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  • Clergy lay hands and pray over Donald Trump at the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2016.

    Clergy lay hands and pray over Donald Trump at the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 March 2017

Abby Martin, host of teleSUR's "The Empire Files", sat down with Chris Hedges to discuss Trump's connections to right-wing Christian extremists.

Abby Martin, host of teleSUR's "The Empire Files," sat down with Pulitzer-prizewinning journalist and author Chris Hedges to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump and how his presidency fuels and is fueled by Christian fascism.

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"The Christian right will fill Trump's ideological vacuum, because he doesn't really have an ideology, and that will be handled through (Vice President Mike) Pence."

Pointing out that 81 percent of Evangelical voters supported Trump in the elections — despite the fact that "his personal life makes a mockery of the ‘family values' they say they hold sacred" — Hedges believes the right-wing Christian movement will serve to buttress his presidency.

"This is an ethics-free administration. There's not even a pretense of ethical rules, so you have what's going to become a naked kleptocracy… they're going to loot the country. But they're also inept, which is a very bad combination. And as that ineptitude becomes more pronounced and more understood, they are going to have to become more ideologically rigid. It's going to look like a Christianized fascism. It's going to be the fusion of the American flag with the Christian cross," he said.

Hedges — who spent two years embedded with the Christian right while researching his 2008 book "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" — says that the Christian right is much more dangerous than the so-called "alt-right" represented by the likes of Breitbart News and senior White House advisor Steve Bannon.

"The Christian right is much more sophisticated than (the alt-right)," he observed. "There is a strain of deep cruelty, savagery even, fascism, intolerance, within the Christian right that is institutionalized in a way that makes it far more dangerous than the alt-right."

As an example of this, he pointed to the armed militia controlled by Blackwater founder and Trump adviser Erik Prince who, along with his sister, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, is a major player in the Christian right.

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Hedges also noted the similarities between the rise of Trump's brand of "inverted totalitarianism" and neo-fascist movements throughout Europe, pointing out that both are responses to neo-liberal economics.

"People finally woke up and realized they were being had, and they were being had by that so-called liberal establishment," he said.

Hedges said that thy only way to respond to the rise of these neo-fascist movements – and what he said will be Trump's "turbocharged neoliberalism" – is through civil disobedience.

"Until we break the back of corporate power we're not going to blunt the rise of these movements," he said, adding that "the Democratic party is not going to confront the underlying ideological system of neoliberalism or corporate power which has created the mess we now live in."

"There are no institutions left that are authentically democratic, that are going to challenge these centrifugal forces that have brought us to where we are," he said. "That's only going to be done in the streets."

Watch the full interview:

Empire Files: Chris Hedges - Trump, Fascism & the Christian Right

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