Fascism, Politics, SCOTUS: Institutionalizing Fear & Hatred

When fear enters the social and political arena, it becomes something very scary indeed.  It takes root as a political system lacking all compassion.

“Children’s shoes after victims killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp ( extermination camp, death camp)” on display in Oslo, Norway, on loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Wikimedia Commons.

Where was the compassion toward children, women, gays, old people, and others in the Hitler, Mussolini and Franco-led fascist systems of the last century?  Scapegoating, resentment and hatred of the Jews became institutionalized in death camps. Was fascism’s appeal built on its very institutionalized hate, fear and resentment?

Today fascism, the compulsion to create a society based on control, is back.  We have the governor of a large state banning books, mostly written by black and homosexual authors, including a poetry book written by a young (black) poet who shared her poetry at a presidential inauguration.

“Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman delivers a poem at Joe Biden’s inauguration.” CNBC Television

Christo-fascism, now out of the closet and endorsed by some mainline media and politicians, is integral to what is called “Christian nationalism.” 

Fascism reappeared near the end of the last century when Father Jose Escriva, founder of the secretive Opus Dei society in the Catholic Church and a declared fascist, was rushed into canonization by Pope John Paul II.  

Perhaps we should not be too surprised at the return of fascism coming as it does on the heels of a papal blessing from the Vatican. Nor should we be overly surprised by the present state of the once supreme court dominated as it is by members hand-picked by Opus Dei operative Leonard Leo. 

Its latest evil decision to effectively destroy 50% of wetlands in America totally ignores the teachings of Pope Francis to care for Mother Earth and all her creatures.  How strange that Alito and other Catholics on the once supreme court can so readily turn their backs on papal teachings when they collide with their true religious ideology of giving corporations whatever they want.

“Supreme Court rules against EPA on Clean Water Act case.” CBS News.

One has to wonder to what lengths people and their institutions will be driven when pursued by the demons of fear.  For some people, a disgraced president or someone else can become a new “fuhrer” because the issue is the same: A surrendering of one’s powers and conscience to another in exchange for security.

Fear is indeed a powerful beast needing careful watching lest it become “institutionalized violence”–Susan Sontag’s very definition of fascism.  The once supreme court has now becomes a place of institutionalized violence.  Not only girl’s and women’s bodies but Mother Earth’s body is in their crosshairs. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, p. 300.  

See also: Fox, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, pp. 103-144.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner image: “Supreme Court barricaded.” Image by Victoria Pickering on Flickr. Creative Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you see fascism as a political incarnation of fear and resentment?  And returning in our time?  What lessons does history teach us about combating it? 

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved

The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic Christianity.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.”   — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II

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19 thoughts on “Fascism, Politics, SCOTUS: Institutionalizing Fear & Hatred”

  1. Avatar

    Do and act as Jesus would do and act to oppose fear. Teach and act ‘the other Way’, the way that leads to ‘Life’ and not be silenced. Is there any other way? — BB.

  2. Avatar

    When I decided to subscribe to Matthew Fox I thought I was going to be illuminated with more expansive ideas . I did not realize that he harbors a resentment, possibly built on pride. We have enough hatred in the world, where people identify human weakness as evil. Compassion is not born out of ideology, but out of the heart through love. There is no logic or equation that vindicates Jesus Christ, simply love. Pride is the source of corruption, for its basis is a challenge to God.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Hi Randal,
      Do you know the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality?
      The first is to see the awe and wonder all around us, in all things, people, Earth, Cosmos…
      The second is to be open to the nothing, the emptiness, that can strip and clean us. We can feel like we are lost and all is hopeless. When the stripping of all that allows us to embrace the No-thing as the All, then we know the blessing of the purging time.
      The third is the way of Creativity. How we humans have this amazing shared gift with the Divine, to hold possibility and share in creating new possibility, even will all may seem lost. I believe that came up in one of the comments this week.
      The fourth and last is Transformation. Every one of the first three Paths has the potential to bring us to the place of Transformation: Path One – moved by images of the Cosmos from JWspace telescope, Path Two – the Dark Night of the Soul that allows one to know the God embrace is tender, Path Three – the amazing opportunities and the reality of knowing one created beyond the boundaries of one’s own understanding, because one creates with Divine Mystery, never separate from.
      The tenants of Creation Spirituality also call us to be Wise, to be Prophets, to be Courageous, to be more than any of us could imagine.
      I come to you in love and pray that you read these words in that knowing.
      Matthew presents most often, through the archetype of Prophet and Priest. That’s who and what his call is and has been throughout his life of standing up to a Patriarchal institutions. He does this with a COURAGEOUS HEART – pay attention to his history and the great love he has for all who suffer at the hands of the consequences of Patriarchy. These past weeks have been an exquisite demonstration of his gift of provoking us to think and wrestle with the questions. In that wrestling, I for one have been able to lift myself from doubt and fear to hope and courage and most importantly of all – to JOY!
      There is no room for judgement here, dear Randal. Everyone is welcome to come and find nourishment. If this isn’t that place for you, make your own wise choice. When I begin to understand myself as judging – I often find I need to look into the mirror of my heart to discern where this judgement has been born. Has something stirred a tender place in me, one that needs attention and healing.
      Blessings, dear Randal, one with us, one with All.
      Blessed Be,

