Archive for the ‘Fascism’ Tag

Remember January 6, 2021   3 comments

On January 6, 2021, I watched the news in horror as a mob Donald Trump sent to the United States Capitol attacked that structure and the brave police officers guarding it.  I wondered what had happened to my native country, which I love.

I still wonder what is happening to my country.

The dominant wing of the Republican Party is Trumpian.  It is, therefore, an existential threat to the continuation of representative government in the United States of America.  The dominant wing of the Republican Party in 2022 has authoritarian tendencies.  These tendencies are antithetical to a political party with a long track record of favoring smaller government.  The dominant wing of the Republican Party is a fascist death cult of personality.

This cult has outgrown Trump.  Elements have turned against him.

I like to be cautious.  When I become alarmed, I do so because people who know far more than I do have become alarmed.  When I read of people who witnessed the rise of the Third Reich become alarmed about the United States, I take those voices seriously.  When I read political scientists saying that the future of our democratic republic is at risk, I take those voices seriously.

I lay my proverbial cards on the table.  I am a Democrat.  I am, to be precise, a Democratic Socialist.  If I were a Canadian, I would vote for the New Democratic Party.  Fixing the Republican Party is not my job.  No, that is the responsibility of Republicans.  I recall hearing about George H. W. Bush, when he was a Republican Party leader in Texas in the 1960s, expelling members of the John Birth Society from the state party.  The Republican Party needs latter-day George H. W. Bushes, who will expel all who were complicit in and supportive of the treasonous activities of January 6, 2021.  The Republican Party needs to do this now, for the sake of the country.

Elections have not always made me nervous.  I have frequently disapproved of the results.  Yet, prior to 2016, I did not think that when, my preferred candidates lost, the future of the republic was at stake.  Prior to 2016, those candidates against whom I voted and who won were usually were freedom-loving patriots.  (A few scared the hell out of me, though.)  Overall, however, they were misguided, but they did not seek to bring down the republic, at least.

Now I fear for the future of my homeland.  The threat is internal, from the far right, which is becoming less marginal.  We have a republic, if we can keep it.  I pray that we can and will.

Another internal threat arising from the Big Lie is that, in some states, including Georgia (where I live), new election laws permit the state government to overturn the election results–all in the name of “election security.”  This does not soothe my fears for the future of representative government in the United States of America.

May God help us all.  May God save us from each other and ourselves.




Face Masks   Leave a comment


As circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed, so has official guidance.  For example, now that vaccines for people aged 16 years or older have become more widely available in the United States of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new guidelines regarding the wearing of face masks in public.  This pandemic has presented many challenges.  Public health professionals, whose sole agenda is to save lives, have had to study a proverbial moving target.  Hence, official guidelines have changed over time.

The target continues to move.  Therefore, data remains incomplete.  We need to remember that as we focus on what we can know in real time.  We can know much.  Whether the situation improves or worsens and how quickly it does that depends greatly on how we behave as individuals, societies, institutions, and governments.  May we not squander blessed progress.

Tucker Carlson, of the FOX Noise Channel, has encouraged people who think as he does to confront those still wearing face masks outdoors.  I have learned to expect especially potent and rich organic fertilizer from the FOX Noise Channel and from Carlson, in particular.  They have long presented themselves as champions of freedom, of a sort–freedom from, not freedom to.  During the last four or so years, in particular, the FOX Noise Channel has actually embraced a Nativistic, White nationalistic, and fascistic agenda as part of Donald Trump’s fascistic death cult of personality.  Even certain prominent Republicans (principled conservatives, I call them), former office holders, have noticed this with great alarm.

Fascism is not freedom.  No, it is a form of tyranny.

