The Reconstructionist Roots of the War on Christians
Mainstream Baptist printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu May 25, 2006 at 03:32:50 PM EST
A few weeks ago Alan Cooperman wrote in the Washington Post, "The `War on Christmas' has morphed into a `War on Christians.'"  He was writing about Rick Scarborough's recent conference in Washington, D.C. entitled the "War on Christians and Values Voters in 2006."

The idea that Christianity is under attack is not new.  It was a theme popularized in the early 1970's by the late R. J. Rushdoony, founder of the Christian Reconstructionist movement.  A man whose thought permeated the conference that Scarborough organized.  A movement that views democracy as heresy.  In his Institutes of Biblical Law, Rushdoony wrote:

Even as Rome declared war on Christians, so socialism and communism, and progressively the democracies, are at war against orthodox or Biblical faith.  The consequence of such a desertion by the state of its calling as the ministry of justice can only be finally the fall of the state.  The state which ceases to be a terror to evil-doers and becomes a terror to the godly is committing suicide. p. 62.

When Rushdoony offered examples of how the state has become a "terror to the godly," he wasn't talking about a "war on Christmas" or on "values voters."  He was terrorized by the democratic values of "civil rights" and "equal rights."  His fulminations were against laws prohibiting discrimination.  In Rushdoony's mind, "the law is always discriminatory."  He said,

The law cannot favor equality without ceasing to be law:  at all times, the law defines, in any and every society, those who constitute the legitimate and the illegitimate members of society.  The fact of law introduces a fundamental and basic inequality in society. . . .
        The law has often been used as an ostensible weapon to gain equality, but such attempts represent either self-deception or an attempt to deceive by the group in power.
        The "civil rights" revolutionary groups are a case in point.  Their goal is not equality but power.  The background of Negro culture is African and magic, and the purposes of magic are control and power over God, man, nature, and society.  Voodoo, or magic, was the religion and life of American Negroes.  Voodoo songs underlie jazz, and old, voodoo, with its power goal, has been merely replaced with revolutionary voodoo, a modernized power drive.  pp. 60-61.

Rushdoony's followers have merely reframed his logic onto  issues that resonate with more voters.  With the wisdom of serpents, they have learned to conceal their racism.  Their convictions, however, make it hard for them to pass themselves off to others as being as harmless as doves.   They too are on a "power drive."  

Theirs is a movement to see that "orthodox," "biblical" Christians dominate every aspect of life -- family, society (church), government and culture.  Most alarming is the fact that they think they are immune from the corrupting influence of power.  Rushdoony himself assured them that,

Lord Acton's dictum, "All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," is a liberal half-truth and reflects liberal illusions.  First of all, all power does not corrupt.  The power of a godly husband and father to govern his family does not corrupt him; he exercises it under God and in terms of God's law-word.  Instead of being corrupted by his power, the godly man is blessed by means of his power, and he makes it a blessing to his family and society.  A godly ruler, who uses his power readily for legitimate and moral ends, prospers the society under his power.  The two evils with respect to power and the exercise thereof are, on the one hand, the fear of using power, and, on the other, the immoral use of power.  Both evils extensively prevail in any humanistic society.  Men who are afraid to use power lawfully and morally corrupt their families and societies.  The failure to exercise due power reduces a society to lawlessness and anarchy.  p. 59.




Display:
Christian Reconstructionism appears to be most popular in those areas of the country that Kevin Phillips identified as "Southern" culture.

See American Theocracy, p. 161.

by Mainstream Baptist on Thu May 25, 2006 at 03:40:13 PM EST

...those same areas of the country are also the areas where:

a) revivalism in general started, especially the prototypical "tent meetings"

b) the Holiness Movement, a proto-dominionist and proto-pente movement, started in the mid to late 1800s (in fact, it started in large part out of those "tent meetings")

c) pentecostalism, including the specific denominations and movements associated with "dominion theology", first took root (in fact, some documentation even puts the birth of pentecostalism in Kentucky itself, several years before the Azusa Revival)

d) separatist and segregationalist movements have been in place since practically the end of the Civil War, including not just racist groups but general anti-government groups as well (of note, a lot of the "fundamentalist Baptist" groups that embrace Christian Reconstructionism are also linked with "tax protester" movements and some are even linked with blatantly secessionist movements, usually tied to Confederate and neo-Confederate groups (and, more darkly, to Klan groups as well); Posse Comitatus, a "tax protester" movement which advocated removal of all legal authority above the county level which is often linked with the birth of the militia movement (and which was also quite antisemitic) also had a lot of popularity in the South)

e) general mistrust of "Northerner" government since, again, the time of the Civil War (and yes, this does tend to be used even to this day in political stumping in those areas)

f) one of the few areas where agriculture is still being done in small farms, and where one of the major crops where small farms were still in the majority--tobacco--is increasingly non-viable, and traditional cropgrowers are crowded out by large agribusinesses (as it is, here in KY a lot of tobacco farmers are hoping their salvation is in niche agriculture--organic crops, or "exotic" agriculture like bison ranching).

