Theocracy Timeline
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 06:19:04 PM EST
Here is the full timeline. A bit rough, but ready for expansion.
600-500 BCE. The ideas of Zoroaster, the Persian (think Iran) religious thinker spread throughout what is now the Middle East.

These ideas of Zoroaster include one God (Monotheism) and Dualism: the idea that there is an earthly struggle between absolute good (God) and absolute evil (like Satan). Thus spake Zarathustra, Zoroaster's aka. These themes picked up by Nietzsche, Strauss (the composer) and the 2001 space flick; and let's not forget George W. Bush. Yup. It all starts with Zoroaster, but don't blame him for how things have turned out.

These historic legacies, transmuted through the American experience, have resulted in the palengenetic push to "purify" our land of the sins of abortion, the feminist movement, and gay rights, (among other things) so that Godly men can establish Dominion (thus the term "Dominionism") over the United States, or even build a full Theocracy. And all this is tied to Monotheism, Dualism, Messianism, Apocalypticism and Demonization--and the Palengentic idea that before Jesus comes back-- Godly Christians have to whip folks into shape.

But keep in mind that most conservative Christian evangelicals do not support the idea of a Theocracy; and that exaggerating the threat or painting all Christian evangelicals with a demonizing broad brush is both wrong and unconstructive.

597-538 BCE. The Jews are conquered and kidnapped by the Chaldeans and are sent into slavery in Babylon, the Chaldean capital. Some Jews figure they are being punished by God for failing in their religious duties, so they seek a heroic rebirth through religious orthodoxy. This idea of heroic rebirth after a period of decline and chaos is now called "palingenesis," (hold that thought). These Jews start thinking if they purify the religion enough, a "messiah" will come and save them. Instead, Cyrus the Persian (remember Zoroaster?) whacks the Chaldeans and liberates the Jews. Cyrus is a Godly dude, and he sees the Jews are Godly, and sends them back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of Solomon, destroyed by the Chaldeans. The returning Jews rethink the Messiah stuff, but hold onto the idea, along with monotheism and, for a time, dualism, influenced in part by Zoroastrianism.

1-35 (about). Jesus of Nazareth is upset with the Jewish leaders who seem to have lost track of some core ideas of Judaism. As an observant Jew, he takes them to task, gathering a following in the process. This band of palingenetic Jews seek to restore the power of the religion. Jesus is executed as an annoying rebel demagogue upsetting Church and state. Don't blame "the Jews" no matter how many times you watched that Gibson film. What really matters, though, is the belief in the resurrection of Christ after his death, and the debate about his return as the Messiah in a "Second Coming," maybe tied to something called the "End Times" when there is this huge apocalyptic battle between good and evil involving an agent of Satan called the "Anti-Christ."

35-200 (about) This band of palingenetic Jews claim Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. They open up the new religion of Christianity to non-Jews. One dude in particular, Paul, is into institutionalizing everything.  Elaine Pagels explains this stuff better than me.  Check out her books.

250-350 (about). Illuminating religious current called Manichaeism combines Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Sprouts up in south Babylon, (Iraq). Highly dualistic. Denounced as a heresy by the ruling claque of Christianity. Keeps popping back up.

250-350 (about). Constantine the Great. Flavius Valerius Constantinus to you, if you are walking around back then. Turns Roman Empire into a Christian State and carries the religion across Europe and even to those pesky Celts up in those big islands.

350-450 (about) Augustine is no pinhead, he is a great scholar and intellectual and merges classic scholarship with Christian thinking to create a durable theology.

1095-1291. The Crusades. The idea is the liberate the city of Jerusalem, especially the Temple Mount (formerly site of the first and second Temple of Solomon built by the Jews) from the "infidels," who are really Muslims. The Muslims think Jerusalem is their holy city, because they see Jesus as a great prophet, but their messianic narrative involves their central prophet Mohammed, and the idea that in the "End Times" their prophesies require Islamic religious events to take place on Harem el-Sharif, aka the Temple Mount. Some Christians argue that Jesus can't return as messiah until the Temple Mount is rid of the Muslims.

1483-1546. Martin Luther. This dude had a real attitude problem, and nails the honchos. He attacks several ideas and practices of the rulers, theologians, and priests of Christianity. There is no separation of church and state at this time, so he is also the bane of government officials. His protests eventually split Christianity into three main branches: Roman Catholicism, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and Protestantism, the latter based on the protests of Luther. As a priest and scholar, Luther is palingenetic in that he wanted to restore and purify Christianity, and this in his mind involved seeing the Roman Pope as perhaps the Antichrist who undermines the Godly and seeks to prevent the return of the Messiah, Jesus.

1509-1564. John Calvin. Takes Protestantism and crafts the idea of an ideal theocratic state run by Godly men.

