Paul Cooper

Truthdig’s Hedges Hatefully Rants, Misrepresents Religious Right

Posted on June 9 2010 7:00 pm
Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else. With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less. Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner. Find him on Twitter.
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Inside the mind of Chris Hedges.

Have you ever walked down a city street and passed a vagabond mindlessly shouting hatred about someone or some group that he really knows nothing about?  What would happen if a person with that thought process was given a voice on blogs, PBS, Colbert, and other media outlets?  Well you would have Truthdig’s Chris Hedges of course.

On Monday Hedges posted an alarmist blog on Truthdig about the supposed terror that is the Christian Right.  The article had plenty of digs but very little truth.  Hedges’ remarks could be dismissed as the rantings of an enraged and ignorant youtube commentor if it wasn’t coming from someone seen as a prized journalist. His recent blog, “The Christian Facists Are Growing Stronger“, is a spew of baseless claims about the Christian right and comes off as both scaremongering and hateful.

Hedges is no idiot.  He is an intellectual who has boldly covered wars up close as a journalist, written many books, and he even earned a degree from Harvard Divinity School.  But the fact that he is a smart guy makes his arguments even more mind-boggling.  It literally comes off as the clueless ravings of a madman.

Hedges believes that Christians who believe the fundamentals of the faith are fascists who look eerily similar to those in Nazi Germany. He wrote a book on the topic in 2007 and decided, for whatever reason (maybe low books sales – you can get it hardcover now for under 3 bucks), that it was time to stir the pot once more on his theory.

Hedges opening paragraph to his article gives a succinct summary of his 3 pages of rantings.

Tens of millions of Americans… known as the Christian right…are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged. – Hedges

Let’s look at just two main claims he has written about here.

1. Is the Christian Right attempting to create a theocratic state based on laws in the Bible where every one must follow those teachings?

First of all, it is important to point out that Hedges offers no proof of this claim in his article.  No where does he give examples of the Christian evangelicals or leaders suggesting such a hostile takeover.  What do leaders of the Religious Right say on the topic?

The Southern Baptist Convention is known as a leading denomination in the Christian Right.  They are the largest Protestant denomination in America and the Left has claimed that in the 80s there was a right-wing takeover of the denomination.  So what do they say on the issue?

“Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others….A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.” – Baptist Faith and Message, 2000, Article XVII.

That is the official statement of belief by Southern Baptists.  It is completely counter to what Hedges claims the Religious Right wants.

Most Christian conservatives (of which I am one) passionately support religious freedom not only in America but around the world.  We understand that one of the things that makes America great is our freedom, especially when it comes to faith and belief.  The idea of a theocracy is repulsive to every Christian on the right I have ever met.  And anyone who pays attention to the Religious Right should know they are far more concerned with losing their own freedoms of religion than taking away others’.

2. Does the Religious Right want to “eradicate” and “purge” (possibly with violence) homosexuals, feminists, Jews, immigrants, Muslims, and the Christian Left?

To be honest, I feel like such a foolish claim doesn’t even deserve a response.  It borders on insanity to suggest such garbage.  Christianity is all about peace, love, servant-hood, and putting others above yourself.  Wanting someone to find freedom and peace in Christ has no connection with wanting to remove or even kill people you disagree with.  To suggest that is harmful, hateful, and irresponsible.  And once again Hedges offers no proof of these claims.  He goes off on a tangent about certain people’s end times views.

Conservative Christians believe homosexual behavior is one of many sins.  They do not support the lifestyle but have no desire to purge gays from America.  Christians on the Right also usually disagree with feminists and reject the doctrines of Islam, but that doesn’t mean a desire for eradication.  By the way, feminists reject the doctrines of Islam and Islam rejects feminism.  Does Hedges have a problem with that?

If Hedges would do a basic news Google search he would see that all over the world Christians are being killed by radical Islamists.  You would be hard pressed to find news stories of Christians killing Muslims.

And does Hedges really believe that the Religious Right is anti-Jewish?  What group is the biggest, loudest, and most trustworthy supporter of Israel?  The Religious Right.  What author has spoken vehemently against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians?  Chris Hedges.

There is far more that could be rejected about Hedges’ article but one can only argue with foolishness for so long before they become a fool too.  If Hedges truly wants truth and love in this world, he might consider giving both to those on the Right he clearly despises.

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