Marla R. Stevens

Know Your Enemy

Filed By Marla R. Stevens | October 28, 2005 8:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Media

I was asked by a number of people who read my last post on the real agenda behind dumping Miers what I was talking about when I referenced the Dominionists.

Besides the obvious like Wikipedia's article on Dominionism, and other references to Christian Reconstructionism, covenant theology, kingdom theology, the Chalcedon Foundation, the Rutherford Institute, and theonomy, try Bob Moser's excellent "Christian evangelicals are plotting to remake America in their own image".

From that article:

"Most people hear them talk about a 'Christian nation' and think, 'Well, that sounds like a good, moral thing,' says the Rev. Mel White, who ghostwrote Jerry Falwell's autobiography before breaking with the evangelical movement. "What they don't know -- what even most conservative Christians who voted for Bush don't know -- is that 'Christian nation' means something else entirely to these Dominionist leaders. This movement is no more about following the example of Christ than Bush's Clean Water Act is about clean water."
And don't miss Bill Moyers' take on Dominionism in the context of environmental crises.

Dominionism is based in the writings of Greg Bahnson and R.J. Rushdoony's "presuppositionalism" (meaning 'everything is religious and you don't have the right or ability to define truth for yourself') which was born of Cornelius Van Til's writings on the rightfulness of biblical supremacy.

Theological heirs to the Millerites, the Dominionists' theological excuses are Genesis 1:28 (commanding men to have "dominion" over "every living thing") -- they believe that the breaking of the covenant by Adam and Eve gave Satan dominion and it's their job to get it back, believing that Jesus commanded them to do so in Matthew 28:19-20, the passage known as the "Great Commission". They rewrote its command to prosthelytize into one giving them a responsibility to rule the world.

Among other things, they denounce all government social programs, unions, public schools, and environmental protections, and regulation of physicians and lawyers. They promote mass executions for sins as minor as swearing at parents via stoning ("because rocks are cheap, plentiful and convenient") and other biblical methods, would require tithing and promote the White House faith-based agenda as a training program for that, decry democracy as heretical, would relegate women to subservience by force of law, would deny citizenship to nonDominionists, and, in some versions, forbid interracial marriage, promote Holocaust revisionism, and endorse segregation and a return of slavery to the U.S. They are the mullah class of the AmTaliban.

Not content to retain the Pledge of Allegiance's "under God" clause, they want to replace the whole kit-n-kaboodle with: "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe." Seriously. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

They are quite secretive (they were the architects of the movement to take over school boards by stealth elections) but are growing rapidly in political power. Their modern call to arms was Francis Schaeffer's 1981 tome, The Christian Manifesto, a battle plan to reignite the long-dormant movement's spark in a way that R.J. Rushdoony's 1973 neoCalvinist and segregationist Institutes of Biblical Law did not (although a close listen to the 700 Club will find not infrequent references to the "wisdom" of Rushdoony.)

They're big on Armaggedon but are focused these days more on what they call "post-millenialism" -- Christians' duty to take over the world and impose biblical rule (their way of handling their disappointment that the Rapture didn't happen while the rest of us were celebrating the globalism of the millenial change.) They believe now that the "blessing" of Armageddon won't happen until they've achieved world dominion -- until the church (meaning the churches they approve of) control all the world's governments and institutions and most of the world's population have accepted the Reconstruction brand of Christianity. This offer of power and control appealed to the typically powerless who fill their pews and the movement took off big time -- and it doesn't bother them a whit that their theology is patently antiChristian and antiAmerican. They're so stealthy, though, that most of their followers don't even know they're their followers.

Queers are definitely in their sights. Many in their movement call August 10, 1993, when the Atlanta-area Cobb County Commission voted to condemn homosexuality with its countywide No-Promo-Homo ordinance, sparking the protests that moved all the 1996 Olympic venues out of that home turf of Newt (remember the "Izzy A Bigot?" and "Yes, Izzy Really Is A Bigot!" T's playing on the name of the games' peculiar little mascot?), as the day their movement really got started. Not surprisingly, their plans call for an immediate round-up and execution of all gay men but lesbians would be exempt because we're not covered in Mosaic Law (reminiscent of Victorian England's sodomy laws which targeted gay men but exempted lesbians because Queen Victoria thought women "would never do such a thing.")

