This Race Matters: Ken Blackwell, a Dominionist to The Core
Joan Bokaer printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed May 03, 2006 at 02:20:26 PM EST
Ken Blackwell, Secretary of the State of Ohio just won in the Republican primary for governor of Ohio. Jeff Sharlet writes

Blackwell for Lord High Priest of Ohio
If Blackwell wins in November ... he'll  be perhaps the most openly theocratic govenor since John Winthrop ruled the Massachusetts Bay Colony as the right hand of God ... this race matters.

The Rev. Rod Parsley, co-founder of the Ohio Reformation Movement that is organizing through Ohio's megachurches to get Ken Blackwell elected, has declared Ohio "a training ground that will launch a national reformation."  Parsley doesn't shy away from theocracy.
Americans must be 'Christocrats" -- citizens of both their country and the Kingdom of God -- the Rev. Rod Parsley told his congregation at the World Harvest Church, located just outside Columbus, Ohio. "And that is not a democracy; that is a theocracy," he said. "That means God is in control, and you are not."

Blackwell has authored a plan for "Civic Renewal" that is featured on Ohio's official government web site
Katherine Yurica of The Yurica Report calls Blackwell's treatise "dominionist to the core:"
Blackwell speaks candidly. It is a revolution in a deceptively pretty package. Hidden in its paragraphs are concepts of submission, obedience, inspection of the personal lives of people, and the loss of personal rights and freedom that would make America's founding fathers stand on their heads in their graves.  In short it is a Dominionist document: a religious treatise in secular terms, but dominionist to the core. It's a brilliant little package to get millions of evangelical Christians and their friends to accept authoritarian government without even a whisper of protest.

The 2006 elections are seen as an "apocalyptic clash between a virtuous Christianity and the evildoers who oppose Christianity's values," according to the Reverend Johnson, a senior pastor of the evangelical Fairfield Christian Church in suburban Columbus and other co-founder of the Ohio Restoration Movement.

The "evildoers" must refer to people who believe in a pluralistic democracy. If so, may the "evildoers" prevail.

development. Thanks Joan for this post.

by Carlos on Wed May 03, 2006 at 03:01:18 PM EST

If you want to read the full article by Bill Berkowitz where the quotes from Reverends Parsley and Johnson come from, go to

TheocracyWatch has a page with updates on Ohio.

Also, I found Kathrine Yurica's article on Blackwell's treatise very insightful.

by Joan Bokaer on Thu May 04, 2006 at 07:19:09 AM EST

Watch the informative video on Backwell, from the PBS TV program NOW, via Bradblog, by clicking link below

Found on Fraudbuster Bob Blog

by Abbey on Sat May 06, 2006 at 07:17:52 PM EST

The movie V for Vendetta asked an important question of its audience.  At what point are the citizens justified in using violence against their government?  Should it be used when there is a real threat of theocracy being imposed or should people wait until they already live in a theocracy?  If the majority of people aren't willing to vote, do they deserve what they get?  Do the rest of us?

When is it time?

by Ross Raymond on Wed May 03, 2006 at 03:44:30 PM EST

I read Blackwell's speech located here and now I am confused, concerned and wondering about your thoughts.


by Pauljaxon on Wed May 03, 2006 at 05:06:28 PM EST

Can understand some confusion - if you don't know Kenneth Blackwell. What he says frequently has little relation to what he thinks or does. Not sure how you came on that particular speech but it's a particularly egregious example of his duplicity and inconsistency. May have been written for him - doesn't even sound like him (well, except for the bits about Father Neuhaus - of the IRD - and faith-based funding).

Civil rights? This is a man who has a history of disenfranchisement of minority voters. You can see some of that history here as well as a discussion of his opportunistic approach to poliics,

Honesty? When he spoke to the ultra-right Council for National Policy (CNP) recently, a picture was posted on his web site and later scrubbed. UAPA has that story and background.

