Saint Hillary and the Religious Left

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This article
was originally published in the December 1994 issue of the Rothbard-Rockwell
Report.

For some time
I have been hammering at the theme that the main cultural and political
problem of our time is not “secular humanism.” The problem
with making secularism the central focus of opposition is that,
by itself, secularism would totally lack the fanaticism, the demonic
energy, the continuing and permanent drive to take over and remake
the culture and the society, that has marked the left for two centuries.
Logically, one would expect a secular humanist to be a passive skeptic,
ready to adapt to almost any existing state of affairs; David Hume,
for example, a philosophic disaster but quietly benign in social
and political matters, would seem to be typical. Hardly a political
and cultural menace.

No: the hallmark
and the fanatical drive of the left for these past centuries has
been in devoting tireless energy to bringing about, as rapidly as
they can, their own egalitarian, collectivist version of a Kingdom
of God on Earth. In short, this truly monstrous movement is what
might be called “left-post-millennialist.” It is messianic and post-millennialist
because Man, not Christ or Providence, is supposed to bring about
the Kingdom of God on Earth (KGE), that is, in the Christian version,
that Christ is only supposed to return to earth after Man
has established the 1,000-year KGE. It is leftist because in this
version, the KGE is egalitarian and collectivist, with private property
stamped out, and the world being run by a cadre or vanguard of Saints.

During the
1820s, the Protestant churches in the Northern states of the U.S.
were taken over by a wave of post-millennial fanatics determined
to impose on local, state, and federal governments, and even throughout
the world, their own version of a theocratic statist KGE. A “Yankee”
ethnocultural group had originated in New England, and had migrated
to settle the northern areas of New York and the Middle-Western
states. The Yankees were driven by the fanatical conviction that
they themselves could not achieve salvation unless they did their
best to maximize everyone else’s: which meant, among other features,
to devote their energies to instituting the sinless society of the
KGE.

These newly
mainstream Yankee Protestant churches were always statist, but the
major emphasis in the early decades was the stamping out of “sin,”
sin being broadly defined as virtually any form of enjoyment. By
the later years of the nineteenth century, however, economic collectivism
received increasing attention by these left millennialist Protestants,
and strictly theological and Christological concerns gradually faded
away, culminating in the explicitly socialistic Social Gospel movement
in all the Protestant churches. While every one of the Yankee Protestant
denominations was infected and dominated by left millennialism,
this heresy prevailed almost totally in the Methodist Church.

SAINT
HILLARY

Which brings
us to our beloved First Couple. I have already mentioned that Slick
Willie, in addressing a black Gospel church in Maryland on behalf
of God’s alleged commandment to pass his crime bill, revealingly
told the assembled congregation that the goal of his “ministry”
is to bring about “the Kingdom of God on earth.” That should have
sounded the fire alarm throughout the nation. Unfortunately, to
an American public possessing little knowledge of history or theology,
Clinton’s remarkable statement went unreported.

But, as we
all know, it is Hillary, not Slick Willie, who is the hard-core
ideologue in the White House. Hillary’s theological agenda was perceptively
unveiled recently by the knowledgeable, if admiring and liberal,
Kenneth L. Woodward, religion editor of Newsweek. (Kenneth
L. Woodward, “Soulful Matters,” Newsweek (Oct. 31, 1994)
pp. 23–25) In a lengthy exclusive interview with Hillary, Woodward
reports that our Lady Macbeth simply considers herself “an old-fashioned
Methodist.”

Hillary’s
pronouncement is not as absurd as it might first seem. Hillary Rodham
was born in northern Illinois Yankee country, in the Chicago suburb
of Park Ridge. Her grandparents told stories about their Methodism
in early-nineteenth-century England, not many generations removed
from the founding of Methodism by John Wesley. Hillary’s family
were pious Methodists, and Hillary herself was inducted into the
Social Gospel by the Rev. Donald Jones, the then youth minister
at her Park Ridge First United Methodist Church. I am sure that
we are all gratified to learn how Hillary got her start in the cause
of “social reform”; as Woodward fondly puts it, the Rev. Jones “developed
his privileged suburban students’ social consciences by taking them
to visit migrant workers’ children.”

The most important
passage in Woodward’s article is his explanation of the importance
of Methodism within the American Protestant spectrum: “More than
other Protestants, Methodists are still imbued with the turn-of-the-century
social gospel, which holds that Christians have been commissioned
to build the Kingdom of God on earth.”

Only a few
brush-strokes are needed to complete the picture. The Rev. Jones,
a frequent visitor to the White House, but who seems at least to
have a sense of humor and perspective that the arrogant and self-righteous
Hillary totally lacks, puts it this way: Even today, says Rev. Jones,
“when Hillary talks it sounds like it comes out of a Methodist Sunday-school
lesson.” And: “Hillary views the world through a Methodist lens.
And we Methodists knew what’s good for you.”

Now
obviously, and of course, a lot of this is Hillary’s drive to “reinvent”
herself, that is, to create a duplicitous false image, to make herself
less threatening to the angry American public. And surely the late-nineteenth-century
Social Gospelers would be horrified at the current multi-gendered,
condomaniacal Clintonian left, to say nothing of the rapid revolving
of poor John Wesley in his eighteenth-century English grave. But
there is definitely a direct line of descent from the Methodist
Social Gospelers of the nineteenth century to St. Hillary and the
monstrous Clintonian left. Mix into “old-fashioned Methodism” liberal
doses of Marxism, the New Left, the pagan pantheist New Age, and
the multicultural and sexual revolutions, stir briskly, and you
get the current ruling horror that we all face, and are trying to
roll back out of our lives. We face, in short, regardless of what
hairdo or persona she affects next week, the evil Witch in the White
House.

Murray
N. Rothbard
(1926–1995) was the author of Man,
Economy, and State
, Conceived
in Liberty
, What
Has Government Done to Our Money
, For
a New Liberty
, The
Case Against the Fed
, and many
other books and articles
. He was
also the editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report
, and academic vice president of
the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Murray
Rothbard Archives

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