Former Times Bureau Chief Attacks "Fascist" Christian Right

Former Times Bureau Chief Chris Hedges on the Christian Right: "This is a potent and a ruthless mass movement that would like to dismantle American democracy." And that's not the most extreme thing he's said.

Remember Chris Hedges, the former Times reporter and Middle East bureau chief for the paper who got unplugged for his anti-war ranting at a Rockford College graduation ceremony in 2003?

Here was his stirring opener to the assembled graduates: "Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves."

Well you ain't seen nothing yet.Hedges is now a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, the foundation of the far-left magazine, and in January he'll publish a book, "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."

Last week, Hedges predicted Bush would go to war with Iran, perhaps "in as little as three weeks." He concludes his Truthdig column: "If you are sure you will be raptured into heaven, your clothes left behind with the nonbelievers, then this news should cheer you up.If you are rational, however, these may be some of the last few weeks or months in which to enjoy what is left of our beleaguered, dying republic and way of life."

The week before that, when questioned by the Chicago Tribune about the incendiary title of his upcoming book, he responded: "This is a potent and a ruthless mass movement that would like to dismantle American democracy."

An article written in November 2004, while Hedges was still a reporter for the Times (his last byline appears under a "Public Lives" profile dated March 3, 2005) is topped by thisexplanatory header: "This is an article by Chris Hedges that no major publication would print."

For once, TimesWatch is in total agreement with the liberal media.

Hedges' 2004 article may have contained the seed of his upcoming book, given it has a similar title: "The Christian Right And The Rise of American Fascism."

After comparing Christian conservative opposition to gay marriage with "the state suppression of opponents" by the Nazis, he really unveils his paranoia: "All debates with the Christian Right are useless. We cannot reach this movement. It does not want a dialogue. It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. It is not mollified because John Kerry prays or Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday School. These naive attempts to reach out to a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to them that we too have 'values,' would be humorous if the stakes were not so deadly. They hate us. They hate the liberal, enlightened world formed by the Constitution. Our opinions do not count. This movement will not stop until we are ruled by Biblical Law, an authoritarian church intrudes in every aspect of our life, women stay at home and rear children, gays agree to be cured, abortion is considered murder, the press and the schools promote 'positive' Christian values, the federal government is gutted, war becomes our primary form of communication with the rest of the world and recalcitrant non-believers see their flesh eviscerated at the sound of the Messiah's voice."

Despite his hard-left, apocalyptic worldview, Hedges isn't exactly persona non grata at the Times: He was a featured author last Sunday at the New York Times annual book festival held in Bryant Park.