American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

by Chris Hedges
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Overview

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges

Twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists first spoke of the United States becoming a Christian nation that would build a global Christian empire, it was hard to take such hyperbolic rhetoric seriously. Today, such language no longer sounds like hyperbole but poses, instead, a very real threat to our freedom and our way of life. In American Fascists, Chris Hedges, veteran journalist and author of the National Book Award finalist War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, challenges the Christian Right's religious legitimacy and argues that at its core it is a mass movement fueled by unbridled nationalism and a hatred for the open society.

Hedges, who grew up in rural parishes in upstate New York where his father was a Presbyterian pastor, attacks the movement as someone steeped in the Bible and Christian tradition. He points to the hundreds of senators and members of Congress who have earned between 80 and 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian Right advocacy groups as one of many signs that the movement is burrowing deep inside the American government to subvert it. The movement's call to dismantle the wall between church and state and the intolerance it preaches against all who do not conform to its warped vision of a Christian America are pumped into tens of millions of American homes through Christian television and radio stations, as well as reinforced through the curriculum in Christian schools. The movement's yearning for apocalyptic violence and its assault on dispassionate, intellectual inquiry are laying the foundation for a new, frightening America.

American Fascists, which includes interviews and coverage of events such as pro-life rallies and weeklong classes on conversion techniques, examines the movement's origins, its driving motivations and its dark ideological underpinnings. Hedges argues that the movement currently resembles the young fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and '30s, movements that often masked the full extent of their drive for totalitarianism and were willing to make concessions until they achieved unrivaled power. The Christian Right, like these early fascist movements, does not openly call for dictatorship, nor does it use physical violence to suppress opposition. In short, the movement is not yet revolutionary. But the ideological architecture of a Christian fascism is being cemented in place. The movement has roused its followers to a fever pitch of despair and fury. All it will take, Hedges writes, is one more national crisis on the order of September 11 for the Christian Right to make a concerted drive to destroy American democracy. The movement awaits a crisis. At that moment they will reveal themselves for what they truly are -- the American heirs to fascism. Hedges issues a potent, impassioned warning. We face an imminent threat. His book reminds us of the dangers liberal, democratic societies face when they tolerate the intolerant.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743284431
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 01/09/2007
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig out of Los Angeles and is host of the Emmy Award­–winning RT America show On Contact. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists, Days of Destruction­, Days of Revolt, and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches college credit courses in the New Jersey prison system.