I am fully vaccinated.  Therefore, according to the most recent official guidance, I may safely and responsibly forgo wearing face masks outdoors under certain circumstances.  Sometimes I do forgo wearing face masks outdoors.  If, for example, nobody else is around, I do not wear face masks outdoors.  Yet I still wear two face masks outdoors sometimes.  For example, I wear them when walking on sidewalks.  I try to maintain a social distance from other people, but that is not always possible.  Besides, assuming that someone is at least 16 years old, I cannot look at him or her and tell if he or she is unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated.  By wearing two face masks, I am not endangering anyone, corrupting anyone’s morals, or behaving indecently.  Therefore, nobody has the moral right to confront me for wearing two face masks outdoors.

I leave Carlson and company at the FOX Noise Channel to their fascistic death cult of personality.  If they want to compete for the Darwin Awards, that is their choice.  It is a bad one, but it is still their option.  I have the moral right to object when thew spew organic fertilizer that needlessly endangers human lives.

Perhaps I really do not have to wear two face masks when walking on sidewalks..  If I err, I hope to do so on the side of caution and mutuality.  This is part of my applied interpretation of the Golden Rule.




Feast of Halford E. Luccock (November 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a19636



U.S. Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

The Reverend Halford E. Luccock comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the exposition on the Gospel of Mark in Volume VII (1951).

Luccock, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 11, 1885, grew up in a pious home.  His mother was Etta Anderson.  Our saint’s father was Naphtali Luccock, a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Luccock followed in his father’s footsteps and became a minister in 1910, after receiving his B.A. from Northwestern University (1906), B.Div. from Union Theological Seminary (1909), and M.A. from Columbia University (1909).

Luccock spent most of his career as a professor.  He was a pastor in Windsor, Connecticut (1910-1912), an instructor at Hartford Theological Seminary (1912-1914), and the pastor of St. Andrew’s Church, New Haven, Connecticut (1914-1916), as well as an instructor of the New Testament at Drew Theological Seminary (1916-1918).  Luccock married Mary Whitehead on July 17, 1914.  The couple had two children–Robert Edward Luccock and Mary Etta Luccock.  Our saint, attached to the denominational board of Foreign Missions from 1918 to 1924, was a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century from 1924 to 1928.  He wrote for that publication for the rest of his life.  Starting in 1948, he wrote a column under the pen name “Simeon Stylites.”  Luccock’s purpose in that column, as he explained it, was to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.  From 1928 to 1953, when he retired, our saint was Professor of Homiletics at The Divinity School, Yale University.

Luccock wrote and spoke in the fields of preaching, history, literature, and social critique, with many books, articles, and columns to his credit.  Our saint was not shy about expressing himself.  In September 1938, about a year before the European Theater of World War II began, he stood in the Riverside Church, Manhattan, and said,

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.

The domestic political context for that statement was the rise of the openly pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic America First movement, of which Charles Lindbergh was a prominent spokesman.  The America First movement hoped to keep the United States out of the inevitable war, in which the country helped to defeat the Third Reich.

The essence of the statement remains relevant in the United States as I type these words, unfortunately.

Luccock, aged 75 years, died on November 6, 1960.





Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Halford E. Luccock,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61


Feast of William Scarlett (October 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Episcopal Bishop of Missouri, and Advocate for Social Justice

Bishop William Scartlett comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible.

Scarlett, born in Columbus, Ohio, on October 3, 1883, grew up to become a courageous, progressive Christian leader on the vanguard of various moral causes.  He was what certain cynical reactionaries of 2018 would have called a “social justice warrior.”  So were Hebrew prophets.  Our saint, influenced at an early age by Washington Gladden (1836-1918) and Walter Rauschenbush (1861-1918), proponents of the Social Gospel, graduated from Harvard University with his A.B. degree in 1905.  Scarlett, unsure about whether to study for ministry or medicine, worked on a ranch in Nebraska for a year.  He matriculated at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1906, and graduated three years later.  Our saint, spent the rest of his life in ordained ministry marked by a dedication to social justice dictated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Scarlett cared deeply by outreach to the poor, the rights of industrial workers, civil rights, and other issues germane to human relations.  He was, in order:

  1. Assistant Rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church, New York, New York (1909-1911);
  2. Dean, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona (1911-1922);
  3. Dean, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, Missouri (1922-1930);
  4. Bishop Coadjutor of Missouri (1930-1933); and
  5. Bishop of Missouri (1933-1952).

