This Theologian Warned of American Christian Fascism Back in the 80s

He saw the rise of Hitler in Germany firsthand and knew it was coming stateside decades before Trump showed up

Mitchell Peterson
7 min readJan 15, 2022


America was founded on an imagined moral superiority and purity. The fact that dominance of others came, and still comes, from unrestrained acts of violence is washed out of the national narrative. The steadfast failure to face the truth, Baldwin warned, perpetuates a kind of collective psychosis. Unable to face the truth, white Americans stunt and destroy their capacity for self-reflection and self-criticism. They construct a world of self-serving fantasy. Those who imbibe the myth of whiteness externalize evil — their own evil — onto their victims. Racism, Baldwin understood, is driven by an inner loneliness and latent guilt. Chris Hedges

In 2016, the whole world saw the ugliest side of America harnessed into a political campaign that brought Trump all the way to the White House. The emergence of this movement and the Don came as a surprise to most on the planet, but many knew it was an inevitable station the country would arrive at.

Journalist and author — also ordained minister — Chris Hedges saw it coming and wrote a book entitled American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America back in 2007. But, while he was studying at Harvard Divinity School, he said there was a professor who knew it was coming even earlier.

A theologian who saw firsthand what happened in Germany in the thirties, and had a keen eye for the warning signs stateside. Forty years ago, he rang the alarm bells that America has many parallels to the most horrific regime in history.

His name was James Luther Adams.

Germany in the 30s

Since the beginning of civilization, spiritual and religious beliefs have been coopted and wielded in the name of power. Fascists were and are no different. Franco in Spain leaned heavily on the church and used his Catholicism to cover his authoritarian crimes against humanity.

Since left-wing movements like communism and socialism have largely been secular, right-wing dictators use religion and their “faith” to feign as saviors…



Mitchell Peterson

Freelance writer who spent nine years outside the US, currently in rural America writing the Substack bestseller 18 Uncles.