Fascism disguised


Prof. Luccock Warns That It Will Bear the Misleading Label ‘Americanism’

The New York Times, 12 September 1938, page 15, re. a sermon preached the day before (9/11 — ironic, n’est pas?)…

When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled “made in Germany”; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americanism,” Professor Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School of Yale University said yesterday morning in a sermon at the Riverside Church, Riverside Drive and 122d Street.

“The high-sounding phrase ‘the American way’ will be used by interested groups, intent on profit, to cover a multitude of sings against the American and Christian tradition, such sins as lawless violence, tear gas and shotguns, denial of civil liberties,” he said.  “There is an obligation resting on us all to dedicate our minds to the hard task of thinking in terms of Christian objectives and values, so that we may be saved from moral confusion.”

“For never, probably, has there been a time when there was a more vigorous effort to surround social and international questions with such a fog of distortion and prejudice and hysterical appeal to fear.  We have touched a new low in Congressional investigation this Summer, used by some participating in it to whip up fear and prejudice against many causes of human welfare, such as a concern for peace and the rights of labor to bargain collectively.”

Professor Luccock, who preached on the theme “Keeping Life Out of Confusion,” continued:

“The old prayer in the Psalms, ‘Let me never be put to confusion,’ seems a strange one in a day when there seems to be little else but confusion in a puzzled world.  We ought to recognize that uncertainty of mind is not all a bad thing.  It is a sign that your mind is still alive, still sensitive.  If you are not at all confused in this day you are dead mentally and spiritually.

“There is, of course, the peace of the cemetery.  If you want that you can have it.  But you will pay for such complacent serenity with blind eyes which do not see the world’s fear and agony; with deaf ears, into which the sad music of humanity never comes; with deadened nerves and unsensitized conscience.

“We will never be brought to confusion, even in such a baffling and muddled world as ours, if we have a faith in a God of love as the ultimate power in the universe.  The words ‘God is love’ have this deep meaning:  that everything that is against love is ultimately doomed and damned.”

So little has changed in 70+ years…  I stumbled across this article today, after a letter in today’s local paper (see comments following) repeated a famous quote often misattributed to Sinclair Lewis:

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”

Its origins are at best obscure, but this link does a decent job of unraveling the mystery.

Monsieur d’Nalgar

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2010/12/22/fascism-disguised/

1 comment

  1. From today’s Sentinel Record, pages 10 and 11:

    Barton a ‘false prophet’

    Dear editor:

    I am a Christian, Assemblies of God background (decades-long pro bono attorney for the Arkansas District), but along with the Seventh-day Adventists, I believe passionately in separation of church and state. The mixture of politics and religion, whether Islam or Christianity or Hinduism or whatever, is a toxic brew that poisons both politics and religion. That is not to say that religious people, Christians in this case, should not be involved in politics and bring their faith to bear on their political involvement. They should.

    However, where the two become so intertwined that they are inseparable, I fear for our country. As Sinclair Lewis famously said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”

    So I think it will.

    Therefore, I don’t think I paint with too broad a brush in expressing my concerns about the charlatan David Barton political rally/religious revival at the First Church of the Nazarene. David Barton is a pseudohistorian with little or no credentials who is idolized by the gullible religious/conservative folks to justify what they already believe: Our Founding Fathers were Christians, our nation is a Christian nation and the “end times” will be ushered in if Christians only gain “dominion” over the governments of the world.

    No, they were not, and, no, America is not a Christian nation – never has been and certainly has not acted like one. Just the opposite in fact. I have quote after quote on several Facebook posts where the Founding Fathers spoke in no uncertain terms about their faith, or lack of the same, their “Christian” beliefs (mostly nonexistent) and their strong conviction that we should be a pluralistic nation accepting of all faiths (and no faith) and honoring the total separation of church and state.

    What this Barton political rally/revival has done is to solidify in my mind what I already knew and yet did not emphasize in my previous “open letter” to Garland County GOP Chairman Alan Clark in The Sentinel-Record: The total takeover of the local GOP by the religious zealots on the political right.

    That I cannot – even as an adherent in Pentecostal theology and practices – tolerate, condone and accept. It drives moderate folks like me, who vigorously believe in and have worked for a viable two-party system (I was research director of the Arkansas Republican Party years ago), into the arms of the Democratic Party.

    Please do not misunderstand me. There are good people in the religious right, which now controls Garland County and Hot Springs politics, but unless they become more open and accepting of differences and less wedded to the certitude of their causes and “I-hear-from-God-directly” mentality, they will have a hard time governing.

    There are a lot of sinners in Garland County. I am one of them. So are you. So are His lost sheep who showed up to hear the false prophet, David Barton, spout his jingoistic platitudes and snake-oil about how Christianity and America are one and the same.

    Google the terms “Christian Dominionists” and “Christian Reconstructionists” (and David Barton and those who embrace his views skate perilously close to these theologies) and you’ll see how they seek to impose a Christian theocracy on America based not on our Constitution but on Old Testament judgment and vengeance.

    That I cannot abide and accept. That is the antithesis of Christian. It is, if anything, a heretical “Christian” Taliban seeking to rule in America.

    May God save us from those who invoke Jesus’ name to justify their intolerances, prejudices and political beliefs!

    Cliff Jackson
    Hot Springs

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