On Restoring America
Mainstream Baptist printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Nov 23, 2005 at 08:55:32 AM EST
In February 1990 I received an unsolicited video in the mail.  The video came from a Dr. Stephen Hotze and was entitled "Restoring America:  How You Can Impact Civil Government."  Filmed at a church in my neighborhood, I recognized the actors as the pastor and congregants of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church (the Jerry Falwell kind).   The video was a guide on how to 1) take over a Republican Party precinct meeting, 2) elect "Christian" delegates to the GOP District meeting, and 3) put planks supporting the theocratic agenda of Christian Reconstructionism into the party platform.
After reciting the standard mythology about America being a Christian nation, about the influence of Christianity on the reconstruction of the South after the civil war, and about the threat of modern secularism, here is what Hotze said on the video:

Biblically, the legitimate role of civil government is to provide justice based upon the absolute standards of God's law, to restrain wickedness, to punish evil doers, and to protect the life, liberty and property of law abiding citizens.

Christians have the responsibility to be actively involved in family, church and civil government arenas.  There is no neutrality.  Civil government will either reflect biblical Christianity or it will reflect anti-Christian positions.

You can make the difference.  The upcoming primary elections will provide you with the opportunity not only to exercise your right to vote but also to attend precinct conventions which occur at your polling place after the polls close.  The precinct convention is the most critical meeting for you to attend if you want to have an impact in the area of civil government.

[To hear an audio podcast (an mp3 file) of Hotze's 8 minute speech, click here and give it time to download.  To hear the audio from the entire 34 minute video, click here and give it time to download.]

I was not registered as a Republican, but I knew that a good friend of mine, a retired moderate Baptist preacher, chaired the GOP precinct in my neighborhood.  I called him and advised him about the organized attempt to takeover of his precinct.  He survived the challenge that year (they ousted him the next election cycle), but nearly all of the other Republican Party precinct leaders in Harris County lost their chairs.

Hotze's dominion over politics in Houston, Texas (the third largest city in the U.S.) began that year - just in time to prepare for service as host of the 1992 GOP National Convention.  His reign lasted for around a decade -- until he was arrested for D.W.I. and fell from the good graces of his Fundamentalist followers.  The machine he created, however, still rules over the Harris County Republican party and his success inspired and emboldened theocrats to takeover GOP precincts all over the state of Texas.

Along with his video tape, Hotze sent a written agenda and instructions for how to conduct a precinct meeting.  He also suggested resolutions for the party's platform.  Today, nearly all the planks that Hotze suggested can be found in the current platform of the Texas Republican Party.

Meanwhile, most of the country club Republicans who provide the funds for this theocratic juggernaut still seem to be sipping their cocktails in ignorant bliss.

Dominionists are patient revolutionaries.  They work through the system to gain control.  Then they work from within the system to change the system.  The changes they are making are incremental.  They have little respect for democracy and none for pluralism.  They mean business and they already hold many of the mechanisms of power around the country.    

It is long past time for Americans who love democracy to acknowledge what is at stake and start facing the challenge that these patient theocratic revolutionaries represent.  Facing this challenge means organizing at the grass roots level - precinct by precinct - the same way they did.  Rhetoric and writing alone, no matter how passionate, is not going to defeat them.  In the end, what matters most is the number of ballots that are cast to oppose them and whether the votes are accurately recorded.

Tomorrow I'll post an essay about the Southern Baptist judge who offered them advice on how to use the system and patiently gain control of the mechanisms of power that they need to effect change.

This is the first of six essays. Here are the links to the other essays in the series:

Learning to be Patient Revolutionaries
From Reconstructionism to Dominonism, Part 1
From Reconstructionism to Dominionism, Part 2
SBC Takeover Leaders and the CNP
Reconstructionism, Southern Baptists & Education

This post by "Mainstream Baptist" is both important and coincidental. The coincidence is that I'm also a Houstonian (for the last 16 years), and it was the work of Stephen Hotze that originally caused me to be alarmed about the effectiveness of his kind of Dominionist theo-fascism that was clearly spreading throughout Texas.

Indeed, the Republican party of Texas is now an extreme, right-wing body that controls the state, and clearly perceives itself as an instrument of God's will. The danger to religious freedom in Texas is now firmly entrenched.

by Ed Menken on Wed Nov 23, 2005 at 09:30:37 AM EST

It was early 1982 when he gathered a band of similarly-minded fanatics and got a local ballot initiative to repeal Austin's pioneering ordinance forbidding employment discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. They lost that vote. Dr. Hotze seemed to grow frustrated with Austin and moved on to Houston.
Dr. Hotze is now peddling female hormones in the Houston area.

by MaryOGrady on Wed Nov 23, 2005 at 10:29:21 AM EST

Ed and Mary,

Thanks for your comments.

I did not realize that Hotze started in Austin.

Mary is right about his quack hormone treatment.  Here's a link to a recent article in the Houston Press.

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Nov 23, 2005 at 01:26:30 PM EST

As I read about Holtze's tactics (and others of his ilk) I was struck by similarities with a past extremist takeover of a democracy: The seizure of Weimar Germany by the National Socialists in the early 1930s.  Hitler realized after his failed putsch that the Nazis had to work through the system, rather than use force to seize power.  I realize that the comparison between Depression-era Germany and the US is shakey, but the basic method, and ultimate goal, are worth examination.

I am truly afraid for the future of our nation, and the democratic ideals that we have held onto for over 200 years.

by mikee59 on Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 10:14:23 PM EST

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