Being from that part of the country, I can definitely see it.  I'd probably put Appalachia in there too (while not strictly Southern, there's a lot of the same cultural feelings).

by dogemperor on Thu May 25, 2006 at 05:26:42 PM EST
Parent



An absolutely fantastic find: the Rushdoony blather about Christian, male-based power being the one kind of power that doesn't corrupt. It's telling.

Taken as a whole, this passage seems to me to be Rushdoony's grotesque declaration of a Reconstructionist disavowal of basic Christian humility, and an idolizing of power itself.

I can agree with him in a very, very broad sense that--in the political realm, and even within the home--not exercising power against a threat can be dangerous, and be unethical.

But, it such a belief depends on whose power, what the threat is, and if there is a stronger foundation to the power, such as love. More importantly, I certainly wouldn't seek to justify such a power fetish--especially insofar as it applies to all of society--with scripture or by invoking God or the "godly" ruler.

There is not a compelling amount of tradition within Christian orthodoxy or within scripture itself to support such a twisted dismissal like Rushdoony's of what is often characterized as Christ's "upside-down" view of power: that real power isn't likely to be power as we recognize it at all--certainly not power as force of will or force of arms; that Christ's attitude about power is essentially a refusal to deal in the currency of power at all.

Consider even that in the Gospels when Christ cleanses the temple--a story that I suspect Reconstructionist force-advocates might love (maybe I'm wrong about that though)--force, power doesn't seem to be the real point of the tale: force is an incidental extra, a supporting aspect of the cleansing episode. A prop, like the whip itself. What seems to matter in that story is the authority of Jesus specifically, and his spiritual proximity to God--which could have been, and throughout the Gospels is, expressed in many different ways.

The cleansing of the temple tale doesn't seem to be, in the final analysis, a recommendation for our own behavior. The Jesus who takes up a whip is, after all, the same Jesus who preached repeatedly about the meek inheriting the earth, and who was himself led as a lamb to the slaughter, who never pushed back at hostile crowds but simply walked away from them, who refrained from urging a legal or military revolution and said that Caesar should have what he's owed, etc.

Rushdoony's fixation on power shows that really he's the heir of Machiavelli, or even Marx or Mussolini, not Jesus.

by IseFire on Thu May 25, 2006 at 04:52:01 PM EST


Greetings,

A few weeks ago, I read Dr. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke's book "Black Sun". It deals with fascist estorica and its impact on modern identity politics. It's a very good book and serves as an excellent corollary to what's going on with the Dominionists. There are many, many, disturbing paralells especially when you get to the sections on the Church of Jesus Christ Aryan or the ones on Rev. Butler and his Aryan Nations movement.
How much of the Dominionist movement is also based on racial identity politics? It's scary to speculate.

by Frank Frey on Fri May 26, 2006 at 10:47:11 AM EST

I think "Christian Identity" (the overtly racist movement in the Religious Right) has been influenced by Christian Reconstructionism.

They would be at the far right wing of the Dominionist movement.

There are significant differences between Christian Reconstructionism and Christian Identity.

by Mainstream Baptist on Fri May 26, 2006 at 12:15:19 PM EST
Parent

connection to Rushdoony has not been sufficiently investigated.  We know only that he was close enough to Rushdoony to have been at his deathbed and that he is one of the the most consistant funders of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD)

There seems gap in our knowledge of the history of the concordance of the southern millenialists, ultra right Roman Catholics, and disgruntled mainline protestants who are all represented in the IRD, and our understanding of how they manage to operate together.  

