Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sarah Palin America's Evita Perón

By Frank Schaeffer

Sarah Palin's memoir is a perfect metaphor for what ails America and the Republican Party. Her book is published by the Zondervan publishing house, formerly an evangelical family-run religious publishing powerhouse now owned by Rupert Murdoch. (Back in the day my family's and many evangelical leader friend's books helped put Zondervan on the map, this was when I was a young religious nut activist in the 70s). Palin's book was ghostwritten by the editor of the far, far loony right fundamentalist World magazine founded by Marvin Olasky (of which more in a moment). The book will get a big boost from ratings-seeking Oprah. Murdoch... Oprah... far right politics... The advance was paid out of the huge profits Murdoch made off Rick-stop-gays-prop-8-Warren's Purpose Driven Life.

The chief characteristic of Palin's book is her trashing of the old cautious and respectable William F. Buckley-style Republican Party in general and John McCain and his campaign in particular, an act of backstabbing right up there with the "Et tu Brute" assassination of Caesar. I should say it is actually the second characteristic, that comes a distant second to the building of a Sarah Palin cult of personality, wherein Jesus and Sarah will "take America back for God."

As a former Republican, religious right activist who saw the light, re-registered as an independent voter and then, in the last election cycle, worked hard to get then Senator Obama elected, and having been one of the instigators of what is now becoming the bomb-throwing wing of the former Republican Party -- now a far right fundamentalist cult -- I understand better than most that Palin's book is her bid to take over the Republican Party, something like Oprah's positioning herself as the doyen of publishing.

It's personality cult time, personality cult with an agenda. The agenda isn't about politics at all. This is about naked power. Welcome to the world of our home grown very own Evita Perón. Welcome to Act II of the American "Reconstructionist" movement to establish a theocracy. The theocrats now have their Joan of Arc.

What is Sarah -- Evita -- Palin/Jesus about? Let's just call her the new face of Lipstick Fascism.

And who is standing between us and Sarah's burning desire to BE somebody? President Obama, that's who.

Problem is President Obama has "friends" who seem more like enemies every day: the impatient juvenile left is already trumpeting his "failure" because he hasn't fixed everything in one whole year!

But back to Palin: If the results in upstate New York are any indication she's all about eliminating the Republican Party to replace it with a disjointed hard right cult of personality/theocracy.

This is the "party" of "Obama must fail" ideology and "Jesus saves!" everyone but gays, blacks and other "Not Real Americans."

Here's a woman whose husband associated closely with the Alaska secessionist party, which itself associates with lunatic fringe secessionist groups and far right militias nationwide. Here's a woman who stabs John McCain in the back, the man who brought this small town mayor and one time Alaska Governor to national prominence. Here's a woman who quit the job of governor to become a full-time rabblerouser in the style of a Munich 1930s of beer hall putsch.

And what's her backing? The Rupert Murdoch/Reconstructionist Empire, the marriage of hard right capitalism with harder right Old Testament would-be theocracy.

Without Fox News she'd be nothing. Without the 5 million Murdoch paid her for her book she'd be stuck scraping by on $100,000 speaking fees. Without the millions of evangelicals who are Fox News' audience Fox would not exist. And who ghosted the book for her?

Lynn Vincent, the features editor of World, an fundamentalist flagship magazine.Vincent also ghost wrote the memoir of Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, the former head of the Army's Special Forces Command, who believes that his job in the U.S. military was to defeat Satan for the Christian nation of America.

Of our enemies in Somalia, Boykin said, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." And why does the world hate us? "We are hated because we are a nation of believers." And how do we defeat terrorism? "[W]e come against them in the name of Jesus."

Vincent has authored several columns bashing gay men and lesbians as "abnormal" and "devian[t]." Vincent laments the American Psychiatric Association's decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Vincent also co-authored Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party (Nelson Current, 2006) with Robert Stacy McCain, a book that; "documents the tragic story of how the nation's oldest political party has inspired, then cruelly betrayed, the hopes of millions of Americans, including many of our friends and dear members of our own families -- as well as sincere and honest officials within the party itself."