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American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, is a powerful expose of the Christian Right and its attempts to create a new America ruled by them and their extreme and dangerous beliefs. Hedges exposes the dominionist movement, as he calls it, and the war it is waging on American freedom and democracy. Dominionism, he says, is a movement which takes its name from a chapter in Genesis, and desires to use the Christian religion to gain political power on a scale never before seen. I became especially interested when he exposed the dangerous conversion aspirations of Dr. D. James Kennedy and his Evangelism Explosion program. I, for various reasons, have watched Kennedy¿s program, and I have thus gained an insight into his politics and aspirations. Hedges thus added an extra dimension to what I already knew helping me to understand further how dangerous Dr. Kennedy¿s beliefs are. The fight for Creationism to take precedence over evolution is a major issue in our nation, and it has been for decades. Hedges, like others, believes that the evidence to support the various claims of literal biblical creation is suspect. However, the central theme of the chapter revolves around the laughable Creation Museum in Kentucky, which has displays that purport to show the dinosaurs being on Noah¿s Ark and a family without God being in chaos. Two of the more disturbing parts of this book are the chapters on the war-like language used by the movement to call their flocks into service and the chapter on televangelism. Hedges finds that the deliberate combination of Christian symbols and national symbols are a step in the direction of a Christian fascism, made worse by the rhetoric that characterizes current day America as being involved in a cultural and religious war, the Christians being under siege, which is a claim that Hedges wholeheartedly disputes. Televangelism, he claims, is used to ¿seduce and encourage us to walk away from the dwindling, less exciting collectives that protect and nurture us. They have mastered television¿s imperceptible, slowly induced hypnosis.¿ To support all of these claims and charges that Hedges makes, he uses his own experiences with the dominionist movement as well as testimonials and interviews with those who have experience with dominionism. In the first chapter, he says that the Bible is one of the ¿great ethical and moral documents of our age.¿ He also says that to not know the Bible is to be in some way illiterate, as the Bible has had a profound effect upon world civilization. Hedges claims, however, will probably only be received openly by those who are not of the fundamentalist or conservative persuasion. Ultimately, American Fascists has the effect of preaching to the choir. That, however, does not mean it is not a powerful work. After reading the book, I felt just that much more passionate about the things which Hedges describes. This is definitely a must-read book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hedges does an excellent job of articulating the extent to which right-wing extremism has hijacked the Christian faith for political and financial gain. A Christian myself, I have witnessed first-hand how easy it is for people to be swept up into this movement, all under the guise of restoring morality and patriotism and 're-Christianizing' America. I once bought into this brand of political fundamentalism until I realized it was in opposition to what Christ and the Bible actually teach, as well as in opposition to American freedom and democracy. This movement is fueled by converting the masses through 'easy-believism', depriving them of spiritual food and feeding them the garbage of the prosperity gospel, enticing them toward a lust for violence with apocalyptical yet unscripturally-founded eschatologies (and teaching it through fictional novels), and then whipping them into hysteria by exploiting their basest emotions using the very market-driven tactics of pop culture which it pretends to oppose. Hedges did his homework and provides detailed insight and an accurate diagnosis of the malignant cancer which is threatening to destroy the church, and has the potential to overrun America with its brand of self-righteous fascism. Though I differ with Hedges on some theological points, I still agree with his overall message and heed the warnings he is sounding. I am a teacher in a Christian school and really had to read it with an open mind, and am glad I challenged myself to read it and was required to think deeply.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written book about the Christian right's ongoing attack on this country. I was raised Catholic, and have very strong spiritual beliefs, but I found this book, and the information contained within, to be very frightening and very sad. It demonstrates the proof of Sinclair Lewis' statement: "Fascism will arrive, wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross".
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chris Hedges is a man of extraordinary brilliance. Chris is not merely a gifted writer, but one who is able 'think on his feet' with originality, spontaneity and grace. His deconstruction of today's apocalyptic forms of Christianity - and its most popular preachers, like John Hagey, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell - is devastating. Like vampires fleeing from the light of day, the re-born Christian community will flee from Chris' burning message. Hedges will light an inextinguishable fire under the feet of those who are trapped within the various illusions promoted by 'dominionistic' Christianity. There is not enough I can say about Chris in this review to praise him sufficiently. I am grateful, and we are all lucky, that he chooses to write books. Therefore, I suggest that you go and see him speak. You will be thunderstruck by the living spirit of Truth that emanates from his voice and the integrity of his person. His book is a timely and precious contriubution to those who desire to understand what the has been happening in this country, mostly under Republican administrations, since the Regan era. If you want to read a politically prophetic book, then read American Facists.