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Christian Right Hopes South Dakota Becomes More Like Meloni’s Right-Wing Italy

I thought Hillary Clinton was flat wrong when she said electing fascist Giorgia Meloni prime minister of Italy would be “certainly a good thing” just because Meloni would be Italy’s first female prime PM. I think South Dakota’s Family Heritage Alliance is just as wrong to celebrate fascist Meloni’s election victory just because she’s a nominal Christian:

Meloni is an excellent example of how good policy is still good politics. She has promised to offer women real help and fund “alternatives to abortion.” She is boldly speaking out for Christian values, stepping up to put good policy into action, and being rewarded politically because of it. That’s why her 2019 video that’s currently making the rounds is firing up Christians and pro-family advocates all around the world.

This is the kind of bold leadership that conservative Americans are looking for. As Joseph Backholm writes, “Those on the political left are not only becoming detached from Middle America, they are also losing their influence over politicians they once controlled.” In the U.S., Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a clear example of this. After Disney protested Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill, Gov. Ron DeSantis doubled down and fought back. He signed the bill into law and continued to vouch for parent’s rights. He even condemned the company and exposed its hypocrisy – and his popularity only continued to soar.

Hopefully, Meloni’s victory is a sign of what’s to come in our upcoming fall election and a global return to pro-family values. We need strong Christ-centered leaders like her who aren’t afraid to stand up to the left’s radicalism and proudly support the family unit, parental rights, and the unborn.

We need to stand behind candidates who will speak the truth and send the same message that Meloni is sending to Italy: “Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death” [Norman Woods, “Italy’s New PM Shows That Good Policy Is Still Good Politics,” Family Heritage Alliance, 2022.09.30].

Woods cites Joseph Backholm, who is keynoting FHA’s Stand banquets later this month. Backholm is among those Christ-centered leaders who can’t bring themselves to boldly speak out for Christian values when their own Republican candidates violate them:

Joseph Backholm, tweet, 2022.10.05.
Joseph Backholm, tweet, 2022.10.05.

Meloni plans to make it harder for refugees to gain asylum in Italy. I’m not sure what’s Christian about that.

Meloni is living with a man outside of wedlock. I’m not sure how that affirms the “natural families” Woods says Meloni stands for.

Backholm and Woods help us understand that South Dakota’s Christian nationalists are not really committed to Christian values as much as they are committed to gaining power and using government to control people. When Christians celebrate Meloni’s right-wing politics, they fall for the seduction of worldly power against which Christianity warns.

*     *     *

Jason Blakely, an associate professor of politics at Pepperdine University, told me that nationalism as an ideology “is in very tense philosophical relationship with Christianity.”

“This is partly because Christianity calls for universal belonging and solidarity, whereas nationalisms very frequently devolve into ethnic exclusions,” Blakely said.

“But it is also because nationalism’s idealization of collective identity into a kind of spirit or geist often supplants worship of a Christ who calls out people from all nations, with a group identity that receives privileged status,” he continued. “Although it is not always the case, nationalism in practice often involves a kind of collective self-deification. The Holy Spirit is then eclipsed by the Spirit of the Nation or Ethnic group” [Michael Sean Winters, “As Italy Turns Right, a Reminder: Christian Nationalism Always Turns Out Badly,” National Catholic Reporter, 2022.10.03].


  1. larry kurtz 2022-10-10 07:43

    Yep. PM Meloni is exactly the brand of autocrat christianic religionists have been grooming for over a century.

    Class struggle was the root of the Spanish Civil War fought between 1936 and 1939 but at that time Republicans were part of the academic and social justice wing fighting for democracy while the Nationalists were religious conservatives and Falangists led by a military junta with Generalissimo Francisco Franco serving as field marshal. Translated as the Spanish Phalanx of the Councils of the National Syndicalist Offensive, the Falangists represented mostly Roman Catholics associated with Spain’s religious identity and many consider the conflict a prelude to World War II.
    Looks like we’re on the same page today, Cory. My blog post this morning expands on the essay I quoted here yesterday.

