Vice President Pence in Texas
Hijacking Compassion... to Serve Christian Fascism

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |



Along with heart-wrenching reports of devastation and death in the hurricane zone, there have been many inspiring stories of ordinary people dropping everything, making great sacrifices and taking big risks to help storm victims. This spirit of self-sacrifice emerges whenever there is a major disaster (it is not a “Texan” or “American” thing!). And it is important—even beyond the vital work of saving and aiding people in need, it gives millions a sense that humanity could do much better than the dog-eat-dog, narrow-minded selfishness that so clearly stamps this society.

But the authorities are, in many ways, moving to hijack the spirit of compassion manifested around this storm to serve the consolidation of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. Specifically, to lure, deceive and coerce large numbers of people into the Christian fascist movement.

Christian Fascist Vultures Descend on the Hurricane Zone

On August 31, three “superstars” of Christian fascism descended on the Hurricane zone, pretending to offer “comfort and compassion,” but actually to build up the strength and influence of their poisonous ideology and reactionary movement. Vice President Mike Pence brought an entourage of Trump cabinet members to Rockport, Texas, where they joined with Texas governor Greg Abbott and evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at a church that was destroyed in the storm. This photo/op/propaganda event got major promotion in Christian fascist media, but beyond that, in all mainstream media.

Graham spoke first, telling a Bible story that he said showed that Jesus, and only Jesus, could save people from the disaster, claiming that Jesus was capable of “rebuking the waves and wind” and causing storms to cease.

Hit pause here! If Jesus—or any other (imaginary) all-powerful supernatural being or force—could save people from disaster, where the hell was he when a hurricane tore up the lives of millions of people, left them without safe shelter, food, dry clothing, or transportation to safety, and killed dozens! If there really was such a god, he (or she) would have to be a cold-hearted monster to let this happen. Thankfully, no such god exists.

But Graham did not end with the assertion that only Jesus could save people from disaster. He added the very earthly prayer that “you bring an army of volunteers” to help in the recovery—a clear pitch (to Pence and Abbott as much as to “god”) to funnel thousands of well-meaning volunteers into Samaritan’s Purse, which is Graham’s “aid” organization—about which we will say more shortly.

Then fellow Christian fascist, Texas governor Greg Abbott, proclaimed: “It was God acting through the lives of so many Texans who came to the rescue of other Texans. It was the power of God that was able to pull people out of the water and literally save them.”

No, “God” did not “literally save” people. Human beings did. They were guided by a whole range of outlooks, religions (or not), and motives. And if any of them would have sat by and waited for “god” to “literally save” people, more people would have died.


Religious People Can and Do Make Important Contributions to the Struggle for Justice… But these Christian Fascists Are Cold-Hearted Monsters

Many people, looking at the world through their religious convictions, see unnecessary suffering and profound injustice, and based on those convictions, they feel moved to throw themselves into making the world a better place, whether through giving aid to those suffering or joining in the struggle against oppression. While communists are atheists, we value, appreciate, and learn what we can from the contributions and insights of religious people. The revolution we are preparing for must and will include people coming from all kinds of perspectives, including religion. 

But these Christian fascists are something else. For all their talk about “compassion,” they are cold hearted monsters. Franklin Graham is a fanatic inciter of hate and violence against Muslims (he calls Islam an “evil religion”). He proclaims Christianity is engaged in a “Holy War ... A battle for the souls of men and women from North to South, East to West, over the entire earth.” Graham stresses: “No souls can be saved without the shedding of blood. Blood must be shed!” Graham’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse, sees its primary goal as evangelizing—recruiting people into their fundamentalist branch of Christianity, and, through that, into what Graham calls a “Holy War.”

Before becoming governor, as Texas attorney general, Abbott fought to close all abortion clinics in the state. This year, he called a special session of the Texas legislature to attempt to push through a “bathroom bill” to stigmatize and persecute transgender students. He fought to cut funding for Texas public schools in a state that has been slashing all secular social services for years. He pushed a law to ban sanctuary cities that offer some minimal measures to protect undocumented people from being deported and having their families ripped apart.

Mike Pence says Roe v. Wade should be “consigned to the ash heap of history,” forcing women to bear children against their will. While governor of Indiana, Pence defied a federal recommendation to protect transgender students. He pushed through a bill that would allow bigots to discriminate freely, if they come up with some religious justification for it. In 2015, in the face of an HIV/AIDS epidemic in Indiana, he refused to fund needle exchanges, which all experts agree play a big role in reducing HIV transition. And the Trump/Pence regime, among many, many attacks on oppressed people, just a few weeks ago rescinded an Obama-era order that housing destroyed by floods must be rebuilt to withstand future flooding!

And now these Christian fascists want to come around and claim to be the compassionate leaders of humanitarian relief efforts!

A Whole Christian Fascist Agenda

These Christian fascists are not just heartless hypocrites. They are out to impose a much larger, fascist reconfiguration of U.S. society. Bob Avakian (BA) has pointed out that the Christian fascists are:

... political leaders and forces who insist that “traditional morality,” as embodied in the patriarchal family as well as “right or wrong” patriotism—and rationalized in terms of fundamentalist Christianity—must be the basis for maintaining the cohesion and solidity of American capitalist society and the dominant position of imperial America in the world arena. (See “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer.)

This work by BA, as well as “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’...And What Will Replace It,” provide a crucial analysis of the nature of these Christian fascists, how they are a product of extreme crises this system faces, and what to do in the face of them. They are must reading to understand where all this is coming from, and what to do about it.

The Christian fascists are at the core of the Trump/Pence regime, and their movement makes up a major part of their popular base and potential shock troops against ruling class opponents and against the oppressed masses.

Trump Proclaims a Day of American Theocracy

Of a piece with hijacking compassion to serve Christian fascism, Trump proclaimed Sunday, September 3 (the Christian Sabbath) a “National Day of Prayer.”

It should be called “The Day of American Theocracy.”

Trump’s proclamation said, “From the beginning of our Nation, Americans have joined together in prayer during times of great need...” [Italics ours] This is an effort to obscure the inconvenient reality that the U.S. was founded on a secular (non-religious) basis, with separation of church and state as a fundamental constitutional principle. Battering down that separation in service of a Christian fundamentalist theocracy is a key and pivotal piece of the Christian fascist mission.

While the body of the proclamation does have one reference to “people of all faiths,” in language and tone it is implicitly evoking Christianity. And this becomes explicit in the final sentence, in which Trump says the proclamation is issued “this first day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen.” Here “our Lord” can only refer to Jesus Christ. Taken together with the rest of the proclamation, this openly casts America as a Christian nation—a major rupture with the secular and non-sectarian (not favoring one religion over any other) foundations and history of the U.S., and is a major signal of the ascendant power of Christian fascism, with all the horrors that will entail (if the regime is not driven from power).

Hurricane Relief Must Serve the Needs of the People, Not the Christian Fascist Agenda

Sharp lines must be drawn now, and in an ongoing way, between relief that meets the needs and interests of people, one the one hand, and “relief” work that is a vehicle for the Christian fascist agenda of white supremacy, demonization and expulsion of immigrants, vicious patriarchy, violent suppression of dissent, unbridled environmental devastation, dismissal of science, and “USA #1.”

Contrast how the Christian fascists are working to warp, twist, and channel the response to the disaster­ with the demands issued at Those demands insist the government take responsibility for people being able to survive and rebuild. That the needs of the people must supersede capitalist profit-making. That everyone, regardless of nationality, immigration status, or anything else, be treated as human beings. That the real situation people face is told to the world, including through the voices of those affected.

Find those demands here. Read, distribute, and fight for those demands, now!



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