Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Two Threads Not to Miss in Treason of U.S. POTUS: Solidaristic White Nationalism and Its Religious Incarnation in Religious Right

About yesterday's act of treason on the part of the man occupying the U.S. White House: here are threads that stand out for me as very much worth pursuing, from the wealth of immediate commentary I've read as the treason has unfolded:

A Russian woman who tried to broker a secret meeting between Donald J. Trump and the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, during the 2016 presidential campaign was charged Monday and accused of working with Americans to carry out a secret Russian effort to influence American politics. 
At the behest of a senior Russian government official, the woman, Mariia Butina, made connections through the National Rifle Association, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast to try to steer the Republican Party toward more pro-Russia policies, court records show. Privately comparing herself to a Soviet Cold War propagandist, she worked to infiltrate American organizations and establish “back channel” lines of communication with American politicians (emphasis added).

Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX came out in support of Donald Trump’s acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s assurance that Russia didn’t meddle in the 2016 U.S. election. Trump said this in response to a question about who Trump believed: our intelligence community or Putin. 
"There are three kinds of leaders....Caretakers. Undertakers. Risk takers. @realDonaldTrump @POTUS is Risktaker. Thank you Mr President for seeking peace and prosperity for America and the world."
Franklin Graham tweeted something similar earlier today.

To sum up:

1. A Russian operative seeking to influence the American political sector, Mariia Butina, has been arrested and charged. She has deep ties to the right-wing evangelical National Prayer Breakfast and "The Family," which exerts enormous influence in D.C., about which Jeff Sharlet wrote a blockbuster study entitled The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.

2. Top white evangelical leaders have come out as totally on board with the treason of the man in the White House, and are framing the treason for their flocks as an act of supreme leadership and peace-making. They are, in other words, demonstrating that the interest of the religious right in American political life has been overtly anti-democratic for a long time now, that it moves in the direction of direct support for authoritarian government that permits theocratic control by right-wing Christians. If treason is what it takes to achieve those ends, then treason it shall be.

3. A significant thread binding the man in the White House and the man in the Kremlin together — as well as binding their followers, including right-wing white Christians, together — is the commitment to solidaristic white nationalism. This commitment is a large part of what is driving the assault of these two world leaders on NATO and the European Union, and their support for Brexit. Liberals tend to ignore and downplay this commitment to their peril — just as they ignore the authoritarian, anti-democratic agenda of right-wing white Christianity, which is the religious incarnation of solidaristic white nationalism, to their peril.

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