Opinion: Christianity Is Structurally Similar to Fascism

Walter Rhein

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If we are to be responsible defenders of democracy, we must have conversations about any potential threats to our freedoms. Christianity is a power structure that resembles a benevolent dictatorship with “God” as the ultimate leader. My concern is what happens when a fallible man appoints himself as supreme leader in such a system.

Educated people can look to history for examples.

I recently got into a debate with somebody who tried to argue that Hitler was an atheist. This argument was a deceitful effort to rewrite history and place Christianity in a favorable light. I did some research after the discussion and found that not only was Hitler raised to be a Christian, he spoke highly of Christianity in Mein Kampf.

However, the story doesn’t end there.

When you continue to dig, it appears as if Hitler was inspired to model his government on a Christian system of authority in which he effectively took the place of “God.” When you step back and put Christianity side to side with fascism, it’s chilling what you discover.

In fascism, the leader sets the rules about what is true and what is false. That also applies to people who believe they are performing the will of “God.” There is no debate. When people think “God” is whispering in their ear, they expect you to do as told.

Fascists also commonly attack members of the LGBTQ community. This is part of a wider tactic of spreading division so they don’t encounter any resistance. We also see members of the Christian community attacking the LGBTQ community.

Fascists also show a blatant disregard for human rights. In the Antebellum era of the United States, Christianity was often used to justify the persistence of the institution of slavery. In later years, the Ku Klux Klan essentially became a version of the morality police and deliberately sought out people to brutalize.

Misogyny is also used as a tool of social control in fascist regimes. In fascist regimes, women are seen as “baby factories” that have an obligation to serve the nation at the expense of their own free will. In the modern United States, we’ve seen a disturbing trend toward this kind of thinking with the recent restrictions that have been placed on access to potentially life-saving reproductive healthcare.

Finally, there’s the idea of extreme nationalism. Again, that is mirrored in the United States with the rise of Christian Nationalism.

The more you compare Christianity and fascism, the more chilling it becomes. Consider, too, the recent rise in aggression against immigrants in the United States. Anyone who is seen as “different” whether it be because of race, gender, skin color, or sexual orientation is presented as a threat. This behavior is the opposite of love and tolerance, and it is gaining momentum in our country.

I mean, today in the United States, we have churches holding ceremonies to bless assault weapons.

Republican Senator and former presidential nominee Barry M. Goldwater famously spoke out against the danger of religious groups making grabs for political power. He understood that religion established a rigid worldview that demands authority and obedience rather than compromise.

When you look back at the history of the United States, you start to recognize the reason the Founding Fathers insisted on the separation of church and state. Today, some groups like to falsely claim that the United States is a “Christian” nation, but that’s simply not historically accurate.

The United States was unique in its foundation because it was the first country to deliberately give power to the people rather than demand they submit to religious guidance.

I think that the founding fathers understood that without the separation of church and state, there can be no freedom.

At the time of the founding of the United States, the Founding Fathers were surrounded by examples of nations that were led by individuals who insisted they understood the will of “God.” King George III was a Christian king. Therefore, the American revolution could be thought of as a war against “God.”

The Founding Fathers were smart enough to realize that you can’t have a democracy when you submit to a leader who claims he has divine authority. The United States of America was one of the first countries to help the human race take a step toward freeing itself from dictatorial rule.

The idea of a benevolent dictatorship only works when the dictator is benevolent. Although that might be the case with a true and loving deity, it almost always ends badly when a human being awards himself that authority.

If we are to preserve our freedoms, it’s important to identify potential risks. Power structures that undermine individual will in favor of obedience to an absolute authority have historically served to strip human beings of freedom, dignity, and, in the worst cases, their lives.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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