My professional life has been largely consumed with them, although I didn't understand who and what I was really fighting in an articulably provable sense until after 1984. The list of their tentacles is long, including the Promise Keepers, Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, Scalia, Rep. Larry MacDonald, Rev. Gary DeMar, Judge Roy Moore, Georgia's education chief Kathy Cox, Rev. Don & Ellen Boys (author of AIDS: Silent Killer, publisher of Homosexuality: The High Cost of Low Living, and, as a Hoosier legislator in the '70s, author of Indiana's restoration of the death penalty), Tim & Beverly LaHaye, the Constitution Party (and their current ultra-wierd offshoot plan to take over parts of South Carolina), R.J.'s Rushdoony's son Mark, the violent-tongued Gary North, Falwell (in function though not titularly), Joe Morecraft, Mathew Staver and the Liberty Counsel, and now they pretty much own the Southern Baptist leadership turf (leaders who equivocate in public with terms like religious majoritarianism in places where theocracy is a dirty word) as well as increasing their footprint in the previously apolitical Assemblies of God, the Texas Republican Party, Zell Miller, Lindsey Graham, Jack Kingston, Herb Titus (the former Regent U Law & Public Policy Schools' dean), (former Southern Baptist chief and a big influence on the religious basis of Shrub's war against 'evil') Charles Stanley, and home-school promoter Paul Lindstrom.

They were the earliest major force behind the election of Schwarzenegger as they fueled the recall work of McClintock against Gray Davis.

More devotees include David "the God of Judaism is the devil" Chilton, Lincoln Log Homes International, Flip Benham, Randall Terry, Richard Schoff (former head of one of the Indiana-based KKKs), the Council for National Policy, Paul Weyrich, Jerry Jenkins, Rev. James D. Kennedy and the Coral Ridge Presbyterians (the major promoter of their stealth policy), Gary Cass, Rep. Katherine Harris, Alan Sears and the Alliance Defense Fund, the Limbaugh brothers, Rick Scarborough, Richard Land, Rev. Gary Beeler, Kevin McCoy (who led the successful drive to remove West Virginia's school anti-bullying program), Amway's Rich DeVos, AOL's founder Steve Case's wife Jean, Domino Pizza's Tom Monaghan, Dobson's Focus on the Family and his son Ryan and Ryan's love Linda, the Center for Christian Statesmanship, Tom DeLay (of course), Rep. Walter Jones (author of the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act that would allow a church exemption to the IRS regs prohibiting political candidate endorsement for 501-c-3s), John Aman, Gabriel Carpenter (NY Public Schools' abstinence ed coordinator), American history revisionist David Barton, Michael Pink, Ultimate Living nutrition program, Gavin McLeod, Donna Douglas, Ann B. Davis, Lauren Chapin, Ronda Fleming, Accuracy in Media, Jews for Jesus, Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council, Bob Lepine and FamilyLife Today, covenant marriage laws, the American History Preservation Act, pastor Frank Wright and the National Religious Broadcasters (major hate-crime law and FCC Fairness Doctrine foes), James MacDonald, (even reaching into the previously staunchly apolitical) Salvation Army, Rev. Glenn Plummer, The Jerusalem Christian Connection International, Love Won Out, the "Lock and Load" megachurch preacher/South Bend cabal heir apparent from Columbus Ohio, and so many more.

There is a rather exhaustive list of articles on Yurica and the writings of Bill Berkowitz are particularly enlightening.

From Chris Hedges' "Soldiers of Christ II: Feeling the Hate With the National Religious Broadcasters":

I can't help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr. James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the "Christian fascists."

