Media and Rightist Distortions about Dominionism: Take the Refresher Quiz!
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Feb 21, 2016 at 04:21:33 PM EST
In light of recent discussions about dominionism and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, it seems like a good moment to refresh our memories about the denial campaign of 2011. -- FC

In recent weeks, a variety of mainstream journalists and conservative writers have treated us to a remarkable display of ignorance, incompetence, and outright sleaze -- and various combinations thereof -- regarding dominionism.  I have collected a sampler of quotes from such writing, not to slam all journalists, but to point out that dominionism is, in fact, central to our current political situation,  not fringe as some would have it,and that the tropes promoted by journalists and op-ed columnists, are not much different than those of hack political operatives.  The attacks on Michelle Goldberg and others of us are unfair, unjustified and frankly unconscionable. And we will continue to respond.

It all began with the massive prayer rally that served as Rick Perry's de facto campaign launch a few weeks ago, and the critical magazine coverage that discussed the role of the New Apostolic Reformation and the dominionist movement powering the Perry and Michelle Bachmann presidential campaigns.

Below are ten quotes from ten different writers or television commentators addressing the matter of dominionism. See if you can identify who was responsible for each quote. Ten points for each correct answer.  Answers for each question at the links.

Charlotte Allen, op-ed columnist, Los Angeles Times
Daniel Burke, reporter, Religion News Service
Jack Cafferty, commentator, CNN
Joe Carter, Web Editor, First Things (a neoconservative journal)
Ross Douthat, op-ed columnist, The New York Times
Michael Gerson, op-ed columnist, The Washington Post
John Hawkins, proprietor, Right Wing News blog
Lisa Miller, religion columnist, The Washington Post
Ralph Reed, Christian Right political operative
Michael A. Walsh, columnist, New York Post

Every time a Republican candidate for high office surfaces who is also a dedicated Christian, the left warns in apocalyptic tones that if you vote for him, America will sink into a "theocracy." Long ago these fear-mongers warned us about Ronald Reagan. Then it was George W. Bush, and after that, Sarah Palin. Now it's Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Elect Perry or Bachmann, this year's warnings go, and make way for "Jesusland" -- a country in which adulterers will be stoned, creationism taught in the schools and gay people sent to reorientation therapy.

Charlotte Allen
Daniel Burke
Michael Gerson
Ralph Reed

the fear of theocracy has suddenly returned.  Beginning with Ryan Lizza's profile of Bachmann in The New Yorker, a spate of recent articles have linked the Republican presidential candidates to scary-sounding political theologies like "Dominionism" and "Christian Reconstructionism," and used these links to suggest that Christian extremism is once more on the march...  But it's easy to succumb to a paranoid six-degrees-of-separation game, in which the most radical figure in a particular community is always the most important one, or the most extreme passage in a particular writer's work always defines his real-world influence.

Ross Douthat
Michael Gerson
John Hawkins
Lisa Miller

...if you listen to liberal newspapers, you'd think every other GOP presidential contender is a theocratic dominionist even though I've never met a single conservative in my entire life who favors turning the United States into a theocracy.

Charlotte Allen
Joe Carter
John Hawkins
Michael A. Walsh

The notion that Bachmann, Perry or other candidates secretly harbor "dominionist" theology is a conspiracy theory largely confined to university faculty lounges and MSNBC studios.

Joe Carter
Ross Douthat
Ralph Reed
Michael A. Walsh

The Dominionist goal is the imposition of a Christian version of sharia law in which adulterers, homosexuals and perhaps recalcitrant children would be subject to capital punishment. It is enough to spoil the sleep of any New Yorker subscriber. But there is a problem: Dominionism, though possessing cosmic ambitions, is a movement that could fit in a phone booth.

Ross Douthat
Michael Gerson
Lisa Miller
Ralph Reed

This dominionism nonsense is about the stupidiest [sic] trend to come along since Birtherism.... [Michelle]  Goldberg is the equivalent of Jerome "Where's the Birth Certificate?" Corsi. She doesn't really care about the truth, she just wants to frighten some gullible liberals and sell more copies of her book.

Charlotte Allen
Joe Carter
Ross Douthat
Ralph Reed

Evangelicals generally do not want to take over the world. "Dominionism" is the paranoid mot du jour.... Certain journalists use "dominionist" the way some folks on Fox News use the word "sharia." Its strangeness scares people. Without history or context, the word creates a siege mentality in which"we" need to guard against "them."