Hypocrisy? The Dispatch summarizes some interesting history. He's vigorously anti-gambling but owns stock in a slot machine company. He rants about pro-choice people to his religious right followers but owns stock in Barr Pharmaceuticals who make Plan B  (that many of his followers believe causes abortions). Then there's the little matter of owning stock in Diebold at the same time that he's negotiating contracts with the company to buy voting machines for Ohio.

Joan may have more to add.

by Psyche on Wed May 03, 2006 at 08:57:38 PM EST

Thanks for unpacking that for me!


by Pauljaxon on Wed May 03, 2006 at 09:46:40 PM EST

Primaries were yesterday and we're cautiously optimistic. We don't have final figures as yet. (Results for 200 precincts in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland area) are missing - cards "lost" . They're also hand counting the absentee ballots because the optical scanners showed "inaccuracies.") Preparation for the election (controlled by SoS Blackwell) were slipshod at best.

Blackwell won the GOP nomination handily 56-44, Ted Strickland won the Dem nomination by a landslide, 80-21.

The GOP primary battle was nasty, with Blackwell and Petro trading insults and smearing each other. This is good. Seems the GOP lost more credibility and Blackwell's character became more obvious to those who weren't too familiar with him before. Suspect there will be crossover voting in the general election and that some GOP moderates may stay home if they're not willing to vote for a Dem. Blackwell is not popular except in fundamentalists circles. He may pull some Black votes in the general but there are others in southern OH who would die before voting for a Black nominee so it may even out.

On the positive side: although quite liberal, Strickland has successfully retained a Congressional seat in a rather conservative, rural district for several years. He's probably helped along by the fact that he was an ordained Methodist minister (and then a psychologist) before going to Congress so religious moderates can vote for him without feeling like they're going straight to hell. In addition, he's very adept at openly and straightforwardly taking on the religious right (he actually calls them "extremists") and has the cred's to do it that a secular candidate would lack. He's also run a strong (and not nasty) campaign. Normally, one would think we have a very good chance of winning in November.

The source of our cautiousness? Yes, the Patriot Pastors et al. are still a threat and have been hosting Blackwell at all sorts of forums. As most of you know, however, moderate and liberal Protestant and Jewish clergy have filed two complaints with IRS about these activities which may put a bit of a kink in their style. My assessment at this point is that the biggest threat comes from the election process itself. Come November, Blackwell will still be in charge of elections and there's little doubt in my mind that he and the national GOP will stop at nothing to retain control. The 2004 glitches were not accidents.

The good news here is that the progressive community has gotten a lot more aware and active. We did exit polling yesterday to spot and publicize voting irregularities before the big election and we've borrowed a page from the GOP playbook. We're collecting signatures for a petition to get a state minimum wage increase on the November ballot. It's not only much needed but looks to be popular and we're hoping that it will pull people to the polls who might otherwise not vote.

With a lot more hard work, a bit of luck, and ongoing revelations of scandal in the national and Ohio GOP, we may be at a critical point to turn the state around. Us "evildoers" are a committed and aggressive lot!

by Psyche on Wed May 03, 2006 at 06:21:05 PM EST

Please keep us posted.

by Joan Bokaer on Wed May 03, 2006 at 07:32:44 PM EST

for the update Psyche.

by Carlos on Wed May 03, 2006 at 08:31:45 PM EST

This is the sort of thing that really fries my bacon, and makes it very difficult for me to engage in civil discourse.

Mr Blackwell opines:

"If we root out our transcendent beliefs from our politics, we will weaken, if not destroy, the moral foundation of our democracy. A politics devoid of morality does not meet the essential human needs. A purely secular politics does not address people's deepest concerns, nor does it offer any vision beyond the short-term goals of comfort and expediency."

