Christofascism

Christofascism is a combination of Christian and fascism coined by Dorothee Sölle in 1970.[1][2][3] Sölle, a liberation theology proponent, used the term to describe the Christian church which she characterized as totalitarian and imperialistic.

Interpretation of Sölle

Tom Faw Driver, the Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus at Union Theological Seminary, expressed concern "that the worship of God in Christ not divide Christian from Jew, man from woman, clergy from laity, white from black, or rich from poor". To him, Christianity is in constant danger of Christofascism, stating that "[w]e fear christofascism, which we see as the political direction of all attempts to place Christ at the center of social life and history" and that "[m]uch of the churches' teaching about Christ has turned into something that is dictatorial in its heart and is preparing society for an American fascism".[4][5]

Christofascism "disposed or allowed Christians, to impose themselves not only upon other religions but other cultures, and political parties which do not march under the banner of the final, normative, victorious Christ" – as Knitter describes Sölle's view.[6][7]

George Hunsinger, director of the Centre for Barth Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, regards the conception of Christofascism as being an attack, at a very sophisticated level of theological discourse, on the biblical depiction of Jesus. He equates what is viewed as Christofascism with "Jesus Christ as depicted in Scripture" and contrasts it with the "nonnormative Christology" that is offered as an alternative by some theologians, which he characterizes as extreme relativism that reduces Jesus Christ to "an object of mere personal preference and cultural location" and that he finds difficult to see as not contributing to the same problems encountered by the Christian church in Germany that were noted by theologian Karl Barth.[8]

Christomonism

Douglas John Hall, Professor of Christian Theology at McGill University, relates Sölle's concept of Christofascism to Christomonism, that inevitably ends in religious triumphalism and exclusivity, noting Sölle's observation of American fundamentalist Christianity that Christomonism easily leads to Christofascism, and violence is never far away from militant Christomonism. (Christomonism only accepts one divine person, Jesus Christ, rather than the Trinity.) He states that the over-divinized ("high") Christology of Christendom is demonstrated to be wrong by its "almost unrelieved anti-Judaism". He suggests that the best way to guard against this is for Christians not to neglect the humanity of Jesus Christ in favour of his divinity, and remind themselves that Jesus was also a Jewish human being.[9][10][11]

American history and politics

American historians and political commentators have also used the term to refer to politico-religious tendencies in American society.

Chris Hedges and David Neiwert contend that the beginning of American Christofascism was during the Great Depression, when Americans espoused forms of fascism that were "explicitly 'Christian' in nature".[12]:88 Hedges writes that "fundamentalist preachers such as Gerald B. Winrod and Gerald L. K. Smith fused national and Christian symbols to advocate the country's first crude form of Christo-fascism".[13] Smith's Christian Nationalist Crusade said that "Christian character is the basis of all real Americanism".[13] Hedges also considers another prominent advocate of Christofascism was William Dudley Pelley.[12]:88

By the late 1950s, followers of these philosophies became the John Birch Society, whose policy positions and rhetoric have greatly impacted modern dominionists.[13] Likewise, the Posse Comitatus movement began with former associates of Pelley and Smith.[12]:90 The 1980s saw the Council for National Policy[13] and the Moral Majority[14][15] carry on the tradition, while the patriot movement and militia movement represented efforts to mainstream the philosophy in the 1990s.[12]:90

Incidents of anti-abortion violence, including the Atlanta and Birmingham bombings committed by Eric Robert Rudolph and the assassination of George Tiller at his Wichita, Kansas church in 2009, have also been called Christofascism.[12]:90–91[16]

The term caused controversy in 2007, when Melissa McEwan, a campaign blogger for then-presidential candidate John Edwards, referred to religious conservatives as "Christofascists" on her personal blog.[17][18]

In the 2010s, the movement became linked to objectivism, particularly in the economic sphere, in direct contravention to such Biblical passages as Luke 16:19-31 and (especially) Matthew 25:31-46, prompting allegations of hypocrisy from progressive critics. Ayn Rand's name came up frequently during the 2012 U.S. Presidential election as the inspiration for the economic policies of the Republican Party.

