non-canonical sources, that comprise all cumulative, contemporary, post-Qumran, comparative traditions.

    What if we were to rationalize this as a mere confusion of indefinite and definite articles? Is it actually about individuated person-hood or some unifying spiritual identity?

    Believers may invoke a unique “Christ” that is personalized and ultimately therefore, becomes subjectively or phenomenologically “mine;” but this “individuated experience of Christ” emerges exponentially, from a legacy of collective “imaginal” historicities, that have been transmitted as vehicles of intimate holiness. This passionate identification with a common, shared identity, must however be somehow reconciled to the diverse plethora of competing scriptural interpretations & mystical “egregore” ( ~ a Greek term possibly originating from the Book of Enoch, that since the C19th refers to group-mind or the existential reality of shared “thought-forms;” a notion not dissimilar to Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance.) Harold Bloom has characterized this as an emergent American Gnosis.

    What reactionary “fundamental” x-ist fanatics actually do therefore, is render this exceedingly complex and subtle psycho-spiritual dynamic or mystical process, into a simplistic formula of submission to their own spurious metaphysical authoritarianism. This tommy-rot “ufo-logical” sky-jack, masquerades as piety, whereas it is anything but pious; quite the contrary in fact ~ as its effects are clearly para-psycho-pathological. Deviance of this order of magnitude is thus the basest, most crudely mutated species of hybrid superstition, gone to seed and run riot. It is a form of highly infectious spiritual corruption and thus extremely dangerous ~ in fact, it is potentially lethal. It is the very thing that Richard Dawkins has condemned so vociferously; only he had already thrown the esoteric baby out, before he started bailing the insalubrious, eschatological bathwater.

    Atheism aside then, any frothing revivalist who advocates such debased, fundamentalist, pseudo-religious illiterate perversity, must be considered spiritually insane by any acknowledged canon of philosophical reason; and therefore should be metaphorically “pilloried,” as posing a real threat to society.

    Rather than ship them off to a revisionist Chinese rehabilitation gulag, it would be much wiser to advocate enlightened humanitarian principles that simply restrain the toxic effects of their collective lunacies, by stipulating what can or cannot be explicitly recognized as a religious crime, thus held to be of equivalent depravity to literal crucifixion or female genital mutilation, for example.

    Rather than just an embarrassing inconvenience or ranting anti-social sectarian “heresy,” this affliction should be seen for what it truly is ~ regardless of any purported secular disguise, political jargon, pretensions of scriptural respectability, or ~ radical, apocalyptic “jihadist” jingoism, for that matter…

    • David , agreed on the problem of Christo-fascism in the good ole US of A. i am in the middle of it . Where we differ is the solution . Your solution sounds very much like a anthropocentric humanism without the Dawkins baggage. Though i commend it , i know that it will never counter act the toxicity of problem . Because it has in itself its own form of other problems .

      so — i propose a 3rd way –Theocentric Humanism . This is laid out brilliantly in Jaques Maritan ‘s little masterpiece called ”True Humanism ”. It encapsulates the spirit of Erasmus . Merton knew Maritian personally and expressed this well also .

      why do i say this ? because man is a religious animal . Divinity must be redefined as God in humility on a CROSS . this –the christian fundamentalists do not understand , because they are oppressing others. therefore –re-definition is vital , not optional .

      • Rocket hi there, it’s been a while, good to hear from you ~ I kinda suspected you’d take me to task…

        I’m OK with theocentric humanism, only we diverge on the literal understanding of the mystical. I see the true cross as solar, therefore symbolic, seasonal and aeonic ~ significant insofar as it is a cosmic drama of initiation. Pure Gnosis to be internalized.

        I think you’re totally right that we are religious animals. That’s a very interesting turn of phrase. Only as Mary Coyote says, freedom from religion is a basic human right. So when you say “must be redefined” that’s dogma & potentially limiting.

        It’s fine if you understand the deeper meaning of humility, but I still have a real problem with the sado-masochistic implications of such a literal reading of the “torture cross” as Mary Daly described it.

        Even Rudolph Steiner got hung up on this…now that is an intentional pun…only it just doesn’t quite ring true in an esoteric sense. Allegory, fine. Pauline mysticism, fine. Jewish gnostic myth, OK. Real history ~ mmm…I can’t go that far.

        Magick is as magick does. We need to look at the results, by our works we are “judged.” The oppressors need to be suppressed ~ I can’t just wait for that karmic clock to strike thirteen.

