The "Christian" Mafia

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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:04 pm

The Family Part V


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Welcome to the fifth installment in my examination of the elite and highly secretive Christian sect variously known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship." In the first installment of this series Abraham (Abram) Vereide, the founder of the organization, and the religious vision that served as his inspiration for the Family were considered as well as a "chance" encounter with a "former" military officer of some means who provided early financial backing for the organization.


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Vereide

Part two moved along to the Family's early efforts in union busting and the possibility that it had forged ties with the Pentagon and the US intelligence community at a very early date via the murky netherworld sometimes referred to as "industrial security." The third installment of this series considered the Family's extensive dealings with the US fascist underground prior to the Second World War while part four examined the organization's efforts to recruit numerous "former" Nazis in the ruins of post-war Germany.

With this installment I would say a word about the next generation of leadership that had began to supplant Vereide in the late 1950s and which laid the ground work for the truly international efforts of the Family during the second half of the twentieth century. Several of these individuals show indications of a "deep" background. Consider, for instance, Clifton J. Robinson, supposedly a mild-mannered missionary who specialized in Asia, opening several key frontiers for the Family. Robinson's missionary work was reportedly influenced by a most curious source he encountered during his time in the Far East.

"Among his most fruitful meetings was time spent with William H. Sullivan, U.S. ambassador to Laos. As chairman of the State Department's Vietnam Working Group in 1963, Sullivan had been one of the architects of the war, a de facto 'field marshal,' according to General William Westmoreland. Such a man was an unlikely source of inspiration for Robinson, who called himself a Quaker. But preaching Abram's ideal overseas had put him at odds with the Society of Friends. Like another lapsed Quaker, Richard Nixon, Robinson had no patience for pacifism. He saw himself as a man of action, a 'jungle' missionary on the move. He spoke with a quick velvety voice of an old-time radio announcer and used it to dispense axioms and analogies about the need for key men in the Cold War, Bruce Barton jingles as interpreted by James Jesus Angleton, top man religion as geopolitical strategy. Sullivan provided fodder for Robinson's commando theology.

"'He said the strategy of the VC was the same as International Christian Leadership's,' gushed Robinson, 'except applied physically and militarily.' Robinson's vision of Worldwide Spiritual Offensive could not yet accommodate Ho Chi Minh's tactics, but Sullivan convinced him their enemy was a worthy one. 'They spent hours, days, weeks, whatever time is necessary setting up for the LEADERS and then either by ambush, assassination, or other intrigue, they do away with them – not the people, the leaders. He said to kill 32 top level people' – as the Vietcong had done the previous month – 'was tantamount to immobilizing thousands.'

"The lesson was that the Fellowship should understand itself as a guerrilla force on the spiritual battlefield. Specifically, Sullivan, who directed the CIA's 'secret air war' in Laos and turned its Hmong minority into cannon fodder against the North Vietnamese, wanted the Fellowship to recruit Buddhist businessmen to collaboration by matching them with Jaycees under the guise of a ' "brotherhood of leadership" – or some such slogan.' Robinson also took Sullivan's words as an endorsement of Abram's key man strategy...

"Evangelical steamroller such as the Billy Graham Crusade might win millions, but the Fellowship could neutralize the enemy – 'bold satanic forces,' as Abram described it, the Vietcong's 'sweep of communism,' America's 'secular cyclone' – by conquering the select few souls of the strong.

'Assassination' was just a figure of speech to Robinson; Abram wanted elites to 'die to the self,' to submit totally to Jesus of their own volition even as they held on tightly to the power that could advance His kingdom. Long after Abram's death – and Ho's total victory in Vietnam – the Fellowship would distribute a tract purporting to be 'ten steps to commitment from a Vietcong soldier.' "
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pgs. 206-207)



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Sullivan

Ambassador William H Sullivan is a man with a most curious history. At the time that he was advising Robinson from Laos, some very strange things were unfolding in that country as well as in surrounding nations.

"The junction of Burma, Thailand, and Laos, the Golden Triangle, is the site of the bulk of the world's opium production and thereby the source of enormous fortunes for the French and later the Americans. The French held effective control over the Southeast Asian opium traffic until 1965. Between 1946 and 1955 the Mixed Airborne Commando Group (MACG) and the French Air Force managed the shipment of opium from Burma to Laos. A guerrilla corps comprised mostly of Laotian Meo tribesmen and led by Colonel Roger Trinquier, MACG remained unusually independent despite its direct connection to the SDECE and Deuxieme (Second) Bureau. To finance their secret Indochina operations, these organizations turned to the smuggling of gold and opium, with MACG in charge of the latter. Large quantities of opium were shipped to French Saigon headquarters and passed on to the Corsican Mafia, who in turn smuggled the drug to Marseilles.

"When the French withdrew from Indochina in1955 after their defeat by the Vietminh, and after the CIA pushed aside the SDECE, MACG leaders communicating through CIA agent Lucien Conein offered the Americans their entire guerrilla force. Against Conein's advice they refused. History would cast doubt on the wisdom of that decision.

"In 1955 CIA agent General Edward Lansdale began a war to liquidate the Corsican supply network. While Lansdale was cracking down on the French infrastructure, his employer the CIA was running proprietaries, like Sea Supply and CAT, that worked hand-in-hand with the opium-smuggling Nationalist Chinese of the Golden Triangle, and with the corrupt Thai border police.

"The Lansdale/Corsican vendetta lasted several years, during which many attempts were made on Lansdale's life. Oddly enough, his principal informant on Corsican drug routes and connections was the former French Foreign Legionnaire, Lucien Conein, then of the CIA. Conein knew just about every opium field, smuggler, trail, airstrip, and Corsican in Southeast Asia. He spent his free time with the Corsicans, who considered him one of their own. Apparently they never realized it was he who was turning them in.

"When Lansdale returned from Vietnam in the late fifties, the Corsicans recouped some of their losses, chartering aging aircraft to establish Air Opium, which functioned until around 1965. That year, the Corsicans' nemesis Lansdale returned to Vietnam as advisor to Ambabassador Lodge. There was also an upheaval in the narcotics traffic, and perhaps the two were connected. CIA-backed South Vietnamese and Laotian generals began taking over the opium traffic – and as they did so, increasing amounts of morphine and low-quality heroin began showing up on the Saigon market.
"The first heroin refineries sprang up in Laos under the control General Ouane Rattikone. President Ky in Saigon was initially in charge of smuggling from the Laotian refineries to the South Vietnamese; and Lansdale's office, it is to be remembered, was working closely with Ky. Lansdale himself was one of Ky's heartiest supporters, and Conein went along with whatever Lansdale said.

"One result of the smuggling takeover by the generals was the end of the Corsican's Air Opium. The KMT Chinese and Meo tribesmen who cultivated raw opium either transported it themselves to the refineries or had flown there by the CIA via CAT and its successor, Air America, another agency proprietary. Though the Corsicans still sent drugs to Marseilles, the price was becoming prohibitive, since they were forced to buy opium and morphine in Saigon and Vientiane rather than pick up the opium for peanuts in the mountains.