    Lee Atwater is one of the architects of the Southern Strategy that brought the Dixie crackers into the Republican Party but Newt Gingrich authored the racist’s handbook and it’s still the official little red book of the Republican Party today. Buoyed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and General Michael Flynn are modern Falangists financed by the John Birch Society and Charles Koch.

  2. Donald Pay 2022-10-10 11:33

    It’s funny. Gays support marriage and Christians don’t.

    Yeah, Mussolini, like Noem, took lovers. Fascists think rules to apply to others, not themselves. I could care less about anyone’s personal life. What Herschel Walker, Kristi Noem and Il Duce do on their own time is their business. What they do to others and our society is my business. If Noem likes to stuff her lips with silicone so she can look like a porn star, that’s fine. I might laugh at it, and think it’s kind of odd, but I’m sure others think that of me for other things. I don’t get too upset about Christian hypocrisy. At this point no one believes Jesus would let these folks anywhere near Heaven, not because they are bonking Corey Lewandowski, but because they treat people like dung.

  3. larry kurtz 2022-10-10 12:50

    It’s not clear that Corey Lewandowski is Mrs. Noem’s only advisor on all matters Nazi. He and Roger Stone hate each other, just for instance but her crapaganda comes right out of the Gingrich playbook, for sure.

  4. Nix 2022-10-10 13:13

    Christian Patriots ……
    Run for your life.

  5. All Mammal 2022-10-10 14:05

    I’m hoarse everyday from imploring people to read a friggin book, man. This scenario is so played out. These same actors have no new ideas. Get with it or you are just a sorry extra in their circus. Insanity.
    Books and rap music expose all these tricks used to enslave us. Never let them catch you flat footed. They’re not that smart. But they are determined because power is food for evil.

  6. O 2022-10-10 14:22

    What does it say about a “movement” when the most it can hope for to push it along is useful idiots? Thoughtful, intelligent leaders have abandoned ship, now this is what has risen to the top. In the name of taking power, they will be put to use. Unfortunately, as the GOP is finding out, once you seed leadership and control over to fanatics, your big tent may no longer have any room for you and your puppets start looking for the scissors to cut their strings. But there is no going back because you have militarized your base beyond reason into tribal hatred. When the Christian Nationalists get crossways with the corporate interests of the right, then we will see a reckoning — not until then.

  7. Ron Jon 2022-10-10 22:08

    “…Christian nationalists are not really committed to Christian values as much as they are committed to gaining power and using government to control people. When Christians celebrate Meloni’s right-wing politics, they fall for the seduction of worldly power against which Christianity warns.”

    Sounds like you have been reading David French with Sadly, there is a segment of Christianity (so-called in my opinion) that is willing to stomach just about anything in chasing governmental power. It used to be mostly a far-left tactic to use governmental power to advance agendas, reward friends and punish enemies. Now the far right is doing the very thing principled conservatives hate. Far left and far right are mirror images of each other it is reflecting poorly on genuine conservatives and Christians.

  8. Bob Newland 2022-10-10 22:38

    When has “Christian” anything turned out goodly?

  9. ABC 2022-10-11 01:03

    I agree with all mammal.

    The Democratic Party could grow some balls, spine and hearts if it opens up MANY bookstores!
    What’s a political party if it does have one or many bookstores? Nada.

    What’s the official Dem Republican response? Hey we were too busy drinking, regulating bars and cops, and running for election, we don’t have time for any books? Not good.

    Why can’t a town of 600 in east or west river South Dakota have 6 book stores, or more? Economics? That’s an excuse for not trying.

    Did Jeff Bezos open a bookstore in Seattle? No.

    Before he started sending penis-shaped rockets into space , he opened an online bookstore!

