Deeper Background on Dominionism
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:30:22 PM EST
Contributing to the confusion about dominionism has been the false assertion that that moderate and liberal Christians have been soft on dominionism. People who make that assertion, have not not only not been reading the work of Chip Berlet, who has not only been one of those who defined and popularized the term, but is an active progressive Christian and a contributor to the book I edited, Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America, but clearly have not been reading about dominionism. Indeed, dominionism has been a concern of many Christian thinkers, two of whom authored detailed essays on the subject right here at Talk to Action. Their work is as relevant today as it was when it was written. So I am reposting a piece from September 04, 2011 that highlighted their work. -- FC
After the recent round of silliness in which top journalists confessed to either not having heard of dominionism and the New Apostolic Reformation, or claimed that neither actually exists, or sought to downplay the entire matter as as leftwing paranoia -- a number of us who write about these things have sought to correct the record. Chip Berlet's post Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That's Undermining Democracy goes a long way towards putting this bruhaha into perspective. But as part of this effort, I want to highlight two remarkable series on dominionism posted at Talk to Action  few years ago by two Christian ministers and scholars from very different backgrounds and parts of the country.

Back in 2005, Rev. Dr. Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister, a leader in Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and one of the founders of Talk to Action, posted an important series on dominionism. He had experienced the politics of dominionism up close and personal: in the rightist takeover of his denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, and later in the Republican Party in the city where he lived, Houston, Texas.

In 2007, a Lutheran theologian writing under the name Mahanoy, who taught at a mainline seminary, reposted for us a series he originally published on Street Prophets.  The series analyzed an eye-opening booklet titled:  "America, Return to God."

Here is an excerpt from Bruce Prescott's opening essay:

In February 1990 I received an unsolicited video in the mail.  The video came from a Dr. Stephen Hotze and was entitled "Restoring America:  How You Can Impact Civil Government."  Filmed at a church in my neighborhood, I recognized the actors as the pastor and congregants of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church (the Jerry Falwell kind).   The video was a guide on how to 1) take over a Republican Party precinct meeting, 2) elect "Christian" delegates to the GOP District meeting, and 3) put planks supporting the theocratic agenda of Christian Reconstructionism into the party platform.

After reciting the standard mythology about America being a Christian nation, about the influence of Christianity on the reconstruction of the South after the civil war, and about the threat of modern secularism, here is what Hotze said on the video:

Biblically, the legitimate role of civil government is to provide justice based upon the absolute standards of God's law, to restrain wickedness, to punish evil doers, and to protect the life, liberty and property of law abiding citizens.

Christians have the responsibility to be actively involved in family, church and civil government arenas.  There is no neutrality.  Civil government will either reflect biblical Christianity or it will reflect anti-Christian positions.

You can make the difference.  The upcoming primary elections will provide you with the opportunity not only to exercise your right to vote but also to attend precinct conventions which occur at your polling place after the polls close.  The precinct convention is the most critical meeting for you to attend if you want to have an impact in the area of civil government.

[To hear an audio podcast (an mp3 file) of Hotze's 8 minute speech, click here and give it time to download.  To hear the audio from the entire 34 minute video, click here and give it time to download.]

I was not registered as a Republican, but I knew that a good friend of mine, a retired moderate Baptist preacher, chaired the GOP precinct in my neighborhood.  I called him and advised him about the organized attempt to takeover of his precinct.  He survived the challenge that year (they ousted him the next election cycle), but nearly all of the other Republican Party precinct leaders in Harris County lost their chairs.

Hotze's dominion over politics in Houston, Texas (the third largest city in the U.S.) began that year - just in time to prepare for service as host of the 1992 GOP National Convention.  His reign lasted for around a decade -- until he was arrested for D.W.I. and fell from the good graces of his Fundamentalist followers.  The machine he created, however, still rules over the Harris County Republican party and his success inspired and emboldened theocrats to takeover GOP precincts all over the state of Texas.

Along with his video tape, Hotze sent a written agenda and instructions for how to conduct a precinct meeting.  He also suggested resolutions for the party's platform.  Today, nearly all the planks that Hotze suggested can be found in the current platform of the Texas Republican Party.

Meanwhile, most of the country club Republicans who provide the funds for this theocratic juggernaut still seem to be sipping their cocktails in ignorant bliss.