"In 1967, a three-sided opium war broke out in Laos between a Burmese Shan State warlord, KMT Chinese and General Rattikone's Laotian army. Rattikone emerged victorious, capturing the opium shipment with the help of U.S.-supplied aircraft. The KMT, for its part, managed to reassert its dominance over the warlord. The smuggling picture was becoming simplified, with Southeast Asian opium divided among fewer hands, and most of the Corsicans out of the way.

"General Lansdale returned to the U.S. in 1967, leaving Conein in Vietnam. The next year Conein greeted a new boss, William Colby. Since 1962 Colby had run the agency's special division for covert operations in Southeast Asia, where his responsibilities included the 'secret' CIA war in Laos with its 30,000-man Meo army. He shared that responsibility with the U.S. ambassador in Laos, William H. Sullivan, who would later preside over the Tehran embassy during the fall of the Shah."
(The Great Heroin Coup, Henrik Kruger, pgs. 133-134)


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Continues at: http://visupview.blogspot.com/2015/02/t ... art-v.html
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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:26 pm

The Family Part VI


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Welcome to the sixth installment in my examination of the elite Christian sect variously known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship." Founded in 1935 by a man named Abraham (Abram) Vereide, this highly secretive network seems to have established ties with both the US deep state as well as major corporate powers from a very early date. By the 1950s it had arrived as a major political powerhouse --every US President since Dwight Eisenhower has attended the group's annual National Prayer Breakfast.

Part one of this series considered the alleged spiritual experience that spurred Abram to found the Family as well as the well connected "former" military officer who assisted Vereide get the organization off the ground. The second installment considered the group's likely ties to the murky netherworld of industrial security as well its early political manipulations in Washington state. Part three looked at the group's extensive ties to the pre-WWII fascist underground while part four concerned he group's postwar efforts to recruit numerous "former" Nazis and fascist in Europe. The fifth and most recent installment considered the deep backgrounds of the next generation of Family leadership as well as Douglas Coe, the man who succeeded Veriede as the organization's head.

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Coe, center, with George H.W. Bush to his left

With this installment I would like to focus in on the group's truly international ambitions in the second half of the twentieth century. Under Coe, Haiti became an early "beneficiary" of these ambitions. Naturally Coe's sights may have been set on Haiti due in part to one of the man's great passions: golfing.

"... One of his first conquest was Haiti, then just entering a long darkness of dictatorship that still reverberates today. Winning Catholic Haiti's acquaintance to U.S.-style Cold War evangelicalism had been a Fellowship ambition since 1955, when an Abram associate had declared it a 'soft spot of communism' that would require the ministrations of 'Magnificent Americans' preaching a new equation of Christ and free markets. 'I have been expecting to hear that you are making this your personal prospect,' joked one of Coe's Oregon friends, a man who claimed to have been led by the Lord into building a small trucking parts empire. It wasn't God, though, who the trucking boss thought would draw Coe to island nation, one of the poorest in the world. 'Am told they have wonderful golf courses.'

"Coe counseled a Haitian senator and then Haiti's ambassador to the United States, easing both into commitments to a Christ-led nation, with the understanding that the Christ Coe preached led not towards the socialism that tempts any bitterly poor people but towards an economics of 'key men' who would share their wealth as God instructed them. Senators Frank Carlson and Homer Capehart, both members of the Foreign Relations Committee, did the follow-up work, leading a Fellowship delegation of twelve businessmen to instruct the Haitian parliament in prayer cell politics. Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, who would declare himself not only president for life but also the nation's official 'Maximum Chief of the Revolution' and 'Electrifier of Souls' – he was the weirdest and most vicious dictator in the Western Hemisphere – impressed the senators with his spirituality.

"Perhaps he told them, as he was fond of saying, that he literally personified Haiti, that he was a stand-in for God. A personality! That was the Fellowship's whole theology in a nutshell, so they didn't bother to ask questions about his Vodoun-driven militia, the Tonton Macoute assassins. Instead, they promise to twist arms in Washington on Papa Doc's behalf: foreign aid, exemptions on sugar tariffs. It wouldn't be a hard sell. The Cold Warriors in State, under Ike and every administration that followed, preferred Papa Doc's public proclamations of Christian brotherhood to a free black nation that might seek support from the Soviet Union."
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pgs. 215-216)


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Family-backed Senators Frank Carlson (top) and Homer Capehart (bottom); Capehart was already addressed in part four, where it was noted that he assisted the Family in their efforts to save numerous "former" Nazis in the wake of WWII


Continues at: http://visupview.blogspot.com/2013/10/a ... et_26.html
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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:16 am

Obama, the National Prayer Breakfast and the Tortured Truth of Christian History
Sunday, 15 February 2015
By Mikey Weinstein, AlterNet | Op-Ed


"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
- J.K. Rowling


In what’s become an increasingly mundane and predictable ritual as of late, the fundamentalist Christian Religious Right is up in arms over the latest “outrage” emanating from the White House. President Obama’s ‘sin’? A salient commentary delivered at the annual Presidential National Prayer Breakfast on the nature of religious wars. I have not always applauded the actions of our President but I believe I DO know courage when I see it, and our President exhibited unadulterated courage a few days ago when he bravely swung a verbal two-by-four upside the head of Christian supremacists at their annual "Jesus-Fest Tribute” in our nation’s capitol. His comments were made in light of the current campaign against ISIS, and they were absolutely right on the money. However, our fellow American citizens on the theocratic right have never been known to let facts get in the way of a damn good tantrum. Indeed, the hysteria and downright perfidy of the indecorous response to the president’s speech just shows the pathetic depths to which reasonable and rational political discourse in the United States has plummeted.

However, my friends, one such response towered above others in its grotesque hideousness: the response from Adjutant Rich Sestili of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 6 in Marrieta, Georgia. Sestili’s message was specifically designed to incite irrational rage and fury against our president: “Never in the history of the United States has any other president ever made a negative comment about Christ.”

Huh? When did President Obama, a lifelong Christian, ever make a negative comment about Jesus Christ? All things considered, the president’s “criticism” was pretty tepid, as well as most justified and germane, to the proceedings of this National Prayer Breakfast. This event is almost always an unapologetic and garish spectacle of exclusivist American Christian supremacy and primacy no matter HOW hard those who produce it try to disingenuously include token and minute, atomic particles of secularism, respect and acceptance for those who are not "the right type of Christian." Obama’s courageous comments were clearly aimed at those who cynically manipulate and pervert religion for the purpose of harming others. And apparently he struck a nerve.

This is what the president actually said:

"Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

Simple enough, yet in the leaden-eyed views of the ignorant, these comments are an indicator that our president “is a one-man sleeper cell” who seeks to “advance in America what Islam is advancing worldwide.” Obama even received criticism from his supporters on the liberal left for his supposedly “patronizing tone.”

However, what the president dutifully noted was simply the tip of the iceberg – let’s not forget the even more recent history of unbridled violence committed in the name of Christianity.

Take the post-9/11 era. Have Americans already forgotten the fact that our last president "christened" the struggle against al-Qaeda and similar groups as “this crusade, this war on terrorism”? Our Islamist foes certainly haven’t forgotten this gaffe-cum-Presidential fatwa.