See also

Christian fascist movements in Europe dating to World War II:

References

  1. ^ Dorothee Sölle (1970). Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House.
  2. ^ "Confessing Christ in a Post-Christendom Context". The Ecumenical Review. July 1, 2000. Retrieved 2007-12-23. ...shall we say this, represent this, live this, without seeming to endorse the kind of christomonism (Dorothee Sölle called it ‘Christofascism’!...
  3. ^ Pinnock, Sarah K. (2003). The Theology of Dorothee Soelle. Trinity Press International. ISBN 1-56338-404-3. ...of establishing a dubious moral superiority to justify organized violence on a massive scale, a perversion of Christianity she called Christofascism....
  4. ^ Tom Faw Driver (1981). Christ in a Changing World: Toward an Ethical Christology. Crossroad. p. 19. ISBN 0-8245-0105-5. We fear Christofascism ...
  5. ^ Paul F. Knitter (July 1983). "Theocentric Christology". Theology Today. 40 (2): 142. doi:10.1177/004057368304000204. Dorothee Soelle can even describe much of Christology as "Christofascism" in the way it has disposed or allowed Christians to impose themselves upon not only other religions but other cultures and political parties which do not march under the banner of the final, normative, victorious Christ
  6. ^ John Charles Hoffman (1986). Law, Freedom, and Story: The Role of Narrative in Therapy, Society, and Faith. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 127–28. ISBN 0-88920-185-4.
  7. ^ Wildman, Wesley J (1998). Fidelity With Plausibility: Modest Christologies in the Twentieth Century. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-3595-4. Driver argues that traditional Christology fosters what he calls ‘Christofascism.’ He means by this, first, the absolutizing of the past in order to...
  8. ^ George Hunsinger (2001). "Where the Battle Rages: Confessing Christ in America Today". Disruptive Grace: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth. Wm B Eerdmans Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 0-8028-4940-7.
  9. ^ Douglas John Hall (November 6, 1999). "Confessing Christ in a Post-Christendom Context". 1999 Covenant Conference, Network of Presbyterians. Atlanta, GA: Religion Online.
  10. ^ Helen Rhee (2005). "Superiority of Christian Monotheism". Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries. Routledge. p. 80. ISBN 0-415-35487-0.
  11. ^ Douglas John Hall. "The Identity of Jesus in a Pluralistic World" (Microsoft Word).
  12. ^ a b c d e Neiwert, David A (2009-05-01). The eliminationists: how hate talk radicalized the American right. pp. 88–90. ISBN 978-0-9815769-8-5.
  13. ^ a b c d Hedges, Chris (2008). American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. Simon & Schuster. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-7432-8446-2.
  14. ^ Welch, Sharon (2007). "Dangerous Memory and Alternate Knowledges". In Lawrence, Bruce B; Karim, Aisha (eds.). On violence: a reader. Duke University Press. p. 364. ISBN 978-0-8223-3756-0.
  15. ^ Sölle, Dorothee (1990). The window of vulnerability: a political spirituality. Fortress Press. ISBN 978-0-8006-2432-3.
  16. ^ Zerbisias, Antonia (June 2, 2009). "Doctor's killing is domestic terrorism". The Star.
  17. ^ Broder, John M. (February 9, 2007). "Edwards gets lesson in reconciling Internet culture with presidential campaign". The New York Times/IHT.
  18. ^ Cooperman, Alan (June 2, 2007). "Obama Web Site Seeks to Rally The Faithful". Washington Post.

Further reading

External links

Argentine Fascist Party

The Argentine Fascist Party (Partido Fascista Argentino, PFA) was a fascist political party in Argentina from 1932 until its official disbandment in 1936, when it was succeeded by the National Fascist Union (Union Nacional Fascista, UNF). Founded by Italian Argentines, the party was formed as a breakaway faction from Argentina's National Fascist Party (Partido Nacional Fascista, PNF). It was based upon Italian Fascism and was recognized by Benito Mussolini's Italian National Fascist Party in 1935. In the 1930s the party became a mass organization, particularly in Córdoba. Nicholás Vitelli led the PFA's branch in Córdoba until his death in 1934, whereafter Nimio de Anquín took the leadership of the party. The PFA's main political allies in Córdoba were the Argentine Civic Legion and the Nationalist Action of Argentina/Affirmation of a New Argentina movement.

Argentine Patriotic League

The Argentine Patriotic League (Liga Patriótica Argentina) was a Nacionalista paramilitary group, officially created in Buenos Aires on January 16, 1919, during the Tragic week events. Presided over by Manuel Carlés, a professor at the Military College and the Escuela Superior de Guerra, it also counted among its members the deputy Santiago G. O'Farrell (1861-1926). The League was merged into the Argentine Civic Legion in 1931. The Argentine Patriotic League formed part of a larger movement of patriotic leagues active in Chile and Argentina during the early 20th century.

Blueshirts (Falange)

The Blueshirts (Spanish: Camisas Azules) was the Falangist paramilitary militia in Spain. The name refers to the blue uniform worn by members of the militia. The colour blue was chosen for the uniforms in 1934 by the FE de las JONS because it was, according to José Antonio Primo de Rivera, "clear, whole, and proletarian," and is the colour typically worn by mechanics, as the Falange sought to gain support among the Spanish working class. In Francoist Spain the Blueshirts were officially reorganized and officially renamed the Falange Militia of the FET y de las JONS in 1940.