Dominionists are patient revolutionaries.  They work through the system to gain control.  Then they work from within the system to change the system.  The changes they are making are incremental.  They have little respect for democracy and none for pluralism.  They mean business and they already hold many of the mechanisms of power around the country. ;

It is long past time for Americans who love democracy to acknowledge what is at stake and start facing the challenge that these patient theocratic revolutionaries represent.

Here are links to the six part series:

On Restoring America

Learning to be Patient Revolutionaries

From Reconstructionism to Dominonism, Part 1

From Reconstructionism to Dominionism, Part 2

SBC Takeover Leaders and the CNP

Reconstructionism, Southern Baptists & Education

Here is how Mahanoy concluded the final essay:

...the Dominionists have declared war on the very principles of American secular democracy and on the entire Western intellectual tradition. It is time for us to recognize the stakes of this war and join the battle that has been pitched. The future of our nation, and of our world, is at stake.
 

Here are links to Mahanoy's "Deconstructing the Dominionists" series:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI




Display:
It's an older short film from the war department(yeah it's from the 40's). It's entitled "Don't Be a Sucker" and it is an anti-fascist film that I have found useful in explaining to people why Dominionism is a particularly problematic movement.
The link is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23X14HS4gLk
What it explains so well is that political groups will use religion to divide people, and that is when they are vulnerable. And while the worst thing we as writers could do is overreact, at this point I really fail to see that being the problem.  

by Hirador on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 09:08:56 PM EST

A good source of information on the Dominionist movement is Theocracy Rising: Dominionists, Christian Nationalists, and Reconstructionists posted on Scribd.com

by Villabolo on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:08:27 PM EST

I would love to listen to the 34min audio file by Hotze, but the links give a 404 error?
I'm both fascinated and scared to death of Dominionism.  My Uncle, a Catholic Priest who recently celebrated his 50th Ann since Ordination, (I know there's a name for it, but I left the church long ago and am no longer privy to the "lingo" :), spent the past 40 years heading up a Missionary organization in South America, (as head, director, and priest of 2 large parishes-one outside of Quito, the other in Aroura Bolivia).  When he returned to the states almost 4 years ago, he was in for more than the expected "culture shock".  He returned to a rectory where 5-6 priests would gather each evening to watch "some clown" on TV.  
My Uncle has his Masters in history, imagine his surprise as he watched Glenn Beck and David Barton turn American History inside out and upside down!
As it turns out, through the Tea Party, these priests had also developed a Dominionist Worldview, causing my Uncle to call me and ask WTF (in that language), was going on in this country.  I gathered as much information, research, and programs on Beck, his Tea Party, Dominionists..and the brainwashing of millions into a psuedo-religious, psuedo-history.  Last we talked, he is keeping up with this website-and has gotten a place of his own to spend what's left of his retirement in peace-or try to.
I also have an aunt, oddly enough, she and her husband are actually friends-as well as what I call "devotees" of Glenn Beck as they attend the same Mormon church.  My Aunt has gone from, in less than 5 years, a fairly liberal-yet apathetic-Politico Mormon-to Ultra-Conservative, non-apologetic, Mormon Dominionist. (Is that "repetitive"?).  My poor 90-something Dad is worried sick that his "little sister", (20 year age difference), is going to have a stroke because she's so worried that God has foresaken our Country and the ONLY way to "take our Country back and save it", force biblical education on all children, institute Biblical Law, and fulfill "The Great Commision" by any means possible "for Gods wrath will be much more severe than anything man could do".

On top of this-I live in an ultra conservative, tea party, Beck devotee galore, town.  At least I'm no longer living on "Main Street"-the nutcases seem to avoid the big farms out here.
Afraid a "Godless Progressive" may "tear you out of your cars, (homes), and KILL YOU!!"-(Beck-with one word substituted)
What a crazy world we live in today, huh?

by ElaineDG on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:12:02 AM EST


Or they will try to make it world domination. they are dedicated to first taming us then using our massive military to subjugate every country on earth. The USA is in a similar position the Roman Republic was in when its external empire was still growing. They just needed to decide Republic or Empire---they chose Empire. What will be chosen this time? We can't stay in our hybrid state much longer. At the rate things are going the Plutocrats are wining and without firing a shot. This kind of militarist Crusader/Inquisition imperial way of seeing the USA and the world is how they want to transform us fully into one. "The Handmaid's Tale" writ real.

by Nightgaunt on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 03:07:51 PM EST


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