No, the title is not a spelling error, and, yes, it is a play on words. There is no book or movie, to my knowledge, with this title, but there could be.
Nevertheless, I feel this play on words is a most appropriate appropriation or bastardization, as you prefer. The title of the now-famous book by Mario Puzo and the movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mario Puzo, parallels the rise and fall of religion in people's lives and society in general.
Like The Godfather, The Godfactor is about the repeated rise and fall of religion and the imposition of religious thinking and beliefs on others. At issue is the Roman Catholic Church, or any of the numerous non-Catholic but still devoutly religious protestant sects, the Jews, or Muslims, or the religious hash of smaller groups claiming that God speaks to them, telling them to go out and change the world.
So that what I'm trying to say is clear, I don't subscribe to religion; I believe it is mythology, but for those who do believe and use it for personal growth in their lives, I'm happy that they find fulfillment in their religion. The problem is those who radicalize religion. These are the people who want to force the rest of the world to believe and behave as they do and who go that extra mile to find like-minded political candidates for office who will change the laws of the land to reflect the beliefs of their religion.
And therein lies the problem. Many, if not a majority of your devoutly religious folk, seem to feel the need to go out and show everyone else the error of their ways and convert them to whatever rituals and beliefs their particular religion embraces. They feel driven to not only inform us about how they interrupt what their God intends for us, and they become passionate about converting everyone to their religion. Failing that, they get frustrated that their message is not working, so they try to insert themselves in positions in civil society to change the laws of the land.
I mentioned earlier the rise and fall of religion in society, and that has been its history. According to the 2020 Census of American Religion from the Public Religion Research Institute, about 45% of Americans identify as Protestants, 23% unaffiliated, and 22% Catholic. The remaining 10% is split among Mormons, Jews, Muslims, and other groups. The census concentrates on the subdivisions between white Christians and Christians of color, noting that "over the last few decades, the proportion of the U.S. population that is white Christian has declined by nearly one-third," from 65% in 1996 to 42% in 2017.
The survey's statistic that caught much of the attention had to do with white evangelicals. According to the census, "Since 2006, white evangelical Protestants have experienced the most precipitous drop in affiliation, shrinking from 23% of Americans in 2006 to 14% in 2020."
One of the things that will happen with any organism that feels threatened by extinction is radicalization and accelerating whatever it is supposed to be about, often in manic ways, to regain its relevancy and survive as a group or body. In the case of these religious groups, they want to up the ante and take control of society in a way that allows them to not only survive but hopefully thrive. In their minds, if they can force people to think as they do, eventually everyone will come around to that way of thinking on their own. They want to dictate to all of society.
Thus, my analogy with The Godfather. The Godfather had a vision of his world and the people in it where everyone bowed down and kissed his ring. He had his code of loyalty and justice, and he believed that if he made the lives of the non-adherents uncomfortable enough, they would stop resisting and let him have his way. He also brutally punished those who opposed in a manner meant to send a message to the others. To The Godfather, that was a win-win; he got the world he wanted, and his "followers" got to live in relative peace, if not happy, in a world where the Godfather laid down the rules. The Godfactor is the same model for society.
If you look at most religions, that is the model with which they work. They promise peace and life ever after, but only if you abide by their law and rules. If you resist, and they can gain power over you, they will do everything they can to make your life on this earth a living hell, and they promise you continued and infinite misery when you're dead. Such a deal!
Theocracy is one of the oldest forms of government known to man. The Jewish commonly practiced it in ancient times. So, you may ask yourself, which countries practiced theocracy? In ancient times, there were many theocracies, but many of those failed and were abandoned. Some of the countries once governed by theocracy include; Japan, China, ancient Egypt, Tibet, and Israel. Theocratic governments still rule counties like Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Vatican City, and Afghanistan. Most of these countries are in chaos and live under an iron rule; few would choose to live there.
