The Politics of Righteousness: Idaho Christian Patriotism

The Politics of Righteousness: Idaho Christian Patriotism

The Politics of Righteousness: Idaho Christian Patriotism

The Politics of Righteousness: Idaho Christian Patriotism

Synopsis

Aho (sociology, Idaho State U.) explores the backgrounds and belief systems of organizations such as the Aryan Nations Church, the Possee Comitatus, and the Golden Mean Society. He examines the major divisions within the Christian patriot movement, and contributes to the sociology of extremism, analyzing its major theories in light of his data gathered from 200 interviews and direct observations of patriot gatherings. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Excerpt

Given the fickleness of human memory, enduring lessons must be drawn in vivid colors. Warfare is one vehicle for this purpose. in the identification of an alien enemy and the ceremonial sacrifice of combatants, a populace recognizes what unites them as a people. But societies also designate internal enemies for this purpose: individuals with a distinguishing mark--an unorthodox belief, an untoward act, an unsightly blemish, a visible handicap, or a racial difference. in a spectacle replayed periodically in America, the Christian Right unearth's the enemy within. This token of unrighteousness may be a liberal or a Communist; a Papist, a Jew, an atheist, a satanist, or a Mason; a homosexual, obese, drunkard, or addict; a black, Mexican, or Asian; or several of these embodied in an arch-demon of horrifying dimensions. in the name of Cross and Flag, Race and Nation, these half-fictitious emblems of chaos are symbolically excised from America by radical political surgery. While this operation is largely metaphorical, through it a particular image of America is rejuvenated: an America Christian and masculine in its culture, racially white, English-speaking, and overseen by its sacred compact, the United States Constitution.

Political drama is fat more trenchant than textbook recitation in instilling messages of national, cultural, and racial identity. This is because drama re-presents a people's legends and myths not just to the ear, but to all the senses. Communal theater was the schoolhouse of the ancients, and right-wing extremism is nothing if not theater. It has its props, costumery, lines, and personae: the betrayer, the crippled king, the fearful mother, and the dutiful wife. Above all, it has the protagonist--white Christian male Constitutionalist--and his antagonist. the story line is familiar. America has a covenant with the Lord. If she remains faithful to its edicts, as expressed in the, Constitution and the biblical lawbooks, she shall be favored. Her crops shall be plentiful, her people well-fed, prolific, and happy, her children obedient to the voice of their parents. But now she has faltered in her obligations and her cities lie corrupt, her waters and air are befouled . . .

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