On Page 100, Vincent and McCain wrote:

If anything was red and scary, it was the scab of treachery that [Whittaker] Chambers peeled back to reveal a Democratic administration teeming with a Communist infection, and despite repeated warnings, doing nothing. One member of the HUAC [House Un-American Activities Committee], a Republican congressman from California named Richard Nixon, believed Chambers. His dogged pursuit of the truth ultimately revealed the extent to which Joseph Stalin was pulling Roosevelt's strings like those of a hapless puppet.


And what about the founder of World magazine? Marvin Olasky the editor in chief is a far right Reconstructionist who has been working to more or less turn America into a theocracy ever since the late 1980s and early 1990s. The 16-book Turning Point Christian Worldview series was largely funded by far right banker-fortune Howard Ahmanson, Jr.'s Fieldstead Institute, which champions the cause of "total integration of Biblical law into our lives." (Ahmanson once donated 150,000 to one of my far right projects in the early 80s).

Ahmanson funded four of Olasky's 30 books, and Michelle Goldberg, author of the book Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, places Olasky in a crucial role to Christian reconstructionism and dominionism, saying "I’m not sure whether he actually identifies himself as a Christian reconstructionist, but he’s very close to Christian reconstructionism."

Olasky -- someone who used to be a big fan of mine and my late father and quoted Dad and me often when I was a religious right leader -- was an adviser on Bush’s first Presidential campaign, influencing Bush and the Republican Party.

Christian Reconstructionism as a movement is something philosophically like Bible-inspired totalitarianism/theocratic neofascism. Karen Armstrong sees this potential for fascism in Christian Reconstructionism, as does Max Blumeanthal. The system of dominion envisaged by Christian Reconstructionist theologians R. J. Rushdoony and Gary North is totalitarian. Many others put my late father in the same camp, though I don't.

So now we have it: a far right operative who -- with the help of a ghost writer who believes that Roosevelt was a secret communist and that gays will burn in Hell -- trashes the Republican Party for her own personality cult agenda, was "blessed" by a preacher before she ran for governor who cast out "witches", who claims in her book the "God's hand" has been on her "every step in the way", and that she's going to "fulfill" destiny. She's funded directly via the huge advance by Murdoch and is coached by the Olasky/reconstructonist wing of the hard right.

The circle of power, money, loony theology and greed closes. McCain is thrown to the dogs. Oprah cashes in. Welcome to America.

37 comments:

Elisabeth said...

Indeed. Fantastic post.

Robert D. Meek, Jr. said...

Excellent article.

Very true.

And thus, a very terrifying reality, as well.

Me thinks I should crawl under my bed, now. Sigh!

Anonymous said...

Frank's jealous because he knows her book will sell millions of copies while his will only reach the most hard core leftist fanatics of his own ilk.

Gregasaurus said...

Why is it that the pussies who are just that , always leave it anonymous. Grow a set! U call it Fanatics, we call it realists, and she really got her ass kicked last November didn't she Anonymous. I hope she runs in 2012 Obama for 8 years has a nice ring to it, so go back to your tea bagging and your deception and hate spreading and deal with reality for the next 7 years... really!

davo said...

So Christianity has been compromised and corrupted by the likes of your Dad and many others. I agree. But it's not just right-wing politics that is the culprit. It's politics itself. Christianity is not about politics, it's about doing what God's Son has taught us by His life and words. We are to follow Him. Get a hold of that and you won't have much time to play with politics. And maybe you could be an influence for so many "christians" that can't seem to realize their error.

Anonymous said...

Gregasaurus - usually I use my name but Frank's articles are so threatening that I think he's turning in all who disagree to Obama. Call me paranoid pussy, I guess. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

By the way Gregasaurus - is that your first, last or middle name? Or is it a combo of both?

Anonymous said...

Robert, yes you better crawl under you bed. Sarah Palin is dangerous. (also, I have it on good authority from Frankie that the sky is falling)

Anonymous said...

"Problem is President Obama has "friends" who seem more like enemies every day: the impatient juvenile left is already trumpeting his "failure" because he hasn't fixed everything in one whole year!"

Well, that's the left for you. They did the same thing to GWB, only they started a lot sooner, even before his inauguration. The left is about as reliable as an old dry stick.

Anonymous said...

"But back to Palin: If the results in upstate New York are any indication she's all about eliminating the Republican Party to replace it with a disjointed hard right cult of personality/theocracy."

In direct reaction the the "hard left cult of personality/athieocracy. Remember - every action has its opposite reaction.

