BANNON AT WAR: CHURCH MILITANT WANNABE

One Halloween when he was a boy in Virginia, Steve Bannon, soon to be Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, dressed up as a crusader.

Or maybe not. Maybe I just made it up. Who knows, it’s the internet. But I could tell you a couple of things about Bannon, and you’d say I did make it up. But I didn’t. And I have the tape to prove it.

Bannon believes we’ve fallen off a cliff and are tumbling into a dark void with no end. Don’t make the mistake of labeling the guy with cheap words like xenophobic or misogynist or racist. He’s bright and smart and articulate and focused and a man on a mission.

What exactly is that mission?

Two years ago he gave a talk via teleconference about the state of the world to a conference in the Vatican, published by Buzzfeed in an article by J Lester Feder. Bannon said:

“I believe we’ve come partly offtrack in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we’re starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.”

Okay, pretty heavy stuff. A crisis of faith, of church, of capitalism. Steve feels we have become rootless, unanchored, and unhinged. Deep stuff. But Steve goes farther, yes, there is much farther to go in the man’s nightmare, many more layers.

“We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.”

So the first thing I did after reading this was look up the phrase ‘church militant.’ It kind of stood out. I wish I hadn’t. First, there’s a media company called Church Militant that has all sorts of videos on YouTube, where you can learn things like, ‘division makes the truth blindingly clear.’ I think that is pretty much meaningless, but the guy waved a sword when he said it, so I guess you take him seriously. Seriously like, crap, where’s the door.

Too much, so I went to good old Wikipedia.

Church Militant (Latin: Ecclesia militants), consists of Christians on earth who struggle as soldiers of Christ against sin, the devil, and “the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.”

Damn, Steve. I’d like to say you’ve read one too many Dan Brown books, but I do believe you’re serious. What a journey, from blue collar Kennedy Democrat to defending the nation from Satan. In one lifetime.

Of course, this threatening darkness must be named.

“We are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it.”

This is the issue I have with Mr. Bannon: His projections, his focus, his beliefs, are the exact same expressions and world-view from the 12th century, and the 20th, and every century in between. He’s got his worldview locked into place, and by golly, nothing will move him, and even more amazingly, he’s determined to re-create the same events, which of course will get the same results, over and over and over. The man even has the same 12th-century enemy in place. I hope he still has the Halloween costume.

There are a zillion ways to create the world, but Bannon knows only one. And there will be blood.

We don’t have to guess what will be the sum of all this man’s fears. All you need to figure it out is a history book. Bannon needs his drama. He needs his cause. He needs to be a church militant, or at least agitate for one. And he needs his war. They all do, these type of folks. They always have. Except, of course, they won’t fight it. That’s what the kids are for.

Wrapping this manifest destiny of prophecy and death is a nice element of unbridled romanticism.

“If you look at the leaders of capitalism when capitalism was I believe at its highest flower and spreading its benefits to most of mankind, almost all of those capitalists were strong believers in the Judeo-Christian West. They were either active participants in the Jewish faith, they were active participants in the Christians’ faith, and they took their beliefs, and the underpinnings of their beliefs was manifested in the work they did.”
Diego Rivera

The world was such a beautiful place when slaves filled God’s fields, and women kept to their womanly ways, and workers bent their back in holy labor for the benefit of Bible-bound and benevolent captains of industry. Oh yes, Steve, we need to roll back the clock to that lost paradise. I’m sure all the Jews also have fond memories of those days.

Look, I believe Steve Bannon would pray to God to avoid war. I mean what sane human being would ever want to unleash the ferocious and blood-thirsty dogs of war, especially dogs fed with the raw meat of religion? Reluctant warriors are a thing, aren’t they — I mean throughout history?

Take the time to listen to the entire Bannon interview. It’s fascinating, and the man is articulate, smart and determined. He’s wrong, he’s very, very wrong, but now he’s been given the keys to the car, and the cliff is dead ahead. And maybe we better start putting up some road blocks.