Religion belongs in only a few places. Obviously, in your mind where you use it to inform you about your behavior. In your home, where you, assuming you establish your authority there, may impose it on the rest of your family. And, finally, your place of worship where like-minded individuals can come together and reinforce their belief in the righteousness of their religion.
That is it. The halls of civilian governance must never become places of worship. It should never be the law of the land.
I am becoming legitimately concerned that we may be headed down the road to a second civil war in this country. It won't be exactly like the first one, but probably bloodier if that's even possible.
It seems to me that all the elements are there that were in place before. If we look at our country back then, while slavery seemed to be the defining issue, we had political and ideological divides in much of our society. In 1850, Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It is impossible to grasp the effect that Uncle Tom’s Cabin had after its publication. It was an enormous bestseller, selling hundreds of thousands of copies at a time when the nation had only about 25 million people. It brought home, to a vastly increased proportion of the white North, the awful situation of black people living under slavery.
Violence became common. In 1856, on the floor of the Senate occurred an incident when Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, gave a powerful speech condemning what he called the “Crime against Kansas”—perhaps allowing slavery into Kansas—was caned on the floor of the Senate by Preston Brooks, a Representative from South Carolina. Beaten senseless and covered with blood, he collapsed on the floor. Charles Sumner, an abolitionist, left the Senate for three years as a result of this beating, and Massachusetts left his seat vacant.
In 1857, one of the most important Supreme Court cases in U.S. history was handed down, presided over by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney. The decision in effect said that no black person could be a citizen.
Through the 1840s and 1850s it was felt that the national institutions that had been historically looked at to bring the nation together were failing. The churches split over the issue of slavery. There were divisions of Northern Baptists and Southern Baptists or Northern Methodists and Southern Methodists, rather than just Baptists and Methodists. Political parties were effected as well: the Whig and Democratic parties broke down. Those parties had been national parties, tending to hold things together because the parties would attempt to find compromises so they would have voters in both the North and the South.
The pre–Civil War years (1820–1860, or the “antebellum years”) were among the most chaotic in American history—a time of significant changes that took place as the United States came of age. The Market Revolution—the shift from an agricultural economy to one based on wages and the exchange of goods and services—completely changed the northern and western economy between 1820 and 1860.
The United States had been a land comprised almost entirely of farmers, but around 1820, millions of people began to move to the cities. They, along with several million Irish and German immigrants, flooded northern cities to find jobs in the new industrial economy. This change transformed the social fabric, giving birth to America’s first middle class. Comprised mostly of white-collar workers and skilled laborers, this growing middle class became the driving force behind a variety of reform movements. Among these were movements to reduce consumption of alcohol, eliminate prostitution, improve prisons and insane asylums, improve education, and ban slavery. Religious revivalism, resulting from the Second Great Awakening, also had a large impact on American life in all parts of the country.
The major political struggles during the antebellum period focused on states’ rights. Southern states were dominated by “states’ righters”—those who believed that the individual states should have the final say in matters of interpreting the Constitution. Others, such as President Andrew Jackson and Chief Justice John Marshall, believed that the federal government had authority over the states. The debate came to a head in the Nullification Crisis of 1832–1833, which nearly touched off a civil war
Today, our issues mirror much of what was going on almost 200 years ago. The individualists, those refusing COVID vaccinations, masks, protesting commerce shutdowns, and insisting on defying the authority of the government to put in place rules that are for the benefit of all of society are rising up, sometimes violently. Racism is still a powerful force in politics, driving redistricting and states changing laws to minimize the impact of people of color voting in elections.
The so-called gun-rights movement, calling out armed protesters with assault weapons and showing up at every demonstration imaginable are driving a wedge between conservatives and progressives. Courts and juries exonerating people who have shot others dead on the street. Other issues like a woman's right to choose, LGBTQ rights, and immigration reform are hot button issues for both sides of the political spectrum.