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having finished finished Hedges' book 'American Fascists', I would agree that Dominionists do present a real threat to our country's Freedom and Democracy, However, Hedges would appear to deny these individuals their rights of free speech under the First Amendment. While Hedges accurately views the Dominionists as proto-Nazis/Fascists, he never once mentions the vast differences between the Weimar Republic and present-day America. According to the book, all that would take the US to turn into a Theocracy is another 9/11. All through 'American Fascism', ( other than an incessant drum-beat for gay-rights issues ), is the P.C. Stalinist impulse to suppress those who Mr. Hedges is so opposed to. This is very unfortunate, as 'American Fascists' reveals much eye-opening and frightening info about the Religious Right, but again, the book is marred by its constant P.C. Stalinism and party-line gay-rights obsession. Jon Wiener, in a review of 'American Fascists' says it best: Hedges concludes that the Christian right 'should no longer be tolerated,' because it 'would destroy the tolerance that makes an open society possible.' What does he think should be done? He endorses the view that 'any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law,' and therefore we should treat 'incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal.' Thus he rejects the 1st Amendment protections for freedom of speech and religion, and court rulings that permit prosecution for speech only if there is an imminent threat to particular individuals. Hedges advocates passage of federal hate-crimes legislation prohibiting intolerance, but he doesn't really explain how it would work. Many countries do prohibit 'hate speech.' Holocaust denial, for example, is a crime in Germany, Austria and several other European countries. But does this mean that Hedges favors prosecuting Christian fundamentalists for declaring, for example, that abortion providers are murderers or that secular humanists are agents of Satan? He doesn't say.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen Hedges a number of times on Book TV and have read 'War is a Force That Gives us Meaning.' His extensive background prepares him for authenticity in his chosen subjects. I have not yet read this book, but have done my own studies on this subject and unfortunately have family members that subscribe to the beliefs he details. At this point I don't think they have any idea of what it portends. I hope this book is widely read. I intend to promote it whenever possible.
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willyvan More than 1 year ago
As Umberto Eco writes in his introduction, within fundamentalism, "there can be no advancement of learning. Truth has already been spelt out once and for all ." The Bible, including the New Testament, gives aid to anti-Semitism. As Hedges notes, "Hatred of Jews and other non-Christians pervades the Gospel of John (3: 18-20). Jews, he wrote, are children of the devil, the father of lies (John 8: 39-44)." Hedges notes the destruction of US manufacturing industry, whose jobs were 53 per cent of the economy in 1965 but just 9 per cent in 2004. These jobs used to pay $51K a year. Currently available jobs in leisure and hospitality pay $16K and in health care $33K. The states that vote Republican and have large evangelical populations also have higher rates of murder, illegitimacy, teenage births and divorce. Hedges observes, "The movement allows marginalized people the pleasure of denouncing others, of condemning those they fear becoming." Timothy LaHaye, author of the fundamentalist 'Left behind' series, used to run training seminars for the extreme right-wing John Birch society. The Christian Right proposes extreme right-wing policies - anti-Semitism and other conspiracy theories; calls for unregulated capitalism; attacks on science, on enlightenment and secular values, on welfare, public education and public housing; calls to destroy the environment, trade unions and a free press; and calls for wars on Palestinians, Syrians and Iranians. Hedges started by quoting Karl Popper: "Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. ... We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant." As theologian Richard Fenn wrote, "Silent complicity with apocalyptic rhetoric soon becomes collusion with plans for religiously inspired genocide." Wrongly, and irrelevantly in a book about fascism, Hedges asserts, not argues, that communism is like fascism, yet of course communists defend science, enlightenment and secular values, trade unions, a free press, the environment, welfare, public education and public housing and peace.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
American Fascists is poorly developed and skips around confusingly. The author uses some fairly boring and colorless naratives without conclusion.
ClarkP More than 1 year ago
This book was shocking yet thought provoking. Hedges uses plenty of strong examples supporting his claim of Fascism in America. Even if you are against Hedges, read the book and challenge yourself mentally. Thinking is always a good thing, and this book is mentally stimulating. It was a fair and objective approach, Hedges is clearly focused on the extreme 'right' in politics and their war on everyone else. Overall, excellent and a quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love being lied to, being totaly controlled by the govornment and having terrorists and communists in power(librals) this pethetic excuse for a book that killed trees in an atempt to brainwash people to make obama a dictator, this book is for you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
INteresting viewpoints and shows opposite sides of the spectrum in each chapter. It's lso very good that he recieved his degree from Harvard deminary, so you know that it is not just some biased view based on opinion and not fact
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr.Hedges proves the true worth of an education at Harvard Divinty School by attempting to prove the continued existence of Christianity is only thru fascism. How quaint! His writings are semantical twisters,proving people are able to talk out of both sides of their mouths at one time.He is an humble child from rural upstate NY (this apparently makes him a greater authority). Mr.Hedges writes of the many bloody battles found in the Bible,but with the exception of a few passing references,he almost totally sets the blame for all sins in the New Testament. Once again,revisionism is rife- the Old Testament was the bloodiest, sir. Jesus came in peace. The absurd notion in this book that Pat Robertson and others are more evil and fascistic as Christians than atheists is worthy of the confused logic this writer brings to this book. This was what communism attempted to do-rip belief and faith from people's lives in order to make them feel hopeless and down trodden.Spread doubt and guilt.Mr. Hedges follows the Communist path here. Do not waste your time reading this book it is more or less a work of fiction and opinion on the author's part.