By Coco Das
In a speech at Notre Dame on Saturday, Attorney General William Barr disgustingly laid out the Christian fascist program of the Trump/Pence regime. In the view of these theocratic fascists, all of society’s problems have come from a destruction of the Christian, patriarchal order, which Barr referred to as the “traditional moral order.” He declared a war on secularists, including secular government, and on “so-called progressives.”
“We are told we live in a post-Christian era,” he said, “…but this is not decay, it’s organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.” He went on to suggest that at the hands of the progressive movement, Christians “risk a figurative burning at the stake: social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”
To the Christian fascists, progressive movements are figuratively burning Christians at the stake. Putting aside the outrageous rhetoric of such a claim, let’s be clear that it is not the Christian fascists like Barr and others who are being persecuted, but they themselves who are viciously persecuting others. This is the classic fascist inversion of victimization that is essential to forging a fascist base. When it comes to rounding up, criminalizing, and destroying the rights and lives of immigrants, women, LGBT people, Jewish and Muslim people, people of color, and progressive voices under attack by the Trump/Pence regime, the figurative burning at the stake is not so figurative. We are talking about people being refused service or fired for being gay…for now. We’re talking about women being criminalized for having a miscarriage…for now. We are talking about all kinds of attacks against people who do not conform to fundamentalist Christianity upheld in the courts under the guise of religious freedom.
All this can escalate in one fell swoop once this regime consolidates power, or become normalized bit by bit until people’s rights are gradually eroded away. When the goal is erasure from society with Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally, a much less figurative burning at the stake, even by imprisonment or death, is where the logic of their program could lead and what some what these rabid theocrats actually advocate.
At Refuse Fascism, we say in our call that the world as we have known it is being torn asunder. For fifty years, social movements have been able to defeat some of the oppressive aspects of the old order. The civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, and others wrenched some freedom out of a greatly oppressive “traditional moral order” that had made life a living hell for millions of people. For the vast majority of American history, the “traditional moral order” that Barr speaks of so lovingly was the boot pressing down on people’s heads. It was the moral order of slavery and genocide, the moral order of Jim Crow, the moral order of women dying from illegal abortions, the moral order of criminalized homosexuality.
And let’s talk about William Barr. Barr replaced Jeff Sessions, who was himself an unrepentant white supremacist and Christian fascist, but he was not willing to go far enough outside the norms of the system to protect Trump from the Mueller investigation. Barr stepped in and has done the job he was hired to do, willing to go to great lengths to declare any checks on the president or the regime as illegitimate. Every time a high level operative is ousted, they are replaced with someone who can more effectively bludgeon government and society with this fascist vision.
This highlights a need for us in our millions to become a third force that goes after the whole fascist regime. As Reverend Frank Wulf of the Echo Park United Methodist Church said recently, “We shouldn’t forget that even if [Trump] is convicted by the Senate, he will be followed by Mike Pence, who will be just as bad if not worse in so many ways, even though he doesn’t have the bellicose personality, the bigger than life personality that Trump does. We have to organize. We still have to be in the streets whether or not the impeachment proceedings go forward.”
In fact, removing Trump without removing the whole regime could lead to a situation where the Christian fascist program, which Trump has embraced but does not fully represent, is strengthened and emboldened to go all the way in what they see as their last chance to recreate the “traditional moral order,” pulling society backwards with all the vengeance of this fascist movement, and with all the surveillance and fire power of the modern state. That doesn’t mean we should leave Trump in office. Exactly the opposite — it means we must not only insist on Trump’s removal, but go even further, demanding the removal of the whole regime and the reversal of this nightmare direction.
This regime is being very clear about where they are taking us and how far they’re willing to go. If we don’t take to the streets in massive numbers now, it can quickly become too late and we will not be allowed to say we didn’t know what was happening. We do know, and now is the time to seize on the impeachment crisis now erupting, take history into our own hands, and turn dread into a force for hope.
There is a plan at refusefascism.org. NYC and LA launch protests on October 19th that announce four more consecutive Saturdays of protests in cities and towns across the country. These will gather more people and momentum so that in the weeks and months that follow, the movement grows to tens and hundreds of thousands and millions. What unifies all the diverse streams of people that need to pour into the streets is the single demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—Now! The whole regime is a catastrophe for humanity and the whole regime must go.