Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chris Hedges Was Right

I'm not the only person to note that if Jesus ever actually showed up in America it would be our "Christians" who would quite literally kill him-- if that is he talked about peace and the horror of an imperial nation addicted to war. "Blessed are the peacemakers"? No thanks!

If you ever want to know what it looks like when a mob in love with far right nationalism and on fire with a lust for war, violence and empire looks like confronting the truth of Peace, Love and Tolerance there is a stunning visual document on YouTube you need to see. And it has become more relevant with time because the prophecy in it all came true.

In 2003 Chris Hedges the Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent and New York Times reporter gave a commencement address at Rockford College. He questioned America's war in Iraq and laid out a moving call to find love and camaraderie in peace not war. He was booed off the stage in this "liberal" arts college. His mike was cut twice and later police had to escort him off campus.

His boss-- The New York Times -- reprimanded Hedges for standing up for peace because they had sold out and backed the war. He was more or less fired though officially he resigned because he would not agree to shut up.

America -- the new Rome, this fading empire -- has no room for truth tellers in the "mainstream." Believe me when I say that when this country slides into corporate sponsored fascistic decline that this historic You Tube video of Hedges being verbally lynched by an American mob will be studied as a portent of a grim future by those who someday will ask: "What happened to American democracy?" (Check out Hedges' new book Death of the Liberal Class if you want to understand the failure of liberal institutions to protect the truth.)

The video is in 4 parts and through the "boos" and near riot it is worth listening to every word Hedges speaks. First this was a pivotal little noticed moment in American history symbolic of the move of the vast middle to accept a permanent culture of war as "normal." Second Chris Hedges' voice is prophetic. This was 2003! He spoke when few did. He was proved right down to the last detail of what then actually happened in Iraq.

Lastly, this video is what it must look like when a prophet is about to be killed. No one killed Hedges but it sure sounded like some people there wanted to silence him any way they could.

(And no, I'm not comparing Hedges to Jesus (!), just saying that here we have a classic example of what the message of Love and Redemption is up against in America, now more than ever. And by the way, my son served as a Marine in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm not "anti-military." I am anti imperial quests. As Hedges says war is poison.

Here are the links to all 4 parts. Take 20 minutes and watch. This is our future: The American right wing mob turning on any truth speakers.





Watch, think, pray for America and fight to roll back a future we don't want: A future controlled by corporate interests where the mob has been conditioned to confuse empire and war with patriotism.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back


Lolthien said...

Well, America in 2003 was a different place than America now. I can guarantee if he gave that exact same speech at a liberal arts college today he would be cheered and wildly applauded. Which is why his book is coming out now instead of eight years ago.

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi Lolthien, thanks for the note. Which I guess does prove Hedges really was (is) a prophet because who else in 2003 was able to spell out the exact course of the war? The times lost one of its finest ever when they gave Hedges the boot all because he was right and they were wrong.

Morrison said...

In his book about Atheism, Hedges points out that the Atheist Hitchens was gung ho for the Bush wars. Between Hitchens and Sam Harris, who argued for Nuclear First Strikes, you couldn't kill Muslims fast enough to keep those bastards happy!

Hedges also has a debate up with Sam! The New Atheists would send us to the Guldags just as fast as the Old Ones did.

You can't just blame the conservatives...liberals have always had their wars. In spades.

And so have atheists, as Hedges brilliantly shows.

Morrison said...

Speaking of wars, when is Obama going to end his?

Frank Schaeffer said...

I'm a huge fan of Hedges, and his views on religion and atheism are very much in the same direction as mine that I express in my book Patience With god -- Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism. Watch Hedges' terrific lecture on this on You Tube "Atheism, God and Morality"

Auburn Abbey said...


Some of us believe it is too late in the game to change our course towards this inevitable future of "christofacsicm".

The innocents, my family and friends, who have already been seduced, do not hear any of the alarms because their religious culture is a kind of self-reinforcing loop.

In the meantime, us Jesus-loving-peace-makers are the ones that come off as the quacks and the freaks.

Some of us think the best thing would be for the radical right to achieve their goals. Then, when their "theocracy" fails - in the cataclysmic wake of shattered lives, crushed communities and a fallen nation - the kingdom of heaven within us can rise up to restore peace, hope, and love.


Brother Nelson

DomainDiva said...

Frank you need to rad Eric Margolis' book 'American Raj'.

Loire.Castle said...

An excellent summary of the bleak future we should NOW by standing up against : "A future controlled by corporate interests where the mob has been conditioned to confuse empire and war with patriotism."
And war now is also economic, bringing about the demise of small enterprises and farms, mass speculation and mass famine. Now is the time to resist, as should have been done in the early and mid thirties, by "1941" it will be too late

Auburn Abbey said...


How do you view the role of the "emergent church" (for lack of a better label) in response to issues like this one?


Brother Nelson

uzza said...

This is more relevant all the time

Mem's Political Scrapbook said...

Again another great post Frank. I am convinced that many on the right like Palin, Huckabee, Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, Murdock and others are those "False Prophets" that the bible talks about that would come up "out of the churches" dressed in sheep wool. The religious right, the tea party are the ones fooling the masses and this Country is in BIG trouble if people don't start opening their eyes.

Ruffin said...

Frank, I agree with Hedges, however I do not agree that they booed him off the stage because he was right and they were wrong (he was right!)I believed they did this action because they did not care! They were apathetic in the extreme! They seemed only concern with the 'appropriateness' of the speech not the content. They wanted a speech that would focus in on a bright future, the 'bright' road of the completion of academic short they wanted pablum not substance! We live in a culture thgat is unwilling to do critical thinking, unwilling to make leadership accountable, and unwilling to hold leaders to account for errors in judgment. We seem to be drifting back to a period in our country that was more racist than rational, more fearful than confident, more crazed than civil, and more dubious than dignified. You posit that America like ancient Rome is on the decline (like Gibbons' The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) if this is true (and I believe in part that it is) what is the individuals recourse? What can we do to stem the flood into irrevelance? Lord, help us!!!!!

Melissa said...

If you're interested in Chris Hedges' work, I would suggest the book 'Losing Moses on the Freeway: the 10 commandments in America.'