RussiaNovember 12 2022, 22:13 pm

The Christian Nationalist Ties of a Radical Atheist — His Enemies Are Now His Friends

A GIOR inves­ti­ga­tion has revealed that US aca­d­e­m­ic Peter Boghoss­ian, a self-pro­fessed “rad­i­cal athe­ist,” has been a busi­ness part­ner of a Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist extrem­ist. Boghoss­ian, cur­rent­ly in Hun­gary as a guest lec­tur­er for a Hun­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment-sup­port­ed orga­ni­za­tion, is a for­mer Port­land State Uni­ver­si­ty assis­tant pro­fes­sor unknown on the pub­lic scene until becom­ing part of the “New Athe­ist” move­ment with his Decem­ber 2011 talk titled “Jesus, the East­er Bun­ny, and Oth­er Delu­sions: Just Say No.” Since then, Boghoss­ian became affil­i­at­ed with Richard Dawkins, a British evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gist and author famous for his harsh crit­i­cisms of reli­gion. In 2013, Boghoss­ian pub­lished a book titled “A Man­u­al for Cre­at­ing Athe­ists” in which he advo­cat­ed to “con­tain and erad­i­cate” what he called the “faith virus,” labeled reli­gious belief a psy­chi­atric “delu­sion,” and advo­cat­ed for the cre­ation of an army of “street epis­te­mol­o­gists” in order “to sep­a­rate peo­ple from their faith.” In 2016, he cre­at­ed a mobile phone app called Atheos, designed to pro­mote atheism.

By 2019, Chris­tians, or at least a select group of con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians, appear to have been cured of their faith virus and invit­ed by Boghoss­ian to join him in a new apoc­a­lyp­tic strug­gle. In line with his rein­ven­tion as a war­rior against “The Woke,” Boghoss­ian pic­tures the bat­tle­ground of “Cul­ture War 2.0” as a war of those accept­ing truth against those who “believe speech should be shut down if it’s hurt­ful or poten­tial­ly harm­ful.” In an arti­cle titled “The Great Realign­ment,” he writes:

This is where it gets bizarre. Those peo­ple who accept the cor­re­spon­dence the­o­ry of truth (even though they may not know it by name) agree on the tra­di­tion­al rules of engage­ment (dis­course, debate, dia­logue) and do not view inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty as a nec­es­sary mod­el for get­ting to the truth. Aca­d­e­mi­cians in this group often adopt some vari­a­tion of stand­point the­o­ry. These indi­vid­u­als are on one side of Cul­ture War 2.0, and they include many lib­er­al athe­ists and con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians. Those on the oth­er side of 2.0 do not sub­scribe to the cor­re­spon­dence the­o­ry of truth, believe speech should be shut down if it’s hurt­ful or poten­tial­ly harm­ful, and think inter­sec­tion­al, trans­for­ma­tive approach­es are nec­es­sary to refash­ion sys­tems. These peo­ple are also pre­dom­i­nant­ly athe­ists and Chris­tians: inter­sec­tion­al “woke” athe­ists and inter­sec­tion­al “woke” Christians.

He goes on to describe his new­found feel­ing of close­ness to con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians, despite their beliefs he ear­li­er char­ac­ter­ized as psy­chi­atric delusions:

As a point of con­tact, I am a non-inter­sec­tion­al, lib­er­al athe­ist. If a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian believes Jesus walked on water—and believes this either is or is not true for every­one regard­less of race or gender—and if she val­ues dis­course and adheres to basic rules of engage­ment, then she is clos­er to my world­view than an athe­ist who believes race and gen­der play a role in deter­min­ing objec­tive truth and that her oppo­nents should not be allowed to air what she con­sid­ers harm­ful views.