    Do you know how easy is to open a bookstore now? Very! Spend $2 on an .xyz domain at pork, create a free webpage , then sign up as an affiliate with Books-a-million, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or You have a bookstore!

    When voter engagement rises (like Jeff Bezos’s rockets) to 80% and above, then you will know we have more bookstores than bars!

    The Democratic and Progressive and any other Center-left parties should open many many bookstores!

    This is the way we can absolutely change ourselves and Dakota South!

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-11 06:09

    Ron Jon, you’re mostly correct, but I will rebut your both-sidesism: I don’t see anything on the Left that looks like the Right’s embrace of power over principle. Remember, the Left forced Al Franken out of the Senate for less egregious behavior than Herschel Walker has committed. The Far Left isn’t abandoning the intelligent, responsible leadership to which O refers and leaving the stage open for seizure by fascists like Meloni and the Family Heritage Alliance.

  11. Ron Jon 2022-10-11 10:04

    Cory Allen Heidelberg. The far left, like the Pelosi PAC, has done less than principled things like supporting MAGA candidates over sane Republican candidates in the primaries in hopes of winning the general elections in the fall. Dems claim democracy is at stake with these election deniers getting into office and then they seek to put them in a position to get elected. Reprehensible.

  12. All Mammal 2022-10-11 10:43

    Speaker Pelosi works her butt to the bone to save our country from becoming Hungary. And hungry. Raising cash is grueling work, especially without becoming a sell-out puppet. Thank Chuck B some rich people still care about democracy.

  13. larry kurtz 2022-10-11 12:12

    There might be ten progressives in Congress but unfortunately there is no effective far left in the United States at all.

  14. larry kurtz 2022-10-11 12:42

    Noam Chomsky doesn’t even believe that government should own every and all means of production.

    Yes, socialized agriculture, socialized dairies, socialized cheese, socialized livestock production, a socialized timber industry, socialized air service, socialized freight rail, a socialized nursing home industry, a socialized internet, socialized gas well remediation and now a socialized water system are all fine with Republicans in South Dakota but then they insist single-payer medical insurance is socialized medicine.

  15. P. Aitch 2022-10-11 12:59

    Modern socialism is simply buying the things we already buy but as a group to get the best price.
    Think COSTCO.
    We pay taxes like COSTCO members pay dues.
    COSTCO buys as a huge group and gets the best price for things almost all their customers want.
    Things like TV sets, caskets, eyeglasses, rotisserie chickens, gasoline, etc.
    You know. You’ve been to Costco.
    Socialism isn’t evil and either are buyer’s clubs.
    Amazon Prime is also socialism, by the way.
    Government socialism buys things like flood insurance, healthcare, paid maternity leave, Medicare/Medicaid, prescription drugs, military, highways etc. but as a massively large group and negotiates the best price.
    Socialist citizens pay more in taxes but have a lot more money left at the end of the month.
    That’s why, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Iceland etc. have a higher quality of life than Americans.
    Because they don’t elect old fashioned, stubborn, afraid of new things leaders like SD does.

  16. larry kurtz 2022-10-11 13:12

    It looks like whackjob Tulsi Gabbard got booted from the Democratic Party so I hope she doesn’t let the door hit her in the brain on her way out.

  17. John 2022-10-11 13:34

    Ken Burns, in 18 minutes, explains to a highly educated, experienced German reporter, how and why a democratic republic is a fragile thing that cannot be taken for granted.

    After watching that, go stream the series, The US and the Holocaust on PBS.

    Ask yourself whether you would hide or turn in families. We know from recent elections and present election deniers that in the US tens of millions would turn in families, would damage their businesses and homes.

  18. O 2022-10-11 14:19

    Larry, I believe Gabbard left the party. If I had my way, BOTH political parties would be dissolved. Neither does a service to the nation any longer. I would favor a parliamentarian system with lots of little parties where coalitions of interests have to work to get power. Then we might actually get discussion about issues.