1559-1660. Puritans & Pilgrims. Take Calvinism to new heights and new shores with migrations to the "New World" between 1620 and 1640. As settlers, some thought the native population, being non-Christian and a breed apart, had no souls. They saw themselves as building a "New Jerusalem," a "City on a Hill" to shine a beacon of the purified faith of Christianity throughout the world (thus Beacon Hill in Boston). These palingenetic Pilgrims and Puritans thought the ideal nation state was a Protestant theocracy run by Godly men. When the "New Jerusalem" was established, they believed it would hasten the second coming of Christ. Agents of Satan who might prevent this included witches, who shared the Devil's skills. Any straying from theological or secular orthodoxy needed to be corrected through punishment, shame and discipline. Witches and other handmaidens of Satan were put to death, along with religious rebels who refused to obey banishment.

1611, 1630, 1640. Presbyterians establish churches in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and New York.

1648-1660. The Pilgrims and Puritans form what becomes Congregationalism. The Brit Oliver Cromwell leads a putsch in scary old England, and then manages to loose his head after he dies, following the restoration of the Stuart monarchy.

1681. William Penn, the Quaker leader promotes religious liberty in Pennsylvania. Social reform and community betterment are seen as having a government role as well as a theological justification.

1735 – 1745. (about) The First Great Awakening. Religious fervor with a colonial flavor. George Whitfield, a Calvinist Methodist, preaches up a fire. American individualism and egalitarianism chips away at Calvinist ideas of predestination and the elect.

1755. The Separate Baptists are fired up by the First Great Awakening and proselytize across the South.

1766. Methodists plant a denominational tree in NYC.

1782. Congregationalism is stressed out as Unitarian-style ideas begin to form within churches in New England. Is “Man” born of sin and a bad apple seed as the Calvinists proclaim?

1784. Methodists officially split from Anglican Church.

1800 – 1820 (about). Second Great Awakening. Methodists and Baptists gain strength. Religious revivalist fervor is so hot, that an area in upstate New York is dubbed the “Burned Over Distirict.”

1805. Proto-Unitarians steal Harvard from the Calvinists Congregationalists. See “Man” as basically good. This (along with Quaker ideas) leads to the idea of social welfare, prison as a form of rehabilitation, public education.

1820s. Anglicans, Quakers, and Congregationalists oppose ideas of the evangelicals, and slowly fade in importance.

1820s. The idea of Dispensationalism emerges in England and Ireland, in an eschatological derby led by Darby.

1820s. Back in the U.S of A, the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists interact with, embrace, split, and play theological footsie with the ideas of the evangelicals, and start to grow in influence.

1825. American Unitarian Association formed in Boston.

1830. Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) founded by Joseph Smith with publication of Book of Mormon.

1844-1845. Northern and Southern Methodists split over abolition.

1857-1861. (about) Presbyterian Church splits over slavery, although most individual churches support abolition. Method and speed are core issues of the dispute. Some individual churches had seen splits even earlier. New School Presbyterians (fast-track abolitionists) emphasize ideas of Declaration of Independence and suggest there is a moral obligation to the idea of “human rights.”

1860 to 1905 (about). Third Great Awakening. Revivalism redux.

1860-1865 (about). Abolitionism grows, and many Abolitionists see millennial aspect to abolishing slavery. Battle Hymn of the Republic: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword…” Pop quiz: According to one reading of Biblical prophecy, who gets trampled as grapes due to the Lord’s wrath?

1890. Premillennial Dispensationalism gets a boost with the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. This becomes a major version of the Bible for evangelicals, especially in the South.

1890-1920 (about). The predominantly postmillennial Social Gospel movement emerges with a number of reform ideas such as settlement houses, and legislation against child labor.

1901. The Southern and Northern branches of the Presbyterians re-unite.

1915 – 1920. Orthodox evangelical theologians start generating a list of the “fundamental” beliefs that they believe every Christian should believe. St. Paul smiles, in a metaphoric/metaphysical sense, of course. This movement becomes known as “Fundamentalism.”

1924. Dallas Theological Seminary founded. Promotes Premillennial Dispensationalism.

1936. Christian American Association founded.

1937. Church League of America founded (National Layman's Council).

1950. Freeman magazine founded.

1950. Christian America magazine founded.

1950. Christian Economics magazine/journal founded.

1950. Christian Freedom Foundation founded.

1954. Brown v. Board of Education - desegregated public schools.

1955. National Review magazine founded by William F. Buckley Jr.

1957. Roth v. United States - porography.

1958. JBS Founding meeting (1959 actual organization launched).

1959. Christian Broadcasting Network founded by Pat Robertson.

1962. Summit Ministries founded by David Noebel.

1962. Engel v. Vitale - school prayer.

1962. Christian Citizen founded.

1963. Rusher calls for conservative takeover of GOP.

1963. Abington Township School District v. Schempp - banned sponsored Bible reading.

1963. William Rusher urges challenge to GOP.

1964. Goldwater campaign for President.

1964. Schlafly helps build Goldwater campaign. Book: "A Choice Not An Echo".

1965. R.J. Rushdoony founds the Chalcedon Foundation

1966. Republican conservatives score important successes in governorships, and other races. Of the 153 candidates endorsed by American Conservative Union--133 won.

