Fundamentally UnAmerican
jhutson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 06:15:26 PM EST
Pointing the way to America. Image hosting by Photobucket

"The Christian Right wants a halfway house between democracy and theocracy," writes Gary North in "What Went Wrong with the Christian Right," an essay published in January 2006 on the Chalcedon web site. "It also wants a halfway house between theonomy and autonomy, revelation and rationalism, creationism and evolutionism. It wants equal time for Jesus, which means equal time for Satan."

North, a cofounder of Christian Reconstruction, is admitting that the full arrival of theocracy means, necessarily, the death of democracy. It is not possible for both to exist together, and he is willing to tolerate no halfway measures. North's view of a Christian Nation is not a democratic nation; his fundamental Christian country is fundamentally unAmerican.

In making clear that his vision of a Christian Nation is fundamentally unAmerican, North surfaces and shines a light on a powerful message frame. North's vision of a Christian Nation is a nation without democracy. And without democracy, our nation cannot enjoy freedom and liberty, cannot pass along America's history and heritage to our children's children.

People who work for theonomy undermine autonomy -- the ability of people to choose their own government; that's anti-democratic. People who steer by revelation alone without reference to rationality or modern science are leading our youth astray, and endangering America's ability to compete in a global economy. People who want to replace public science classes with state-sponsored religion classes are making America weaker and depriving our children of economic opportunities that come with a sound education.

People who support democracy stand up for the value of diversity, build community, seek higher education, think freely, speak freely, teach freely, and protect our natural resources for future generations. That's what democracy is for; that's what theocracy is against. Being for democracy means reclaiming our American citizenship, our individual stories, our cultural legacies, and our shared history, and renewing the parts of us that call us to higher purpose -- you may call that your faith, your spirituality, your reason for being. Nurture your God-given talents, see the divine spark in others, and welcome everyone as someone who can teach you something positive, something of value.

But what North advocates is theocracy -- predicated on the demolition of democracy. He wants theonomy -- the notion that Old Testament laws should still be binding today -- and to him, that implies an absence of self-governance, self-reliance, self-determination. He wants revelation -- and he commits a logical fallacy by implying that one cannot seek both divine revelation and also sharpen one's God-given faculties of reason. He wants school children to learn creationism -- not along side of, or in addition to, but instead of, a study of evolution.

He wants his vision, his version of Jesus only; and he falsely posits that anyone else's vision of Jesus is not only false, but Satanic. He posits that anyone else's sense of purpose -- whether rooted in humanitarianism, spirituality, or rooted in any religion but his own, is Satanic. Demon-possessed. Evil to the core. Subject to total elimination. Because, as North implies, there can be no "halfway house between democracy and theocracy."

What he advocates is complete intolerance, complete religious bigotry, complete Christian supremacy. This is black-and-white thinking that refuses to see that there are distinctions to be made, or that there is value in recognizing different viewpoints, including perspectives and beliefs that challenge our own.

North's world is comfortably simple. Yet North is wrong that there is no halfway house between democracy and theocracy. Here is one: the Republican Party.

North writes, "Leader by leader, issue by issue, the Christian Right turns to political alliances with humanists in the Republican Party. They are now facing the situation that Blacks face in the Democratic Party: 'When you are in a political Party's hip pocket, you will be sat on.' "

It remains to be seen who is in whose pocket -- whether the Christian Right is in the hip pocket of the Republican Party, or whether the Republican Party is in the hip pocket of the Christian Right.

North concludes that the Christian Right cannot continue to cooperate with humanists in the Republican Party:

"We see the outworking of two rival Christian covenants: two rival strategies. The Christian Reconstructionists want replacement, not capture, of tax-supported institutions. The Christian Right wants capture, but with shared power as the price -- shared power with Republican Party humanists who hate the idea of Christian civilization far more than they hate the Democrats. Then the Christian Right seems amazed when power is not shared.

"The Christian Right is terminally naive."

If the Republican Party is now a halfway house, then North is leading conservative Christians farther and farther from the dream of democracy, from religious freedom, from respect for different cultures and creeds -- farther, and inevitably away from, the America that we love, where we live, which we hope to pass along to future generations.




Display:
I returned 20 minutes ago from a diocesan church leadership workshop for the Episcopal Diocese of Albany.  What I heard and observed there was an Institute of Religion and "Democracy" exhortation.  The bishop used the phrase, One Church, (an IRD phrase) over and over again.  His audience moaned, cried hallalujah, and murmured Amen.  A local leader in the Cusillo movement was given 15 minutes to describe the success of the movement in the New York Capital district. We were sternly warned to pray ceaselessly to keep evil and Satan from entering our churches.