  19. leslie 2022-10-11 14:38

    RJ, pls tell us who this “far left” you are afraid of, and what they do that is so dastardly. BERNIE? HRC? A billionaire or two?

    Three examples is enough.

  20. All Mammal 2022-10-11 14:58

    I have a feeling ABC is down. I am too.

    The familiarity of current events and the German slow-boil into murdering is frightening. I have to admit, that is exactly why I own weapons. Not only for defending myself and others, but in case we have to flee and forage for survival. Not because I’m a paranoid death freak. When it hits the fan, its not China or bears, it might just be my own coming after women. I can’t rely on the state. They are falling for it and becoming dangerous. Even worse than the Germans because they believe they have God on their side. Gilead.

    I have a feeling I’m not the only one of my kind on here who wouldn’t have existed for long back in the day. We’d have been burned at the stake, eh BB Fairbanks? Capable, independent, and know a thing or two about the Good Earth to heal with herbs and roots and can make a poultice with skunk oil… witchy.

    Taking care of one another is what its all about. That starts with the environment. None of us would be here if it wasn’t for a kind person somewhere down the line in history who was prepared and had extra to give. And was willing to harbor the persecuted. Witches.

  21. O 2022-10-11 15:07

    All Mammal, in that scenario, do you really think your gun will make a difference? How much time will it buy?

  22. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-11 15:32

    These are the same folks who bombed the federal building and day care center in Oklahoma City. their latest “big stunt” was to attempt the kidnap of the Governor of Michigan. Drive through Northern Michigan and you’ll understand the real threat “Christian Identity” terrorists pose to us all. They are out in public, very visible, dressed in camo, with automatic weapons visible, and lawn signs filled with hate and threatening violence. My last trip, my motel had many ATF agents as residents as a weekend rally was on the docket. It seems unreal, but this is a real threat to us all.

  23. All Mammal 2022-10-11 16:17

    If I wasn’t strapped about two years ago, I wouldn’t be here. When I was younger, my mom made me promise her she would never have to bury a child. So, O, so far I have gained about two years and counting. Dead woman walking without them. And if anything were to happen and my garden and grocery stores were not bearing food, another handful of people would get another week off a fat turkey. My brother or I would have been hurtin units if that rattlesnake would have finished his strike. Some cows wouldn’t have make it out of the river and would have drowned if I was unable to provide an easement on the bank when the high water eroded any chance of climbing out……. I may be just an insignificant woman, but Samuel Colt gives us womenfolk a little more much needed leverage.

    If I were king for a day, womenfolk would be the only people permitted to own guns. Then maybe the world would get some peace.

  24. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-10-11 16:42

    I assure you, All Mammal, I’m singed around the edges and slightly smoky all over. Gosh, it’s been maybe two months since a West River “True Patriot” has threatened me; complacency has crept back in. I have resumed wearing my tool belt to Hot Springs with its custom-made loop holding my 13″ flat bar with the curved end ground and honed like a knife and the straight end dipped in “Grip It”.

    Before I get “sanctioned” I hope to send at least one “True Patriot” to an emergency department for stitches and a tetanus shot.

  25. mike from iowa 2022-10-11 16:43

    Gabbard left of her own volition. And good riddance.

  26. All Mammal 2022-10-11 17:08

    O- please don’t get me wrong. I hate gun violence. I wept like a baby just today while reading an article about misogyny and gun violence. It said in 2020, guns were the number one cause of death for children in America. Jesus, how can we do this? I think it was either John or Mr. Kurtz who had a link a few days ago that led to the Daily Montanan, where I came upon the article. There are too many devastated mothers and even an entire country broken hearted because of the WMD industry, among other machinations. I don’t own assault rifles, if that makes any difference. My AR-style .22 doesn’t count. I have shot three living things my whole life. Two was to defend my own life. One lived. One got skinned and one got eaten.