On the face of it, it seems like this organization is made up of parties on a collision course.

by tikkun on Fri May 26, 2006 at 01:55:38 PM EST
Parent

It looks like the "parties on a collision course" have united to oppose a common enemy -- and it is us.

by Mainstream Baptist on Fri May 26, 2006 at 04:04:23 PM EST
Parent

A gap? Well, maybe, but :

Lately, there has been a lot of talk around homeschooling/religious circles about Doug Phillips, founder of VisionForum, and pastor of the Boerne Christian Assembly, a hyper-patriarchal non-denomiational group where women are relegated to virtual slavery in their own homes, denied higher education, and are not permitted to participate in prayer in the church services, make prayer requests in church, or even receive communion unless it is served to them by their husband or another male member of the congregation. Phillips stands accused of the abusive treatment of several members of his congregation; other charges last year led to the defrocking of Phillip's longtime associate, R.C. Sproul Jr.:

A website, Patriarch's Path, owned by James Mcdonald, expounds on Patriarchal views, among them the idea that only landowners should vote:

http://www.patriarchspath.org/Articles/Docs/Suffrage_As_Sacrament .htm

Above is the link to that article, but to get a balanced view of what the Patriarchal Movement is all about, one should read all of the articles on the site:

http://www.patriarchspath.org/Articles/ArtIndex.htm

But did you ever wonder what is BEHIND the extreme patriarchy movement? As you say, it is not limited to the evangelical Protestant churches.

Consider this: traditionally, Calvinists and Catholics don’t see eye to eye (to say the least!!!), but there has been an almost identical movement growing within the Roman Catholic Church since about 1980. These schismatic Catholics do not get along with the Catholic powers-that-be at all — they claim that the Pope is an impostor and that THEY are the only true Catholics left.

http://sspx.agenda.tripod.com/id52.html

http://www.mgr.org/TraditionIsNotFascism.html

Another interesting  thing is that ALL of these “patriarchs” claim to be restoring their respective religions to a purer form that was practiced in the past — with the Evangelicals it’s the 1800’s, with the Catholics it’s pre-Vatican II, etc; but in the past that they claim to be attempting to re-create, their respective denominations NEVER taught the kinds of things that these fellows are preaching now.

Now for the interesting thing: ideologically,  the Protestant patriarchalists and their Catholic counterparts are coming to have nearly as much in common with each other, as they do with either traditional Protestantism or orthodox Catholicism.

To begin with, both the Protestant and the Catholic patriarchalists tend to be quite involved with politics and finance. Some of the biggest names in this movement are also big names in finance, politics, the media, and publishing: think  Greg Ahmenson, Marion T. Horvat, Christopher Ferrara, Roberto Fiore, Paul Weyrich, Greg Bahnsen, Gary North, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, JimBob Duggar, David Chilton, Howard Phillips, D. James Kennedy, Marvin Olasky, etc.
In addition to their conservative stance on politics and economics, many seem to share rather similar ideas about the role of women, homeschooling, the Quiverfull movement, etc; AND,  a similar movement has also arisen within Judaism.

It is this very fact, the fact that the same movement has  apparently infiltrated Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism, which leads me to think that something other than religion is at work here, something not particularly concerned religious belief or practice at all.
 I say this not to cast aspersions upon the beliefs of non-Evangelicals, but the simple fact that Catholicism is very different from Calvinism shows us that whatever is driving this movement is not so much concerned with religious doctrine as it is with working to achieve its goals through religious channels.

The thing is organised like a corporation, or a hydra, and appears to be umbrella group which is trying to absorb MANY denominations, and bring them round to a certain common way of thinking, under the auspices of evangelism.

It’s almost like radical patriarchy is a religious theme in itself, and the Christian, Jewish and even the Moslem versions of it are mere variations on that theme.

AND, the Unification Church (Moonies) is dancing to this exact same tune, though to be fair, one must admit that the Unification Church has been hyper-patriarchal from the beginning.
Check this out:

http://www.divineprinciple.com.....eb_all.pdf



by Cynthia Gee on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 11:21:21 PM EST
Parent
Sorry, that last link didn't come through. Hopefully this time it will work:


http://www.divineprinciple.com/1_10_comm/10com_web_all.pdf


by Cynthia Gee on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 11:27:51 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 (330 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 (178 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 (98 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 (93 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 (105 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 (127 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 (115 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 (79 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 (228 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 (55 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 (153 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 (173 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 (53 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 (54 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 (210 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 (240 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 (87 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 (171 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 (143 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 (141 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 (146 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 (144 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 (123 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 (185 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 (142 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 (83 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 (189 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 (77 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 (107 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 (105 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.