Christian fascism is a term that is used to describe a far-right political ideology that denotes an intersection between fascism and Christianity. It is sometimes referred to as “Christofascism“, a neologism that was coined in 1970 by the liberation theologian Dorothee Sölle.
Interpretation of Sölle
Tom F. Driver, the Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus at Union Theological Seminary, expressed concern “that the worship of God in Christ not divide Christian from Jew, man from woman, clergy from laity, white from black, or rich from poor”. To him, Christianity is in constant danger of Christofascism. He stated that “[w]e fear Christofascism, which we see as the political direction of all attempts to place Christ at the center of social life and history” and that “[m]uch of the churches’ teaching about Christ has turned into something that is dictatorial in its heart and is preparing society for an American fascism”.
Christofascism “disposed or allowed Christians, to impose themselves not only upon other religions but other cultures, and political parties which do not march under the banner of the final, normative, victorious Christ” – as Paul F. Knitter describes Sölle’s view.
The most dangerous movement in American politics today is not Trumpism. It is Christofascism. With the election of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the organized effort to impose the extreme religious views of a minority of Americans on the entire country, at the expense of many of our most basic freedoms, took a disturbing step forward.
Despite Speaker Johnson’s claims of being a constitutional “originalist,” via his elevation by a unanimous vote of his Republican colleagues, he has moved America closer to having precisely the kind of government America’s founders most feared.
There is a reason the word “God” does not appear a single time in the Constitution. The founders were breaking with an England and Europe that were still in the thrall of the idea that rulers derived their powers from heaven above, “the divine right of kings.” But the Constitution explicitly states their view that the powers of government are derived “from the consent of the governed.”
Thomas Jefferson said he viewed with “solemn reverence that act of the whole of the American people” which established “a wall of separation between church and state.” George Washington approved a treaty stating, “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” The First Amendment in America’s Bill of Rights states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The principal author of the Constitution, James Madison, in his treatise, “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” described 15 reasons why the U.S. government must avoid backing any religion.