Now that the Egyptian people have rid themselves of Hosni Mubarak, the world holds its breath to see who—or what—will take his place.
In America, speculation about what a post-Mubarak Egypt will look like spans the gamut, from President Obama’s cautiously optimistic hopes for democracy to the predictably hysterical babbling of Glenn Beck, whose theory of a plot to establish a world-wide “caliphate” is too much for even Bill O’Reilly to swallow. Many seem to worry about a small minority group called the Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated to the notion that all human enterprises—from the individual and the family to nation-states—should be run according to the dictates of the Qur’an.
While over 90% of the Egyptian people profess to be Muslim, by and large they are accustomed to a secular state. The most influential element in the country at this time appears to be the military, which is well respected. Historically, Egyptians have been little prone to seeing blind obedience as a virtue or to elevating religious leaders to cult-like positions of authority. There’s no apparent reason to believe they might start now—or that Egypt is likely to become another hotbed of dangerous religious extremism, like Iran.
But we in America have plenty of reason to worry about extreme fundamentalist religion, and I’m not talking about Islam. Evidence is mounting that the greatest danger to American democracy is a form of radical Christianity called “dominionism,” which has already gained enormous power and is exerting terrifying influence over government in this country.
Dominionism—one of the driving forces behind the conservative movement in America—asserts that Biblical law should be the basis of all aspects of society, from the conduct of individuals to all branches of government. This extremist philosophy was a primary factor in the abuses of the presidency of G. W. Bush and has already deeply infiltrated Congress and the Supreme Court. For those who are aware, its influence is evident in the social agenda of the new Republican House majority, in the rants of conservative talk-show pundits, and in the demands of Tea Party activists to drastically reduce taxes and limit the powers of the federal government
Chris Hedges, author of American Fascism: The Christian Right and the War on America, has this to say about the movement: “Debate with the radical Christian Right is useless. We cannot reach this movement. It does not want a dialogue. It is a movement based on emotion and cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. . . . This movement is bent on our destruction.”
Anyone who thinks this statement is hyperbole—or just a leftist conspiracy theory comparable to the paranoid fantasies so often floated from the right—really should read the book.
Yes, America, we do have much to fear from a radical religious movement bent on the destruction of democracy.
But that has nothing whatsoever to do with Egypt.