      1. Avatar

        It is not being judgmental to observe a ‘gap’ between past teachings and philosophies, no matter how popular and spot on they may be, and current actions, attitudes and behaviours. Life is a meandering journey and we are not perfect, cannot see ‘our back swing’ and need others to point out some incongruencies at times.

  3. Avatar

    Matthew is correct to enlighten all on the rise of Christian Fascism in the USA.
    Many seem to be ignorant or in denial. The takeover of the Courts has been driven by the fear of the extremely wealthy worshipers of the false God of money and power. It’s not a new concept just a significant feature of our time.
    It has been in process for many years. The Institutional Catholic Church in the USA has aligned itself with it. I recommend reading “Playing God “ by Mary Jo McConahay to those interested in it.
    Collectively we in the USA must see this clearly and seek real love motivated by authentic justice.
    These are a great part of the real Christian faith tradition.

  4. Avatar

    This is something I wonder about: Could not someone speaking for the Catholic Church publicly reprimand SCOTUS judges who are Catholic and other elected officials who call themselves Catholic ( two governors come to mind) who are outright hurting people with their hateful and fear based ideology?

  5. Avatar
    Cheryl M Burton

    The Revelation prophecy in Holy Scripture only has one or two accounts of persons repenting of the things God is telling us through this prophecy are the most important to repent of: the worship of material wealth, human power and achievement. All other accounts in this prophecy where people have the time and opportunity to repent, they do not. The result in the end is a much smaller population of survivors of Armageddon left on the earth to start over and maintain it as God restores it to His original plan for obedient humans who worship True God in Spirit and Truth.

  6. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    What I see unfolding within governing institutional bodies, be they political, religious or judicial; is the attempt to control critical mass, through the use of fear, the via negativa. This attempt at controlling the movements of attaining critical mass is fostered through social media platforms and the influence of its propaganda. Throughout the history of humanity we have seen that when this fear reaches a critical mass, it becomes destructive to all life.

    Counter to this, there is the other option unfolding within the movements of critical mass, through conscious alignment and harmonization with love, the via positiva, which is also fostered through social media platforms and the influence of its truth-telling. Throughout the history of humanity we have also seen that when this love reaches a critical mass, it becomes creatively and transformatively life giving.

    The outcomes of both fear and death, destructively and negatively impacting or love and life creatively and positively influencing critical mass, appears to continously play itself out; within the dramatic, unfolding, evolving and at times devolving story of humanity.

    It all comes down to what one chooses to align with! Jeshua’s words come to mind, “Choose life or death, fear or love, lies or truth!” It appears that throughout the history of humanity we continue to experience being in the tension of these options. The metaphorical, iconic image and meaning of the Cross also comes to mind.

  7. Avatar

    Yes!!! Christo-fascism and Christopher-nationalism in recent fascist movements in the US, and other world societies with their own brand of fascism are examples of fear, racism, ignorance, toxic patriarchal beliefs and values, and systemic institutionalized evil prevalent in modern society, and a continuation of our violent and destructive first half of our 20th Century, not that long ago. Humanity and our souls are still evolving slowly in integrating our Divine Nature and Spirit of Divine Love~Wisdom~Truth~Peace~Justice~Healing~Transformation~Creativity~
    Beauty~Joy… PRESENT in our hearts, in our compassionate relationships, with sacred Mother Nature, and in All of our physical and non-physical sacred multidimensional co-Creation Evolving Cosmos within our Creator~Source’s Loving~Living Diverse Oneness….