Take “Jesus Rifles”, for instance – rifle scopes engraved with various New Testament biblical inscriptions which were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Likewise, we’d be remiss in failing to mention the official “Jesus Loves Nukes” instructional unit that was a part of the U.S. Air Force’s mandatory ‘ethics’ training for its nuclear missile launch officers. And then there are the incidents of forced attendance of Christian rock concerts, “Spiritual Fitness Tests,” violent hazing on religious grounds, as well as the shattered careers of hundreds if not thousands of enlistees, officers, and civilian personnel who’ve challenged the fundamentalist evangelical Christian domination of the U.S. Armed Forces. In fact, just last month the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF, the civil rights organization that I head) discovered a bit of “Christian Jihadi” training being carried out near the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix, AZ, where Army recruiters saw fit to recruit folks interested in going “On A Mission For Both God And Country.”

Even the most casual observer can see that the Muslim world hardly has a monopoly on religious violence, but don’t tell this to bona-fide Christofascist Chaplain Robert Doll of the Disabled Veterans of America. According to Doll, “the only known instance of Christians murdering unbelievers was Spanish conquistadors murdering natives in the New World” (emphasis added), a practice Doll shockingly muses – with all too obvious racist bigotry – that the Spaniards perhaps learned from the Muslim caliphs who previously ruled Spain.

Wait! What the HELL did that Islamophobic idiot just assert? Well, “Chaplain” Doll conveniently attempts to airbrush from history the entire centuries-old experience of American slavery, that “institution of God”, punctuated with the burning crosses of the Ku Klux Klan as well as the dozens of Native American tribes who were mercilessly annihilated during the “Manifest Destiny” expansion of the United States, to cite a couple of the most obvious examples. Likewise, let’s not forget the thousands of pogroms committed against the Jews of Eastern Europe, the murderous campaigns undertaken by ultra-Christian fascists throughout the Twentieth Century, the ethnic cleansings carried out by the Maronite Phalange in Lebanon, the Orthodox Chetniks of Serbia, and the Christian militias of the Central African Republic, or the terrorist attacks by such “lone-wolf” crusaders as Timothy McVeigh and Anders Bering Breivik. In many cases, murderous religious hatred was mixed with ethnic nationalism, racism, and simple greed, so sure – one can convincingly argue that the perpetrators of these crimes weren’t necessarily “true Christians.” However, if you’re willing to make that concession then why cast any aspersions on the nuances of Obama’s powerful and wholly truthful remarks? Similarly, if those who have killed and continue to kill in the name of Christ aren’t truly Christian, then why should we ignore the anguished pleas from a Muslim world numbering 1.6 billion people who continuously state that the atrocities carried out by ISIS jihadis in the name of Islam, including anti-Christian pogroms, are contrary to basic Islamic standards?


http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/29127 ... an-history
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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:25 pm

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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:58 pm

Russian Social Conservatism, the U.S.-based WCF, & the Global Culture Wars in Historical Context

Prior to the annexation of Crimea, Putin had received a substantial amount of praise from representatives of the U.S. Religious Right, even if some mistrusted his KGB past. President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Franklin Graham, for example, could not resist praising Putin for the passage of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law, declaring that Russia was acting more morally on this issue than the United States, despite his reservations about Putin’s Soviet background.34 American Christian culture warriors also sometimes took credit for Russia’s conservative legislative onslaught. For example, Scott Lively, a Christian Right author and activist who is currently being sued for crimes against humanity for his involvement with the Uganda “kill the gays” bill and who has traveled to Russia and Eastern Europe on more than one occasion, claiming credit for the passage of the anti-gay “propaganda” law.35

Despite examples of claims to have exported their initiatives to Russia, however, U.S. social conservatives also frequently recognized Russia’s agency and leadership in global social conservatism. WCF Managing Director Larry Jacobs minced no words when he reiterated the Russian messianic trope described above, declaring on End Times Radio in June 2013, “The Russians might be the Christian saviors of the world.”36 Likewise, it was not an affect, or mere diplomacy, when American anti-LGBTQ crusader Paul Cameron proclaimed to the Russian State Duma that he had come “to thank the Russian people, the State Duma, and President Putin… in the name of the entire Christian world” for Russia’s active legal repression of LGBTQ rights.37

A few months after Cameron’s visit to Russia, however, it became more complicated for Russian and U.S. social conservatives to unite, making it momentarily possible to hope that international tensions might hamper the effectiveness of the global culture wars. In our interview in May 2015, Loutchenko and I speculated that 2014 might have represented a turning point in this regard. Although subsequent events have shown that many American social conservatives are more than willing to work with Russia, when Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, the world at large reacted with alarm, and the conservative “pro-family” world became divided. WCF had planned to go back to Russia that coming September for its eighth conference, but Putin’s brand had now become toxic to enough conservatives to make this difficult, even apart from any fear of the possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia. WCF withdrew its official sponsorship from the event, releasing a statement explaining that their withdrawal was made necessary by practical considerations, but which also went out of its way to praise Russian churches and individuals for their “leadership role in the fight to preserve life, marriage, and the natural family at home and as part of the international pro-family movement.” It added, “The World Congress of Families takes no position on foreign affairs, except as they affect the natural family.”38 Other social conservative groups were not so sympathetic. Concerned Women for America pulled out of the event altogether, with its CEO and president Penny Nance declaring that her organization did not “want to appear to be giving aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin.”39 (Subsequently, articles in the conservative journals First Things40 and American Conservative41 have warned against the religious nationalism of Putin’s “Corrupted Orthodoxy” or “Orthodox Terrorism.”)

WCF Managing Director Larry Jacobs minced no words when he reiterated the Russian messianic trope, declaring, “The Russians might be the Christian saviors of the world.”


It wasn’t that CWA or other social conservatives who turned against Russia now objected to Russia’s hard anti-LGBTQ line, of course. It was that the annexation of territory in violation of international law revived Cold War era right-wing perceptions of Russia as a threatening state that is not to be trusted. (In this regard, it should not be forgotten that American Christians have missionary ties to Ukraine, which is also a popular country for U.S. adoptions.) Nevertheless, the American leaders of WCF stuck by their Russian partners. The meeting went forward, but not as an official WCF conference. Instead, the conference was titled “Large Families: The Future of Humanity.” U.S. WCF leaders remained intimately involved, with Communications Director Don Feder and Managing Director Jacobs on the organizing committee.42 The event depended for its financing primarily on Russian oligarchs Yakunin and Malofeev.

Meanwhile, the lack of international approval for the renamed WCF VIII most likely emboldened Russian social conservatives in their claim to global leadership in the fight against abortion and LGBTQ rights—a claim that WCF’s American leaders and their fellow conservative comrades, apparently untroubled by Russia’s increasing anti-Westernism, had already recognized. For example, some Russian speakers highlighted the changed circumstances of the conference as proof that Russia was a global leader in tackling problems other countries wouldn’t face. As one of the first speakers, Duma deputy Yelena Mizulina, who authored the anti-gay “propaganda law,” proudly announced, an event like this one, which took place in the Kremlin and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (where the Pussy Riot protest took place), most likely could not take place in Europe or the U.S. in their current climates.