Friend Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) described our saint as

the conscience of the community.

Scarlett was on the avant-garde of The Episcopal Church with regard to social ethics.  He advocated for the liberalization of the denomination’s stance on remarriage after divorce.  In 1946 our saint edited Christianity Takes a Stand, in which various authors took a stand against societal sins such as racial segregation and the federal government’s recent internment of West Coast Japanese Americans.  Although the House of Deputies, at the General Convention of 1946, consented without debate to sponsor the publication of the book, the majority of Episcopalians were not ready to espouse those positions yet.

Scarlett, a Low Church Episcopalian and self-described Liberal Evangelical who wore a tie in lieu of a clerical collar, was a natural ecumenist.  He cooperated with members of other Christian denominations as easily as he did with Jews.  At Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, our saint scandalized many Anglo-Catholics by encouraging interdenominational Eucharists.  He also scrapped plans for a new Episcopal hospital in the city when he learned of a similar Presbyterian plan.  The result was cooperation, not competition, in the form of St. Luke’s Episcopal-Presbyterian Hospital.  He also favored the merger of The Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in the 1940s.  The proposal did not survive the late 1940s.  It would probably have been impractical anyway.

(Aside:  I mean no disrespect to any Presbyterians, but the denominational cultures and certain theological-liturgical factors are too different for merger to be practical.  I suppose that many Presbyterians agree with that assessment.  Cooperation of many issues is feasible and desirable, however.)

Scarlett retired in late 1952.  His successor as Bishop of Missouri was Arthur Carl Lichtenberger (1900-1968), later the Presiding Bishop of the denomination.

In retirement Scarlett wrote the exposition on the Book of Jonah for The Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote, in part:

If God has a controversy with his people, it is because there has been in our world too little concern for our brother, too little recognition that his fate is bound up in ours, and ours in his, even to the least, too much forgetting that word of old, “We are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25) and if one member suffers, “all the members suffer with it” (I Cor. 12:26).  A plain fact of the nineteen-thirties is that Hitler climbed to power on the backs of the unemployed in Germany, and it was this frustration, this sense of uselessness, in millions of lives that made his way easy.

The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume VI (1956), 877

That is a chilling text in 2018.

The resurgence of fascism and of authoritarianism in general has been current reality in the world, from the Philippines to Europe to Brazil to Turkey to Europe for a few years now.  Many of the enablers of fascist and other authoritarian leaders have been professing Christians.  The call to “Make America Great Again” has echoed pre-World War II movements to make Italy and Germany great again.  The rhetoric of “America First,” originated before World War II in an openly anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi movement to keep the United States out of that war, has returned, still with racist overtones.  Calls for U.S. society and government to practice the Golden Rule have become subversive as many professing Christians have chosen to ignore the demands of that great commandment and embraced xenophobia and nativism, largely out of fear.

I encourage you, O reader, to read Scarlett’s exposition on the Book of Jonah and to oppose–resist–the deplorable resurgence of fascism and of authoritarianism in general.

Scarlett, aged 89 years, died in Castine, Maine, on March 28, 1973.  His wife, Leah Oliver Van Riper (b. 1889), had predeceased him in 1965.








Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Help us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant William Scarlett, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60


Feast of Georges Bernanos (July 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Georges Bernanos

Image in the Public Domain



French Roman Catholic Novelist


God did not create the Church to ensure the prosperity of the saints, but in order that she should transmit their memory….They lived and suffered as we do.  They were tempted as we are.  The man who dares not yet accept what is sacred and divine in their example will at least learn from it the lesson of heroism and honor.

