CNN's Blitzer & Cafferty: 'Never Heard of Dominionism'
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 12:06:51 PM EST
In case we were wondering why the Religious Right often seems to get such uncritical, or at least misguided coverage from so much of the mainstream media -- we need look no further than a recent segment from CNN's Situation Room.  It is the single most startlingly frank admission of ignorance on the part of major figures in journalism I have ever seen.

You could probably hear my dropping jaw hitting the floor when I heard  Jack Cafferty and Wolf Blitzer say they had never heard of dominionism until they read Michelle Goldberg's article on The Daily Beast.  They apparently had never heard of Christian Reconstructionism or the New Apostolic Reformation either.  Goldberg's article on Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann's relationship to all of this was certainly well done. But it is amazing that no other journalist of any prominence had looked into it before Goldberg's revelations.  There are many, and ever-more prominent pols with similar ties. And the failure of our national media and political culture to come to grips with this has been astounding. At least to me. As someone who has written about the Religious Right in its various dimensions for about 30 years, I've watched with horror as too many (but not all) mainstream media missed or misreported the stories of one of the most significant political movements of our time.

Blitzer and Cafferty et al have had plenty of opportunities to learn about dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism.  They could have read Michelle Goldberg's New York Times best-selling book Kingdom Coming:  The Rise of Christian Nationalism. in 2006.  They could have read my 1997 book, Eternal Hostility:  The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, or Sara Diamond's 1989 classic, Spiritual Warfare:  The Politics of the Christian Right. -- to name but a few that deal specifically with dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism. We were all widely in the media, including national broadcasts talking about this stuff.  They could also read material from such well established and well known organizations that study and counter the American right, as Americans United for Separation of Church & State and People for the American Way, and Political Research Associates. (PRA published my study of Christian Reconstructionism in 1994.)  Religion Dispatches reports on these things all the time as well.  They have been discussed in wider context in books by such scholarly best selling authors as Gary Wills, Harvey Cox, Jeff Sharlet and Kevin Phillips, to also name but a few, and in major articles in magazines as diverse as Reason and Mother Jones.  (I even discuss Christian Reconstructionism on camera in the 2007 Hollywood film documentary on the politics of abortion, Lake of Fire. Watch it for free, here.)  

You really cannot have been awake in American public life for the past few decades and not have encountered dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism.  Blitzer and Cafferty are far from alone in snoozing comfortably through this part of our national life. They are just more startlingly honest that this is no dream.

At the group blog Talk to Action my journalist, scholarly, and activist colleagues and I have been writing in a sustained and focused manner on these things since 2005.  If Blitzer and Cafferty -- or anyone else -- is interested in the New Apostolic Reformation, Bruce Wilson and Rachel Tabachnick have been doing ground-breaking research and analysis for several years. Here is a recent compilation of their reporting so far.

These things said, I am grateful for Blitzer and Cafferty's frankness.  I think the acknowledgement of their ignorance draws a bright line in our recent history.  I don't know that the bright line will lead us to an era of knowledge and enlightenment, but at least we have a chance of knowing what the darkness of ignorance looks like.




Display:
Very good article. I'm not so sure that Wolf didn't know about Dominionism... because he used to work for Pat Robertson. Surely, he would have had some idea what Robertson was up to... he was, after all, an investigative reporter. Wouldn't he have at least been familiar with the organization he worked for? Then again, given the state of the media in the U.S., maybe he didn't know anything.
Or maybe he didn't want to know.

From the YURICA Report: "Wolf used to work for Pat Robertson's CBN way back when Pat was setting up his news bureau and Wolf was the 700 Club's reporter from the Middle East. He was a lot younger in those days, but in those beginning days Pat exposed Wolf Blitzer to a viewing audience that topped the Nielsen ratings at 28.7 million monthly viewers! That's a great way to launch one's career. But Wolf Blitzer likes to keep that part of his career kind of quiet. He doesn't list the 700 Club's news bureau in his biography. He doesn't tell CNN's audience that Pat was like an angel to him when he was just an independent reporter starting out."

http://www.yuricareport.com/Media/OnPatRobertsonWolfeBlitzerAndDa vidCorn.html

by COinMS on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 01:53:07 PM EST

