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Cleansing the Community of Infection via Redemptive Violence

Encouraging Christian Violence


Encouraging Christian Violence: Cleansing the Community of Infection via Redemptive Violence

Encouraging Christian Violence: Cleansing the Community of Infection via Redemptive Violence

Image © Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: National Archives

An important component of fascism, and one which hasn't entirely developed in America even among movements which tend to appear very fascist in their approach, is the idea that violence is a redemptive act which allows a chosen few to transform society -- usually through the elimination of certain minorities. Thus for the Nazis the elimination of the Jews wasn't simply because the Jews were hated for themselves but also because violence against them allowed the German Volk to redeem themselves and show themselves worthy of the position due them.

This hasn't really appeared in full force in America, but that's not to say that some haven't tried. The above image, based upon a World War II poster describing the importance of oil in the war effort, uses the words of Ann Coulter at a speech where she encouraged audience members to deal with protesters: "You're men. You're heterosexuals. Take them out." Notice the implicit taunt in which she mocks the masculinity of the men who have not yet of their own accord acted violently. This presumes that true manliness is based upon violent behavior and encourages said violence by making non-violent men feel inadequate.

We should also keep in mind that the fascist gangs of brownshirts which played such a decisive role in the rise of Nazi fascism in Germany were motivated in no small way by a perceived need to both display their manliness and to ward off encroaching femininity. Weimar culture was attacked for being too weak, passive, and feminine. Even traditional Christianity was attacked for being too feminine -- many Protestant preachers advocated a more "manly" Jesus who rolled up his sleeves and engaged in violence rather then turning the other cheek. Thus, the words and ideas which Ann Coulter are using are not an aberration; they are, instead, a standard feature of the fascist perspective.

We are fortunate this hasn't taken hold in America, but that's not an excuse to dismiss such incidents. People like Ann Coulter will normally try to excuse their words by saying that they are just jokes, but they aren't. Encouraging violence like this is never a joke; when it occurs in a context like this, though, it's nothing less than a appeal for the creation of fascist storm troopers. That's not joke, that's a specific threat against our democratic order. Should it gain any traction, it could provide the basis for the development of a genuinely fascist Christian movement.

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