Daniel Burke
Jack Cafferty
Joe Carter
Lisa Miller

For those of you who haven't heard of this before - and I was one of those, I hadn't heard of it either - stand by, 'cause this stuff is really out there.

Daniel Burke
Jack Cafferty
Michael Gerson
John Hawkins

The article questioned Bachmann's and Rick Perry's "ties" to something called Dominionism. Never heard of it? Me neither,

Charlotte Allen
Jack Cafferty
John Hawkins
Michael A. Walsh

In recent weeks, an arcane and scary-sounding religious term has crept into the lexicon of the 2012 campaign, tripping from the tongue of everyone from MSNBC broadcaster Rachel Maddow to conservative Christian leader Ralph Reed.

Depending on whom you ask, "Dominionism" either signifies a Christian plot for world domination, or the latest liberal bugaboo.

Charlotte Allen
Daniel Burke
Jack Cafferty
Lisa Miller

                   ----------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------
Quite a few corrective responses to all this have already been written, including How We Coined the Term "Dominionism" and  Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That's Undermining Democracy Chip Berlet, Another Senior Journalist Confesses to IgnoranceDeeper Background on Dominionism by Frederick Clarkson;  and Washington Post 'On Faith' Columnist Flawed Article Dismisses Dominionism by Rachel Tabachnick.  Chip Berlet also published a response in 2007 to a similar round of smears, denials and distortions.  

Many of us here in Austin tried to warn y'all up there in the smarter states about a Texas governor running for president before.
There's a bumper sticker going around down here (available from the Hon. Glen Maxey, for $2, postage paid):
"The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president, please pay attention.  --Molly Ivins"

by nogodsnomasters on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:18:44 AM EST
Amen! We'd all be better if we'd just have listened to Miss Molly. She never steered us wrong!

by Churchlady on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 06:22:43 PM EST

The issue is getting some international coverage. Al Jazeera has a good article: "Exposing religious fundamentalism in the US: The US media has been downplaying a radical Christian theology that is increasingly influential in the Republican Party." at:

Talk2Action is quoted as a source.

by TomBishop on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:37:16 PM EST

...tar brush Ron Paul:

"...Ron Paul, whose extreme anti-government positions helped to fuel the emergence of the Tea Party, has much deeper dominionist connections than either of the two new darlings. During his first term in Congress, one of his aides was Gary North, Rushdoony's son-in-law, and a leading Reconstructionist in his own right, who has written extensively on so-called "Biblical Capitalism", an ideology profoundly at odds with traditional Biblical-based teachings on economic justice..."

There's an avalanche of R.P.'s videos on YouTube going back decades and I've listened to scores of them without hearing anything creepy yet:

Ron Paul's Words of Warning From 1983 to 2008 - YouTube: via @addthis This man is principled and consistent.

This doesn't seem "extreme" to me:

Obama VS Ron Paul - Toe to Toe - YouTube: via @addthis

If I could choose?

Ron Paul - President

Dennis Kucinich - Vice President

What CNN doesn't want you to see again! - YouTube: via @addthis

Cynthia McKinney - Secretary of State

Why? Because these three ADULTS have proven themselves to be intelligent & compassionate moderates who are unlikely to roll over for the Establishment's Kibbles N Bits.

by MIJ6VI on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 05:51:16 PM EST

about Ron Paul.

Check out this essay by Adele Stan at AlterNet and see if it does not give you pause.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:01:26 PM EST

I've heard a lot of support for Ron Paul from people who claim to be progressives, but since I didn't have a link or something to quote, couldn't respond (even though I remember reading how bad he is, I think here at T2A).

The attitudes I keep encountering from Libertarians, including the support for Ron Paul, reinforces the impression I've always gotten from them - they aren't about smaller government or anything like that, although that is what they claim.  It's all about drugs... legalizing them (which I do not disagree with but distrust what would happen).

Now I have a bookmarked link and something I can go back to if necessary - that has all of the information in one place.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 11:50:45 AM EST

...and some of those linked to it are written like hit-pieces with a recurrent reference to...