That explains quite a bit, but to the larger point not about Wolf, I think there is a certain amount of willful ignorance, Most of my friends(to clarify I'm in the 19-24 demographic) are left of center, and even the politically interested ones have either never heard of Dominionism or only know about it in passing. Heck I'm using Google Chrome and it doesn't recognize Dominionism as a word. The chief reason in my opinion is that no one wants to think of their fellow Americans as people who want to  take over the world. But apparently Dominionists want to, so we have to understand that. As well as the fact that they feel they are "liberating people." At this point they are liberating people from freedom.

by Hirador on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 07:14:06 PM EST
Parent


And I'll be writing in my next piece what this could mean for Catholic voters.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 04:09:05 PM EST

Joe Carter of the On The Square Blog of First Things has a post in which he disparages Sara Diamond for coining the term "Domionism," and makes the argument that Francis Schaeffer had nothing to do with Dominionist Movement.  Would someone at Talk2Action consider writing a blog post in response?

-------------
"I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair" - JFK, Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
by hardindr on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 04:18:27 PM EST
Frank Schaeffer, Francis Schaeffer's son would disagree. See his article:

"Michele Bachmann Was Inspired By My Dad and His Christian Reconstructionist Friends -- Here's Why That's Terrifying"

at

http://bit.ly/qIz011

by TomBishop on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 06:03:50 PM EST
Parent

I am familiar with Frank Schaeffer's view of his father.  Carter did not mention that in his blog post, though some of his commenters dismiss the younger Schaeffer's views on his father.

-------------
"I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair" - JFK, Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
by hardindr on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 07:13:40 PM EST
Parent
By what evidence do they dismiss Frank Schaeffer's views of his father? Can they cite evidence or do they simply have a subjective attachment to their views?

by TomBishop on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 09:59:29 PM EST
Parent



dominionist apologist to me.  I don't know the person (never heard of him) and don't go to many blogs... but if he's saying that about Sara Diamond and Francis Shaeffer, I don't think he's someone to listen to or read.

Francis Shaeffer... I remember his name being connected with the Religious Right (aka dominionists, although some may scream at my connecting the two) back from my Assemblies of God days (33 to 30 years ago), when people in the churches would quote him and talk about him (especially leaders).  That's enough for me to place him in the dominionist camp.

Frank Shaeffer is well known to the walkaway community, and his involvement in the Religious Right is documented.  He talks about how his father and himself helped start the modern version of the movement, and also showed how its roots are solidly racist and bigoted from the beginning.  He's clear about the connections, and as a walkaway and former leader of the movement, his voice has more weight than most (and should).

They don't like people telling the truth about them, because their whole castle is a house of cards based upon lies.  They don't like exposure because it thwarts their efforts (nobody in their right mind would support them, once that person realized what they're really about).  

So they'll do anything they can to try to discredit those who oppose them.  Just as they try to discredit, demonize, and even use terrorism against walkaways who speak out and tell the truth against them.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Aug 20, 2011 at 10:56:02 AM EST
Parent



I've noted this ignorance in a lot of people.  Politicians, academics, and others have revealed themselves to be woefully ignorant of dominionism and the theocratic moves taking place right now, and often it seems that they dismiss our warnings without even reading or considering them because they just cannot accept that a major portion of the American populace could follow something so extreme.  From the people I've known who have woken up, it takes reading or hearing about the subject from someone they consider to be "authoritative" and accurate.  Once their eyes are opened, then they will look to other sources (like Talk2Action).

Even if they recognize the extremism of the Tea Party (for instance), they still dismiss it as politics, but only a little worse than usual.  Sometimes they're shocked by something, but they write it off as the words or actions of a "deranged individual", because American society has been taught to give corporations, churches, and other "good organizations" a pass.

A friend and I have been talking about academia (especially anthropology) needing to research how corporations have deliberately shaped American culture to serve them.  I also think that goes for churches... and thus the blind spot we keep running into.


by ArchaeoBob on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 04:37:42 PM EST

On the humble assumption that my understanding of the matter is accurate, I would like to gently point out that just as there's a substantial difference between mainstream Christians and NAR/Dominionist/theocratic wannabees, so it is that there's a distinction between the early Libertarian/Constitutionalist Tea Party a la Ron Paul and the later highjacked Tea Party of the Religious Right.

--------

On the subject of why it's taken the mainstream media so long to 'wake up' here's an interesting video which explains how many folks can remain wilfully blind to even overwhelming amounts of credible evidence:

How To Brainwash A Nation‏ - YouTube: http://bit.ly/ifou5T via @addthis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeMZGGQ0ERk&feature=related

by MIJ6VI on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:39:58 PM EST
Parent

here on Talk2Action.

