Dominionism and The Constitution in Exile Movement
Joan Bokaer printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 04:54:40 PM EST
Part I of a series

What do dominionism and the Constitution in Exile movements have in common? Both believe that federal protections along with social programs are unconstitutional. Programs such as social security, public education, protection of the environment, minimum wage requirements or worker and consumer safety are unconstitutional. In otherwords, programs that interfere in any way with free enterprise are unconstitutional.

And, for dominionists, those programs are unbiblical as well. According to a dominionist textbook for Christian schools and the Christian homeschool movement, America's Providential History, "Scripture makes it clear that God is the provider, not the state." (p. 187)

The Constitution in Exile movement believes that many of the laws underpinning the modern welfare state are unconstitutional. (See The Unregulated Offensive, New York Times magazine, April 17, 2005)  The "exile" began in 1937 when the Supreme Court finally stopped declaring Roosevelt's New Deal programs unconstitutional.

One of the movement's better-known adherents is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In 1995 he wrote an opinion for the 5-4 majority in United States v. Lopez, striking down a federal law banning guns in school zones. Thomas' position makes originalists such as Scalia look almost moderate by comparison. From the New York Times' article:

 ... most adherents of the Constitution in Exile movement are not especially concerned about states' rights or judicial deference to legislatures; instead, they encourage judges to strike down laws on behalf of rights that don't appear explicitly in the Constitution.

The greatest right of all, according to adherents of this movement, are economic rights, particularly the right to property, and anything that takes away those rights -- such as environmental or workplace safety laws -- are, or should be, unconstitutional.

Compare the "right to property" with those rights declared in the Texas GOP Platform, a blueprint for dominionism:

p.2 #17: "We reaffirm belief in the fundamental constitutional right of an individual to use property without governmental interference."

p.2 #10: "We oppose conservation easements on our natural resources administered by organizations unaccountable to tax payers and voters." (That means land trusts and conservation groups would be declared unconstitutional.)

p. 2 #18: "We oppose the Endangered Species Act."

p.2 #7: "We believe that groundwater is an absolute, vested right of the landowner."

P. 2 #13: "We oppose passage of any international treaty that overrides United States sovereignty including the Kyoto agreement and Biodiversity Treaty."

Cass Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago has published a book on the Constitution in Exile movement called Fundamentally Wrong: How Extremists are Transforming the Courts and the Constitution. Sunstein explained to the New York Times that

success, as the movement defines it, would mean that ''many decisions of the Federal Communications Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and possibly the National Labor Relations Board would be unconstitutional. It would mean that the Social Security Act would not only be under political but also constitutional stress. Many of the Constitution in Exile people think there can't be independent regulatory commissions, so the Security and Exchange Commission and maybe even the Federal Reserve would be in trouble. Some applications of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act would be struck down as beyond Congress's commerce power.'' In what Sunstein described as the ''extreme nightmare scenario,'' the right of individuals to freedom of contract would be so vigorously interpreted that minimum-wage and maximum-hour laws would also be jeopardized.

The Texas 2004 GOP Platform is very explicit in its disdain for a federal government that can regulate business:

Abolish the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms, the position of Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce and Labor. We also call for the de-funding or abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Public Broadcasting System.

note -The 2006 platform  is now on the web, but I can only access the preamble as of this writing. Both in the 2004 and 2006 preambles we find an innocuous sounding sentence:

" We believe that the future of our country depends upon a strong and vibrant private sector unencumbered by excessive government regulation.

Who can disagree with "a strong and vibrant private sector unencumbered by excessive government regulation?" But few people realize that eliminating the regulatory and social functions of the federal government, ie "unfettered" capitalism, opens the doors to theocracy. After all, who will step in and deal with the many problems those agencies were established to address? Christian Reconstructionism picks up where the Constitution in Exile movement leaves off. The churches would step in. And how will they govern?

Coming next week: what would a Reconstructed America look like?




Display:
How much of a role should the federal government play in society? This is a key question for theocrats who believe their religious institutions should replace most of the functions of government. The Constitution in Exile movement has created both a legal framework and a legal infrastructure for disempowering the federal government which, in turn, serves the interests of dominionists who can step in to fill the void. Does this make sense?


by Joan Bokaer on Thu Jun 29, 2006 at 01:00:58 PM EST

History has shown repeatedly that all too often, government has been called on to jump in where private citizens have refused to tread. "Unfettered capitalism" has been done before, and all too often it has led to hell on earth for much of the population.

Our own nation's history is a tragic case in point. While the few American "Captains of Industry" in the 19th century carried on with the Industrial Revolution, amassing their fortunes and pointing proudly to the booming growth of industry and technology and the nation's rapid westward expansion, the many at the other end of the economic spectrum made that progress possible by:

working 16-hour days in dangerous, even life-threatening conditions;

suffering from widespread disease due to overcrowding, lack of sanitation and health care, and poor nutrition; and

watching their children forced to drop out of school to help support their families and thus miss out on the education that would enable their informed participation in a democratic society.

The prevailing conditions didn't affect only the poorest of the poor; even the relatively well-off were frequently exposed to industrial air and water pollution and tainted food.

But aaaaahhhhhhhhh, Progress! The new prosperity will trickle down and improve everyone's life. Sound familiar?

The rise of labor unions and the Social Gospel movement improved conditions (at least for some), but it really wasn't until the advent of the New Deal in response to the Great Depression that our country as a whole began to look out for all of its own and not just those who looked out for Number One.

If all of us who claim to follow the Bible would actually read the whole book and follow the many calls in both Testaments to be generous in caring for "the least of these" and to be good stewards of God's good earth and "the fullness thereof," maybe - just maybe - it would be "safe" to turn capitalism loose, or at least somewhat looser than it currently is. But for now, we all must depend to some degree on the "Godless" government to do the "Christlike" thing for the common good, while the "Godly" Dominionists try their darnedest to disassemble that work, create a Christian" nation in their own image, and return the country, and eventually the world, to the "bad old days."


by anomalous4 on Thu Jun 29, 2006 at 04:58:06 PM EST



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 (89 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 (22 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 (21 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 (23 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 (25 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 (18 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 (18 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 (16 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 (8 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 (10 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 (14 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 (21 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 (9 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 (11 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 (25 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 (42 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 (20 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 (18 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 (67 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 (15 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 (21 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 (30 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 (14 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 (16 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 (17 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 (16 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 (17 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 (15 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 (15 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 (17 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.