1968. Wallace campaigns for President.

1969. MOTOREDE launched by JBS - main attack was on sex education, but also urged anti-abortion activism in a largely Protestant base.

1969. Kevin Phillips publishes book on new GOP majority.

1970. Religious Roundtable founded by Ed McAteer.

1971. Swann v Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Approved of Busing as a remedy for segregation.

1972. Wallace campaigns for President.

1972. Stop Era campaign by Schalfly.

1972. Eagle Forum founded by Phyllis Schlafly.

1973. Conservative Political Action Conferences started.

1973. Roe v. Wade - Supreme Court decision on abortion.

1973. Heritage Foundation founded by Weyrich and Joe Coors with money from Joe Coors and Richard Mellon Scaife.

1973. Roe v. Wade abortion decision handed down by Supreme Court.

1973. Rushdoony publishes Institutes of Biblical Law.

1974 . School Textbook controversy Kanawha County WV.

1974. Kanawha County WV textbook xontroversy.

1974. Conservative Caucus founded by Howard Phillips.

1974. Third Century Publishers founded.

1974. Free Congress Foundation founded as Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress.

1975. Bright and Conlan start leadership trainings to politicize evangelicals.

1976. National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC) founded by Terry Dolan.

1976. Weyrich, Phillips, Viguerrie, and Rusher go to American Independent Party convention to try to take it over, but fail, then look toward Republican Party.

1977. Christian School Action founded by Robert Billings (becomes National Christian Action.

1977. Focus on the Family founded by James Dobson.

1977. American Family Association formed by Don Wildmon.

1977. Anita Bryant leads anti-gay campaign in Florida.

1978. American Vision founded.

1978. IRS under President Jimmy Carter's commissioner Jerome Kurtz issues proposed regulations likely to strip non-profit tax status from hundreds of segregated White Christian academies.

1978. National Christian Action Coalition founded by Robert Billings (expanded from Christian School Action).

1979. Schaeffer and Koop make film series on abortion.

1979. New Right organizers meet to plan Moral Majority.

1979. Western Goals founded.

1979. Reverend Sileven of Faith Baptist Church in Nebraska was jailed after illegally operating an unlicensed school as a Christian academy.

1979. Moral Majority founded by Jerry Falwell.

1979. Christian Voice launched.

1979 . Concerned Women for America founded by Beverly LaHaye.

1980. Traditional Values Coalition founded by Sheldon.

1980. Institute on Religion and Democracy founded with money from Scaife and Olin .

1981. Council for National Policy founded.

1983. Bob Jones University V. United States.

1984. The Washington Times founded by Rev.Sun Myung Moon.

1989. Christian Coalition founded by Pat Robertson.

1992. Lee v. Weisman - school prayer.

1993. Alliance Defense Fund founded by D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries, Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association, and James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and others.

2000. Santa Fe Independent School District v. DOE - school prayer case.

Chip, enjoyed the research. I believe Jesus lost his only election to a theocracy advocate, Barabbas who believed in overthrowing Rome. This is why the terrorist found favor, Jesus was the separation candidate.  Missing in the chronology is the story of Baptists and how they instigated the idea of separation and insisted on a free church in a free state.  Frederick is going to post some things I have put together on Richard Land who is moving Baptists away from their foundations.  McAteer was a layman in a Baptist church in Memphis who wanted the current President Bush to appoint him to be ambassador to Israel.  He represents a return to the Barabbas approach more than he symbolizes what a Baptist is.

by wilkyjr on Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 07:19:29 PM EST
Nice points.  Baptists helped ensure separation as a concept was defended.  A shame that they have been hijacked.
_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 10:34:03 PM EST

1965 R.J. Rushdoony founds the Chalcedon Foundation

1973  Rushdoony publishes Institutes of Biblical Law

1980 Institute on Religion and Democracy founded with money from Scaife and Olin

1984 The Washington Times founded by Rev.Sun Myung Moon

more soon!

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 08:51:20 PM EST

How about the boys from Detroit? Coughlin, Henriech (As Hitler called him) Ford, Gerald Smith, and J. Frank Norris, all of whom resided in the city about the same time and were close to one another.  They appear to be the early founders in the nation.

by wilkyjr on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 09:51:57 AM EST

Chip Berlet thanks for sharing the ideas of Zoroaster, the Persian (think Iran) religious thinker spread throughout what is now the Middle East, I will buy essay service to know more about this. Didn't knew what happened between 600-500 BCE and 2000. Finally I know about the history, thanks.

by Richard Guiness on Mon Oct 24, 2016 at 06:04:57 AM EST

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