From Reconstructionism to Dominionism, Part 2
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Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 12:14:36 AM EST

To a man, Reconstructionists believe that Biblical prophecies assure them that they will ultimately be victorious in the war they are waging to remake society.  This chief thing that divides Reconstructionists are the methods they employ to change the culture and society.  R. J. Rushdoony thought change would come as the gospel spread and lives were transformed.  This would necessarily be gradual and could conceivably take centuries to accomplish.  Gary North, on the other hand, thinks change can come rapidly by taking over the institutions of civil government in a manner similar to the way Fundamentalists took over of the Southern Baptist Convention.   Their differences over tactics led to conflict between Rushdoony and North.

[To hear a 4 minute podcast (mp3 file) of Bill Moyers discussing North's tactics and questioning Rushdoony about them, click here and wait for it to download.]

Despite their differences over the tactics and strategy, all Reconstructionists are committed to making the laws of Ancient Israel the law of the land in the U.S.  They believe the Mosaic law is God's blueprint for all societies.  Transported to the context of twenty-first century America, they see themselves as "Christian Libertarians."  Stripped to its barest essentials, here is their blueprint for America.  Their ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Constitution conform to a strict, literal interpretation of Biblical law.  To do that involves a series of legal and social reforms that will move society toward their goal.  Here is their blueprint:  1) Make the ten commandments the law of the land,  2) Strengthen patriarchically ordered families,  3) Close public schools - make parents totally responsible for the education of their children,  4) Reduce the role of government to the defense of property rights, 5) Require "tithes" to ecclesiastical agencies to provide welfare services,  6) Close prisons - reinstitute slavery as a form of punishment and require capital punishment for all of ancient Israel's capital offenses - including apostacy, blasphemy, incorrigibility in children, murder, rape, Sabbath breaking, sodomy, and witchcraft.

[To hear a 6.18 minute podcast (mp3 file) of Rushdoony explaining to Bill Moyers the rationale for applying the death penalty to adulterers, homosexuals and incorrigible children, click here and wait until it downloads.]

With the exception of the call to close prisons, significant steps toward the kind of reforms that Reconstructionists envision have already been made in our society.  What they have been able to accomplish has been done by their allying themselves with the Republican party and other conservative Christians and working through the political process.  By doing so, they have been able to exert extensive influence over the whole evangelical movement.  

I use the term Dominionism to describe the broader movement, heavily influenced by Reconstructionist ideas, that is working from within the political system to takeover the institutions of government and create a theocratic republic.  That is being accomplished by 1) declaring the United States to be a "Christian Nation," 2) electing conservative "Christian" candidates who are legislating biblical morality and law, and 3) electing and/or appointing "strict constructionist" judges who will rule in accord with biblical law.

[To hear a 6.12 minute podcast (mp3) of Bill Moyers trying to get Paul Pressler to talk to him about his involvement in the Council for National Policy (along with Falwell, Robertson, North, Rushdoony and others), click here and wait for it to download.]

[To hear a 4.41 minute podcast of Bill Moyers talking to Joseph Morecraft about the expected effects of a political alliance that he forged between Charismatics and Reconstructionists, click here and wait for it to download.]

The chief thing that distinguishes Reconstructionists from most of the conservative evangelicals in the Dominionist movement is that they are not ultimately pessimistic about the possibility of men ushering in the millennial reign of Christ.  Most conservative Christians are pre-millenialists.  They think Jesus has to return to usher in the kingdom of God on earth.  Reconstructionists, on the other hand, are post-millenialists.  They think Jesus expects them to usher in the kingdom of God before he returns and some of them expect to do it by force - by force of law and/or by force of arms.

Most of the people in the anti-abortion terrorist underground - the people who bomb abortion clinics and shoot abortion providers -- are Reconstructionists who grew impatient with the slow pace of reform through involvement in the political process.  They have already taken the law into their own hands.

Some Reconstructionists realize that, sooner or later, there is bound to be a backlash against the kind of society that they intend to create.  Many seem to be biding their time until public sentiment turns decisively against the kind of reforms they are seeking.  When that happens, I believe that some, if given the opportunity, will be willing to take up arms and wage another civil war.  Some of their literature indicates that they believe that such actions can be morally and theologically justified if they follow a lesser magistrate (like the Governor of a state) who claims to be following biblical law while refusing to submit to a rule of law that is imposed by a secular constitutional authority.  This kind of crisis could easily be precipitated by the Governor of state, like Alabama, refusing to execute a Court order to remove a ten commandments monument from state government property.

[Incidently, Aubrey Vaughn, the pastor whose church and congregants participated in the making of the Hotze GOP takeover video, was arrested at the courthouse in Alabama for trying to obstruct the removal of Roy Moore's ten commandments monument. To hear a 4.6 minute podcast of Vaughn, identifying himself as Ray Jones, offering a resolution against government schools in the Hotze video, click here and wait for it to download.]

NOTE:  The audio excerpts of Moyers with Rushdoony and Moorecraft are from Bill Moyer's 1989 documentary God and Politics:  On Earth as it is in Heaven.  The audio excerpt of Moyers with Pressler is from Bill Moyer's 1989 documentary God and Politics:  The Battle for the Bible.

Next Week, I'll write about SBC Takeover Leaders and the Council for National Policy

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

On Restoring America
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




Display:
This is so depressing to read. It's like how I felt regarding global warming ten years ago: That it wouldn't matter what the rest of the world did if the people of United States did nothing, & since the  people were. doing  nothing, it was too late to arrest global warming, as we would learn in about a decade. Now I feel that  decisively repressive aspects of the reconstructionist agenda won't awaken Catholics & mainstream protestants until it's too late to turn them back.