Read the rest here

Begin­ning in 2019, Boghoss­ian was on dis­play with mem­bers of his new alliance for truth, par­tic­i­pat­ing in a series of inter­views con­duct­ed by Sov­er­eign Nations Founder Michael O’Fal­lon and includ­ing Boghos­sian’s col­lab­o­ra­tors in the so-called “Griev­ance Stud­ies” or “Sokal Squared” hoax. (As part of the hoax, Boghoss­ian and two col­leagues sub­mit­ted fake papers to var­i­ous spe­cial­ized aca­d­e­m­ic jour­nals to dis­cred­it gen­der and crit­i­cal race stud­ies.) Accord­ing to a Sov­er­eign Nations post:

In this first of three inter­views con­duct­ed in New York City, Sov­er­eign Nations Founder Michael O’Fallon and the co-founders of New Dis­cours­es, Dr. Peter Boghoss­ian and Dr. James Lind­say, dis­cuss the cur­rent tools of soci­etal and insti­tu­tion­al decon­struc­tion being intro­duced through­out civ­i­liza­tion under the ban­ner of “Social Jus­tice.” These, they dis­cuss, are pre­sent­ed in a man­ner not unlike the leg­endary Tro­jan Horse.

Boghoss­ian fol­lowed up the inter­views by appear­ing with his col­leagues at a Decem­ber con­fer­ence in Lon­don co-spon­sored by Sov­er­eign Nations and New Dis­cours­es and described as follows:

The dec­la­ra­tion of ide­o­log­i­cal war was sound­ed from the cen­ter of Lon­don at the Sov­er­eign Nations and New Dis­cours­es co-spon­sored con­fer­ence, Speak­ing Truth to Social Jus­tice, held at the Nation­al Lib­er­al Club’s Glad­stone Library. At this event, Sov­er­eign Nations Founder Michael O’Fallon joined Dr. James Lind­say, Dr. Peter Boghoss­ian and Helen Pluck­rose as they explored the cur­rent epis­te­mo­log­i­cal and soci­etal chal­lenges that accom­pa­ny the cur­rent “woke” cul­tur­al rev­o­lu­tion. In his pre­sen­ta­tion, O’Fallon explained that we are cur­rent­ly expe­ri­enc­ing an epoch of time where mankind has pur­pose­ly revert­ed to non-real­i­ties while reject­ing objec­tive truth. Mr. O’Fallon’s speech, After Light, Dark­ness, explored the sad real­i­ty that the pur­suit of truth that expo­nen­tial­ly increased after the ref­or­ma­tion and enlight­en­ment was quick­ly being extinguished.

Accord­ing to an arti­cle in Reli­gious News, Sov­er­eign Nations was cre­at­ed to oppose “glob­al­ism” in gen­er­al and the Open Soci­ety Foun­da­tions of phil­an­thropist George Soros in par­tic­u­lar, a fre­quent tar­get of far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. The arti­cle also notes the Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ist themes espoused by Sov­er­eign Nations on its website:

“As can be seen over the past 8 years, the goal of Open Soci­ety Foun­da­tions is to demean and destroy the tenets of tra­di­tion­al con­ser­vatism and thus cre­ate a cri­sis of con­science with­in the mind of the con­ser­v­a­tive,” it reads. “In order to suc­ceed, we must rebuild the con­fi­dence in the pre­sup­po­si­tions of con­ser­vatism in all of its exer­cised forms includ­ing in eco­nom­ics, civ­il lib­er­ties, fam­i­ly, sov­er­eign­ty, the­ol­o­gy, rule of law, and for­eign affairs.” The ref­er­ence to the­ol­o­gy is key to much of O’Fallon’s recent work. His orga­ni­za­tion often mix­es both reli­gious and polit­i­cal world views, espe­cial­ly how the two play out with­in evan­gel­i­cal Protes­tantism. His ven­tures tend to have a Calvin­ist bent: Sev­er­al speak­ers at Sovereign’s con­fer­ences are part of what’s known as the “Reformed” or “Reformed-Bap­tist” sub­set of evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian­i­ty. This group is heav­i­ly influ­enced by a con­ser­v­a­tive inter­pre­ta­tion of the 16th-cen­tu­ry French the­olo­gian John Calvin.

Read the rest here.