    I sure hope Italy comes around. I pray we don’t allow the fear and religious fervor to erupt again. It seems to suddenly be all too fragile and unstable to put much faith in. We’ll persevere because I know we are tough and the sensible people know the seriousness of what is happening. It doesn’t hurt for a gal to have a little protection.

  27. larry kurtz 2022-10-11 18:43

    If Tulsi Gabbard was in Blade Runner she’d be called a skinjob.

  28. leslie 2022-10-11 20:43

    Re: “Pelosi[‘s] PAC”

    The PAC’s Republican counterpart, the Congressional Leadership Fund, has not yet released its campaign finance reports for the third quarter of 2022. On Monday, the fund announced that it was reserving an additional $14 million in television advertising for the fall, bringing its total for the election cycle to $190 million.

    It’s your REPUBLICAN owned SCOTUS, RJ, that laid out the rules in Citizen’s United. Do you understand the extraordinary cost to the nation and the Dems to fix it?

    “The 2010 Supreme Court decision further tilted political influence toward wealthy donors and corporations”

  29. leslie 2022-10-12 10:36

    RJ—Atlantic’s David French? Salon’s Chaucey DeVega interviewed the hubby of Trump’s spokeswoman Conway, saying:

    Well Today’s Republican Party has effectively become an authoritarian political cult led by Donald Trump. His millions of followers — with their votes, money, menace and potential or actual violence — have become his primary means of controlling the party and progressively undermining American democracy and society.

    Donald Trump is a political monster [but],
    enacted policies that the Republican Party and larger white right have long dreamed of imposing on the American people, most notably rolling back taxes on the rich and seizing full control of the Supreme Court.

    That was a great victory in the long-term campaign to reverse the civil rights victories of the 20th and 21st century won by Black and brown people, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups.

    Within the Trump administration, there were discussions about removing him from office through the 25th Amendment. But ultimately most Republicans chose partisanship and power over genuine patriotism and the common good. In doing so, they made themselves de facto agents of American neofascism.

    Trump is basically a cornered animal.

    His act has become very tiresome. That explains why Trump is embracing the QAnon conspiracy. He’s doing that because of his narcissism: He’s feeling attacked, and for the first time in his life, he is facing real consequences for his actions.

    But here is the problem for the rest of us: Donald Trump is not going to go away immediately. He is going to try to use the electoral process, and threats of violence, to regain power and influence.

    There was always that radical extremist fringe on the right. That element did not dominate the Republican Party. Trump took advantage of that extreme element. The mainstream Republicans got pushed aside by a base that had become whipped up into frenzy by the extremists. Trump took advantage of that opening.

    The right-wing media ecosystem is also a large part of the extremist turn, because it found a way to make money by dragging people farther and farther away from reality and creating a thirst for disinformation and hatred. White baby boomers who are feeling angry and resentful about how the country is changing demographically are also part of that extremist turn and the rise of Trump….right-wing media makes money off Trump and all the conflict [hell, Seth Meyers late night’s CLOSER LOOK doesn’t miss a trick]

    The political consultants are afraid of losing business and money if they cross Trump and his base….Trump’s voters and followers, many of them are not that educated or choose to insulate themselves in the right-wing echo chamber, where they are fed lies and disinformation and rage. They choose to seal themselves off from reality. [i see it everyday in my dealings w/Western ranchers and genius, top of their class relatives, now self professed Fox-a-holics].

    One way that Donald Trump sucks people in is that his voters and followers don’t like the people who are criticizing him. Therefore they defend Trump no matter what — even if what he is doing is obviously wrong and indefensible. Trump’s people do not want to admit that they are morally wrong.

    Rounds, Thune, Johnson and Noem?

    Republican elected officials know that if they say anything against Trump, they may lose their primaries. Staying in office is what drives them. They don’t want to end up like Liz Cheney.

