by Bill Nugent
A major challenge to Christianity has come from the political doctrine called fascism. When fascism is mentioned one immediately thinks of Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain or Peronist Argentina. Fascism, however applies much more broadly than to the few examples cited above.
Ask any person to define communism and he or she immediately (and correctly) says “common ownership of all property and a socialist government instituted to manage all property and eradicate private property rights.” I doubt that one person in ten can correctly define fascism. This is deeply troubling because fascism is still active and is a terribly menacing threat.
The word “fascism” is derived from the ancient Latin word “fasces” which was used to describe a bundle of rods held together by a cord. Later on the word “fasces” came to mean “union.” Fascism is a union of all power at the top. Benito Mussolini (1883 -1945), dictator of Italy, called his party “fascisti” and thus popularized the term fascism to describe his form of government and economic policy.
Fascism can be defined as a dictatorship in which private property is allowed but government control of that private property is so overwhelming as to concentrate all power into the government. If you are a business owner under communism your business is confiscated and you have no incentive to work. Under fascism you still own your business but you are so over-regulated and over-taxed that your business essentially exists for the benefit of the government and you, as owner, derive only a modest living.
Fascism as an economic policy is essentially the same as socialism. The fascism of the World War II era was socialism combined with nationalism. The word “Nazi” was simply a shortened form of the words “national socialism” in German. Fascism was so powerful in the 1930s and 40s because it combined two elements over which people are very passionate. It combined love of country (nationalism or racism) with the desire for economic equality (socialism).
Fascism is the government system typical of pagan societies. Fascism is not new. Ancient Rome had elements of fascism as did most every ancient pagan society. Presently most indigenous tribes in the jungles of Africa and the Amazon can be considered fascist because their chiefs are dictators who control most of the property and through polygamy control a disproportionate share of the women. Under paganism human rights are not acknowledged because human life is not considered sacred.
Modern fascism is much more totalitarian than ancient fascism because modern technological advances in communication and transportation make governmental control of people much more efficient.
Fascism, which is hostile to human freedom, is contrary to the Bible. The Bible teaches about the dignity of man which is based upon the fact that man is created in the image of God. The Bible affirms the sanctity of human life (Genesis 9:5-6), private property rights (Exodus 20:15; Leviticus 25:8-16; Acts 5:4), and personal freedom (Romans 14:4-6; Galatians 5:1). This is why government in a Christian society is limited in scope and people are guaranteed human rights.
Christianity is the greatest bulwark against fascism. Many brave Christians stood up against Hitler. Thousands of Christians were sent to Dachau concentration camp in southern Germany. Opened in 1933, Dachau was the first of Hitler’s concentration camps and was initially used for the incarceration of political prisoners including many pastors who spoke out.
Sadly we see America, though founded as a Christian nation, drifting in the direction of pagan fascism. The Supreme Court, in dictatorial fashion, puts its own twist on the meaning of the constitution in order to give momentum to its own political agenda in its rulings. The sanctity of human life is trampled by decisions permitting abortion of the unborn.
Recent presidents have abused their executive order prerogative. Property rights are compromised by government seizure of property that is only vaguely suspected of being used in a crime. Examples of over-regulation and over-taxation are legion. The government bailouts and taking ownership positions in banks and automobile companies during the present financial crisis has strong fascist overtones. Political pundits are even starting to use the word fascist to describe it.
Christians are taxed to pay for public schools that teach evolution and secularism. The government domain grows ever larger and Christianity is ever more explicitly excluded from the government domain. Let’s pray to God for an end to this creeping fascism.
A good book that explains the current proliferation of fascism in western civilization is Modern Fascism by Gene Edward Veith