Brit HaBirionim

Brit HaBirionim (Hebrew: ברית הבריונים, The Strongmen Alliance (Alliance of Thugs)) was a clandestine, self-declared fascist faction of the Revisionist Zionist Movement (ZRM) in Mandatory Palestine, active between 1930 and 1933. It was founded by the trio of Abba Ahimeir, Uri Zvi Greenberg and Yehoshua Yeivin.

Crypto-fascism

Crypto-fascism is the secret support for, or admiration of, fascism. The term is used to imply that an individual or group keeps this support or admiration hidden to avoid political persecution or political suicide. The common usage is "crypto-fascist", one who practices this support.

The term is sometimes credited to Gore Vidal, though the Oxford English Dictionary cites several earlier uses, including The Guardian using the term more than once in the 1920s. In an ABC television debate during the chaos of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Vidal described William F. Buckley, Jr. as a "crypto-Nazi", later correcting himself as meaning to say "crypto-fascist". However, the term had appeared five years earlier in a German-language book by the sociologist Theodor W. Adorno, Der getreue Korrepetitor (The Faithful Répétiteur).The term was famously used by German Nobel laureate Heinrich Böll in a 1972 essay (titled "Will Ulrike Gnade oder freies Geleit?") that was sharply critical of the tabloid newspaper Bild's coverage of the Baader-Meinhof Gang left-wing terrorist organization. In the essay, Böll stated that what Bild does "isn’t cryptofascist anymore, not fascistoid, but naked fascism. Agitation, lies, dirt."

Dorothee Sölle

Dorothee Steffensky-Sölle (née Nipperdey, 1929–2003), known as Dorothee Sölle, was a German liberation theologian who coined the term Christofascism. She was born in Cologne and died at a conference in Göppingen.

Fascio

Fascio (pronounced [ˈfaʃʃo]; plural fasci) is an Italian word literally meaning "a bundle" or "a sheaf", and figuratively "league", and which was used in the late 19th century to refer to political groups of many different (and sometimes opposing) orientations. A number of nationalist fasci later evolved into the 20th century Fasci movement, which became known as fascism.

Fascism in Canada

Fascism in Canada (French: Fascisme au Canada) consisted of a variety of movements and political parties in Canada during the 20th century. Largely a fringe ideology, fascism has never commanded a large following amongst the Canadian people, and was most popular during the Great Depression. Most Canadian fascist leaders were interned at the outbreak of World War II under the Defence of Canada Regulations and in the post-war period, fascism never recovered its former small influence.

The Canadian Union of Fascists, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was modeled on Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. Its leader was Chuck Crate.

Parti National Social Chrétien was founded in Quebec in February 1934 by Adrien Arcand. In October 1934, the party merged with the Canadian Nationalist Party, which was based in the prairie provinces. In June 1938, it merged with Nazi groups from Ontario and Quebec (many of which were known as Swastika clubs), to form the National Unity Party.Fascist concepts and policies, such as eugenics, formulated in the US, found a friendly reception in Canada in some provinces, such as Alberta, where, under a Social Credit government, alleged mental defectives and other 'non-producers' were involuntarily sterilized to prevent the birth of more similar people. Social democrat Tommy Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan, wrote his 1933 master thesis paper endorsing some of the ideas of eugenics, but later abandoned and rejected such notions.

Fascist (insult)

Since the emergence of fascism in Europe in the first half of the 20th century, the term "fascist" has frequently been used as a pejorative epithet against a wide range of individuals, political movements, governments, public and private institutions, including those that would not usually be classified as fascist in mainstream political science. It usually serves as an emotionally loaded substitute for authoritarian.As early as 1944, British writer George Orwell commented that following its widespread use in the European press "the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless" due to its non-specific use detached from its original political associations.

Heroic capitalism

Heroic capitalism or dynamic capitalism was a concept that Italian Fascism took from Werner Sombart's explanations of capitalist development. This phase was known by Sombart as "Early Capitalism". In 1933, Benito Mussolini claimed that capitalism began with dynamic or heroic capitalism (1830-1870) followed by static capitalism (1870-1914) and then reached its final form of decadent capitalism, known also as supercapitalism, which began in 1914.Mussolini argued that although he did not support this type of capitalism he considered it at least a dynamic and heroic form. Some Fascists, including Mussolini, considered it a contribution to the industrialism and technical developments but claimed that they did not favour the creation of supercapitalism in Italy, due to its strong agricultural sector.Mussolini claimed that dynamic or heroic capitalism inevitably degenerates into static capitalism and then supercapitalism due to the concepts of bourgeois economic individualism, and instead he proposed a state supervised economy, although he contrasted it to Russian "State Supercapitalism". Italian Fascism presented the economic system of corporatism as the solution that would preserve private initiatives and property while allowing the state and the syndicalist movement to intervene in the economy in the matters where private initiative intervenes in public affairs. This system would lead also to some nationalizations when necessary and the greatest participation of the employees in all the aspects of the company, and in the utility given by the company.

