More Facts for Dominionism Denialists
In several recent posts, I've sought to highlight a few points about the theocratic dominionist movement in the U.S. In The Next Denialism about Dominionism
, I discussed the campaign of denialism and the smearing of those of us who have written about dominionism. In that post I wrote that "denial about dominionism" is in its way, "as preposterous and pernicious as denial about climate change."
In a second piece, Deeper Background on Dominionism
, I reprised a post about discussions of dominionism by Christian scholars. I observed that "the false assertion that that moderate and liberal Christians have been soft on dominionism" has contributed to confusion rather than clarity about dominionism, and that those who make such claims have certainly not been reading Talk to Action
, where a number of writers, some religious some not, some Christian some not, have been writing about dominionism, its constituent parts, and its variations for years.
In this post I want to point to an excellent short piece by Baptist historian Bruce Gourley, whose discussion of Christian nationalist "lies" about separation of church and state, I have also posted as part of this series. Gourley's essay "Turning Our Children Into God's Warriors," which I present here in its entirety, originally appeared in the February 2007 edition of the Baptist Studies Bulletin. BSB states we are free to republish, with the appropriate credit of course. (I have included only a few of the many useful links embedded in the original.)
"Turning Our Children Into God's Warriors"
By Bruce T. Gourley
For years the Religious Right has warned Christians of the dangers of liberalism and "secular humanism" in American society. Now some on the Religious Right want your children to march off to war to save America by turning the nation into a theocracy.
To Christian theocrats (also known as Reconstructionists or Dominionists), democracy is an enemy. Betty Fischer, director of Kids in Ministry International and founder and director of Kids on Fire summer camp in North Dakota, declared in the recently-released Jesus Camp documentary that democracy is a problem because it "treats everyone as equals." Therein is the fundamental reason why Christian theocrats are striving to turn America into a theocracy: the belief that (certain) Christians should receive preferential treatment in America and control the system of laws. This is the only way to vanquish pluralism and "secular humanism."
Who exactly are these Christians that would replace democracy with theocracy? The ideological founders and leaders of the movement include(d) Rousas J. Rushdoony, Francis A. Schaeffer and Gary DeMar. American Vision, led by DeMar, is a leading Christian theocratic organization. DeMar and other theocrats use terminology such as "Biblical Worldview" or "Christian Worldview" to express their goals of turning America into a theocracy. This spring, the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay is hosting a Gary Demar "Worldview Super Conference" entitled "Training the Next Generation to Capture the Future."
Alarmingly, the theocrats are increasingly recruiting children to fight their war against democracy. In the Jesus Camp documentary, the children at the Kids on Fire summer camp are forced to smash ceramic cups with hammers to represent their commitment to destroying America's democratic legal system in order to replace it with theocratic laws. Repeatedly called the chosen generation, the children are told they will take over America for God. And in Georgia, the Georgia Home Education Association (GHEA) is featuring Gary DeMar at their upcoming 2007 annual conference as they train the children to be "little patriots."
Christian schooling and homeschooling are vital tools for Christian theocrats. DeMar's American Vision offers an extensive line of homeschool resources that are very popular in the Christian homeschool movement and Christian schools, including the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a leading national homeschool, and blatantly theocratic, organization that proclaims "now it's time for homeschooled children to take back America" for God. The militantly-minded HSLDA aligned with Marilyn Musgrove (R-CO), sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, to sponsor legislation (H.R. 3753 / S 1691) that would direct the Department of Defense to obtain homeschool records of children for the purpose of "recruitment and enlistment" into the armed forces. In addition, the Homeschool division of the Southern Baptist Convention's Lifeway is affiliated with HSLDA.
Michael P. Farris, the founder of HSLDA whose books are sold by LifeWay, wants control of Christian children from elementary school through the teenage years and beyond. He is also the founder of Patrick Henry College, a Christian college for homeschoolers located near Washington D.C. and devoted to promoting a theocratic agenda by transforming the U.S. government to "adhere to principles of biblical morality." The HSLDA, in addition, is the founder of Joshua Generation Ministries, a theocratic organization which recruits young people aged 11 to 19 to "become a force in the civic and political arenas" and banish pluralism and secular humanism from America: "We believe His promise that one of us can put a thousand to flight and two can put ten thousands to flight."
Joshua Generation Ministries is now forming local chapters referred to as "GenJ" clubs. Earlier this month churches in Morgan County, Georgia, received promotional materials for "BLT (Building Leaders for Tomorrow) the GenJ Club of Morgan County." The theocratic agenda is not even disguised in these materials. Holding up Puritan leader John Winthrop as a role model and hero, the literature proudly proclaims, "Generation Joshua wants America to be a perpetual city on a hill .... Generation Joshua trains the newest generation of young people to be effective leaders today in order to change government policies tomorrow ... to give young people a vision for taking America back to its Judeo-Christian foundations."
In short, some prominent leaders and organizations spearheading the Christian homeschool movement want to turn our children into God's warriors. As the flyer for Joshua Generation reveals, they are not content to recruit homeschooled children only. They want to draft the youth in our churches to fight in the army of their God. We must educate ourselves and be diligent in protecting our children and youth from the hungry grasp of today's Christian theocrats.
Notes: For a listing of state homeschooling organizations affiliated with the theocratic Home School Legal Defense Association, click here. On March 9  Bruce will be leading a workshop entitled "Responding to Christian Nationalism" at the upcoming spring Georgia Cooperative Baptist Fellowship meeting at Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Click here for more information on Christian theocracy/nationalism. You may also visit Bruce's personal website at www.brucegourley.com.