Last year’s WCF in Salt Lake City may belie Mizulina’s statement to some extent—WCF IX demonstrated a clear attempt to tone down Hard Right rhetoric43—but her claim matters. To Russian and U.S. social conservatives, a key takeaway from the forum was the impression that, while Russia is very happy to be working with foreigners in the fight for the so-called “natural family,” it is Russia that is at the helm. WCF’s Larry Jacobs admitted as much when he stated at the event, “I think Russia is the hope for the world right now.” Invoking Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Jacobs went on to explain that since Russia had defeated Marxism, it could help the West defeat “cultural Marxism” today—a nearly identical claim as that which Alexey Komov made this past fall at WCF’s meeting in Salt Lake City.44

And Russia is clearly pushing forward with this agenda on the international stage, with Komov in a leadership role. Take, for example, Russia’s role in securing the passage of a UN Human Rights Council resolution on “Protection of the Family,” which defined the family “as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children.”45 This resolution, sponsored in part by Russia—whose influence at the UN is bolstered by its permanent seat and veto on the UN Security Council—was clearly understood, by both supporters and opponents, as an attack on individual rights and a win for supporters of the “natural family”46 (which implicitly excludes families headed by same-sex couples). Komov has bragged of his part in delegations to the UN, which included Russian political leaders Mizulina and Astakhov, in which they pursued similar goals.47

Meanwhile, when I spoke with Russian commentator and researcher Xenia Loutchenko in May, she highlighted Russia’s success in attracting members of the European Right, mentioning that the French National Front recently took millions of dollars in loans from a Russian bank, in what many saw as a reward for the National Front’s support for the annexation.48 She also described Yakunin’s World Public Forum, which hosts an annual “Dialogue of Civilizations” in Greece, as a “right-wing international.” The phrasing might be hyperbolic, with its invocation of the Soviet-dominated Comintern, or Communist International, which was dedicated to spreading Communism around the world from the 1920s-40s. Nevertheless, drawing a comparison between the Comintern and the contemporary global culture wars, in which Russia is playing a leading role that is far from entirely derivative, makes a valid point. We will not be able to grasp Russia’s role in the global culture wars if we persist in treating Russia as essentially a recipient of America’s exported culture wars, and not an independent actor, and even exporter, in its own right.

The recent Cold War past makes it difficult for some, on both the Left and the Right, to imagine contemporary Russia as a conservative state vying for the role of international leader in global right-wing politics. Retired NYU Professor Stephen F. Cohen’s recent writings, for example, have desperately tried to salvage a vision of post-Soviet Russia as somehow left-wing. While Cohen is not wrong to perceive continuity between Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, it is important to note that the relevant ideological continuity extends further back, with its origins lying in the messianic discourse of moral superiority associated with twentieth- and twenty-first century Russian intellectuals and, before them, with Russian Slavophilism, which intellectual historian Andrzej Walicki once described, quite accurately, as “a conservative utopia.”49 During the Soviet Union’s seven decades of existence, the conservative version of this Russian messianism persisted in the Russian diaspora and among Soviet dissidents such as Solzhenitsyn. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, projected its own purported moral superiority as the ostensible vanguard of socialism, a system understood as far more just than Western capitalism. Just as the official Soviet, left-wing version of this ideology of moral superiority attracted its share of fellow travelers, so has, and does, the now resurgent right-wing brand.

After Putin annexed Crimea in 2014, U.S. paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan suggested that God is on Russia’s side now.


This right-wing iteration of moral exceptionalism entails a belief that Russia was given a Providential calling to revive the Christian roots of European, or more broadly Western, civilization. Despite (or perhaps because of) the sense of moral superiority of Russian civilization, it has proven irresistible to certain Western Russophiles—whether late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British religious conservatives, or, fast forwarding to the present, American “paleo-conservative” Pat Buchanan.50 Notably, it was after Putin annexed Crimea on March 18, 2014, that Buchanan strongly suggested that God is on Russia’s side now.51 Like Buchanan, the American leadership in WCF seems prepared to see Russia as doing the Lord’s work, and therefore to go on working closely with Russian social conservatives despite tense international relations and concerns about Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis.52 What’s more, Franklin Graham has lost all compunction about praising Putin, and, after a recent visit to Moscow during which he met with Patriarch Kirill, seems to be entirely on board with the idea that Russia is “protecting traditional Christianity.” In turn, Patriarch Kirill has declared American Protestants and Catholics who defend the “natural family” to be “confessors of the faith.” Such propagandistic statements, meant to impact U.S. public opinion, might be construed as Russia exporting its culture wars to us, as leaders of the “godless” West.53 In this regard, it is also worth noting that the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate is expanding its presence in Paris, with plans for the construction of a new cathedral that will include a cultural center, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.54 It is also important, of course, that Russia is exporting its culture wars in what the Russian state considers its more immediate sphere of influence, with Astakhov turning up at regional WCF conferences in countries such as Georgia, and а Russian-model anti-LGBTQ “propaganda” initiative, withdrawn at least for the present, having been recently considered in Kyrgyzstan’s parliament55

The events of 2014 may have tempered enthusiasm for Russia among some on the U.S. Right, but for many of those dedicated to the pursuit of an anti-human rights, “pro-family” agenda at home and abroad, partnership with Russian social conservatives will continue. If we wish to understand the effect of such partnerships, however, we must stop looking at Russian social conservatism as a kind of American import. We should take steps not to underestimate the global significance of Russian culture warring in its own right. While there is a complex transnational intellectual history at play here, Russian actors are more than capable of damaging LGBTQ and women’s rights all on their own, independent of U.S. actors. If we consider Russian involvement in WCF as entirely derivative of U.S. leadership, we may well miss the full import of the new Russia-led “right-wing international,” which would hamper the ability of human rights advocates to counter its influence.



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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby semper occultus » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:34 pm

How corporate America invented ‘Christian America’ to fight the New Deal

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/how-corporate-america-invented-christian-america-to-fight-the-new-deal/

The 2016 annual meeting for the Organization of American Historians (OAH) will feature a session focusing upon the provocative book One Nation Under God by Princeton history professor Keven M. Kruse. In One Nation Under God, Kruse argues that the idea of the United States as a Christian nation does not find its origins with the founding of the United States or the writing of the Constitution. Rather, the notion of America as specifically consecrated by God to be a beacon for liberty was the work of corporate and religious figures opposed to New Deal statism and interference with free enterprise. The political conflict found in this concept of Christian libertarianism was modified by President Dwight Eisenhower who advocated a more civic religion of “one nation under God” to which both liberals and conservatives might subscribe.

Kruse concludes that with the polarization of America in the 1960s over such issues such as school prayer and the war in Vietnam, politicians such as Richard Nixon abandoned the more inclusive civic religion of the Eisenhower era. Kruse writes that by the 1970s “the rhetoric of ‘one nation under God’ no longer brought Americans together; it only reminded them how divided they had become” (274). Arguing that public religion is a modern invention that has little to do with America’s origins, Kruse maintains that contemporary political discourse needs to better recognize the political ideology being perpetuated by the advocates of America as a Christian nation. Needless to say, Kruse’s arguments will antagonize many on the Christian right, as well as many on the left who have employed Christianity as the means through which to implement principles of equality and opportunity as extolled by Jesus of Nazareth, the working-class carpenter.