–Georges Bernanos, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 290


Georges Bernanos was a man with a strong sense of the sacred and the divine, as well as shifting politics.  He, born in Paris, France, on February 20, 1888, grew up mostly in Fressin, a village in Pas-de-Calais.  Our saint, a soldier during World War I, studied at the Sorbonne.  Early in life Bernanos was a reactionary, not a conservative; he thought that France should be a monarchy, not a republic.  For a number of years he belonged to Action Française, a right-wing Roman Catholic organization, and even attacked a professor who had dared to criticize St. Joan of Arc.  Bernanos left Action Française in 1932, however, and accused it of valuing tradition and order more than the spirit of Christ.

Bernanos, married to a descendant of St. Joan of Arc’s brother, struggled for years to support his family with his writing.  He wrote about priests in particular.  Our saint’s first novel was Under the Star of Satan (1926), was about the battle between good and evil within a rural priest.  Bernanos, who had to walk the assistance of canes after an automobile accident in 1933, found financial security in 1936 with The Diary of a Country Priest, his masterpiece.  The main character was a pious priest who struggled with mediocrity and failure, despite much effort, while remaining unaware of his underlying sanctity.  That priest’s dying words were,

Does it matter?  Grace is everywhere.

The Bernanos family moved to Majorca, Spain, in 1936.  Our saint initially supported Francisco Franco‘s Falangist Party (Christian Fascists), supposedly fighting for the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).  Yet Bernanos became disillusioned with Franco, who won that war, committed many atrocities, and presided over a dictatorship until 1975.  Our saint’s Ceremonies Under the Son led to recrimination and allegations of betrayal from many of his usual allies on the Right and praise from the Left.

Bernanos left Spain in 1938.  He resided in Brazil, living on a farm, until 1945.  Our saint, openly critical of the Vichy regime, returned to France after World War II.  His final work, left incomplete, due to death, was a life of Christ.  Bernanos, aged 60 years, died at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, on July 5, 1948.





Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Georges Bernanos and all

those who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the

Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728


Feast of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (July 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati 

Image in the Public Domain



Italian Roman Catholic Servant of the Poor and Opponent of Fascism

Also known as the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes”

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who came from a wealthy and influential family, gave his life in service to the poor–of Turin, Italy, to be precise.  His mother, Adelaide Ametis, was a painter.  Our saint’s father, Alfredo Frassati, was an agnostic, the founder of the newspaper La Stampa, a member of the Italian Senate, and an Italian Ambassador to Germany.  Pier, born in Turin on April 6, 1901, was pious from an early age.  He took communion daily when doing so was unusual.  Our saint, a member of the Marian Sodality and the Apostleship of Prayer, channeled his piety into helping the poor and others who needed assistance.

This was, was Frassati’s perspective, a privilege.  In 1918 he joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society and began to spend much of his free time helping orphans, the poor, and veterans of World War I.  As a student of mining engineering at the Royal Polytechnic University of Turin, Frassati prepared to, in his words,

serve Christ better among the miners.

In 1919 our saint joined the Catholic Student Foundation and Catholic Action.  Although he had little money, he shared with the poor, sometimes donating his bus fare then running home.

Our saint shared his faith with his friends.  He, enriched by opera, the theater, poetry, and art, enjoyed mountain climbing with friends.  He also read scripture and prayed the rosary with them.

Frassati joined the Third Order of St. Dominic in 1922 and took the name Girolamo, after Girolamo Savonarola, the friar burned at the stake in Florence in 1498.

Our saint was also politically active.  He opposed the Fascist Party of Benito Mussolini.  The Fascists, one might recall, had a platform of making Italy great again.  Frassati, active in the People’s Party (1919-1926), which promoted Roman Catholic social teaching, participated in rallies and resisted police violence.

Our saint never got to become a mining engineer, for he died shortly before he would have graduated.  While helping the poor Frassati contracted poliomyelitis.  One of his final acts was to ask a fried to take medicine to a sick man he (Frassati) had been visiting for years.  Frassati, aged 24 years, died in Turin on July 4, 1925.  Pope John Paul II, who declared him a Venerable in 1987 then a Blessed in 1990, called our saint the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes.”





O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60