He gave us that warning twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelists began speaking of a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all major American institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government, so as to transform the United States into a global Christian empire. At the time, it was hard to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously. But fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Adams had watched American intellectuals and industrialists flirt with fascism in the 1930s. Mussolini's "Corporatism," which created an unchecked industrial and business aristocracy, had appealed to many at the time as an effective counterweight to the New Deal. In 1934, Fortune magazine lavished praise on the Italian dictator for his defanging of labor unions and his empowerment of industrialists at the expense of workers. Then as now, Adams said, too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state. Adams had watched German academics fall silent or conform. He knew how desperately people want to believe the comfortable lies told by totalitarian movements, how easily those lies lull moderates into passivity.

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right's persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Twelve thousand volumes from the institute's library were tossed into a public bonfire. Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first "deviants" singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next.

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Michael M. said...
Jesus warned his disciples to be wary of false prophets, of "wolves in sheep's clothing."

Michael M. said...
By the way, thanks for a very informative post. I read both of the Soldiers of Christ articles in Harper's and found them to be of particular interest. I believe in the separation of church and state, and do not wish to see our democratic system of government weakened by theocratic ideologues.

Marla thanks for taking the time to add-to/educate those of us trying to make sense of the RRR movement/ideology that has been attacking the queer community, along with many others. Last night NBC aired a Brokow report titled: In God They Trust. The program was in sync with the information you posted here. Anyone interested in reading the program transcript can find it here:

Queer Republicans please reconsider your position. The GOP is no longer the party of Lincoln-it hasn’t been for a long time. Lincoln’s edict that you can “I destroy my enemy when I make him my friend" hasn’t/isn’t going to work. The GOP has become the party of the RRR—the Christian Reconstructionists—the Fundamentalists—the Wing nuts.

Progressive, moderate, normal-conservative type Republicans…you are providing the essential COVER the RRR need in order to transform our liberty/democracy into their theocracy.

You are confusing presupositioanlists with theonimists. Beyond completely glossing over nuanced arguments, you conflate the 700 Club with certain segments of Reformed Christianity. Those aren't the people you are thinking of.

In other words, I think there is a high degree of probablility that don't know who "your enemy" is.

Marla Stevens | October 31, 2005 5:38 AM

Kay --
Thank you for the transcript URL. It's good to know that some of this information is beginning to filter into the more accessible areas of the MSM.

Most of the gay Republicans I know are often forced to do crossover voting in the general election to avoid voting against their own interests as gay people (and decent people in other aspects of political thought as well). However, I probably surround myself with a better class of gay Republican than average!

Not all of their state parties have been taken over by the forces of darkness, although, sadly, an increasing number have been. I admire those who have the fortitude to stand and fight that in the face of such tough odds.

In other words, I see people of varying degrees of ethics and integrity across party lines.

I have times, though, when I can't help myself but declare that the battle of those with high standards of ethics and integrity has been lost and thus understand where you're coming from on this.

Marla Stevens | October 31, 2005 5:53 AM

Geoff --

I have not confused presuppositionalism with theonomy nor do I deny that they are separate things. The confusion you sense may stem from the cross-pollination as it were in the history and devotees of each over time, Dominionism and the Dominionists being just one example thereof.

Nuanced arguments were obviously not my intent in this introductory romp, the purpose of which was clearly stated and which would make such depth beyond the scope of this blog at this juncture -- especially given that, for most of its readers, the term Dominionist is likely a new one. Therefore holding me to such a standard is something of an overreach.

As for the conflation you complain of, I didn't do it, they did, and I thus stand by my statement.

My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!

Your jaw will drop!

eschatology,End Times,second coming,rapture,secret rapture,Second Resurrection,Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead,
End of days,Day of the Lord,Endtime,Judgment Day

Marla R. Stevens | March 24, 2006 5:02 PM

I seem to have attracted some wingnuts. Fascinating.

Save your comments, AmTaliban. I have no intention of basing any meaningful decisions on the ergot-poisoned nightmares of some unfortunate ancient scribbler. The question remains why you seem to be willing to and somehow need company in the madness.