O’Fal­lon is also a believ­er in the “Great Reset,” a far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that the World Eco­nom­ic Forum is involved with a plot to destroy cap­i­tal­ism and enact a one-world gov­ern­ment under the cov­er of COVID-19. A GIOR inves­ti­ga­tion revealed in August 2021 that Rus­sia had launched a dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign spread­ing “the Great Reset” con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry in the West.

Anoth­er GIOR inves­ti­ga­tion indi­cates that Boghos­sian’s part­ner­ship with O’Fal­lon and Sov­er­eign Nations goes beyond par­tic­i­pat­ing in inter­views and con­fer­ences. In 2019, he was list­ed in Flori­da state records as a man­ag­er of New Dis­cours­es LLC, a com­pa­ny reg­is­tered to O’Fal­lon and co-man­aged by James Lind­say, a col­league of Boghos­sian’s iden­ti­fied above as part of the “Griev­ance Stud­ies” hoax and the founder of New Dis­cours­es. New Dis­cours­es is spon­sored by O’Fal­lon and was cre­at­ed by Lind­say to oppose Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry (CRT),” an aca­d­e­m­ic con­cept about racial jus­tice that has become a hot-but­ton issue in US con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles and has been employed as a divi­sive tool by Russ­ian influ­ence oper­a­tions. Lind­say, a for­mer mas­sage ther­a­pist with a Ph.D. in Math, is a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist recent­ly banned from Twit­ter for life in con­nec­tion with his fre­quent accu­sa­tion of “Ok Groomer,” a ref­er­ence to rightwing accu­sa­tions about LGBTQ teach­ers. In late Octo­ber, US media report­ed that the sus­pect accused of attack­ing the hus­band of US Con­gres­sion­al leader Nan­cy Pelosi had post­ed links to videos cre­at­ed by Lind­say attack­ing drag queen events and oth­er sup­posed “groomers.”

Boghos­sian’s part­ner­ship with Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists is sig­nif­i­cant in light of the role played by Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ism in the Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Alliance (GNCA), as recent­ly report­ed by GIOR. One of the key Euro­pean play­ers in this alliance is the Math­ias Corv­i­nus Col­legium (MCC), a Hun­gar­i­an edu­ca­tion­al facil­i­ty described in a GIOR report as follows:

The MATHIAS CORVINUS COLLEGIUM, a Hun­gar­i­an edu­ca­tion­al facil­i­ty, is a key part of the ORBÁN government’s strug­gle to con­trol Hun­gar­i­an high­er edu­ca­tion and is the cen­ter of Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive activ­i­ty in the coun­try. This facil­i­ty, fund­ed by a mas­sive gift of stock from the ORBÁN gov­ern­ment, has spon­sored events and teach­ing posi­tions for promi­nent US right-wing fig­ures. Rus­sia has already begun to employ Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive themes in its influ­ence oper­a­tions which will like­ly find a more recep­tive West­ern audi­ence than in the past. Hun­gary is par­tic­u­lar­ly fer­tile ground for Russ­ian exploita­tion of Nation­al Con­ser­vatism giv­en the exist­ing close rela­tion­ship between Russ­ian and Hun­gar­i­an elites and an exten­sive pre-exist­ing Russ­ian influ­ence network.

Read the full report here

GIOR recent­ly report­ed that Boghoss­ian, an MCC guest instruc­tor, was in Roma­nia on behalf of the MCC and meet­ing with a Roman­ian MP whose par­ty is spon­sor­ing anti-LGBTQ leg­is­la­tion accused by crit­ics of fuel­ing Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da and dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns. GIOR report­ed in Octo­ber that MCC Brus­sels Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Frank Fure­di is an author for the Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da media oper­a­tion RT (for­mer­ly Rus­sia Today), where he has pub­lished mul­ti­ple arti­cles on cul­ture war themes. GIOR has also report­ed on MCC guest lec­tur­er John Laugh­land, a leader in the far-right Dutch polit­i­cal par­ty the FvD and said to fit the pro­file of a KGB enabler.

Ear­li­er this week, GIOR report­ed on the ris­ing Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and its role in sup­port­ing Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin while oppos­ing mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine.

For fur­ther back­ground on Peter Boghoss­ian and his role at the MCC, go here.


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