The Original Think Magazine (Published since 1996)

Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy By Frederick Clarkson

We've watched Moslems, Orthodox Christians, and Catholics kill each other in the former Yugoslavia for a few years now. Can such insanity happen here?

Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy By Frederick Clarkson In the US there now exists a large group of people who want to kill people of opposing faiths, homosexuals, and anyone who provides or has an abortion. In some cases they have even succeeded. Incredibly enough, they have also captured key posts in the Republican Party.

They are the radical Christian right. They operate in a myriad of groups whose membership ranges from a hundred thousand people to tens of millions. You've heard of their names: Paul Hill and others who murdered doctors who performed abortions; Pat Robertson, the candidate for President who won the Iowa Republican Caucus in 1988; Ralph Reed, the ubiquitous (and now former) front man for the Christian Coalition.

Frederick Clarkson's new book gives an in-depth view of the movement: how it originated, what it thinks, how it operates. Arm yourself with this information, because neither the Christian right nor the mass media want you to know, until it is too late.

The stated goal of the Christian right is to establish a theocracy, a state in which government and religious rule are united, not unlike the Purtian colonies in Massachusetts in the 17th century. Non-Christians would be considered heretics and executed, as would Christians who do not agree with the theocrats. Homosexuals' behavior would be subject to the death penalty. Women would work only in the home. Needless to say, only white male Christian property owners would be allowed to vote. In most versions, non-whites would be slaves. That's the hard core: moderates usually soften some of these positions.

One theologian pushing the movement is R.J. Rushdooney, who has published over 30 books and "insists that biblical law requires 'death without mercy' for 'idolatry'." The movement towards theocracy is called Reconstructionism. This goes far beyond Fundamentalism, which states that the Bible is God's literal word, or charismatic (born-again) Christianity, which promotes Jesus as a personal savior. But recruits are often found among these broader groupings.

Abortion is usually the wedge issue: by defining a fetus as a human, they label ordinary people as murderers and themselves as saviors of the unborn. With emotions high, recruits can be led from these to the other positions of the Reconstructionists.

You'll learn from the book how a tiny percentage of the population was able to seize control of much of the Republican Party (the key: the apathy of your opponents). This is the stealth method of organizing: don't state your real positions, which would alienate moderate voters.

Don't   mention killing homosexuals: just say "family values." Don't say you would execute scientists: just say "Creation science should be taught in the schools as an alternative explanation of evolution."

The book has good sections on the cross-pollination of the Christian right with the militia movement (most militia have Christian right members, but many are not controlled by them), and the Fully Informed Jury movement, but, while it points out the right's racism, it does not do much to document any connection with the Klan or neo-Nazism.

One issue the author does not bring up is the conflict between the Christian right and the more mainstream Protestant and liberal Catholics. The conflict clearly has psychological roots: liberal Catholics prefer the New Testament and the body of theology based on Jesus stopping a crowd from stoning an adulterer, and his admonition to "love one's neighbor as oneself." The Christian right treats Jesus as a warrior prince, and prefers the more severe patriarchal values of the Old Testament.

Where anarchists will probably part company with the author is on his methods of defeating the Christian right. The author comes from a middle-of-the-road viewpoint, and hence sees the need to shore up the current "democratic" system. Our question is, how can we tear down the current system, and not lose a civil war to either the capitalists or the Christian right?

Eternal Hostility is well-researched, well documented, and well worth reading for anyone who doesn't want to live under the rule of some half-insane Christian ayatollah.

Think Magazine on Facebook