A Dominionist Takeover Strategy
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Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 10:29:50 AM EST
A little more than a year ago Katherine Yurika of the Yurika Report posted an article that quoted from a Dominionist book that has become a "home school classic."  Here is some of what children in hiomeschools and private religious schools are learning as they read America's Providential History:

"If Christians in every locality became a controlling influence in a political party after two years of serving there consistently, then every godly representative in the state legislatures and the Congress could be replaced within six years to work with a godly president."

"If we work for more godly representatives in 2/3 of the state legislatures then we can bypass Congress and call a new Constitutional Convention to clean up all of the mess we have made of it in the past 200 years! Then with godly state legislatures, the odds are good that delegates appointed by them to a new Convention will be godly and wise as well."

More below the fold.
Being familiar with the history of the Southern Baptist Convention over the last 25 years, I saw a striking resemblance between the strategy of Dominionism and the successful Fundamentalist strategy to takeover the SBC.  Here's a summary of that strategy:

In the late 1970s two men, Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler, devised a plan to takeover the Southern Baptist Convention and change its direction. . . . Patterson and Pressler studied the SBC's constitution and bylaws and discovered that the convention was ultimately controlled by the appointment powers of the president. By electing change minded presidents for ten consecutive years and having those presidents appoint only change minded people to serve as trustees, within ten years they could replace the heads of all SBC institutions and agencies with change minded administrators. Beginning in 1979, that is what they did.

The similarities between the Dominionist strategy and the SBC Fundamentalist strategy is not surprising to some people who have been watching both Baptists and right-wing politics. The possibility of developing and implementing such a strategy was exactly what Dominionist Gary North was talking about when he interviewed Paul Pressler, the architect of the Fundamentalist takeover of the SBC, in a radio interview in 1985. That radio interview is noteworthy because it was the first time that SBC Fundamentalists publicly explained their takeover strategy.

To probe more deeply into what some home schoolers are learning, I ordered a used copy of America's Providential History.  I discovered that the book is truly a work of art.

The cover is a color picture of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. Drawings, diagrams, sketches and pictures are embedded on every other page.

The pictures and sketches within the chapter on "The War for the Union" are particularly striking. The first picture is of Confederate troops, followed by a picture of the Lincoln Memorial, then sketch of John Brown after his capture, then small sketches of Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun, then a picture of Stonewall Jackson and his men at prayer, followed by a sketch of Robert E. Lee, then a full page sketch of Stonewall Jackson on his knees praying for his army to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, followed by a 1/2 page picture of Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation, followed by another small sketch of Stonewall Jackson, then a 3/4 page picture of Pickett's charge, followed by a 1/3 page picture of Robert E. Lee, followed by a 1/2 page picture of Lee praying with his soldiers, then a 1/2 page picture of Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg address. All that artwork for 19 pages of  8 1/2 x 11 text.

The chapter following "The War for Union" is entitled "The American Apostacy and Decline." Here's the first paragraph:

Only if we correctly identify and diagnose the true cause of America's problems, can we begin to really solve them. Most Christians today place the blame on various conspiracies of men: the humanists, the ACLU, the big bankers, the Trilateral Commission, the New Age Movement, the World Council of Churches, the Homosexuals, the Feminists, the Communists, the Democrats, the Pope, etc. Information regarding such groups and their activities can be useful, yet must never be regarded as the source of our problems.

The book goes on to say that "Christians are Responsible. The church has been given authority to shape history. If our nation is in awful condition, God holds us responsible."

The next chapter is entitled "The Power for Reforming America" and lays out the takeover strategy that I quoted at the beginning of this article. That chapter is followed by the book's conclusion which delineates seven principles of "biblical" liberty.

Reading this book made it clear to me that the Old South has been rising under a new banner.  It also gave me an idea about where Lifeway Books, the Southern Baptist Convention's publishing house, might be finding the market for its biographical novel about Stonewall Jackson.  That biography was reviewed on the editorial page of the Daily Oklahoman twice.  The first review appeared on March 3, 2000 and was entitled "Stonewall -- Romans 8:28."  The second appeared on March 15, 2000 and was entitled "Glorified -- Stonewall's Lessons."

The editorials appeared shortly after several black students were expelled from the High School in Wynnewood, OK for starting a fight with white students.  The fight reportedly broke out after school officials refused to let African-American students wear shirts bearing symbols of their African heritage to school while permitting white students to wear shirts bearing the Confederate flag to school.  

Your post confirms what I have always believed about the real origin and aims of the Christian right: having lost the battle to keep the segregationist order in the South in the 1960s, white conservatives turned to the church to transform it into a political agent to actualize their agenda.  The takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention gives them an organization with enough infrastructure to produce a book like  America's Providential History.  If this book is really as described, it is propaganda dressed up as history.  Maybe it's my Buckeye sensibilities, but I am amazed that they would extol Stonewall Jackson as some kind of "Christian" hero, he who fought to destroy America as we knew it, who fought to maintain the Southern aristocracy, and who fought to maintain and expand the institution of slavery.  Elevating the South's greatest general to sainthood  seems bizarre in the context of what the American Civil War was really about.  But it's just this kind of whitewash that the right wingers behind the scenes need to justify (or cloak) their agenda and aims.  

by UCCKurt on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 11:39:22 AM EST
Southern Baptists published the book on Stonewall Jackson.  A different publisher printed the book on America's Providential History.

Otherwise, I think your observations are correct.

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 12:25:38 PM EST

A little more than a year ago Katherine Yurika of the Yurika Report posted an article that quoted from a Dominionist book that has become a "home school classic."

These particular types of books are popular only with a portion of homeschoolers.  That portion is significant, I'll grant that much, but, as with many groups the part doesn't encompass the whole.

My own choice for history-in-general with my kids was Asimov's Chronology of the World.  For American history, we used the American history course from the Teaching Company.

by ValerieM on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 02:21:05 PM EST

Bruce, I've been seeing this Confederate resurgency for a while now in the History discipline. It began shortly after the end of the ACW when people such as Jubal Early wrote their memoirs and attempted to justify their treasonous actions.The Southern Apologists glossed over the issue of slavery and made a number of convoluted arguments about what the "real causes" were. This went on until sometime in the 1960's when other voices began to be heard. Gradually, the Noble Cause has been eroded away. Unfortunately, the hatred that it has engendered hasn't. It is no surprise to see them link themselves with the Dominonists. Both parties like to portray themselves as persecuted minorities. Both see themselves as a privileged elite. Lots of hard work ahead to defeat this two-headed cobra.

by Frank Frey on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 02:47:50 PM EST

America's Providential History asserts that it is "God's plan" for "Bible believing Christians" to take dominion over government.

God … shapes history to prepare people so that they may fulfill their destiny and accomplish God's purposes in the earth... (53)

When God brings Noah through the flood to a new earth, He re-establishes the Dominion Mandate but now delegates to man the responsibility for governing other men...(19)

God's purpose is for the United States, as "the first truly Christian nation" (184), to complete a chain of events that will "make disciples of all nations." The book quotes the Biblical commentator, Matthew Henry

"…do your utmost to make the nations Christian nations." "This" according to Beliles and McDowell, authors of the book,
 "is God's plan for the nations." (3)

To read more about America's Providential History go to http://www.theocracywatch.org/rr_economics.htm

by Joan Bokaer on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 09:10:02 PM EST

Americans need to know that when Southern Baptists vote to get every a member of every church elected to their local school board, Dominionism and a resurgence of Southern Culture is on the minds of many of their leaders.

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 12:32:32 PM EST

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