Drawing upon extensive archival research, the first part of Kruse’s book documents the alliance between religious leaders such as Congregationalist minister James W. Fifield Jr. and businessman J. Howard Pew Jr., president of Sun Oil and a major figure with the National Association of Manufacturers. Working out of his affluent Los Angeles community and congregation, Fifield formed a national organization called Spiritual Mobilization that attracted the support of big business while embracing unfettered capitalist traditions threatened by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. The fertile ground plowed by Spiritual Mobilization and Fifield prepared the way for the influential prayer breakfasts of Methodist minister Abraham Vereide and the crusades of evangelist Billy Graham. While the insecurities of the Cold War contributed to the growth of postwar religious fervor, Kruse insists that the prayer movement and Graham “effectively harnessed Cold War anxieties for an already established campaign against the New Deal” (36).

The prayers of the Christian libertarians were answered with the ascendancy of Dwight Eisenhower to the Presidency. While Graham was given a cold shoulder by Harry Truman, the evangelist was welcomed to the White House by Eisenhower, who also supported the prayer breakfast movement bringing together Congressional leaders and members of the business community. While he lacked allegiance to any specific denomination, Eisenhower was a devout Christian who opened cabinet meetings with prayer. Kruse argues that the President endorsed a rather general sense of Christian principles that would unite the nation under a common understanding of its religious heritage. Thus, Eisenhower supported Congressional legislation that added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance while also embracing “In God We Trust” as the nation’s official motto that was included on the nation’s money supply. The Eisenhower administration also endorsed the National Association of Evangelicals call for a July 4, 1953 March of Freedom declaring that the American government was based upon Biblical principles. The concept of “One Nation Under God” was also championed in the popular culture by the creation of Disneyland and Cecil B. DeMille’s film epic The Ten Commandments (1956), while the National Council for Advertising championed Madison Avenue techniques that would bring the concept of God and free enterprise to all Americans on the local level.

Eisenhower’s rather vague notion of a Christian America, however, did not quite coincide with the ideology of Christian libertarianism. Instead, Kruse suggests that actions such as adding “under God” to the pledge were examples of ceremonial Deism; establishing the idea that the First Amendment mandated the separation of church and state but not the separation of religion and politics. Thus, general support for the sacred was acceptable, but not active government intervention that might advance a particular sect. In addition, Eisenhower did not move to dismantle the New Deal; accepting programs such as Social Security and expanding government activity with legislation such as the Interstate Highway Act. Kruse, writes, “Unlike Christian libertarians, who had long presented God and government as rivals, Eisenhower had managed to merge the two into a wholesome ‘government under God.’ In doing so, he ironically undercut the key segment of many of his earlier backers, making their old claims about the ‘pagan’ origins of statism seems suddenly obsolete” (87). Here, Kruse seems to imply Eisenhower had inadvertently sanctified the state and government. Therefore, to criticize the government was both anti-patriotic and anti-religious. This is a fascinating argument, with considerable implications for contemporary politics, but Kruse fails to tease out this idea before moving on to other issues.

Kruse maintains that the religious unity sought by Eisenhower was challenged in the late 1950s and the 1960s as various faiths worried that state advocacy of religion might trample on traditional beliefs and practices. One of the most contentious issues was school-mandated prayer which was deemed unconstitutional in the Engel v. Vitale (1962) decision. Nevertheless, in his majority opinion, Justice Hugo Black insisted that ceremonial Deism, such as prayer before Congressional sessions, chaplains in the military, and “under God” in the pledge, was protected. To the surprise of many church members, a number of religious leaders and the National Council of Churches came to support the prayer decision as a means through which to protect religious traditions from state interference. This approach, however, led to considerable division between leadership and laity; undermining the concept of “one nation under God.”


Seeking to mount a conservative movement against the religious establishment, evangelists such as Billy Graham joined forces with the administration of Richard Nixon to promote a religious perspective that would divide rather than unify Americans. Holding White House religious services officiated by leading evangelical ministers and sponsoring events such as the 1970 Fourth of July “Honor America Day,” featuring a religious service at the Lincoln Memorial led by Graham, Nixon attempted to employ religious nationalism as a means through which to brand those opposing his administration or the war in Vietnam as attacks upon American Christian values. Although Kruse includes an epilogue offering an overview of religion and American politics from the 1980s to the Obama Presidency, he assigns Nixon, rather than Ronald Reagan, primary responsibility for using religion to divide rather than bring Americans together.

One Nation under God is a provocative piece of historical scholarship that will be sure to engender considerable debate at the OAH. It is a work that will antagonize those on the political right who perceive American exceptionalism as a gift from God bestowed upon the framers of the Constitution, while those who embrace the opposing tradition of the social gospel and Christian socialism may also take offense. Religion has played an important role in American history, and some critics will make the case that Kruse downplays the role of the sacred in American life. However, Kruse makes a major scholarly contribution in his examination of how ministers cooperated with big business to formulate an ideology that the New Deal was a threat to traditional American Christian values of free enterprise and individualism while promoting the false pagan deity of statism. As Kruse moves into a discussions of ceremonial Deism with the Eisenhower administration and consideration of how Nixon employed religion to divide rather than unify, Kruse’s thesis regarding the role assigned to corporate America in creating a Christian America becomes somewhat lost, and this ambitious study may take on too much by attempting to survey the relationship between American politics and religion from the New Deal to the modern age.



By Ron Briley, faculty emeritus at Sandia Preparatory School.
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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby Sounder » Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:34 pm

Thanks semper, that piece brings to mind a saying from Pat Paulson on the Smothers Brothers show, he said; 'I try so hard to be so good but I'm so bad, so easy'.

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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby JackRiddler » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:05 pm

semper occultus » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:34 pm wrote:How corporate America invented ‘Christian America’ to fight the New Deal

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/how-corporate-america-invented-christian-america-to-fight-the-new-deal/

Arguing that public religion is a modern invention that has little to do with America’s origins, Kruse maintains that contemporary political discourse needs to better recognize the political ideology being perpetuated by the advocates of America as a Christian nation.


Sounds like good work and I like what I've read of Kruse's work very much. But this is overstated. Since colonial times public religion has had multiple waves, peaks and declines, albeit each in different forms and given (so many social transformations) often radically different contexts, so that it's always possible to see each phase as a new invention. The leading movers among the framer generation (pro and anti Federalist) were indubitably deists or what we'd today call secularizers, for sure. At any rate, against an establishment religion, which has proven to be key.

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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:57 am

Family Ties

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"A lot of their key men in a country would be the intelligence officers in the American embassy. Throughout their correspondence, that's the kind of guy they would like to have involved. They always had a lot of Army intelligence guys involved, Pentagon guys.

"Doug Coe in the early 70's was touring the frontlines in Vietnam with intelligence officers and South Vietnamese generals. That's the level of connections they are talking about, like the Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova [convicted by a Florida jury for the torture of thousands] and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez [a minister also linked to the CIA and death squads]. They are the people who brought those people in. They said you need to meet this person. That's how it works."