We regularly score elections as red or blue as if we were two competing sports teams. Big money is generally funding the conservative side in the hope that they will be protected from taxation. Political parties now appoint judges based on ideology, not their qualifications or past performance on the bench. The commitment by both the parties and the candidates for judicial appointment to a non-political and constitutional judgeship is almost a thing of the past.
And, like the 1800s, the churches are divided on almost all these issues with, it seems to me, a conservative majority siding with the more draconian view of governing. A major problem, as it was back then, is when a group of ideologically aligned people conclude that they have God on their side, and that they are somehow doing what they are convinced God wants done, they, like fundamentalist Muslims, Jews, or any religious fundamentalist sect, will not be moved from their mission. They are willing to become martyrs to their beliefs.
These are all the reasons I believe that we are in very real danger of having another armed conflict within our nation. Certainly, the extreme right not only views guns as a god-given right (where they get that is anyone's guess) but also see guns as an necessary and important tool to force their beliefs on the rest of a democratic nation. Rather than work within a system of laws and courts, they reach for the gun. All that is needed, now, is for the progressives to come to the conclusion that negotiation and compromise are no longer tools toward peace and that they too must take up arms to defend our constitutional form of government, just as happened in the mid-1800s.
I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but for the life of me, I see no way through this mess. Like the Confederacy of the past, the current religious/racist/states-rights hard core will only be stopped by another loss of a war. They won't go away anymore than the hardcore Confederates went away, but in defeat, they will withdraw for hopefully another century before rising again.
It Could Happen Here - It Almost Did!
This is an excerpt from the website thought.co explaining the rise of Hitler to dominate Germany under the Nazi Party and become a threat to the world.
I have edited this excerpt, replacing Hitler's name with Trump's and adjusting other references such as Germany to the United States as well as other editorial changes to show the parallels in any authoritarian attempt to take over our nation or any country. https://www.thoughtco.com/early-development-of-the-nazi-party-1221360
Early on, Trump already seemed to have become a fan of anti-Semitic beliefs, an admirer of the Nazi ideology, anti-democratic and anti-socialist thought – preferring an authoritarian government – and committed to a vision of US nationalism and isolation.
Trump eventually declared himself the 'Leader' of the GOP. He provided the energy – mainly via well-received, if not well-delivered, oratory by a seemingly mindless minority - which propelled the party along and bought in more members. Already the GOP was using a militia of volunteer street fighters to attack left-wing enemies, bolster their image, and control what was said at meetings. Trump realized the value of MAGA uniforms, imagery, and propaganda from his reading of Mein Kampf.
Trump took charge of a small part of the GOP in the beginning. He aimed to expand his power through growing subscriptions in his branch of the GOP. Social media sites were created/used to spread his bigoted word (Twitter, Facebook, and after being expelled from those, his personal news site); radical fringe groups like QAnon and The Proud Boys were recruited to his cause. Some paramilitary types were enlisted, designed to take the physical fight to any opposition, and battles were fought against socialist groups. Trump knew he needed allies and opened discussions with many right-wing organizations and politicians.
GOP politicians joined in reluctantly (until a few were able to flee). Support for Trump's version of conservatism was small at the start, and there was no mass uprising or military acquiescence, as is often the case in authoritarian takeovers. Reluctantly, he had to try to take over via the system.
An utter failure in business, and with little but mockery in the beginning as he ran for the GOP nomination, Trump had little chance of gaining broad support across the GOP. Still, Trump was an experienced huckster, and he managed to take control of his campaign and turn it into a grandstanding platform, aided by local and national GOP and racist groups like the KKK, who had their network.
Trump had no 'ideology' as we'd like to call it, no coherent intellectual picture, but instead offered a confusing mishmash of ideas he had acquired from elsewhere, which he melded together with a heavy dose of opportunism. None of his ideas were unique, and you can find their origins in the Nazi ideology he embraced. He could bring those ideas together and present them to people already familiar with rabid bigotry: a vast amount of them, the under-informed, of all classes, who knew the racist and sexist ideas in a different form, and Trump brought them all together and turned them into supporters.
