Michael Flynn’s Holy War | Frontline PBS

A purified Gnosticism, then and now, is truly for a relative handful only, and perhaps is as much an aesthetic as it is a spiritual discipline. But, as the Millennium approaches, with the remote yet real possibility of a virtual Gingrichian America, we may behold a mass Gnosticism of protest rise out of a new Brethren of the Free Spirit, compounded of an urban dispossessed without federal welfare, and the sorry legions of Generation X, the middle-class young who will resent laboring all their lives to pay off the deficits of the Reaganite and Gingrichian revolutions. It is a dismal prophecy, but 1996–2004 could continue to be the reign of Speaker Gingrich, and thus become a future shock indeed, a Christian Coalition (with some Jewish neoconservative camp followers) that could repeal much of the Bill of Rights through constitutional amendments, while returning us to the America of the late nineteenth-century robber barons.

Harold Bloom, “Omens of the Millenium: The Gnosis of Dreams, Angels, and Immortality” (1996)

Compared to the power of a Buddha, a Jesus, or a Mohammed, what does that of the conquerors signify? Abandon the notion of glory unless you are tempted to found a religion! Though in this sector, most places are taken, and men do not resign them readily: the leaders of a sect, what are they if not founders of a religion to the second degree? From the point of view of effectiveness alone, a Calvin or a Luther, having launched conflicts still unresolved today, quite eclipses a Charles V or a Philip II. Spiritual Caesarism is more refined and richer in upheavals than Caesarism proper: if you would leave a name, attach it to a church rather than to an empire. You will thereby have neophytes enfeoffed to your fate or to your fads, followers you can save or mistreat as you like.

CIORAN, “History and Utopia” (1960)

In “Michael Flynn’s Holy War,” FRONTLINE and the Associated Press examine how the retired three-star general and first national security adviser to former President Donald Trump has emerged as a leader in a far-right movement that seeks to put its brand of Christianity at the center of American civic life and institutions and is attracting election deniers, conspiracists and extremists from around the country.

Drawing on interviews with 125 people, including Flynn’s family, friends, critics, current and former colleagues — and Flynn himself — the documentary illustrates how Flynn’s influence has grown since the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — and how his pedigree and military career, combined with his connection to high-powered, well-financed political groups, have allowed him to travel the country and advance his movement since January 6.

In the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections, “Michael Flynn’s Holy War” is a revealing look at the rise of one of the Republican party’s most active and polarizing political allies, and what his growing influence might mean for future U.S. elections.