by Nick Gier

        There are some chilling parallels between Christian and Islamic fundamentalists.  Both divide the world between believers and unbelievers, and instead of allowing God to make the division, they preemptively make God’s decision for Him.  Both have also declared war on the secular culture of liberal democracy, the most peaceful and prosperous means of social organization ever devised by humankind.

        Of greatest concern, however, is the fundamentalist view of the violent end of the world.  A common scenario is a great war in the Middle East in which the armies of God destroy the armies of Satan.  Radical Muslims of course identify Israel and the US as the forces of evil, but Christian fundamentalists see Islam as the ultimate enemy.  The horrifying implication is that the Jews and innocent people of the Middle East are the primary victims of this holocaust.

         Some Christian fundamentalists make yet another division: an ethnic one that declares that one culture is superior to all others.  Michael Hill, founder of the League of the South, proposes that an independent neo-Confederacy of fifteen states would have the duty to protect the values of Anglo-Celtic culture from black Americans, who are "a compliant and deadly underclass."
        Since 1998, the League of the South has had close ties with the 32,000-member Sons of Confederate Veterans, who in 2000 elected Kirk Lyons to its national executive board. An outspoken racist, Lyons was married by neo-Nazi Richard Butler in 1990, when Butler still had his compound in Hayden Lake. Lyons has led an amazingly unsuccessful legal campaign to have Southern whites defined as a “protected class.”

        The League and the Sons of Confederate Veterans organize public protests with the Council of Conservative Citizens whose website decries "negroes, queers and other retrograde species of humanity." (Try replacing the “Cs” in their acronym with “Ks”!)  One League leader said that we “need a new type of Klan.”

Both Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins deny that they are racists or neo-Confederates, but Wilkins is on the board of directors of the League of the South.  The League’s website uses small Confederate flags as hot buttons for information about the board members.

         Even though he admits that the Stars and Bars was displayed at one of his social functions, Wilson now claims that neo-Confederates should “burn the flag and wear the ashes” (Daily News, Jan. 9). I would love to see Wilkins and Wilson do this in front of the UI Student Union at their “history” conference in February.
         If Wilson has no sympathies with neo-Confederates, why is he associating with Wilkins, and what is he doing speaking at the Southern Heritage Conference or writing for Chronicles, a journal whose editors boast that they are all members of the League of the South?

         Christian nationalist George Grant, who believes in the death penalty for gays and lesbians, will join Wilson and Wilkins at the February conference.  Grant and Wilkins are promoting a novel entitled “Heiland,” which has been compared to the "Turner Diaries," a book that inspired the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building. The book's hero leads a violent overthrow of a "godless" federal government.

         Another parallel between Christian and Islamic fundamentalism is a theocratic form of government in which religious laws become the laws of the land. In his regular column in Wilson’s Credenda Agenda, Greg Dickison, member of Wilson’s Christ Church and a Moscow public defender, states that "if we could have it our way,” then there would be capital punishment for “kidnapping, sorcery, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one's parents.”  But a woman who touches a man’s genitals will be spared death: she will just have her hand cut off.  Behold, the Moscow Taliban!

         I disagree with Bill London that Doug Wilson has “retreated” (Opinion, Dec. 31) In the 28 years I’ve known him, he has never conceded anything. But he does obfuscate, distract, equivocate, and contradict himself.  We always knew where Richard Butler stood, but Wilson appears to take the stand that will best serve his purposes for any particular moment.

         I have fought religious fundamentalism all of my adult life, primarily because I believe that it is one of the most destructive forces in the world today.  These views do not deserve our respect or tolerance, but call for our strongest condemnation.

Nick Gier taught philosophy and religion at the UI for 31 years.  The quotations from neo-Confederates were taken from Intelligence Report (Summer, 2000), pp. 32, 14.

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