    …what the Republican Party stands for now, other than placating Trump and opposing anything that the Democrats do just for the sake of opposing them. There are no real principles involved. The Republican Party doesn’t even stand for America’s national interests anymore. Look at what some Republicans have been saying about Russia’s war against Ukraine.

    Trump will incite violence on his behalf. He will try to pretend it is something spontaneous. Does Trump have enough power and influence over his followers to threaten the republic? I don’t think so. But I do think it’s enough to be dangerous. Trump has enough influence that people could get hurt….the violence that Trump could potentially cause. The danger of violence will increase as the 2024 election approaches

    At the end of the day, we have to follow the legal system and apply it evenhandedly — but that should be done as expeditiously as possible.

  30. All Mammal 2022-10-12 12:02

    How does Trump still have a passport, let alone freedom? The guy is an orange seditionist with tiny, baby hands. He and his worshippers need to be publicly laughed at and mocked for how they fell for such an idiot already. It is the only way to get rid of him and make people ashamed of their gullibility and unChristian actions. The dude is a soft, spoiled noodle from Manhattan. Nothing tough or manly about him. He has never even earned a callous on his soft, pink, puffy little hands. He throws French fries against the wall and has tantrums! That is no man. We are laughed at because of him and I don’t like being laughed at unless I tell a joke or impersonate America’s hideous tangerine mistake. The Young Turks agree we should mock his cult because they are worthy of worse. Bullying suck. But it is the only way to get rid of bullies after laws and civility don’t work.

  31. O 2022-10-12 13:21

    A.M. Part of me thinks the hope is that Trump does flee US jurisdiction so that we can indict him in absence, seize his assets and be done with this nightmare. His leaving would become his de facto guilty plea. His leaving may leave his followers betrayed enough to renounce him. Frankly, I’m surprised that the government has not started seizing his assets EXCEPT for one fueled up jet and pre-packed suitcase.

  32. All Mammal 2022-10-12 14:03

    I like your thinking, O. I will join you in willing energy into that outcome. The day he vamooses will be jubilant and we’ll all have a gay old time. The far right in Italy can’t handle his bombastic personality and wretched sense of style. He should go there. Arrivederci!

  33. larry kurtz 2022-10-12 18:18

    George Mickelson’s corpse must be ground into talcum powder for all the spinning its been doing in his grave.

  34. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-10-13 18:13

    Reviving an old thread, All Mammal and other contributors.

    I was walking back to my truck yesterday, parked in the Ace Hardware side parking lot on Albany in Hot Springs, and there was this rando turd-fondler standing right behind my back bumper doing the “F*ck Biden/Harris” chant. I guess he could read my “Biden/Harris 2020″ bumper sticker.

    I immediately confronted him and asked him if he’d voted for Trump. He said yes and said he’d proudly do it again. I had the temerity to tell him Trump was a loser and so was he; he could not believe I said that, so I SHOUTED it again.

    I warned him if he did not move I was going to back over his fat *ss; he blustered he was a decorated Marine and didn’t have to do anything a split tail told him.

    I reached into the cab of my truck and pulled out my legendary 38” crowbar and told him I was an undecorated Army veteran and was rabidly pissed about Trump supporters insulting me, and I had beaten one in Lynn’s DakotaMart parking lot that assaulted me not that long ago.
    He was dazed and confused, but got out of my way when I got in my truck and backed out.

    West River. What a Paradise.

  35. All Mammal 2022-10-13 18:53

    You have elated me, BB Fairbank! I am lival to come down there and pluck you up so we can go raise hell and roll heads. Yes! Watch out, Mr. Newland. We might snatch you up too for your amusement. I’ve got some face paint so we don’t stand out. Ha! We will reckon with the platrump blumps and they’ll learn to treat a lady with respect. Lady! Ha! Say the word and it shall be so.

    Although you pull it all off with the elegance of an OG boss, I hate the fact you have to encounter such crudeness. You should be free to go about as you please without haters hatin. They’re asking for an attitude adjustment in the southern hills before election day comes around.

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