While I intend to integrate some of these books, the one in question here is Hedges, "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."
Hedges became known as a NYTimes War Correspondant, Former Yugoslavia and before that Central America. He had regional paper assignment prior to this, several years with the Christian Science Monitor, and much else. He spent about 20 years in American war zones.
Yet in "American Fascists," he presents himself as a child of the Manse, as one who comprehended from his Father's taking up the King message, and who took up the Gay Cause because of the influence of his father, and because his younger brother was Gay, but at Colgate during his student years, that cause was unacceptable. Hedges also has a doctorate from Harvard Divinity; In fact for the NYTimes, nothing is more ordinary that to hire an non-ordained Presbyterian with a Harvard Divinity Degree to cover the Middle East. We need to comprehend the institutional matters here. American Universities in Cairo and Beruit are both Presbyterian establishments. They were authorized by the Ottomans, just as the primary schools in Palestine were offered to the Quakers in the 1870's and 1880's. Likewise, the French were authorized to establish Military Schools, and the Germans, Technical Institutes.
In one sense I see Hedges as the well prepared Presbytertian Missionary moving into the field -- on the other hand, I see him as the hard edged Christian who comes out in hard dissent. "War is a force that Gives Us Meaning" or to be much more specific, "What Every Person should Know about War" -- essentially a catalogue of what one would see anywhere in combat, -- well these are Hedges reviews of his Times pieces, and his cultural wealth is greater than just Who, What, When, and thus -- eventually, interpretation via "American Fascists."
Hedges generalizes what he experienced in the Middle East, both in Israel and Palestine and Lebanon, in Nicaragua, later in the Gulf War, and then in Bosina and Kosova. After 20 years of reporting blood and combat, he came to an opposition posture.
It was a combination of the Middle East and the Balkins that pushed Hedges to revisit his seminary teachings at Harvard. (He also says it was a fear of eventually being shot). Whatever, having detailed the lies told to the soldiers before they march out, or even sign up, He wrote a guide to the lies taught.
So for anyone making their way from the Manse through the best schools, and the Harvard Divinity and then 20 years reporting on blood and gore for the NYTimes. I hope the return to theology and religious history is a little squared.
Hedges tells us that much of our public religious conflict in the US is due to a minority -- the ultra Calvinists related to R.J. Rushdoony -- part of a renegade Presbyterian Tradition, thus Hedges assumes the right to critique. Rushdoony, he sees his teachings and influence as the contemporary source of dominationism, an ideology that has become political, but has also lent itself to be politicized in the name of anti-woman theology, and indeed anti-child theology, and opposition to all modern though since the age of the enlightenment.
Hedges claims that about a quarter of American Christians have come under the direct or indirect influence of this conjuncture. He spends much effort on how the Southern Baptists have become seduced, and a number of other smaller denominations, likewise. He then moves on to a full description of how, at least in Kennedy's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church near Fort Lauderdale the methods of dominionism have been used. His analysis is both theological and psychological.
He sees what has happened in some (by no means all) American Churches as not at all unlike what he comprehended in Bosnia and Kosovo. There of course he witnessed heads being put on stakes during ethnic cleansing actions (god, that sounds like a brillo version), by one or another ethnic group. (Remember supposedly UN Safe and not so safe zones?) In effect, Hedges does not believe the theology of Falwell, Robertson, Dobson or Kennedy is much different from what he witnessed in Bosnia and Kosovo. It is eliminationist, and he thinks we should pay attention. Hedges acknowledges alternatives, but he sees these as fairly weak voices against the blood and gore he has witnessed, and the bullets he has dodged.
He comes to the concept of Fascist recognizing that the term is a loaded, Western and essentially European and Christian Term, and while he ascribes the intentions to create a Fascist America to a small minority of the actors on the American scene, He believes they have had too much influence given that the Rushdooney and dominionists have outsized influence given numbers.
Again -- this is an ongoing series.