Christianity and Fascism: Towards a Synthesis
Mental constructs, taking place in the heads of individuals are the result of the visual and intellectual experiences of that person. The lack of historical understanding and coherence colors what modern man generally sees as reality. Nowhere is this truer than when discussing religion. Most modern American minds aren’t capable of conceiving the world as it existed before 1776. American exceptionalism has colored our view of history and reality, viewing the period before that as one of barbarism, but a barbarism which exists within a linear construct leading to the United States, being the apex of human freedom. Those who are of a religious nature have gone out of their way to engage in endless verbal gymnastics, trying to justify their support of an idea which takes God out of the public sphere as contrasted to the idea of him being integrated with politics and society, all the while claiming that the latter idea as being Un-Christian. There have been some conservative commentators who’ve even tried to justify the decline of religion in Western Europe due its ties to Fascist regimes and sympathizers, ignoring the obvious evidence that it had already been declining for the previous 200 years. The ABP has had its up and downs during our 5 years of existence, but the one thing I probably take the most pride in is the responsible way in which we’ve presented our ideas, avoiding the reckless paranoia and sleaze of contemporary politics. The decline in religion amongst the peoples of the West has nothing to do with secret groups bent on its destruction but the synthesis of Christianity with ideas which are poisonous to its very spirit. Its survival depends on a new synthesis with an ideology which in many ways is its extension and reflection.
The modern debate over Church and State separation today center’s around false perceptions. Perceptions centered around American political values derived from the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. In 1802 Thomas Jefferson wrote the following to the Danbury Baptist Association.
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
Attempting to justify this sentence and align it with Christian doctrine is purely natural. Nobody wants to reject parts of their nation’s founding. American Christians have been attempting to square the circle for over 200 years by claiming that this phrase is not in the Constitution itself, which is correct. The actual wording states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, so the wall Jefferson is referring to is based on an interpretation of the 1st amendment, an interpretation which is essentially correct. The failure to establish a church has the same effect as establishing a metaphorical wall between the two institutions.
To see what effect this clause had on American society, you don’t need to go much beyond the States, all of whom had established churches up until the revolution. Georgia’s was disestablished in 1789, New Hampshire 1790, and Virginia in 1786. While the wall isn’t in the clause, its interpretation can’t be denied. It was meant to separate Church and State.
There’s been several times throughout this country’s history when a Christian Amendment has been offered for ratification to the Constitution. What this Amendment aims to do is to acknowledge that the “Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government…” First offered in 1863 this would not have changed any laws or the wall separating church and state. It was nothing more than a statement of values, and yet the amendment was never offered up for a vote, incapable of receiving even a minimum amount of support to get out of committee. Keep in mind that this is before the Marxist influence had any effect on American thought. It was 90 years before the adherents of the Frankfurt School came to teach in the U.S... Christianity was unquestionably dominant in the realm of culture. Separation of Church and State is an ideological tenet of Americanism.
Equally troubling as American Christians adherence to the false God of enlightenment era anti-religious teachings is the rejection of Christian history. Protestants have a tendency to inflate their differences with their Catholic and Orthodox brethren to the point of rejecting them as adherents of the faith. There’s a danger inherent in this line of thinking. The Catholic Church with all of its baggage is still the institution that represented the overwhelming number of Christians throughout Western Europe, from the 4th Century up until the Protestant Reformation. For American Protestants to deny this history is to deny themselves, to forsake a time when society was thoroughly Christian, from the government to the marketplace. And in its place follow the ideas of enlightenment philosophers who wanted to relegate religion to a realm detached from the political and economic, to live out its life as nothing more than a private affair which would die a slow death. The decline of religion in the west coincided with the rise of enlightenment ideals and the gradual separation of that religion from the realm of the political.
The decline was not solely attributable to the likes of Voltaire and Locke. Those that opposed them failed miserably in the realm of ideas. Traditionalist intellectuals too often took literal passages from the bible to justify their beliefs, relying on the authority of God’s word while failing to expand on their ideas in terms of the effects on society. This had the unfortunate byproduct of reinforcing the view (though not intentionally) that the political and religious were separate spheres of existence. Given the thousand years of recorded history, the inability to work outside of the bible was intellectually inexcusable and was incapable of competing with social contract theory, which despite its dishonest nature was well thought out and presented. A good modern equivalent would be the homosexual rights movement. The opponents have not changed significantly from their 17th century forebears, unable to justify their views outside of a biblical context; they have failed just as miserably.
Despite the failures of Christian political thought throughout the years. The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the rise of a form of holistic thought which rejected the artificial divisions the enlightenment had constructed for society. Nowhere was this thought more deeply expressed than in the work of Friedrich Hegel.