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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby PufPuf93 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:11 pm

American Dream » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:57 am wrote:
Family Ties

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"A lot of their key men in a country would be the intelligence officers in the American embassy. Throughout their correspondence, that's the kind of guy they would like to have involved. They always had a lot of Army intelligence guys involved, Pentagon guys.

"Doug Coe in the early 70's was touring the frontlines in Vietnam with intelligence officers and South Vietnamese generals. That's the level of connections they are talking about, like the Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova [convicted by a Florida jury for the torture of thousands] and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez [a minister also linked to the CIA and death squads]. They are the people who brought those people in. They said you need to meet this person. That's how it works."



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http://visupview.blogspot.com/2017/02/family-ties.html


I thought the following from the visup link is of interest: http://visupview.blogspot.com/2017/02/family-ties.html

Trump, never one to sit ideally by, appears to have a counteroffensive in the works: an investigation into the leaks that are plaguing his administration. He already has support in Congress and what is described as a "close alley' lined up to head the investigation.

The New York Times reports:

"President Trump plans to assign a New York billionaire to lead a broad review of American intelligence agencies, according to administration officials, an effort that members of the intelligence community fear could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.
"The possible role for Stephen A. Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, has met fierce resistance among intelligence officials already on edge because of the criticism the intelligence community has received from Mr. Trump during the campaign and since he became president. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump blamed leaks from the intelligence community for the departure of Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, whose resignation he requested.
"There has been no announcement of Mr. Feinberg’s job, which would be based in the White House, but he recently told his company’s shareholders that he is in discussions to join the Trump administration. He is a member of Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council.

"Mr. Feinberg, who has close ties to Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, declined to comment on his possible position. The White House, which is still working out the details of the intelligence review, also would not comment.

"Bringing Mr. Feinberg into the administration to conduct the review is seen as a way of injecting a Trump loyalist into a world the White House views with suspicion. But top intelligence officials fear that Mr. Feinberg is being groomed for a high position in one of the intelligence agencies.

 "Mr. Bannon and Mr. Kushner, according to current and former intelligence officials and Republican lawmakers, had at one point considered Mr. Feinberg for either director of national intelligence or chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service, a role that is normally reserved for career intelligence officers, not friends of the president. Mr. Feinberg’s only experience with national security matters is his firm’s stakes in a private security company and two gun makers."

The Time's is being a bit disingenuous about Mr. Feinberg's ties to national security. Consider the holdings it goes on to acknowledge that his private equity firm, Cerberus Capital, possess:

"Through Cerberus, his private equity company, Mr. Feinberg has strong ties to the government contracting industry. Cerberus owns DynCorp International, which has had a wide array of large contracts providing security to the State Department and other agencies. DynCorp is now locked in a major legal dispute over the fate of a $10 billion State Department contract that it previously held to provide air support for counternarcotics operations overseas.

"John F. Kelly, the new Homeland Security secretary, was paid $166,000 a year as a DynCorp adviser until he was named to the new administration.
"Cerberus also owns Remington Outdoor, a major firearms manufacturer."


DynCorp was one of the first modern private military companies and still of the most powerful operating today. While it is not as well known as Blackwater, it has been involved in its fair share of controversy. And like Blackwater, it has been employed by both the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command to conduct highly classified work. Evidence has even emerged that DynCorp assisted the CIA in its Rendition Program.

The Times noted that Feinberg had even considered buying Blackwater itself in 2008. Curiously, he went to Blackwater's North Carolina facility in 2005 for firearms training as well. But the same could be said for Cerberus on the whole --it being curious, that is.

The New York Times has previously noted that Cerberus and Feinberg are highly secretive, with Feinberg generally avoiding even having his picture taken. Cerberus is a Byzantine organization and no doubt many of their business interests are fairly standard. But its ownership of DynCorp and several arms manufacturers strongly indicate that it has extensive involvement in national security. DynCorp alone is tasked with many highly sensitive projects, many of which being potentially illegal.

This is further evidence of Trump's closeness to the private military industry, which works closely with the JSOC and the CIA's National Clandestine Services. The latter is where I suspect much of Trump's support within the CIA comes from. As was noted before here, Trump has been meeting with Blackwater founder Erik Prince of late as well. Interestingly, Trump had apparently considered appointing Feinberg to head the National Clandestine Service, which Prince's Blackwater (and presumably DynCorp) did a lot of contract work for in the Special Activities Division.

John F Kelly wiki (note Dyncorp is the major military contractor for SOCOM)

John Francis Kelly (born May 11, 1950) is the fifth and current United States Secretary of Homeland Security. He is a retired United States Marine Corps general and the former commander of United States Southern Command, the Unified Combatant Command responsible for American military operations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Kelly previously served as the commanding general of the Multi-National Force—West in Iraq from February 2008 to February 2009, and as the commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North in October 2009.[2] Kelly succeeded General Douglas M. Fraser as commander of U.S. Southern Command on November 19, 2012.[3] Kelly was succeeded by Navy Admiral Kurt W. Tidd on January 14, 2016.

Kelly became Secretary of Homeland Security in January 2017 under President Donald Trump.

More at link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kelly

Stephen A. Feinberg wiki

Stephen A. "Steve" Feinberg (born March 29, 1960) is an American financier, who is active in hedge fund management and private equity. He is known for turning around struggling businesses and making them profitable.[2] He is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P

Feinberg, a major Republican donor,[14] served as one of the top economic advisers to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.[15] He is a member of The Business Council in Washington, DC, an association of chief executive officers from a broad range of companies. [16] In February 2017, the New York Times reported that President Trump will assign Feinberg a role in the White House leading a review of the US intelligence agencies.[17]

More at link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Feinberg
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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:32 am

Family Plots: Teflon, Hillary and Coe

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"Hillary may well be God's beautiful child, but she's not a member of Coe's Family. Rather, I've been told at Ivanwald, she's a 'friend,' less elect than a member, but more chosen than the rest of us. A fellow traveler but not a sister. Her goals are not their goals; but when on occasion they coincide, Hillary and the Family can work together. Such collaborations, as much as the endeavors of true believers such as Brownback, are a measure of the mainstreaming of American fundamentalism. The theology of Jesus plus nothing is totalitarian in scope, but diplomatic in practice. It doesn't conquer; it infects, as Abram used to preach. Within the body politic, it doesn't confront ideas, it coexists with them, it cells multiplying by absorbing enemies rather than destroying them...

"In her memoir Living History, Hillary describes her first encounter with the Family. It was at a lunch organized on her behalf in February 1993 at the Cedars, 'an estate on the Potomac that serves as the headquarters for the National Prayer Breakfast and the prayer groups it has spawned around the world. Doug Coe, the longtime National Prayer Breakfast organizer, is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God.'..."

(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pgs. 272-273)


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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Fri May 19, 2017 10:50 am

Another Family Member?

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Presently Pence and The Family stand to gain from Trump's removal. But would things have gone much differently had Hillary won? While a Clinton victory would not have left a Family man a heartbeat away from the presidency, Hillary herself also has deep ties to The Family and there are reports her allies in the US intelligence community have been working towards a Pence coup. Its likely The Family would have wielded extensive influence on her regime as well and also would have been poised to gain extensively from her removal.