Ron Paul presidential campaign, 2008 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia via @addthis al_campaign,_2008#Ron_Paul_newsletter_controversy

...and a guilt-by-association slant:

Ron Paul at the 50th Anniversary of the John Birch Society on Vimeo via @addthis

Pastor's Forum with Ron Paul via @addthis hl=en#docid=2712639834429488867

I didn't hear Paul say anything scary in the above two videos. Sure he's pro-life but in a contest between whose rights should rule, the mother or the baby's, IMHO the focus should be on holding the MALE as being responsible for the pregnancy, instead of in effect punishing the mother or the child.

Based upon what I've recently learned about the horrifying details of abortion procedures I too now believe that it's murder.


Re one other point raised in the following linked-to hit-piece: rian_newsletters_revealed_pg2.html?cat=9

"...Anti-Semitism long has been currency among the populist politics of the kind engaged in by Ron Paul,.. ...Right-wing populists and reactionary organizations such as the John Birch Society have long blamed the troubles suffered by ordinary Americans on the machinations of a cabal of international bankers and their acolytes in government. "International bankers" often is linked to "Jewish bankers," such as the famous Rothschild family, and such bugbears of the right as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Nelson Rockefeller, blamed for big government and international entanglements, often are provided with fabricated Jewish pedigrees by the lunatic fringe..."

The accusation of anti-Semitism is a red herring often employed to stifle legitimate criticism of crooked bankers and politicians.

I challenge anyone to view this award-winning documentary on the crash of '08...

INSIDE JOB: New Documentary Exposes How `Banksters' Continue To Steal Our Money - YouTube: via @addthis

Inside Job (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: via @addthis 29

...and read these articles...

Supreme Court: Fed Must Disclose Bailout Details: via @addthis eme-court-fed-must-disclose-bailout-details

The Fed Audit - Newsroom: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont): via @addthis $16 trillion in secret loans to banks! 53-62060dcbb3c3

IMF's four steps to damnation | Business | The Observer: via @addthis

World Bank creating poverty (BBC Newsnight) - YouTube: via @addthis

...and still maintain that anti-Semitism is the REAL agenda of all of those who expose predatory fractional reserve banking.

Some warnings from history:

"Give me control over a nation's currency and I care not who makes its laws." ~  Baron M.A. Rothschild (1744 - 1812)

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks...will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered... The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance." ~ James Madison

"All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in the Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation." ~ John Adams

"I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls Britain's money supply controls the British empire, and I control the British money supply." ~ Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild (1840 - 1915)

"Under the Federal Reserve Act, panics are scientifically created. The present panic is the first scientific one, worked out as we figure a mathematical equation." ~ Congressman Charles Lindbergh, 1921, from chapter 11 of his book "Economic Pinch" published in 1923

"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world, no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." ~ Woodrow Wilson in his later years, reflecting upon his signing of the Federal Reserve Act

"It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." ~ Henry Ford

"...Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are U.S. government institutions. They are not ... they are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the U.S. for the benefit of themselves and their foreign and domestic swindlers, and rich and predatory money lenders. ...The sack of the United States by the Fed is the greatest crime in history. ...Every effort has been made by the Fed to conceal its powers, but the truth is the Fed has usurped the government. It controls everything here and it controls all our foreign relations. It makes and breaks governments at will." ~ from a June 10, 1932 speech by Congressman Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency 1920-31

"Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nation's laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile." ~ William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950) Prime Minister of Canada 1935

"The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching plan, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole... Their secret is that they have annexed from governments, monarchies, and republics the power to create the world's money...". ~ Prof. Carroll Quigley author of Tragedy and Hope: A History Of The World In Our Time

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries." ~ David Rockefeller 1991


An award-winning and enlightening documentary on fraction reserve lending:

The Secret of Oz - Winner, Best Docu of 2010 v.1.09.11 - YouTube via @addthis st&list=UL

by MIJ6VI on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 08:23:13 PM EST

that conspiracy theories are a waste of time.
_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 10:23:05 PM EST

Adele Stan's article referenced above is not a hit piece, and you have presented no facts to indicate otherwise. While there are fair issues to be raised about banking and the federal reserve, many of those who raise them do so at least in part because they hold anti-Semitic views. Its funny that you raised the matter, because Stan did not in her article -- which I urge people to read for themselves.  