The moral of this story is, if you want somebody to act right then instead of telling them to act right you need to start demonstrating what right action is. The article above is not a demonstration of right action but bilous vilification from the left which in its hyprocrisy decries the vilification from the right.

Jesus came to save all people. What He did is instead of screaming and yelling and calling names, He took all of our sins on Himself and let Himself be crucified - by the Romans and the Jews, the Montegues and the Capulets, the Christians and the Arabs, the Right and the Left. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

We would all do well to humbly remember this. Frank is doing his cause no service and he is certainly not being a service to the cause of peace or reconcilliation. Instead, he's throwing gas on the fire because he has abandoned his first love and set himself up to be judge, jury and executioner. It doesn't matter who else does this, what matters is that each person lets God search their own hearts and purify us so that we are no longer a threat to our neighbor, even if we think out neighbor is a threat to us.

As far as the Christians on the right - they should be allowed to speak their minds, just as Frank and the left are allowed to speak theirs. However, if civility is to prevail, somebody needs to ratchet down the rhetoric. I have watched it from both sides and both sides are equally as shrill, condescending and brutal in their remarks.

And anybody who was honest would admit this.

Izgad said...

"rabblerouser in the style of a Munich 1930s of beer hall putsch."

The Beer Hall Putsch was in 1923. This was Hitler's first attempt to grab power. He landed in jail for a year where he wrote Mein Kampf. He finally took power in 1933.

I agree with your basic point but believe you undermine yourself with your rhetoric. You could have made the same point without using words like Fascist. As a historian Fascism means something very specific to me. I will leave Palin as a conservative prima donna with little sense of actual public policy.

alohaz said...

The "true" conservative party of Goldwater, Eisenhower is all but extinct. As someone who grew up in a christian household, baptised, etc., I believe today's conservativism is polluted with the fanaticism of contemporary christian theocracy. The ideals of Jesus have been trampled underfoot in the "Godly" pursuit of self promotion and self aggrandizement. True conservativism would champion choice, liberty and limited executive power. When I hear the pure, unadulterated crazy coming out of the mouths of so called 'christians' I meditate God help us.

wuggaslady said...

True, but frightening stuff. Watching you on the Rachel Maddow Show as I speak and the fact is while we can say ignore the wingnuts, it's apparent they are too dangerous to ignore.

Robert said...

They are dangerous because they only read what they want to believe. They are delusional.

Anonymous said...

I also just watched you on Rachel Maddow Show. Your comments were absolutely the best I've heard in many, many years. I hope to see more of you on TV in the future. We need people who can tell the truth.

Jeffery P. Segall, RN said...

You said so much on Rachel Maddow that I have been waiting for SOMEBODY to say. I thank you!

Anonymous said...

When are you coming to San Antonio I know somebody that will give you a long talk?LOL

t.nannie said...

I'm inclined to write my own book. Most of these evangelical movements built their ministries on the poor, black and at risk populations. Since the election, the blacks have been walking on eggshells so as not to offend their conservative leaders who've shown disapproval of the black democratic vote calling it irresponsible, against God and a vote for the Liberal Agenda highlighting Abortion and Homosexuality.

I'm fed up with the WHITE IS RIGHT in politics, religion and everything else. I was a happy Black Christian in a white church until the election of President Obama, where now I have to sit under occassional quotes from Rush Limbaugh and the rest of his Klan, from the Pulpit.

Anonymous said...

This is possibly the most disgusting thing I have ever read.

If Frank is right and Sarah Palin is the new Joan of Arc, then why is he and so many here apparently so smug about buring her at the stake?

She's just a person people but you all remind me of snarling dogs. There isn't a shred of civility in Frank's article and like a mob, you all are joining him in his blood-fest. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves and ashamed of engaging in the kind of character assassination that you claim to abhor. Hypocrites!

AOB said...

T. nannie, I was a happy white christain in a white church until President Obama was elected. I no longer attend that church.

Anonymous said...

I watched your interview with Rachel Maddow and was once again impressed with your 'tell-it-like-it-is' approach. Also recently finished "Crazy for God" and came away with far more understanding of how these bat-sh*t crazies arrive at their beliefs.

roteye2001 said...