Trump believed that white Americans were a master race. Due to a corrupted version of evolution, social Darwinism, and outright racism, they would have to fight their way to the domination they were naturally supposed to achieve. Because there would be a struggle for dominance, the white race should keep their bloodlines clear and not 'interbreed.'
Just as the whites were at the top of this absurd racial hierarchy, other peoples were considered at the bottom, including the African Americans, Latinos, followers of Islam, and the Jews. Discrimination was a critical part of Trump's rhetoric from the start, but the mentally and physically ill and anyone gay was considered equally offensive to white purity in his world. Trump's ideology has been described as terribly simple, even for racism.
The identification of Americans as being only white was intimately tied to US nationalism. The battle for racial dominance would also be a battle for the political supremacy of the US states. Crucial to this was approach was the destruction of socialism, and not just the restoration of conservative power, but the expansion of conservative control in government and through the courts, and the creation of a new GOP in the US.
Trump started a radical new approach: the Republican party could not stage a coup, so it must get elected into federal and local government, especially the courts, and change everything from there. This wasn't 'going legal' but pretending to do so while ruling the streets with lies, innuendo, and violence.
After losing the 2020 election, Trump, aided by many in the GOP, would execute a final option to orchestrate an attempted coup and nullify the election; he would lose that as well as the election. It never ceases to amaze how, when you encounter a zealot like Trump, they are so convinced of their righteousness and correctness that they believe that the end goal justifies any means and that everyone will see the truth in their fantasy.
Trump wanted to create a party that he had absolute control over and put him in charge of the US to reform it. There were elements in the party that opposed these aspects because they wanted power instead of Trump, and it took a full year before Trump managed to take control essentially. However, there remained criticism and opposition from within the GOP, but only a few brave Republicans had the political backbone to do that.
With Trump mostly in charge, the party with Mitch McConnell in the lead focused on making appointments to the courts from municipal to the Supreme Court. After stonewalling President Obama for eight years on nominations to the courts, once Trump was elected, the Senate, under McConnell, rubber-stamped virtually everything Trump wanted.
Trump became the all-powerful leader of the GOP. He provided the energy – mainly via unintelligible but well-received oratory by his adherents - which propelled the party and bought in more members. Already using rhetoric and the support of right-wing groups like the NRA and many fundamentalist Christian leaders to attack left-wing enemies and to bolster their image and control of what was said at meetings, they increased their power,
Trump was like the GOP Svengali. Trump realized the value of the MAGA imagery and simplistic oratory. Using propaganda ranging from attacks on the news media to wild claims of the dangers of immigration, he beat those drums incessantly as he created both fear and anger among his followers.
Trump was clearly in charge, but he aimed to expand his power even more by growing subscriptions to his ideology. His stock in trade was his relentless use of Twitter and other social media to defile anyone who opposed him. He used rhetoric to encourage his acolytes to take the physical fight against any opposition, and battles were fought against socialist groups. Thanks to Trump's threats against his rivals within the GOP, he silenced almost all his critics and had free reign over his realm.
Ultimately, Trump's attempts to establish himself as a president for life, or whatever he had and still has in mind, failed. He was ousted in the 2020 election, and after fomenting the insurrection of January 6, 2021, to de-legitimize our election process, he was subsequently banned from virtually every major social media platform. He was labeled incommunicado and remains such today, notwithstanding his website and feeble attempts to rally the troops at poorly planned and attended rallies.
But, in Trump's mind, like that of Hitler, he thinks he will rise from the ashes to not only retake power over the nation but undoubtedly to exact retribution against those he sees as traitors. One quality that has been unwavering in his loopy mind and diatribes has been getting even with people who question him in any way. That is also the brand of a tyrant.
As a nation, we cannot relax our guard against a tyrant and usurper who seems to channel the most dangerous dictator in modern history. We have only to look at the downfall of Germany under Hitler to see the possibilities of the resurrection of Trump.