{emphasis added}

However, being an atheist with a well tuned moral compass, I will simply say that morality does not require a belief in any god, or for one to have any "transcendent belief" at all. It is also true that there are many with deep seated "transcendent beliefs" who are scoundrels.

by bybelknap on Wed May 03, 2006 at 11:05:52 PM EST

Both Jim Wallis and Michael Lerner have expressed sentiments of an extremely similar nature.

I don't have time to dig up the quotes at the moment - maybe later today.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu May 04, 2006 at 11:41:37 AM EST

As mentioned above, one of the interesting things about the Ohio race for Governor is that one candidate is a rabid fundamentalist while the other is a mainstream ex-minister. Thought others might be interested in the differences in their approach to issues of religion and morals. The following excerpt is from an interview of Strickland (Blackwell's opponent) by Ohio bloggers.

Tim Russo: You're a minister.?

Ted Strickland: I was.

Tim Russo: Former minister. And at the rally in Columbus, across from the Reformation Ohio Revival on October 14, you said, "Religion is being used as a weapon to accomplish political goals. As I look at the New Testament, I see no indication that Jesus Christ tried to use the instruments of government to accomplish His kingdom on earth."

Ted Strickland: Yeah. I said that.

Tim Russo: But on your web site, it's sprinkled with all kinds of references to religion and values. In fact, the first line of your bio tells us how you posted a quote from scripture on the wall in your Congressional office. Is Ohio politics becoming a contest to find out who is holiest?

Ted Strickland: No. I'm not holy at all. But, I think there's a stark difference between the way that the religious right uses reference to morals and values and religious beliefs certainly than I do. I believe that the single greatest threat posed by the Bush administration, for example, other than the decision to take us to war, the single greatest threat of the Bush Administration is the purposeful, planful effort to erode the wall that should separate organized religion from public policy and from governmental decisions. I say that all the time. Maybe I say that because I do appreciate those who embrace and value religious and moral values. I believe religion is being used as a political weapon. It's being used, I think, to polarize our country, to divide people, to foster intolerance and discrimination. But I also think that there is another side to values, and to even religious beliefs. And I think those can call people together for the common good, can foster an appreciation of individual differences and can really value the pluralism that I think exists and ought to be celebrated within our society.

Now the reason that you'll find references, as you have mentioned, on my web site is that I am unwilling to concede to the other side, the ability to define for the larger population and for everyone else, what is, in fact, moral or religious values. So, I don't think you'll ever find me using religion as a way to encourage or foster intolerance or discrimination or hate or any of those things. But we cannot, we cannot just simply set aside - in my judgment - we just can't set aside matters that are very important to huge numbers of people and say that as a Democrat, that subject matter is off limits and I'm not going to go there. I think we need to go there. We need to engage the other side. And I would hope that we could have a discussion within our society about what does constitute moral behavior. And I think that's relevant. But I think it can be done in a way that celebrates differences of opinion and that is not exclusive, but rather inclusive. I mean, that's why I spoke at that rally. There were a handful of us there and literally hundreds across the street on the Capitol grounds. But, I wanted the media to see that there was a second opinion here. And that Rob Parsley and Ken Blackwell didn't speak for the larger body politic.

The religious reference on his website, incidentally, is a bible verse that hangs on his office wall:

And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God -Micah 6:8

Will we find out in November where Ohio's "body politic" stands?

by Psyche on Thu May 04, 2006 at 03:46:44 PM EST

Watch the informative video on Backwell, from the PBS TV program NOW, via Bradblog, by clicking link below

Found on Fraudbuster Bob Blog

by Abbey on Sat May 06, 2006 at 07:19:54 PM EST

but have read the transcript on the PBS site. Although it was a good overview of Blackwell's religious right connections, it didn't address the truly egregious manipulation of the voting process. The Conyers' Report (some of the identified problems summarized here) got relatively little attention from the press and claims tended to be dismissed. The subsequent GAO report identified serious problems with electronic voting (summarized by this Free Press article).

by Psyche on Sun May 07, 2006 at 12:39:44 AM EST

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