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May 09, 2014 3:46 PM The Confessing Church of the Christian Right

By Ed Kilgore

Another day, another Louie Gohmert outrage, and another use of Nazi analogies by a Christian Right pol. Nothing to see here, right?

Well, there is one thing I’d like to point out in the context of Gohmert taking to the House floor to complain that gay rights advocates are behaving like Nazis in calling him and people like him “haters” (as reported by TPM’s Tom Kludt). Yes, part of the reason Christian Right types like to use Nazi analogies is that they seem so very apt to those who believe or claim to believe zygotes are exactly like you and me, and thus that legalized abortion (or even post-fertilization forms of birth control) represents a “Holocaust” unlike anything the world has seen since Hitler. But Gohmert’s Nazification of the argument over same-sex marriage puts the spotlight less on his tormenters than on himself and other brave defenders of traditional marriage.

It is amazing that in the name of liberality, in the name of being tolerant, this fascist intolerance has arisen. People that stand up and say, you know, I agree with the majority of Americans, I agree with Moses and Jesus that marriage was a man and a woman, now all of a sudden, people like me are considered haters, hate mongers, evil, which really is exactly what we’ve seen throughout our history as going back to the days of the Nazi takeover in Europe. What did they do? First, they would call people “haters” and “evil” and build up disdain for those people who held those opinions or religious views or religious heritage. And then the next came, well, those people are so evil and hateful, let’s bring every book that they’ve written or has to do with them and let’s start burning the books, because we can’t tolerate their intolerance.

Not even Gohmert is dumb enough to call marriage equality advocates “Nazis,” given, among other things, the murderous behavior of the actual Nazis towards gay people (they also violently opposed abortion, at least among Aryans, but that’s another matter). But what he really wants to do is to claim the mantle of the Confessing Church Christians who opposed the Nazis (hardly anything like a majority of Christians in Germany, BTW, particularly in the case of conservative Christians) out of fidelity to their faith.

This is an old habit in the Christian Right, and an ideal way to turn the tables and pose as conscience-wracked Here-I-Stand dissenters against power instead of defenders of patriarchy and privilege, and with them the enormous power of the status quo ante (or what Chesterton once called “the democracy of the dead”), a power that’s ruled daily life for millennia. Standing up for “your principles” is a lot more attractive than standing up for the day-before-yesterday and oppressing anyone who gets uppity. So of course you want to go there again and again, and if you are Louie Gohmert, why not? Nobody but those guilty of “fascist intolerance” will object.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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