There was not one word about valuing diverse voices in the Episcopal Church In America.  The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, which is treasured by American Episcopalians, was held up before the audience as a laughable relic of the past by the bishop.  My husband, a cradle Episcopalian moderate who has been fairly ignorant about this issue till today, came away offended by the inherent censorship of the One Church (IRD) diatribe and the inherent insult of people who love Episcopal tradition.

When I asked someone who was involved in the planning of the event about diocesan connection to the IRD, they said they didn't know if it was directly connected but "...isn't Diana Knippers our Anglican leadership in the IRD?"  (Rarely do moderate and progressive laymen and clergymen know the term IRD, or the name, Diana Knippers)  

This is the way the Radical Right eats into the mainline churches.  They know they can't come straight out with their dominionist agenda, but they keep moving the spiritually and politically ignorant further into their camp by isolating progressives and moderate voices within the fold.

It was a day well spent.  I found out how the convention is loaded with conservatives and conservative issues.  Now it remains to be seen if there is a body of people serious enough to effectively alter this state of affairs.

by tikkun on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 05:15:17 PM EST

I'd say that it's very relevant to John Dorhauer's recent post on the IRD

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Feb 05, 2006 at 10:14:28 PM EST
Parent

When I asked someone who was involved in the planning of the event about diocesan connection to the IRD, they said they didn't know if it was directly connected but "...isn't Diana Knippers our Anglican leadership in the IRD?"

Just to clarify: Someone at an event you've just returned from referred to Diane Knippers in the present tense? Knippers died last April.

by Nell on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 12:39:20 AM EST
Parent



Jonathan, nice commentary on North's article. But what happened to Chris Ortiz's partial denial of the consequences of this theocratic line of thinking?

by Carlos on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 07:00:29 PM EST
is that Ortize denied nothing. He just downplayed it.  He says that Rushdoony envisioned a theocracy many years, maybe centuries or more down the road. Ortiz is worried about 'humanist backlash', which he says is what Rushdoony predicted would happen once "they" figure out what the Reconstructionist are up to.

While Oritz is doing his best to soft-peddle what they are about, Chalcedon under his ausupices as communications director, published North's essay, as well as a very sympathetic interview with ex-judge Roy Moore a few months back. In fairness, just because Chalcedon published these things, doesn't mean the institution agrees with every point.

Reconstructionism has never been a uniform set of ideas and strategies. But it is a movement headed in the same direction, sooner or later.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 09:08:14 PM EST
Parent



Gary North views the Internet as a tool for undermining people's confidence in civil governance. On February 2, 2006, he posted an essay titled, "A Non-Nostalgic Recap of the 'Sixties," in which he wrote:
"The only technological innovation to rival the IBM 360 in its impact on American culture was the launching of ARPAnet in 1969, which became the Internet. It was a classic government project. It was begun as a communications network to insure the survival of the U.S. government after an atomic attack. There was no atomic attack. Instead, there are uncountable websites that are day by day eroding the public's confidence in civil governments. I can think of no other government project in my lifetime where the money was better spent . . . by mistake, of course."
But of course the Internet can also be used to undermine people's confidence in theocracy, and to bolster democratic community-building. That's why Talk to Action is here, pointing the way back to America. By sustaining thoughtful dialogue, we're pointing the way back to reclaiming citizenship, history and faith.

by jhutson on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 07:09:24 PM EST

I found this commentary as well as Gary North's original article very enlightening in helping me distinguish the full-on Reconstructionists from other politically right wing Christian fundamentalist positions.  And this is an important distinction for average people like myself who are trying to educate and activate other average people to the urgent danger to the fascist implications of the merging of the Republican Party with theocratic Christianity.  

I find danger in the entire spectrum of theocratic groups, but Reconstructionist like Gary North seem to represent the greatest danger of all in that they don't want to "capture but replace" democracy with a system that, as North points out, upholds not only Exodus 21, but Exodus 22 as well and which would use execution to eliminate all opposition.

Does anyone have any idea how widely accepted North's ideas are on the Christian right?

by larry jones on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 03:39:51 PM EST

Did you note the anti semitism in the article by North? Intersting that he and Rushdoony believed the only justified war in the nation was during the 1700s.  Thus the Civil War and WWII were immoral acts according to these folks.

by wilkyjr on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 03:16:53 PM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


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 (5 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 (4 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 (0 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 (4 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 (6 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 (0 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 (2 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 (4 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 (3 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 (2 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 (1 comment)
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 (6 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 (6 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 (7 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 (21 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 (5 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 (6 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 (6 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 (8 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 (5 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 (3 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 (5 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 (3 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 (2 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 (13 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 (5 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 (7 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 (2 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 (2 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 (3 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.