Under His Eye in the Republic of Texas, by Kenn Orphan

White Supremacy and Christian Nationalism are Evil | Glendale United Methodist Church - Nashville Sign

Image by Glendale United Methodist Church – Nashville via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
June 23, 2022

If you’ve never traveled around the state of Texas, you won’t really get an accurate picture of this odd land of extremes. The cities, especially Austin and Houston, are islands of relative sanity surrounded by a sea of crazy. All this considered, the unveiling of the Texas GOP’s platform should come as no surprise. They have merely tapped into the paranoid, hyper-nationalist, fascist zeitgeist so prevalent among a large swath of its white, Christian population.

In addition to the over the top, antigay/anti-trans rhetoric, the platform also attacks women’s reproductive rights, unions, climate change initiatives, the poor, the Endangered Species Act, gun control legislation (in a state that just witnessed the slaughter of elementary school children), immigrants and refugees (this is where Haitian refugees were recently whipped by officers on horseback), and public health measures to stem the spread of a pandemic. It also ramps up anti-China sentiments, advocates a withdrawal from the United Nations, and dehumanizes the Palestinians and their struggle for human rights (referring to the Bible as a reference for this discrimination and alignment with an apartheid regime). In addition to all of this, the platform employed QAnon conspiracies in questioning the legitimacy of the presidency of Joe Biden. And it reaffirmed the state’s right of secession from the union.

But one thread ran through everything: Christo-fascism. In fact, a narrow interpretation of the Christian Bible is referred to more than once as a justification for bigotry and discrimination. The pathology of theocratic obsession is embedded within Texas culture. And it is worth mentioning a recent town meeting in Arlington, Texas, where an evangelical Christian pastor took to the floor to call for the execution of gay people as “mandated” by the Holy Scripture. His unhinged lust for blood was echoed by many others there who uttered “amen” after every vile point he made.

I traveled across Texas several times years ago. I witnessed extremes in so many bizarre manifestations. Once, while driving down the interstate, I passed by an exit that had a billboard of a Bible verse with the image of a fetus. Obviously, a pro-life proclamation, one of many across the south. Under it was a sign that pointed across the way to a gun shop that boasted little to no background checks for customers. And next to the gun shop was an adult bookstore. This was Texas in a nutshell. At odds with itself and incapable of grasping the pathological contradictions.

Texas, and much of the south for that matter, has never reconciled with its violent, racist and theocratically authoritarian past. And while the north of the country has a rancid history of racism and other forms of social hatreds, violence and discrimination, it is undeniable that the south is consistently choked by some of the most reactionary and fascist cultural miasma in the Western world. The spirit of supremacist hatred is woven tightly into the very fabric of its present. Texas is a state that may come to resemble Margaret Atwood’s Gilead more than any other state in the US, and be proud in doing so.

Now, this essay might appear harsh to some. And I apologize for offending those Texans, some of whom I love, who continue to live there and love their state. To be sure, there are positive aspects to the culture and there are welcome changes that have come. For instance, the state’s demographics have been changing, much to the chagrin of many white, heterosexual, Christian Republicans. But the hold this group has on power in the state cannot be denied. It is an entrenched grip on the very levers of control and it is not going to give any of that up easily. Now that the GOP has openly embraced unhinged conspiracy theories and unbridled social hatred, its trajectory toward a more blatant fascism appears all but guaranteed.

Kenn Orphan is a writer, artist, antiwar and anti-capitalist activist, hospice social worker and radical nature lover living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As an independent writer and artist Kenn Orphan depends on donations and commissions. If you would like to support his work and his blog you can do so via PayPal. He may be contacted at KennOrphan.com.

Previously published on Kenn Orphan, June 23, 2022

From the archives:

The Chris Hedges Report: The Rise of Authoritarianism in the US and Around the Globe, with Vijay Prashad

Chris Hedges: America’s Gun Fetish

Apocalypse Given a Bad Rap By Liberal Media, by David Swanson

The Dis-United States, by David Swanson

21st Century Fascism: The Bid For Survival By A Dying Capitalist Order, by Rainer Shea

Fascism is Intentional, by Kenn Orphan

Fascism is a Fire that Will Burn the Entire House Down, by Kenn Orphan

Chris Hedges and Paul Street: Neo-fascist Seizure of America’s State Governments

Chris Hedges: American Fascist Christian Right

America: Land of the Free… and Conspiracy Nuts, by Finian Cunningham

11 thoughts on “Under His Eye in the Republic of Texas, by Kenn Orphan

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  7. Enclaves of ignorance are common in every nation.
    They often go hand in hand with the working poor, the overworked middle class (too busy to glean the Truth), and religious zealotry.
    Tis the way of the world.
    Oligarchs thrive on it.
    Having said that; the US has been a nation of extremes since the Spanish and British landed there.

  8. I’m not sure what the word “Christian” means nowadays. I suppose that, here in the USA, the majority of the people who call themselves “Christian” are referring to their conservative political beliefs. There is still a sizeable population who also call themselves “Christian” but have very different beliefs. There are even “Christian communists,” people who believe “Jesus was a commie like me.” But the conservative “Christians” do seem to be more numerous, and they certainly are louder.

    I have mostly stopped using the word “Christian” in my own writing, except in sentences like “he calls himself a ‘Christian’.”

    (I have also stopped using the word “liberal,” which has been given so many different meanings that by now it has no meaning at all. Except, maybe, it has become a synonym for “Democrat,” a member of a political party that doesn’t stand for anything.)

    • There are plenty of progressive/left Christians in the US such as myself. The Christian fundamentalists/Nationalists tend to get more press. “Christian” is not synonymous to “conservative.” That’s why I chose this particular photo to use for this article.

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