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USA: The Alt-Right And The Religious Right Stand In Opposition To America’s Tradition Of Religious Freedom

Saturday 19 August 2017, by siawi3

Source: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-alt-right-and-the-religious-right-stand-in-opposition-to-america-s

Wall of Separation - Aug 14, 2017

The Alt-Right And The Religious Right Stand In Opposition To America’s
Tradition Of Religious Freedom

by Rob Boston

This weekend, extremely disturbing images emerged from
Charlottesville, Va. When we have actual fascists marching in our
streets, spreading hate, waving Nazi flags and screaming slogans of
rage aimed our neighbors, friends, family members and coworkers,
disengagement is not an option. Decent Americans are morally compelled
to respond – not with violence but with pledges to support and protect
the communities under attack and through reminders to our nation and
the world that we are better than this.

“Fascism” is a loaded word. It’s not one to be used lightly. Yet
there’s no doubt that some in the loose community known as the
“alt-right” embrace it, in word and in deed. Virulently anti-Semitic,
the alt-right stands in stark opposition to America’s tradition of
religious freedom for all.

Religious Right groups take pains to distance themselves from the open
racism and anti-Semitism of the alt-right. Fair enough. But we’d be
foolish to deny that the agendas of these two movements don’t share
some overlap. This may be uncomfortable truth, but it must be
confronted: The end result of both movements’ platforms, if they were
ever enacted, would be to severely curtail, if not obliterate, the
rights of women, members of the LGBTQ community, religious minorities
(especially Muslims and Jews but also non-believers) and others.

Members of the alt-right march in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo by Emily
Molli/NurPhoto, Sipa via AP Images)

Consider women’s rights. The new issue of Harper’s magazine contains a
cover story about women in the alt-right movement. Inexplicably, some
women aspire to leadership in the misogynistic alt-right face, but
they face obstacles: primarily, most of its adherents are chauvinists
who believe that women should not hold leadership positions. As one
commentator on an alt-right website put it, “If women are busy giving
speeches and making YouTube broadcasts, they are not going to have
time to give birth.” (Like the Religious Right, the alt-right opposes
legal abortion but not because they believe it offends God: Women are
supposed to produce white children for the Fatherland.)

At Religious Right gatherings, the same anti-feminist agenda is
promoted, albeit not so bluntly. Women are supposed to stay home and
raise children because God made them nurturers, God intends for men to
be in leadership positions, etc.

Alt-right groups openly seek to curtail women’s involvement in civic
life. Their leaders argue that women should not be allowed to vote.
Lest you think this is a fringe position that no one in the Religious
Right would adopt, think again: Religious Right pseudo-historian David
Barton and Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association have both
questioned whether women should be allowed to vote and hold high
office.

But most disturbingly, both the Religious Right and the alt-right
constantly employ rhetoric centered on “taking back” the country. In
the Religious Right’s version of things, the United States was a
paradise until secularists, feminists and liberals compelled
enforcement of strict separation of church and state in the 1960s. To
the alt-right, it was the civil rights movement and increasing
immigration from non-European (that is, less white) nations that led
our country to start spiraling downward.

Both visions glorify the 1950s as a “Golden Age,” and in doing so,
betray great ignorance of U.S. history. The ’50s were indeed good for
the white males who held power, but not so much for everyone else.
Both the alt-right and the Religious Right are frequently tone deaf to
the oppression and state-sanctioned forms of discrimination that were
prevalent then.

Many on the far right have never made their peace with the concept of
equal rights for all, so don’t be fooled. When members of any
right-wing group speak of “taking back” the country, what they really
mean is this: a return to the days when one group of people, because
they accounted for a large bloc, held power and used the machinery of
government to force their rules, regulations and norms on everyone
else and brooked no dissent as they did it.

Religious Right groups disavow racism, and their leaders would
absolutely bristle at the claim that they have any connection to the
alt-right. Officially, there probably is no connection. Rhetorically,
there is. I have monitored the Religious Right for 30 years now, and I
refuse to ignore the fact that the language employed by these two
movements and the type of American society they envision are way too
close for comfort.

Yes, the alt-right and the Religious Right might use different
ideologies to justify taking away the rights of women, members of the
LGBTQ community, religious minorities, non-believers and others, but
at the end of the day, that would be cold comfort to the people whose
rights would be crushed under an iron heel of oppression.

These are perilous times, and that’s why we’re all compelled to lift
our voices. Get involved. It’s imperative that all people of goodwill
say in the loudest voice possible that our nation will rise above and,
by all legal means, defeat extremists, whether secular or sectarian,
who dare to assume the title of “patriots” when their very actions
make a mockery of that term.