But let me just underscore that Ron Paul endorsed Rev. Chuck Baldwin the Constitution Party candidate for president in 2008. I wrote about it here at the time. The Constitution Party is an overtly theocratic political party, and home to many of the most overt dominionists.  (Stan DID write about that in her article.)  But if you think abortion is murder, as you state above, then you probably belong there, and not at this site.

Today, I had to delete your off topic comments regarding the alleged truth about 911. And now you are offering lengthy off topic material about banking and the federal reserve. If you want to continue to participate at this site, please reread this site's statement of purpose and guidelines, take a break, do something fun, and come back when you are ready to live within the reasonable parameters of this site. Otherwise, you are not long for it.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 10:35:16 PM EST

Some years ago, I attended a few local meetings where people seemed to be saying things that made sense at the time.

Then they started getting weirder and weirder... and fell off the deep end.  The last I heard (several years ago), their entire focus had become "the terrible government is trying to control us via the weather" (opposition to the haarp project).  This 'message' started with a few newcomers who kept pushing it to the group and eventually "infected" one of the leaders.  It is my opinion that they were led into a trap and fell for it.

The thing is, their original message was destroyed by the group getting dragged off the deep end - and it seemed to be deliberate and done from outside.  We seem to be starting to finally catch the attention of those whose interests are served by the dominionists (and the attention of the dominionists themselves), and we need to make sure that we don't get distracted - like I observed in that small group.

We've seen the "truther" stuff and the "Federal Reserve" type stuff... what might be next?  (I noted that some of the sources seemed questionable if not right-wing.)  I was getting quite uncomfortable because I considered those things to be distractions and not useful (as they were) to the discussion.  Indeed, based upon what I've read (and my knowledge of science), I had a big problem with the "Truther" movement (and even more so with most of the other conspiracy movements).

I'm going to make an extra effort to curtail any comments unless they're directly related to dominionism (unless something completely wrong is posted, at which time I will point it out).  I will also make an extra effort to avoid any potential trolls.  I think we're getting to a point where we need to be careful.

(My two cents worth... and I hope it's worth the two cents!)

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 11:54:51 PM EST

In my wandering the web I see much equivalence claimed, along the lines of "you think there are a group of Christians  in a conspiracy to create a Theocracy with rules that fly in the face of everything Christ said, where I think there are a bunch of extraterrestrials in Zurich out to control humanity so they can feed off our brains. You have a conspiracy theory and I have a conspiracy theory, and since they are both conspiracy theories they are equally plausible, and equal merit"

My now almost boilerplate response that the difference between real and fantasy conspiracies is that the real ones are made up of humans (even the Zurich critters  would need human assistance) and more to the point they would need to be Authoritarian Humans and thus prone to human mistakes and even cognitive deficit and so while eager to  grab for power, and quite willing to damage anyone else to do so, they will suffer the issues of any organization (with perhaps added bizarreness), with loose cannons, turncoats, illicit affairs, bragging, backstabbing, etc to say nothing of unexpected consequences in even the short term, and certainly over the long term. They might not be the caricature that is "Pinky and the Brain" but the underlying reality that made the caricature work would not be so distant.

This does not make real conspiracies less dangerous, as even in losing they can devastate the planet, but it helps clarify the difference in the "never an unplanned result" that Illuminati conspiracies enjoy from the amebiod advance and decline, now visible now not so much of the Reconstructionist, C-Street, NAR etc groups that are each energized by different egos, and sometimes crash spectacularly, but as a mass get dangerously close to success.

If one is going to find themselves in front of the media, it would perhaps be useful to have a list of such qualities that make such a spectacular difference between real and fantasy conspiracies.

by FreeDem on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 03:26:04 PM EST

Ahhh - what we're observing is the Light Of Day Syndrome. The first rule of Dominionism is to NOT TALK about Dominionism. Even spell check required that I add it to the dictionary.

by Jocelyn on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:37:07 PM EST
Google Chrome doesn't recognize Dominionism as a word. I suspect there are quite a few people who don't want to face certain harsh realities.

by Hirador on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:22:27 PM EST

It sounds as though your decades of meticulous and devoted research are finally starting to pay off.  By "you" I'm referring to the entire Talk To Action team and all anti-theocracy researchers, of course.  