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by Mainstream Baptist on Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 10:06:33 AM EST
Parent

I certainly agree with you, but....

I'm a blue person living in a red state (KY) and I almost always feel over-whelmed when I am outside of my home. I have discovered many, many people who are elderly, but who are truly Christians, not Dominionist or Reconstructionists. However, I have not met anyone who is under 60 years old, who is not either a Dominionist or an irreligious person, who agrees without much thinking with the Dominionist and/or Reconstructionist positions.

I recall reading in the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader about 2 years ago that a group was being formed by "mainstream" ministers to counter the Dominionist movement, but I have not read nor heard of them since.

I try to address these people with patience, but I must say they are as trying as any people I have ever dealt with. I strongly feel that we will never develop any positive interactions with these people if we do not take a patient approach. However, I know from experience that they are not interested in anything positive that does not increase their position.

I have learned that the "people on the ground" are not educated in the Gospels. They are as cold-blooded and uncaring about those they consider to be sinners as I am about stepping on a cockroach. They do not seem to recognize anyone's right to privacy nor dignity and don't care if "sinners" die. When talking with them, I am reminded of the Nazi attitude toward Jews; that sinners are like vermin and should be eradicated like vermin.

When I experience these people, I realize that it will probably take civil war to stop them.

I have been operating against these people on the net for 5 year. Chip Berlet turned me on to these folks back during the weeks after the Murrah Bldg was destroyed. However, until today, I was never able to see the relationship between the Dominionists and the Reconstructionist. Thank you for explaining that to me. Better late than never.

by copperqueen on Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 11:52:53 AM EST
Parent

In regards to the situation here in KY in particular:

The two major players are the Southern Baptist Convention (since the mid-80's) and the AoG and pente churches here (since much earlier--you being from KY, you're familiar with Frank Simon, I expect; let's just say the church Simon is a deacon of (Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville) has been at this for a good thirty or fourty years now).

In the case of the latter, I think that--especially with the groups into "third wave" theology--the groups heavily into dominionism have crossed the line to "coercive religious group" and productive dialogue is going to be very difficult at best.  (Two particular diary entries of mine detail how in many ways the core of the dominionist movement can be considered coercive (in the exact same sense as, say, Scientology is considered coercive) and I am about to post a third post regarding this.)

The Southern Baptists are, slowly but with rapidly increasing speed, also picking up a lot of the same "bad habits" of spiritual abuse that the pente/charismatic groups associated with dominionism and the "independent Baptist" groups associated with Christian Reconstructionism practice.  (And yes, I think one aspect of dominionism that people don't quite grasp if they aren't walkaways is that these groups are--at their core--spiritually abusive.)

Because of a lot of the specific tactics taught in coercive/spiritually abusive groups, any criticism of the group or its goals is likely to be demonised.  (This is why you have such a trouble of a time debating this with folks involved in it.)

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This will be familiar to any student of history, but this movement is revolutionary in nature and all revolutions based on narrow ideological grounds wind up eating their young. Since the core belief of Dominionist/Reconstructionists is the total wickedness of the world they cannot, by definition win. If at some point the world becomes less wicked they will have lost. These folks will always need an enemy. Remember the line from the old Chad Mitchell Trio song about the John Birch Society: "there's only me and thee, and I'm not so sure about thee".

The thing that really scares me about these folks is if they ever do find themselves in power they will not hesitate to use all weapons at their disposal to bring the "Kingdom of God".

I just wish I could be standing shoulder to shoulder with Gary North on the Mountaintop looking down upon the ruins of mankind when he realizes Jesus ain't coming and yes, the very elect have been decieved.

by GeneG on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 12:30:38 PM EST


It has been a busy weekend and I've not had time to keep up with the comments.

Thanks for your contributions to this discussion.

It is hard to reason with people whose mind is made up.  Oklahoma is probably a redder state than Kentucky, but I have seen signs that more people are waking up to the radical nature of change that is being worked out through political processes.

We need to find some concrete, positive things to do that can help expose the radical nature of the ideology that underlies the thinking of the religious right.

One of the things that I have done is to organize an Interfaith Day of Prayer and Reflection to compete with the National Day of Prayer that Shirley Dobson sponsors every year on the first Thursday in May.  When "Christian Nation" evangelicals refuse to participate with us and try to pretend that we are persecuting them for their faith, it doesn't sell well.  We bring together people from all the minority faiths that we can find and put them side by side with atheists.  We speak about the common value of religious liberty and freedom of conscience guaranteed by the first amendment.  We close in silent prayer and/or reflection and sing the national anthem.

This is the most positive, constructive and effective thing that I have done to counter the theocrats in Oklahoma.  It is something that could be duplicated elsewhere.  

by Mainstream Baptist on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 03:54:57 PM EST

Mainstream Baptist, this interfaith day is an excellent idea and I was very impressed when I saw the publicity for it last year. I do hope the idea spreads to other states.

by Carlos on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 07:13:43 PM EST
Parent

Mainstream Baptist, I sincerely hope that your Interfaith Day of Prayer goes well and has a great turnout. I heard about the blatant and overt discrimination that has been part and parcel of the National Day of Prayer, which should be properly re-titled National Day of Prayer, But Not If We Don't Like You (especially if you're Pagan).

Those folks make the fictional Landover Baptist look inclusive.

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Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (89 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (22 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (21 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (23 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (25 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (18 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (18 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (16 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (8 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (10 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (14 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (21 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (9 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (11 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (25 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (42 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (20 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (18 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (68 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (15 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (21 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (30 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (14 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (16 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (17 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (16 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (17 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (15 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (15 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (17 comments)

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