- GOOD RELIGION, GOOD CHURCH
- CAROLYN BAKER’S STORY, BRIEFLY:
- CHAPTER TITLES IN “CONFRONTING CHRISTOFASCISM”
- CONCLUSIONS – Domination, and Healing
We need to see the fascism in so-called “conservative” American politics
and in fundamentalist American Christianity.
The book’s title is dangerously significant – “Confronting Christofascism.”
(Throughout this post I’ve added some outlining, and some emphasis, to quotations.)
“Awake Americans must actively oppose the anti-democratic politics of the Republian party and its theocratic enablers of the Religious Right
so that we will not succumb, as so many previously democratic nations have,
The end product of the collusion between the Religious Right and Trumpian Repubicans is what I and others have called Christofascism.”
They want POWER. They clearly want Trump. But they want POWER. And so does he. Anything that gets in the way – well, you have to make choices, right?
- “Not only must they convert the world as quickly as possible,
- but they must utilize government and every institution available to that end.
- … they must accomplish their mission by any means necessary.
- What then could be more tantalizing than a white racist billionaire
- who claimed to be a Christian,
- who promised the elimination of all that has thwarted the efforts of fundamentalist Christianity, most significantly, government itself,
- in the advancement of racial purity,
- unrestrained captialism,
- the elimination of abortion,
- [of] marriage equality,
- and [of] all manner of political correctness?” (p 77)They must accomplish their mission by any means necessary. What then could be more tantalizing than a white racist billionaire who claimed to be a Christian …
Fascism in Religion (Which is Christian Nationalism, Dominionism):
‘Concentrating on belief rather than on inner character leads some people – whether atheist or religious – to get stuck on the rules. That is exactly what all fundamentalism is: people making rules, and myths, to enforce a false, manmade spiritual goal.” (Frank Schaeffer in Foreward, p x)
“This struggle pits a) tolerant open faith against b) paranoid reactionary fascist “faith” seeking power over others, by whatever name.” (Frank Schaeffer in Foreward, p xii)
“She shows that extreme nationalism, violence and terror are natural by products of Christian fundamentalism.” (Inelle Cox Bagwell, in a review, p iii)
Fascism IS – the Strongman, Toxic Masculinity, seeking a convenient Christ, an Anti-Christ:
- “The main key to fascism, the one element that shows up in fascist takeovers worldwide and has for a century, is the emerence of a strongman leader who uses age-old aspects of toxic masculinity to draw in and hold his mostly-male followers …
- The attraction to the strongman comes from the projection of masculinity, which draws authoritarian follower-types like a magnet,
- usually demonstrated by his willingness to break laws and norms
- in the service of his power
- and his claimed (and usually simplistic) ‘solutions to the problems of society.’
- Misogyny is also always featured in fascistic authoritarian regimes.” (Thom Hartman, quoted on p 13)
Wow. It’s like Hartmann’s paying attention to the world we actually live in.
“It is … a fear-based movement … if you do not give up control to us, you will be physically [brutalized] by a vengeful God.
And that lust for violence … that final aesthetic being violence, is very common to totalitarian movements.”
(Chris Hedges, quoted on p 89)
Actual Conservatives Actually Value:
- success in business,
- religious values,
- marital fidelity,
- a sense of history,
- the checks and balances of consitutional government,
- fiscal restaint,
- ordered liberty,
- and compassion.” (Robert McElvaine, quoted on p 14)
GOOD RELIGION, GOOD CHURCH
Are There Healthy Churches or Religious Associations?
I encourage people in religious recovery to read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and notice above all the way Jesus related to common, suffering, hurting humans.
Nowhere does he say, “If you just accept me as your personal savior, everything will get better”
or “you are suffering because you aren’t ‘saved’.”
a) Without condition, without manipulation, he heals, supports, and comforts the sick, the poor, and the outcasts.
b) At the same time, he rebukes those who have caused their suffering and those who continue to profit from it. (p 132)
She refers to Marilyn Winell, author of Leaving the Fold (see below for link, in “Her Story, Briefly”):
“Winell isn’t anti-religion so much as anti-dogma.
a) The religious communities that cause trauma, she says, are those that prevent people from thinking for themselves, and demand obedience –
b) as opposed to those that respect differences and allow members to feel empowered as individuals.” (CB p 61)
Or Is All Religion Bad?
Some argue so. Some “Exvangelicals” who write about their experiences feel that all religion is false and unhealthy. Carolyn Baker does not. I myself know from experience that there are some pretty good religious associations out there.
CAROLYN BAKER’S STORY, BRIEFLY:
Carolyn Baker grew up “evangelical,” or as she says, “fundamentalist” Christian. She even attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
“I am not an atheist.”
“I am not an atheist. I have a spiritual path, and I am in relationship with something greater than my own human ego … I am not disparaging spirituality or functional religion grounded in
- a humanistic,
- democratic perspective
- that emphasizes
- healthy boundaries,
- and racial and gender inclusivity
– and I do recognize that some religions and religious practices fit this description.
However … you may need to do an enormous amount of deconstruction.” (p 121)
She strongly recommends (as do others, including myself), Marlene Winell’s “Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion” – for analysis of ways Evangelicalism is damaging to individuals, and for guidance in dealing with one’s own residuals,
CHAPTER TITLES IN “CONFRONTING CHRISTOFASCISM”
1. Understanding Christofascism
2. Race, Gender, and the Gospel
3. The Psychology of Contemporary Christian Fundamentalism
4. Bring Them In From the Fields of Sin
5. Evangelical Politics
6. A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing (autobiographical)
7. Healing the Evangelical Wound: Restoring the Soul
8. Confronting Ku Klux Christianity
CONCLUSIONS – Domination, and Healing
“Christian fundamentalism has one endgame: Domination. By way of televangelism, foreign missionary efforts, local church outreach, or direct involvement in local, state and national politics … People of color must be colonized; women must be subdued; non-heterosexuals must be eliminated; nature must be conquered; white males must prevail.” (p90)
“It is possible to attend to your own healing AND also actively oppose authoritarianism in its many forms whenever and wherever you observe it. You need not do this alone, nor should you. A host of supportive resources exist that did not when I was exiting Christian fundamentalism fifty years ago.” (p 167)
Book: Confronting Christofascism: Healing the Evangelical Wound. by Carolyn Baker. Forward by Frank Schaeffer. Apocryphile Press, 2021.
Book: Marlene Winell’s “Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion.”
See related articles on christian nationalism, dominionism …
What is Christian Nationalism? It Wears Christian Words & Symbols Like Sheep’s Clothing.
Tyranny – We’re in Danger but Have Options – 20 Short Lessons.
German Christians Sold Out to Power and Glory.
The Dangers of the Right’s Dominion Theology.
And there’s a lovely alternative!
The Kingdom of God. We Would Like It – Let’s Get It. (4 Aspects Jesus Emphasized)