You seem to be somewhere between 2 and 3 on Ghandi's famous scale of progress: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

by Raksha on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:16:23 PM EST

Of course Dominionism is real. THEY say so. The ones who seek it, want it, impose it, define it - we did not make it up. People writing about this do NOT insist every evangelical or even Pentecostal is a Dominionist, but every Dominionist is real, powerful, and on the march. How do we know? They TOLD us so. One of their kids breathlessly informed me that they could not WAIT for the separation of church and state to be over. "The founding fathers got it a little bit wrong. We're going to get it right." Anyone who thinks this is based on lies and is just like the birther fiasco, well, fine - but then please explain away the August 6th 'anointing' of Rick Perry as God's chosen for president? It wasn't even subtle. Explain all the quotes, actions, and even SCOTUS decisions that are moving us toward an emphatically unequal society in which ultra-conservative Christians and their corporate allies get all the protection, and the rest of us get none? THEY make their desires known, and unlike older GOP they won't back down and just meld into the norm. They have a view. They believe with all their hearts. They see themselves as the 'elect'. That is their call, not ours. So unlike birthers - we just believe them and take them at their word!

by Churchlady on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 06:11:23 PM EST

Those who poo-poo Dominionism should try listening to religious broadcasting- which seems to dominate the airwaves in rural parts of the country.  Dominionism is a term which isn't used much but the message coming over those airwaves is much the same.  There is a corresponding incidence of bible thumping politicians coming from those areas.

by ancient1 on Mon Feb 22, 2016 at 12:42:22 PM EST
I live in Arkansas, a state whose decline into madness began in the 2010 Tea Party Takeover. By now, a state that was once partially blue, or at least purple, is now bright red. We have only a small handful of Dems in the legislature, and all of them are from urban areas. And they are ALWAYS primaried.

Confederate flags are everywhere, and so are guns. We have a lot of dry counties left, and the Baptists are working hard to keep it that way. It's a matter of belief that they DO have the right to make moral choices for the whole population.

There are a couple of rock stations, NPR (which here is pretty far right), and the rest is the right wing talk - mostly "Christian" stations. I don't listen anymore. Thank Dog for Pandora!

I despise living here, but can't afford to move north-east or -west. Sigh.

by phatkhat on Tue Feb 23, 2016 at 12:02:29 PM EST
There seems to be less pressure re drinking (a move to eliminate the Sunday blue laws in this county is taking place) but more emphasis on religiosity and forcing Christianity (their version) on others (especially forcing their cultural norms on others).  With the elimination of Al Jazeera, decent news is getting much harder to find (like there, NPR around here is more neoliberal than anything and seems to be a Hillary Clinton mouthpiece) and we aren't as informed as I'd like to be.  If we could afford to move, we would be gone in an instant - at least out of this backwards-but-with-a-false-face county, and once I finish my education, as far away from the southeast as possible.

In the years since Frederick posted the original article, things have gotten a lot worse down here (but seem slightly better at a national level) regarding the "pass" given to the dominionist churches.  I will admit that I don't get the standard "But it's a CHURCH, it can't be THAT BAD!!!" nearly as much from political people in more recent years, but the open advocacy and support of the dominionist churches by the "news" services has become far more overt... and they seem to be ignoring critical aspects of issues, especially where the churches are involved.  About the only time you hear about "church problems" is when a church member is accused of embezzling money from the church, or someone steals from the church (along with a hint that people donate to make things right), or when a church leader gets caught in pedophilia (a relatively frequent occurrence) - and that last is always a small story in the back of the paper so to speak if it's covered at all (I've heard of cases that were NOT covered - and MANY women we've listened to over the years were raped as little girls by their pastors and nothing ever was done).

It rather bothers me to read an "investigative reporter" gushing about the local domininionist megachurches, and later read rather dismissive reporting about the churches and organizations the megachurch pastors don't like - like the UU church or non-Christian organizations.  That's what has been happening in this hellhole.

I might add that it's frustrating when you provide links to evidence, and people dismiss those links out of hand and label you a "conspiracy theorist".  That's connected to why I tell stories from my own life/experiences, and even those are often dismissed as lies or "made up".

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Mar 02, 2016 at 02:01:18 PM EST

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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 (330 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 (148 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 (90 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 (214 comments)

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