The constitution party is theocratic and dominionist and always has been.

Ron Paul is a dominionist.  He's supported dominionist causes.

The Tea Party has been dominionist from the beginning.  A few people, maybe not (maybe even a few splinter groups were not).  But from the first time I heard of the Tea Party, it was connected (at least in Florida) with the dominionist churches, and they've always supported dominionist causes.

So the Tea Party has never been an acceptable alternative, as the Theocrats have so valiantly tried to portray it.  

Second, I think you need to read my other posts.  There are mainstream Christians who are just as evil as the dominionists, and while there are mainstream churches who at least TRY to do the right thing, at the same time, most have been a source of misery for the poor and minorities throughout the centuries - especially to Native Americans.

I am a Christian, but I reject most of "Christianity" because it's the same old Calvinistic top-down authoritarian and exploitative setup that Jesus railed against (and which the dominionists want to FORCE on the rest of us).  In other words, they support the status quo and show preferential treatment to the rich and powerful while multiplying the burdens that the poor are forced to carry.

The Tea Party - just the Dominionists' political arm.  They have their jackbooted thugs too.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Aug 20, 2011 at 10:40:06 AM EST
Parent


The video is a double-edged sword.  Bezmenov states that left-leaning thinkers are, in effect, vessels of Marxist subversion.  Such a piece could serve as a useful propaganda tool in the hands of the far right.

However, I also understand the underlying message in that subversion does not have to be performed covertly in order to influence a mass populace.  

by LupusGreywalker on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 11:48:46 PM EST
Parent




Have you ever thought of revising and updating your book on Dominionism "Eternal Hostility"?
It is a very good book, but since it was written
over 10 years ago,  it seems that now is the time
to revise and expand it.  I consider myself  a
left-wing evangelical, and I am frightened and appalled at what is happening.  The Bible is being
taken out of its historical and textual context, and we need to sound a very loud alarm in the
Christian community.  Thank you for all you've done.  

by LFlatau on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 11:07:08 PM EST
I have thought about it, would like to, and started to do it once, but the whole project got derailed.  Very frustrating, but life goes on.  If I can find a way, or an opportunity presents itself, I would certainly like to go for it.  In the meantime, I am trying to get other book projects off the ground.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 12:09:08 AM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


Hallelujah, Mike Huckabee, Hallelujah
Fox News personality Mike Huckabee had a defining moment in the wake of the Newtown massacre. One that as we enter the 2016 presidential......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Moses And Michele: Departing Member Of Congress Spreads More Misinformation
The Religious Right's Moses fixation continues to grow.As you might recall, the Texas State Board of Education recently demanded social studies textbooks that highlight......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Christian Right Silent about Bob Jones U Sex Abuse Report
One of the deep scandals of our time, and apparently times past, is that sex abuse, particularly of children, has been so tolerated and......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Boot These Bigoted Bans: Movement Seeks To Remove Anti-Atheist Bias From State Constitutions
Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
James Madison and Tax-Supported Chaplains
In light of former Sen. Rick Santorum's recent silly declaration that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution,......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Death to Obama; Death to "Homos"; What's Next?
When the Obama administration was young, threats against the president were common, and sometimes quite public. One notorious such incident was that of Rev.......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Rick Scarborough's America
When Stand Up Sunday was convened by Mike Huckabee in Houston it was to feature the leading spokesmen for the Religious Right agenda.  The......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
The Republican Diversity Program... Is Working
I don't usually write directly about electoral politics, but sometimes I bring an outsider's perspective to how the inside looks to some of the......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
American Christian Right Leaders in Rome
The remarkable and growing alliance between conservative Catholicism and protestant evangelicalism was on prominent display at a recent event at the Vatican. My colleague......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Religious Supremacism on the Rise Against Marriage Equality
This is a crosspost of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation.  -- FC Christian right undermines marriage equality with religious supremacism FREDERICK......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Author of Loathing Lincoln Explains Why Some on the Christian Right Loathe Lincoln
One under-reported result of the 2014 elections was the rise of Neo-Confederate politics in the U.S. This included the election of unabashed apologist for......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Catholic Theocracy Grows in Florida
Catholic Right pizza mogul Tom Monaghan and his Ave Maria School of Law are back in the news.  Journalist Eleanor Bader has a new......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion
A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.The proposal put forth by the......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the cities' mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the city's mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)

Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 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.