        • David , Mary Daly verses the Jesuits on this one . only the Jesuits on the front lines understood the need for preaching the Pauline notion of Christ suffering in order bring comfort to those who are suffering . go to any sick and dying catholic hospice and you will see the stations of the cross more graphic than your local parish. why ? this is to help comfort those in unspeakable agony. Daly never got this, because she was too caught up in her head instead of on the front lines.

          more from those who seek to oppress the ones on the front lines that christian practitioners seek to help : since man will always be a religious animal, redefinition of divinity is THE only way out of this mess. this is why God in God’s great wisdom chose humility and a death that was outside of the realm of the jewish and pagan notions of the divine order –namely crucifixion…

        • namely crucifixion . again Paul . Pagels thesis on the Gnostic Paul is half right .Paul was given secret knowledge. but that secret knowledge was of the ”mystery of godliness ”brought about by the cross. this is also why Mark’s defining climax is the confession of the Roman Centurion at the foot of the cross , as he shifter allegiance away from Rome when he said that Jesus was the Son of God .

          until the Christo-fascists see what that centurion saw , there will be no change ..i am sorry to say . the way to break the chains of oppression with them is to confront them with the cross , not just in word , but in the sacrifice of ones own life before their very eyes. no shortcuts.

        • Thanks Rocket, I admired Mary Daly’s incisive and radical feminist “bottle” ~ she wasn’t afraid of pulling a few wobbly jesuitical legs, painting black tails white, and tugging at a few pretentious Phoenician-purple ecclesiastical egos…

          I get what you say, but the mystical drama you so passionately embrace was situated two thousand years ago, and was a direct expression of the Pisces/Virgo formula contingent to that period. Times are changing…

          I believe that formula is now superseded and must be internalized spiritually not literally as we enter an emergent, new precessional equinoctial epoch, astrologically and symbolically resonant with Aquarius/Leo. This is what all the “new age” commotion and blag is about after all, since Levi and Blavatsky began to roll away the stone in the mid and late C19th.

          Even the RC elites desperate to “propagate the faith” have tried to harness this notion through their very conscious adaptation of the “water bearer” motif, although quite frankly, its a pretty abysmal apologist compromise. As it were, they are attempting keep their sacramental cake and eating it all at the same time…

          I doubt that you can agree with me, but my view is that the “experience” of religion must be totally reconceptualized, and the cognitive and theurgical understanding that is our collective esoteric legacy needs to be understood as a Bergsonian/Whiteheadian/Jamesian process of evolutionary development, not a single reductionist Kurzweilian/Teilhard de Chardinesque and eschatological “end-time” event.

          I am all for breaking the chains, but the strongest bonds are the mental manacles forged by our own imaginal limitations.

        • David ,you have to forgive me for being absent on this blog . the St. louis Cardinals are in the world series this year against Boston and i have been buried in stats since the play offs .

          to answer your statement from below : as far as Bergson’s Vitalism , Whitehead’s process , and the Jamesian pragmatic , they are part and parcel of the over all shift but not the whole picture , hence i see them as dated. what cannot be dated is the event that happended 2,000 years ago becuase it is always happening .
          When you sent me the British stuff on Kierkegaard , there was a brilliant article called ”Kierkegaard and Time ”. …..ooops …this page is screwing up ..will continue down below …

        • S.K. and Time , from the book ”The concept of Dread ” ..S.k. asks this question ”what does a society look like that is built on the Incarnation of God -Christ?” to me –this is THE question . he never answered it , neither can i.

          but i do know this — those in this society must have the eternal mindset that is imparted by grace and lived out by the in-working of the cross ( a constant event in ones life ) in order to emanate divine presence and transcendence . i think the reason why S.K. wont answer it is because he is afraid of falling into yet another Utopian proposition , hence he remains in the personal subjective loner view .

          my synthesis is to somehow reconcile the society of Catholic thought with individuation of Kierkegaard .

        • Excellent, a worthy aspiration in my convoluted estimation.

          Go-go St Louis! I just hope your Cardinals are better dressed than the other lot & not in Fellini outfits either!!!

  5. And the news media is to blame too! Freedom of the press has turned into freedom to suppress, which is exactly what is happening: the truth is being deliberately swept under the carpet in order to control the masses. Thinking ‘outside of the box’ is becoming a punishable crime.

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