  8. Avatar

    The times lately have been extremely difficult to witness and be in on a daily basis. Both on a local and national level. The airwaves, online content and nearly all media are filled with and spewing hopeless, negative, divisive hate mongering content.
    I’m at the age where I can tell myself when it gets as bad as what it looks like where it’s going I won’t be here any longer. I occupy myself with day to day living. I cannot imagine or fathom what it is going to be like for my grandchildren. What a pitiful level of hope.
    Aside from theological history, spiritual realizations and more hopeless news and facts what ACTION can we take and be a part of to bring about change and hope?

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Hi David,
      Like you, I saw the hopelessness in our current day to day – and our future – IF WE RELY SOLELY on ourselves and our current systems. Then, I awaken to our youth, their powerful strong voices, their amazing ability to think clearly and to see the issues as they are. They have firm resolve to fight for Mother Earth. They realize, if they don’t care for Earth, they will literally be “homeless.”
      I did a little research that I found helpful, hopeful and even joyful.
      earth .org is a site where you can learn about how our young people are stepping up to the challenges we are all facing: https://earth.org/?s=10+young+climate+activists+leading+the+Way&submit=Search

      Are you aware of the Order of the Sacred Earth? It is both a Movement and the title of a book: Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action. The book is a collection of 25 authors who speak out in defense of Earth. This is a movement initiated by Matthew Fox in collaboration with Youth he mentors and encourages: Skylar Wilson, Jennifer Berit Listug and others. There are twenty-five intergenerational authors who contributed chapters to the book. You can find info here: https://www.orderofthesacredearth.org

      Since the Eco crisis goes hand in hand with politics, our youth find themselves stepping up in both areas of concern.
      From your comment, I am not certain of your years, however, I am guessing that you would be the mentor age and encourager to help young people organize. Help them to find their voice. Encourage them to learn about the Order of the Sacred Earth. Instill hopeful projects to them. Offer guidance when needed and be sure to listen to their thoughts, ideas – because they have deep wisdom to share – if we, Elders, will listen.


  9. Avatar

    Extreme inequality breeds extreme chaos and discontent. It happened in the late 1800’s (robber barons, colonialism’s stealing land and resources through exploitation). It’s happening again, but with fewer resources left to exploit.
    Fascism and Anarchism are evil twins that tempt people with easy answers but which increase the suffering of the very people who turn to their simplistic slogans and their misdirecting hatreds (blaming (targeting) other races, religions, women, gays, etc. instead of those who are creating the messaging and profiting from gross exploitation). The elites harvest the anger and turn the resentful, exploited poor into weapons aimed at those even more powerless than themselves, making victims do the dirty work of oppressing and dominating other victims. People forget that, after the least are crushed, they themselves are the next most-vulnerable. They’ve put a target on their own backs.

    Jesus was killed because he was just getting started with a growing, radical social movement that challenged the entire power/exploitation structure of Roman rule. His mystical, Biblical teachings of love and egalitarianism, where the poorest, the outcasts, and women were given higher respect than established authority, arrogant males, and the elite and powerful, were a shocking, compelling, egalitarian challenge to a system of imperialistic/fascistic dominance.
    They still are.

  10. Avatar

    WOW!!! So much wisdom & truth as well as lack of wisdom & truth in the comments I’ve read so far! They require that I step back, think, and meditate on what is being offered to digest, understand, and act upon OR not act upon. In this fascist context of fear, hate, and destruction I am most keenly aware that a rapid and even escalated movement is in progress to eliminate and decrease (through whatever means possible) the numbers of Peoples of Color including Indigenous, Mexican, Black Americans, and all peoples of color across the planet who have been used as guinie pigs. This too is not new, its been occurring throughout the centuries. This too has its root in fear, hatred, resentment. The destruction of Peoples Of Color coincides with the destruction of our Beloved Mother Earth. Thanks to Matthew for the challenges we so desperately need and may we follow the path of courageous love, compassion and wise action.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Eternity, I wonder about the roots of your name?
      Thank you for the wisdom of your comment and your appreciation for needed challenges – Via Negative; to encourage us to Create something new; – Via Creativa; – resulting in Transformation, – Via Transformative.


  11. Richard E Reich

    16 “Micaiah, I’ve told you over and over to tell me the truth!” Ahab shouted. “What does the Lord really say?”
    17 He answered, “In a vision[a] I saw Israelite soldiers walking around in the hills like sheep without a shepherd to guide them. The Lord said, ‘This army has no leader. They should go home and not fight.’ ”
    18 Ahab turned to Jehoshaphat and said, “I told you he would bring bad news!”

    Sometimes prophets have to bring bad news!

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