News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Coming Xtian Takeover!?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Coming Xtian Takeover!?

A major theme of this site has been the supposed takeover of the US government by a coalition of Xtian fundamentalists and neocon ideologues. This alliance of convenience has been covered from numerous angles, especially the Xtian fundamentalist side. Kevin Phillips wrote a best-selling book on the subject and Chris Hedges has covered it in numerous articles.

I engaged in some discussion with Adam Kotsko about whether the Xtian Right posed a real danger to US democracy. Oversimplifying somewhat, Kotsko appears to think that the Xtian Right is not as strong as the press makes them out to be. He also thinks that the press overplays their strengths, ostensibly from a secularist bias. I have written extensively about why I think the Xtian/neocon coalition is a threat not just to democracy but also to a true undertsnading of Christianity.

These discussions were, perhaps, overly academic and just pissing in the wind. With that fantasy aspect in mind, I wrote several months ago about the potential for a military coup in the US. This relates to one of my most powerful movie memories from childhood, the film "Seven Days in May." At the time I somewhat dismissively noted that "it's just a movie."

My interest in this subject was brought to life again, though, with the recent appearance of several articles that made no impact in the MSM (as far as I know). One was the report by a Defense Department inspector general on several generals who appeared in a Xtian-sponsored video. Christianity Today reports the incident this way:

Both parachurch organizations and military personnel have to be aware of divisions between a soldier's official duties—even if they include providing religious services—and other activities. Blurring the lines can be considered an ethical breach. On July 27, the U.S. Department of Defense's inspector general released a report on the alleged misconduct of nine military personnel. Two of them were exonerated in the report. The officers, including four generals, appeared in a Christian Embassy fundraising video filmed in the Pentagon. The Department of Defense objected that their endorsement (in uniform, and without the permission of superiors) gave the "appearance of government sanction," violated regulations on wearing uniforms, and provided a selective benefit to the Christian Embassy. The Department of Defense has not decided what disciplinary action to take.
The report of the Defense Department's findings can be found in this report, "ALLEGED MISCONDUCT BY DOD OFFICIALS

This report and its findings should be put into perspective. The per capita percentage of evangelical Xtians in the military is higher than in the rest of the US population. As Dr. Leo Strauss (alias) writes:
We know that the current military demographically is isolated from ‘mainstream American society’ in many important ways. Only one is the vastly higher ratio of Evangelical, Pentacostal and other non-mainstream religious sects in the officer corps. There are many more. Culturally, and this is where Charlie was THE expert, the military remains separate and apart even from now-current Republican mores.

How will this closed off organization handle and digest defeat? As well as its stunning abuse at the hands of its CinC? (Note that the military and the intelligence communities, two legs of State Power in any basic political science analysis of any governming appartus have been grossly misused, bludgeoned, exhausted and radicalized by the regime. This is, as the Stiftung has long observed, “no accident”).
Again, Strauss goes on to (ironically?) raise some flags that I think should be given some serious and concerned thought. That is, what will the miliatry do if the Dems ever find the stones to have the military leave Iraq?

The potential here, if you haven't already guessed it, is that a military believing that it has a divine mission ot fulfill--perhaps a millenialist-style mission--might find the solution in a scenario familiar from "Seven Days in May." I know this sounds conspiracist and over-the top.

Yet, the rhetoric coming from the Xtian Right is filled with a rapturous angst. They truly believe that the US is headed to Hell unless something dramatic ultimate happens. In the past, these feelings and emotion were sustained by a belief in a heavenly/divine reckoning. What is distinctive about today's evangelicals is that they believe that they can and must do something to hurry that reckoning.

Also see Linker's book on the Theocons.

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