In difficult times, nations sometimes embrace extreme solutions. In 1494 Florence became a Christian Republic and Savonarola commenced his inquisition. In 1932 Adolph Hitler became chancellor of Germany and launched the Third Reich. Now America is in turmoil and Republicans offer a radical vision Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Is the US sliding towards theocracy?
In 1494, Florence, Italy, was in economic and social turmoil. Catholic Priest Girolamo Savonarola declared Florence a Christian Republic and formed a Theocracy. Claiming to receive direction from God, Savonarola preached about the Last Days, and sparked a moral purification campaign. Homosexuals and liberal thinkers were killed, thousands of books were burned, and gangs ravaged Florence looking for indications of moral laxity, resulting in the notorious Bonfire of the Vanities. In 1932, Germany was in economic and social turmoil.
Fascist Adolph Hitler, head of the National Socialist German Workers Party, became Chancellor and then dictator. Claiming divine inspiration, Hitler preached about German destiny and racial purity, promoted Aryan supremacy, and launched the Third Reich.
Jews, Romani (Gypsies), homosexuals and liberal thinkers were killed, thousands of books were burned, and gangs ravaged Germany looking for indications of moral laxity, resulting in the notorious Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. (Hitler didnt form a theocracy, but he did co opt the churches with his Positive Christianity.) In 2011, America is in economic and social turmoil and Republicans offer the solution of theocracy. Its been tried here before. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was a Puritan Theocracy in 1660 Quaker Mary Dyer was hanged on Boston Common for advocating her religion.
Now Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachman and Rick Perry actively advocate theocracy. Bachmann and Perry are proponents of radical Christian fundamentalism, Dominionism. Dominionists believe the US should be a Christian nation; their version of Christianity should be the state religion; and Biblical law the Ten Commandments should be the foundation of the US legal system. (They also believe that God gave humans dominion over all life on earth.)
Writing in The New Yorker, journalist Ryan Lizza examined Michele Bachmans radical views: Bachmann said in 2004 that being gay is personal enslavement, and that, if same-sex marriage were legalized, little children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal and natural and that perhaps they should try it. She believes that evolution is a theory that has never been proven. Bachmann is anti-abortion and believes Christianity should be taught in public schools. Why have Republicans turned to such extreme candidates? Its consistent with a disturbing change in their base. The most recent Pew Research Report on US politics described the emergence of a single bloc of across-the-board conservatives.
The long-standing divide between economic, pro-business conservatives and social conservatives has blurred. Today, Staunch Conservatives take extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues on the size and role of government, on economics, foreign policy, social issues and moral concerns. Most agree with the Tea Party and even more very strongly disapprove of Barack Obamas job performance.
While only 11% of registered voters, staunch conservatives are angry, energized, and well funded. Theyre united by a dislike of government, a belief in states rights, and disdain for President Obama. Staunch conservatives are white, conservative Christians, advocates of unfettered corporate capitalism, who see Obama as black, Muslim, and a socialist. Staunch conservatives share many ideas that fueled the Confederacy. Not surprisingly, Dominionists seek to redefine the civil war as a conflict between a Christian Nation, the South, and barbarians led by the Northern elite.
In difficult times, nations sometimes embrace extreme solutions. Now America is in turmoil and Republicans offer the radical Theocracy of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.
Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and retired Silicon Valley executive. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From The Progressive Populist, October 1, 2011
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