A fascist is one who exalts a certain nationality, religion, ethnicity or other group over all others and seeks to impose his or her will on this group by force. The rise of violence by Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East led to the creation of the term “Islamo-fascist.” These Islamo-fascists seek to create and maintain theocratic governments under shari’a law and, as we are quite aware of, are willing to use any method to further this end.

What many in the United States are not aware of, however, is a different kind of fascism lurking in our midst: Christiano-fascism.

Christiano-fascists have for the most part avoided violence, but are still, like the Islamo-fascists, openly trying to turn religious law into state law. And as last November’s elections demonstrated, they are a force sizable enough to push their un-Constitutional measures forward.

Gay marriage was outlawed in 11 states. Civil unions were as well in eight of those 11. Thanks to the president, abstinence-only education, which relies on scare tactics, is becoming more and more prevalent in public schools. Aside from the fact that promoting abstinence-only education expresses an obviously religious position that is being forced on children, the programs don’t work. Abstinence is 100 percent effective – except when it doesn’t happen.

Unfortunately, most of these Christiano-fascists are unaware of the natural end to which their agenda will lead – authoritarianism and hatred.

Some Christiano-fascists have already started down that path. The Westboro Baptist Church is one such group. The WBC makes periodic appearances in order to protest America’s descent into hell for catering to the “fag” agenda. They believe that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the recent tsunami were methods of God’s retribution against those (specifically homosexuals) who break his law.

At the inauguration, most of those who walked past WBC members after Bush’s speech strangely rejected the messages of “Thank God for 9/11” and “God Hates U.S.A.,” although most of these people in the parade probably voted (or would have voted) for the ban on gay marriage and civil unions. And there are other organizations whose actions are more in the realm of terrorism.

A group which calls itself “The Army of God” has claimed responsibility for bombing several abortion clinics and gay nightclubs. They have a Web site glorifying Paul Hill, the man who sniped off an abortion doctor, and one dedicated to Shelly Shannon, a woman who has burned and bombed multiple abortion clinics.

Their Web site advocates various “covert methods of stopping abortion” which include drilling holes in roofs, getting people to mail bodily fluid samples for AIDS tests to abortion clinics, making bomb threats and even destroying abortion clinics.

They also suggest, for the lucky few who learn that they have little time to live (sounds like martyrs to me), that they go on torching and bombing rampages. Getting caught is no longer a problem since the individual will soon be dead.

Their site condemns more moderate Christians who tolerate the fact that “government contradicts the Bible and says Homosexual behavior is legal . removes right for juries to refer to Bible in reaching their decisions . removes right of local citizens to display religious symbols on property owned by we the people . [and] requires that teachers omit teaching about how God created the universe.”

This group is not just militantly anti-abortion. They are militantly pro-theocracy.

Of course, most Christians denounce organizations such as this one. The real problem lies in how to demonstrate to these more moderate Christiano-fascists that hatred and authoritarianism are the only possible ends to legislating religious law when their reactions demonstrate that this is not what they seek.

Maybe the religious right needs to expand its belief of personal responsibility beyond economic self-sufficiency; maybe they just need to let the rest of us go to hell in peace.

Conor Hanlon is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.

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