Anonymous - You've joined the mob by calling me a hypocrite. That's typical of your kind to mix free speech with name-calling. You're in my prayers.

AOB said...

Stdies say that 76% of Americans are 'moderate' That leaves 24% evenly (I suppose) divided between the left wing fundy wackos and the right wing fundy wackos. That being said, moderate people of all sorts need to call out both sides for their craziness.

What amazes me is that since President Obama was elected, people I thought were moderate to a little right actually went totally fundy wacko. Unfortunately, these were christians. It's amazing what one election can do to the state of mind of some people.

Anonymous said...

AOB - regarding your 2nd paragraph - I find to be equally true for the left. People who were moderately left seem to have gone hard left. Obama isn't a unifier, he's a divider. Many of these hard-leftists also claim to be Christian.

Randy said...

Far Right, Far Left, who cares

Both are extremes.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me the hate that is spewed by so called Christians. I can see thier words turning into action as has been suggested by the new bumber stickers. I hope this doesn't turn into a civil war, but it looks like that may be where things are headed at this point!

Susan said...

Anonymous, so the Romans and the Jews killed Jesus. This is just not true. The belief that Jews killed Jesus has caused the death of at least millions of Jews over the centuries, not including the Holocaust.

dgibby said...

Thank you Frank. I appreciate the courage it took for you to renounce your former life. That couldn't have been easy for you to do, especially considering your father's involvement in the movement.

I believe that there is nothing in this world more dangerous than a religous zealot, no matter what the religion. It is not possible to engage most of these folks in a rational discussion. They march in lock step for their cause, and tolerate no difference of opinion. Truly scary!

Peter J Shepherd said...

Can we stop fighting each other for a moment, and remember that Jesus said, "they will know that your are my disciples by your love for one another."

Jesus, while not condoning sin, was a friend of sinners, actually said that the prostitutes would be in front of the Pharisees in the Kingdom of God. It seems that the people most in need of love, are not receiving it from the very people who should have the greatest demonstration of love in the world, the Church.

We need to do away with the pointing of the finger, and ask God to search our hearts to "see if there be any wicked way in me." Those of us that claim the name of Christ need to humble OURSELVES and "pray and seek God's face and turn from OUR wicked ways." Then, we can expect God to do HIS part, to forgive our sins, and heal our land.

Anonymous said...

Susan - we all "killed" Jesus by our attitudes. That was my point. We kill what is innocent and good because we aren't humble. The terms "Jews" is used genericly, same with right, left, montegue and capulet. The point is we all need to stop fighting, pointing fingers and blaming. We need to look at ourselves and know that we have all been wrong so we will stop being so self-righteous and mean-spirited toward one-another. I'm sorry if I offended anybody with the statement about the Jews. In hindsight, it was probably not a good thing to say since you are right, they have been persecuted and killed in the name of Christ.

Anonymous said...

If Andrew Sullivan is truly Patient Zero of Palin Derangement Syndrome, then this frothing of the mouth surely places Schaeffer in single digits. Move along--nothing to see here, folks.

Anonymous said...

Rupert Murdoch and reverend Sun Myung Moon of the Washington Times should be stripped of citizenship and deported as foreign agents working to destroy America from within.

vegetarian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vegetarian said...

I see American democracy a work. How did we EVER do this without the Intenet? Let's give it up to Tim Berners-Lee and our engineers... and CERN. In some technical sense, it's MOOT which side we're on; we have a material base on which this set of conversaions takes place, and together we're asked to think philosophically, ontologically, or theologically - - about origins, destiny, faith, revelation, and moral goodness. Supposedly, this COULD take place with a little more civility.

Lily Winter said...

Thank you for this post. I have sought out your writing since hearing you on Fresh Air on PBS. Very refreshing. Although I appreciate your work here as giving us a wider view of Lynn Vincent and her associates, I am also troubled by how broadly you go. I spent seven years working for a New Age company who made and sold witchcraft products. I thought the products were stupid and did not respect the management. I needed the money and it brought me out of poverty. Anyone could name this connection against me without asking if those years ate at my soul. Lily Winter

Jay said...

For the record Palin's book is published by Harper Collins, not Zondervan.

Mark said...

Jay, Zondervan is owned by Harper Collins and they are copublishing the book. Zondervan will be handling distribution to Christian booksellers. Google it.