Kinism

Kinism is a white supremacist interpretation of Christianity. The ideology is a "movement of anti-immigrant, 'Southern heritage' separatists who splintered off from Christian Reconstructionism to advocate the belief that God's intended order is 'loving one's kind' by separating people along 'tribal and ethnic' lines to live in large, extended-family groups."

List of fascist movements by country

This is a list of political parties, organizations, and movements that have been claimed to follow some form of fascist ideology. Since definitions of fascism vary, entries in this list may be controversial. For a discussion of the various debates surrounding the nature of fascism, see fascism and ideology and definitions of fascism.

This list has been divided into four sections for reasons of length:

List of fascist movements by country A–F

List of fascist movements by country G–M

List of fascist movements by country N–T

List of fascist movements by country U–Z

National Fascist Party (Argentina)

The National Fascist Party of Argentina (Partido Nacional Fascista) was a fascist political party formed in 1923. In 1932, a group broke away from the party to form the Argentine Fascist Party, which eventually became a mass movement in the Córdoba region of Argentina.

National Fascist Union (Argentina)

The National Fascist Union (Unión Nacional Fascista, UNF) was a fascist political party formed in Argentina in 1936, as the successor to the Argentine Fascist Party.In August 1936, UNF leader Nimio de Anquín attempted to force students at a law school in Cordoba to pledge a statement of support for the Spanish general Francisco Franco. Police responded with a crackdown against Argentine nationalists. Support for the UNF surged after two nationalists were shot in the Colegio Montserrat in 1938. In the aftermath of the Montserrat murders, Anquin denounced the middle and upper class for complicity and cowardice and claimed that "communism, Judaism, and degenerate Radicalism" were responsible for causing the murders. Anquín called for the mourners to swear "by God, honour, and the Fatherland, to return the homicidal bullet".By 1939, the UNF was largely defunct, and Anquín returned to his hometown to resume his earlier career as a lecturer.

Palingenetic ultranationalism

Palingenetic ultranationalism is a theory concerning generic fascism formulated by British political theorist Roger Griffin. The key element of this theory is the belief that fascism can be defined by its core myth, namely that of revolution in order to achieve a "national rebirth" — palingenesis. Griffin argues that the unique synthesis of palingenesis and ultranationalism differentiates fascism from para-fascism and other authoritarian nationalist ideologies. This is what he calls the "fascist minimum" without which there is no fascism.The idea was first put forth in the 1991 book The Nature of Fascism, and has been expanded in a paper titled "Staging The Nation's Rebirth: The Politics and Aesthetics of Performance in the Context of Fascist Studies" in the 1994 volume Fascism and Theatre: The Politics and Aesthetics in the Era of Fascism.

Proletarian nation

Proletarian nation was a term used by 20th century Italian nationalist intellectuals such as Enrico Corradini and later adopted by Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini to refer to Italy and other poorer countries that were subordinate to the Western imperialist powers. These powers were described by Mussolini as "plutocratic nations" (nazioni plutocratiche). Corradini associated the proletariat with the economic function of production and believed that the producers should be at the forefront of a new imperialist proletarian nation. Mussolini considered that the military struggles unfolding in Europe in the mid-20th century could have revolutionary consequences that could lead to an improvement in the position of Italy in comparison with the major imperialist powers such as Britain.

Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of internationalist class struggle, it identified "class struggle between nations" and sought to resolve internal class struggle in the nation while it identified Germany as a proletarian nation fighting against plutocratic nations.

Religious communism

Religious communism is a form of communism that incorporates religious principles. Scholars have used the term to describe a variety of social or religious movements throughout history that have favored the communal ownership of property.

Tropical fascism

In African political science, tropical fascism is a type of post-colonial state which is either considered fascist or is seen to have strong fascist tendencies. Gnassingbé Eyadéma dictator of Togo and leader of the Rally of the Togolese People, Mobutu Sese Seko dictator of Zaire and leader of the Popular Movement of the Revolution and Idi Amin dictator of Uganda have all been considered an example of tropical fascism in Africa. The Coalition for the Defence of the Republic and larger Hutu Power movement, a Hutu ultranationalist and supremacist movement that organized and committed the Rwandan Genocide aimed at exterminating the Tutsi people of Rwanda, has been regarded as a prominent example of tropical fascism in Africa. Pol Pot and The Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia has been called a tropical fascist regime, as they officially renounced communism in 1981.

Young Egypt Party (1933)

The Young Egypt Party (Arabic: حزب مصر الفتاة‎, Misr El-Fatah) was an Egyptian political party.

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