This raises a truly disturbing possibility: Was a stealth takeover by this nefarious Christian cult always on the menu after the 2016 election had passed? Certainly their influence over either candidate was unprecedented in recent elections. And the Clintons certainly seem to be doing their part to put Pence in office.

Certainly there are other forces in play, but few maybe as deadly now The Family. Decades of stealth subversion of the American political process truly seem to be paying off. And be assured, we should all be terrified of this.


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Re: The "Christian" Mafia

Postby American Dream » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:20 am

http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/trump ... scism.html

Trump's Evangelical Opening: The Gateway Drug to a Fascist America

Werner Lange I Spirituality & Religion I Analysis I September 6th, 2017

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Masters of deceit are not necessarily fascists, but fascists are notorious for their nefarious use of the power of deception effectively with devastating results. The Trump regime is the most diabolical manifestation of that repressive power in US history, to date. Lies, especially big ones, deceptively called "alternative facts," are its ideological trademark; white supremacists, deceptively sanitized as "alt-right," form its frontline battalion in America's culture wars; and Trump's ruthless and relentless attacks upon the media, which he castigated in a recent rant in Phoenix as "fake news" generated by "really, really dishonest people" and "bad people" who "don't like our country," constitute the modus operandi of a regime hell bent on shutting up critics and shutting down any remnants of a free press that remain. This toxic combination of repressive traits is not altogether new on the historical stage. Big lies were the ideological weapons of choice in Hitler's propaganda arsenal; institutionalized racism degenerated abysmally into the fascist final solution of the Third Reich; and critics of the Nazi regime ended up in foreign exile or in early graves.

However, Trump is no American re-incarnation of Hitler, and his regime is not a fully fascist one. Trump is merely the gateway drug to a fascist America. That is what makes it so ominous, but also so vulnerable to decline and defeat before it transitions any further toward fascism. Its antithesis, America's democratic institutions and what's left of the American Left, though battered and bloodied, remains mostly unbowed but only partially unleashed. Essential for a broader and fuller unleashing of anti-fascist forces at this critical juncture in American history is a deeper understanding of the neonatal fascist nature of the Trump regime and its racist reliance upon a perverted faith-based false consciousness for its mass base at the bottom, and a pervasive theological social Darwinism for its delusions of grandeur at the top of our highly stratified and increasingly polarized social order.

While religion in its politically hijacked forms has repeatedly proven itself to the opiate of the masses, the Trump regime represents a contemporary illustration of how a viciously perverted form of Christianity has become the hallucinogen of the elite. An ideological profile of Trump's evangelical advisory board reveals each of its 24 members (almost uniformly rich white men) to be hopelessly mired in the theological swamp of the Prosperity Gospel or Christian Zionism, or typically both. In true social Darwinist fashion, the money-worshipping Prosperity Gospel (unlike the liberating Social Gospel) embraces the elitist notion that God's favor rests upon the wealthy, especially the super-rich, who are best equipped spiritually and empowered financially to run a nation under God. Among the most ardent proponents of the Prosperity Gospel on Trump's evangelical advisory board is Ken Copeland, who has an estimated net worth of $750 million and claims that his vast wealth is "the assignment that the Lord gave me." He resides in a $6 million mansion and regularly uses his $20 million private jet to spread the "good news" about prosperity through Jesus around the country and world. "God's Will concerning financial prosperity and abundance is clearly revealed in the scriptures," according to the website of the Ken Copeland Ministries, which operates from a 1500-acre campus near Forth Worth, Texas, with a staff of some 500 employees. Paula White, who gave Trump a bible signed by the evangelist patriarch Billy Graham and prayed for Trump at the 2016 RNC, successfully solicits large donations for her New Destiny Christian Center in Florida by claiming God will reward generous donors with special favors. Jentezen Franklin, pastor of two megachurches, routinely flies in his private jet between Georgia and California in order to provide Sunday services in multiple locations on the same day. Evangelical advisory board members, along with the nearly one thousand evangelical pastors who met privately with Trump in June 2017 as well the many who prayerfully "laid hands" upon him in the Oval Office, evidently all conveniently ignore the biblical passage (Luke 16:13) clearly stating that "You cannot serve both God and Money."

To praise the power elite as God's chosen class, as proponents of the heretical Prosperity Gospel essentially do with their self-serving hijacking of Christianity, is an ideological stratagem to enlist the elite, particularly high-ranking political officials, in the crusade by right-wing evangelicals to create a Christian theocracy in America within a fascist framework. Foremost in that evangelizing crusade is Ralph Drollinger, head of Capitol Ministries, who has for years conducted weekly bible study sessions for over 50 select members of the US House and Senate. With the 2016 election of Trump, Drollinger has been given unprecedented access to the White House and the Cabinet with his indoctrination lessons designed to sanctify their evil deeds and feed their hallucinations of being God's instruments. In his picture booklet, Rebuilding America: The Biblical Blueprint, Drollinger fancies himself as a modern-day Apostle Paul with a God-appointed mission of "winning government authorities for Christ" (p.4) and "discipling political leaders for Christ" (p. 30) in preparation for the "Future Tribulation Period" when "wars will erupt, natural disasters will occur, and persecution will be common for all of Christ's followers" (p. 53) followed ultimately by a "1,000-year-long Millennial Kingdom" in which the "redeemed by Christ will be given the privilege to rule with Him, under Him, on earth" (p. 57). This projection of mass slaughter followed by universal Christian hegemony is, of course, sheer madness, but one increasingly embraced by the Trump regime and its deep commitment to Christian Zionism.

Despite its name, Christian Zionism has precious little in common with authentic Christianity or Judaism. Thoroughly embedded in violent racism and virulent dogmatism, Christian Zionism's uterine sibling is fascism. Both reactionary social movements rely upon widespread false consciousness among a distressed social base easily manipulated and deluded into thinking that an alien Other is the enemy. For the Nazis, the scapegoats were the Jews and many other targeted groups, particularly Marxist political opponents. For Christian Zionists it is Islam and the Muslims, particularly "radical Islamic terrorists," the label Trump relishes for his denunciation of Muslims and Islam.

Though embraced to varying degrees by every member of Trump's evangelical advisory board, the most vocal and passionate advocate of Christian Zionism is only a heartbeat away from the presidency. Vice President Pence has a longstanding friendship and close working association with John Hagee, the pastor of a right-wing megachurch in Texas and founder of the influential Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a rabidly anti-Muslim and pro-Israel organization which boasts some 3.3 million members. Ever since its founding in 2006, Pence vigorously and vocally supported CUFI as a US Congressman and Indiana Governor. As the Vice President addressing CUFI's 12th annual summit in July 2017, Pence had nothing but laudatory praise for "the largest pro-Israel organization in the USA" and its founder, John Hagee, "my friend," whom he profusely thanked for his "leadership on behalf of this nation and the Jewish state of Israel." In the course of his relatively short speech before thousands of CUFI members, the Vice President explicitly identified Israel as America's "most cherished ally" three separate times; he also identified Trump as a "tireless friend of the Jewish state of Israel"; stated his conviction that the formation of modern Israel revealed the "hand of heaven"; proclaimed that he and Trump will "stand with Israel forever"; and ominously declared Iran to be "the leading state sponsor of terrorism".