“In a general sense, religion and the foundation of the State are one and the same; they are in their real essence identical…There is but one conception of freedom in religion and the State. This one conception is man’s highest possession, and it is realized by man. A nation which has a false or bad conception of God has also a bad State, bad government, and bad laws.”
Hegel’s work was the first attempt to bring together the differing strands of anti-enlightenment thought into a comprehensive whole. It would be a major influence for Fascism.
Supporting the integration of Church and State requires new ways of looking at the subject. No longer can the two realms be viewed as separate institutions concerned purely with their own spheres. The spiritual salvation of individuals being essential to their growth can’t be the sole concern of the church. The State being the most influential institution in society has to play a role and work with the church in the realm of the spirit.
Fascist ideals more than any other ideology are suited to this role. Probably the best known line from the Doctrine of Fascism is “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” threatens the pluralism inherent within Democracy, the belief that all ideas and values are innately equal as long as they don’t threaten the democratic structure of society. A pluralism which prohibits the establishment of a doctrine based upon a moral vision and a disciplined life. What’s often overlooked is that all power within society is constant. Some societies choose to use the power of the State to achieve desired ends, while others like liberal democracies outsource that power to the private sphere. The lack of freedom of speech often held up as a villain of Fascism is just if not more so prevalent in contemporary countries, where instead of the law, social shunning, serves as a vehicle for conformism. Instead of the a morally centered restriction on speech and activities, we have a system of social shunning meant to advance deviant lifestyles and ideas as means to expand market access by the constant introduction of new goods and services. The Removal of Christianity and its values from the realm of public debate makes this process run much more smoothly as the commodification process extends to human individuals. Where democracy rules materialism, unbelief, and licentiousness reign.
Fascists believe that the State itself is the highest actualization of mankind. Starting with the individual lacking content and form, purely a biological being with only wants and desires, then through family life he develops content and character, which is then supplemented by Churches, school, and community organizations. Only through the individuals’ interaction with these institutions does he develop his individuality, those qualities which make him human. And the tie which binds all of these institutions together to the individual is the State. Having as its goal the maintenance of these collective institutions to guild people into self-actualization the State cannot be a neutral observer, being so would contradict its primary purpose. The State by definition has to be moral and ethical in character. The religion of its people, being central to their development has to be given a central priority. Separation of Church and State is anathema to Fascist Doctrine.
“No State can ignore the religion of its people, any more than it can be indifferent about their customs, or their moral attitudes, or anything else so closely connected with their political life.” – Giovanni Gentile
As to how this would be applied in contemporary American requires that previous models used would have to be thrown out or modified. State recognition of a particular sect as being representative of the nation above all others doesn’t apply in an America with a diversity of Christian Sects. What must be done is to take that diversity and apply the characteristics which are shared in common to create a synthetic religious doctrine which can be taught and applied in America. As Christians our similarities deeply outweigh our differences, let’s take Catholics and Protestants for example.
We both accept that Christ is the Son of God, and that he is both fully human and divine
We both proclaim the Nicene Creed which is a proclamation of faith issued by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD
We both accept the Virgin Birth
We both accept that faith is essential for Salvation; without it, nothing else matters
We both agree that the Bible is Holy Scripture and is thus Divinely Inspired (except Catholics have 8 additional books in the Old Testament called the Deuterocannonical books, or Wisdom books).
We both believe in Satan/Lucifer and Hell; a well as the history of the Fall of Lucifer and his followers
We both believe (usually) in Original Sin/the Fall of Man
We both believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, and that it was essential
We both believe in the vast majority of Christian ethics and moral teachings
Issues which divide such as the place of the pope as being God’s chosen representative, or the nature of purgatory still have a place but a place that is secondary to the establishment of a society and nation which is ethically and morally centered requiring a discipline of the spirit, a country compatible with Christianity and the development of that spirit.
This shouldn’t be misconstrued as supporting the construction of a theocratic State along the lines of a Christian version of Saudi Arabia. Forced conversions, mandatory bible studies and the prohibition of other religions takes away what is key to Christianity. The individual’s decision to accept the faith can only be made free of compulsion. Forced confessions are no confessions at all. Modern society has been evolving in the exact opposite direction, flooding the media and entertainment industry with messages promoting deviancy, sloth and narcissism, while portraying religion as inherently oppressive. The result being the emptying of churches and the perversion of Church doctrine to suit the needs to modern man. Religion cannot survive in a Democratic environment. Its attempt to evolve to that environment will force it to go the way of the pagan religions of Ancient Rome and Greece. But a concerted ideological attack on the foundations of Democracy, which only Fascism can provide is the only hope that the Christian faith has.