American Family Association Promotes Theocratic Dominionist Gary Demar
Max Blumenthal printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 01:09:47 AM EST
Leaders of major Christian right interest groups used to read R.J. Rushdoony, but it's not fashionable to do so anymore. That's what I was told last year by a conservative evangelical college professor who attended meetings of the Values Action Team, an off-the-record caucus of Washington-based Christian right groups and right-wing members of congress. I confirmed for myself just how uncomfortable a subject Rushdoony is for the mainstream Christian right when I approached Richard Land last December and asked if he agreed with Rushdoony's ideology. Land cringed, then collected himself enough to utter a boilerplate denunciation of his work.
But while Rushdoony is publicly shunned by the media-friendly face of the Christian right, his Dominionist ideas and those of his acolytes remain influential within the movement. A startling example of the lingering influence of Dominionism came on the February 2 broadcast of American Family Radio's Today's Issues program.

As I documented for Media Matters, the American Family Association opened its airwaves to Gary Demar, a leading advocate of Dominionism, who has repeatedly advocated installing a theocratic government which would mandate the execution of gays, adulterers and abortion doctors, among many others. Demar's think tank, American Vision, is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

During the AFR broadcast, American Family Association President Tim Wildmon (heir apparent of Don) praised Demar as "one of the best writers out there in the Christian community and thinkers." Co-host Jeff Shambley told Demar, "I personally appreciate your work," and said he uses his books to home-school his children.

The American Family Association and its allies like to pose as the guardians of traditional culture from secularist decadence. But there is a seamy underbelly beneath their endless boycotts of "anti-Christian" television programs and corporations. For a glimpse of this dark vision for America, just crack open Demar's Ruler of the Nations: Biblical Principles for Government (Dominion Press, 1987), in which he writes, "The law that requires the death penalty for homosexual acts effectually drives the perversion of homosexuality back into the closet...The long term goal [is] the execution of abortionists and parents who hire them. If we argue that abortion is murder, then we must call for the death penalty."

of the way that explicitly theocratic thinkers get promoted in the Christian Right media.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 01:48:07 AM EST

I wish there was some meaningful methodology for measuring the spread of ideas over time. One might, I suppose, attempt to measure incidence of the public advocacy of the death penalty for abortion or homosexuality ( or for practicing homosexuals ).  But, the public advocacy of positions such as Gary Demar's is unecessary when there are other routes toward such measures. So, should we pay attention to what leaders of the Christian right say or what they do ?  

The incessant drumbeat from the Christian right of hate speech targetting gays, for example, works to promote attitudes ( among those, at least,  who wouldn't watch "Brokeback Mountain" unless they were chained down and forced to do so ) that would tend towards support of Mr. Demar's positions, and so the open advocacy of such positions is actually unecessary until public opinion has solidified sufficiently to support legal       implementation. That may never happen because American cultural influences are pulling in both directions simultaneously - both pro and anti gay - but it would be politically foolish for prominent leaders such as Land to advocate positions that would be perceived  by major parts of the American electorate as hateful : especially when those positions can by advanced through less direct means.

It is probably impossible to measure, but I suspect that Reconstructionism functions as a weak but steady gravitational attractor that over time exerts a noticeable effect on the inertial mass of beliefs held by the more mainstream Christian right - and I can imagine leaders such as Land publicly denying reconstructionist tendencies while secretely spending feverish closeted bouts, by flashlight, thumbing over reconstructionist tracts and lusting towards days of theocratic splendor.

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