Pence is a sponsor of Drollinger's bible study sessions in the White House; and, given his strong commitment to Christian Zionism, it is no surprise that Drollinger would identify him as a modern-day Mordecai, a high-ranking Jew from ancient Persia who, according to the book of Esther, saved his people from persecution and destruction. However, to do so, Mordecai had the leader of the alleged conspiracy, Haman, along with his ten sons, summarily hanged; issued an order to kill all who would harm Jews; and consequently slaughtered some 75,000 Persians with his retributive pogrom. In this context, it is unnerving to note that Hagee, Pence's good friend, identified Iran (modern Persia) as equivalent to Nazi Germany and its former leader (Ahmadinejad) as the "new Hitler." Pence himself defines Iran as the world's leader in state-sponsored terrorism, and vowed that the US would never allow this Muslim nation to have any nuclear weapons. If people and nations are treated as they are defined, then the operative labels imposed by Christian Zionists upon undesirable others, particularly Muslims and Iran, constitute an open invitation to racist violence, ethnic cleansing and imperialist war, even nuclear war. For all of Trump's bluster about hitting North Korea with "fire and fury like the world has never seen," it is perhaps a would-be President Pence, guided by the bizarre and barbaric notions of Christian Zionism which embrace inevitable cataclysmic war in the Middle East as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, that poses the greater threat to world peace.

Racism, particularly white supremacy, is also no stranger to the Trump regime or its evangelical advisory board. A recent reaffirmation of racism's operative presence in the Trump White House came with the official pardon in late August 2017 of "America's toughest sheriff." Joe Arpaio, who once bragged that his open-air tent city jail was run like a "concentration camp" and who was convicted of criminal contempt rooted in his sordid legacy of illegal Latinx profiling. A more revealing reaffirmation of operative racism in both the White House and its evangelical advisory board came earlier that same month. In the wake of Trump's revealing "many sides" comments, placing anti-racist protestors on a moral and behavioral equivalency with the violent white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville to spew their hatred and to attack, with murderous results, counter demonstrators, one of Trump's most ardent supporters and a member of the evangelical advisory group, Jerry Falwell Jr, praised the US President for his "truthful statement" and attacked the media for "trying to paint this as Republican vs. Democrat; Black vs. White; and Jew vs. Gentile." The only remaining Black board member, Mark Burns, directed his public criticism only at the counter protestors; and a third member, Robert Jeffries, who once labeled Catholicism as a "pagan religion" and claimed God placed Trump into the US presidency, blamed the media for allegedly distorting Trump's racist remarks. No member criticized Trump for his implicit endorsement of the violent display of fascism and racism at this watershed moment in US history.

Many of the white supremacists gathered in this "Unite the Right" demonstration in Charlottesville carried symbols of Christianity as part of their self-identification to continue the racist legacy of the KKK and its iconic burning cross. Members of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a fascist group that advocates for racially "pure nations" and an end to "anti-Christian degeneracy," wore a shirt adorned with an Orthodox Christian cross, the logo of the Neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS), whose goal is to establish a Christian theocratic state. And the leaders of the Traditional Youth Network (TYN), another prominent group in the "Unite the Right" movement, describe ideal activists for their racist causes as "warriors for the cross." Even loudly chanted by many torch-bearing fascist marchers, many proudly displaying the swastika, was the Nazi call for "blood and soil" (Blut und Boden). These are among the openly Christian fascist groups and individuals in America, all of which warmly welcomed the triumph of the Trump regime and envision it as a major breakthrough toward the eventual realization of white nationalism and white supremacy as official ruling forces in a future fascist America.

For their demonic goal to be thwarted, a qualitative change in both objective and subjective conditions is needed. Fascism relies upon two major conditions for its existence and growth: failed or failing systems in objective reality and mass false consciousness in subjective social reality. Both are present at alarming levels in contemporary America, and have been for some time. Objectively, the gap in wealth/income/power between the elite and the mass population in the United States has never been greater than it is today. Similarly, with perhaps the exception of the Great Depression, there has never before been a time of greater systemic failures in the social fabric of American life than now. Such dysfunctional objective conditions are fertile ground for right-wing political extremism propelled by false consciousness at the bottom and unbridled greed at the top of an increasingly polarized racial and social hierarchy. Pronounced false consciousness has been a standard feature of American society for decades, especially when it comes to the concept of class. Rather than defining class on the basis of ownership of sources of wealth and means of production, it is commonly defined and treated, even within social science, as nothing more than an income level resulting in the mass perception of a normative middle class and two deviant groups, one commonly hated and the other functionally envied, known as the poor and the rich. The poisonous harvest of this rampant false class consciousness came in the electoral victory of a racist, misogynistic billionaire perceived by millions of working-class voters as somehow representative of their interests.

A false political consciousness echoes this false class consciousness. Once vibrant and diverse enough to encompass every and any modern political allegiance, the viable political spectrum in American has narrowed itself to a functional dichotomy of only "liberals" and "conservatives" along with their operative political parties, Democrats and Republicans, two wings of the same bird of prey. The extent to which politicians and voters march lock step to these designations is as common in practice as it is dangerous to democracy in theory. Objectively, most Americans are not affiliated with either major party and therefore have their interests effectively marginalized or entirely excluded from representation. Subjectively, however, most would define themselves as conservatives in the raging culture wars, and identify liberals as an out-group which does not embrace traditional American values, but instead promotes calls for sinful and deviant behaviors. Such false consciousness is an ideal setting for fascist wolves in conservative shepherd clothing, a reality which has increasingly confronted the Republican Party in recent years leading to the Trump triumph.

However, the greatest vehemence in politics is reserved for false faith consciousness. Christian fascism, an oxymoron in reality, relies upon an inversion of Christianity in the mindset of its deluded evangelical mass base, which overwhelmingly voted for Trump and continues to unabashedly support him despite his plummeting approval ratings within the general population. The only "real Christian." in their warped worldview, is an "evangelical born-again Christian," an identity which precludes being a liberal but mandates allegiance to conservative principles and politicians, especially ultra-right ones. Only those who explicitly identify themselves as "evangelical born-again Christians" (i.e. social conservatives) are among the chosen few destined to deliver a chosen people and nation under God into the promised land. All others are not only marginalized out-groups, but outcasts ultimately destined to spend eternity in hell after desired exclusion from political office on earth. Such is the operative mindset of Christian fascism, and it is rampant within influential segments of American society today. The Trump regime has catapulted it, along with Christian Zionism and white nationalism, into the highest offices of our troubled land, an unmitigated American tragedy which should and must be a clarion wake-up call to us all.

To paraphrase a bit of social wisdom, all that is necessary for this emergent evil to triumph totally is for good folks to do nothing. As our Declaration of Independence, composed by a former resident of the Charlottesville area, Thomas Jefferson, exhorts American citizens then and now: "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." And as a great American, Frederick Douglass, prophetically proclaimed: "power concedes nothing without a demand… The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." It is time for Americans, the openly and latently oppressed, to do our duty and firmly close the gate on this tyrannical gateway drug known as the Trump regime before more damage by more potent and pernicious forces of fascism is inflicted upon us and all of humanity.
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