More Facts for Dominionism Denialists
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 11:30:53 PM EST
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 [2007] 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

of information is Frank Shaeffer, son of Francis Shaeffer.  Frank, a well-known walkaway, exposes much about the "Religious Right", especially their racist roots.  He used to be part of the central planning for the movement back in the "Moral Majority" days.

We have lots of homeschoolers in this area... and the ones I remember were all dominionists and mostly young-earthers.  I recently caught a rant from one who found out I'd taught evolution - she wanted "your religion, evolution, banned from the schools as Christianity has been banned" and insisted that I worshiped Darwin - didn't like it at all when I laughed at that.  (She also expressed rage because we taught things in school that "denied the Bible" and insisted that if "they teach your religion, they also have to teach Christianity".)  

It's happened before - that sort of rant.  

I've come to associate homeschooling with young earthism, creationism, and deliberate ignorance (if not deliberate blind stupidity).  I know that there are decent homeschoolers "out there" because they usually fuss whenever anyone says anything negative about it (even against the dominionist ones), but have only met one or two in person who fit that description... in 35 years (they were from other areas).  The rest turned out to be "Good Christians" - the sort of people who have made life hell on earth for us and many others.

It needs to be said that the same people who support this sort of homeschooling also want the public schools completely destroyed... defunded, or forced to teach "deh BIBLE!".  They also want to force a "Bible-based perspective" into the University and College classrooms.  

In 2006, we attended a presentation by "Intelligent Design" speakers at the big Episcopal church we used to attend (the very last time I set foot in that place) and they insisted at the end of their spiel that they need to (and I quote): "Teach the God of the Bible in the schools".  Their BS was quickly and strongly supported - standing ovation and expressions of agreement.  The place was packed and during that same evening a church leader insisted that gays needed to be killed (he said that the OT had a solution for them - stoning) and I was told to my face that I couldn't be Christian and accept evolution - that I had to make a choice.  

I made my choice - for truth.

That church was at that time considered one of the more liberal churches in the area.  It had been targeted specifically for steeplejacking and people dismissed my warnings about all of the dominionist "Bible College" students getting involved and taking positions (such as heading up the Sunday School and Children's Church).  We both watched as the church turned Religious Right over a span of around 10 years (this story is common).  Towards the end we started hearing rants from members against the public schools... that the solution to their supposed problems was "Jesus", and more and more language in support of homeschooling.  Then that presentation happened and we walked.

The evidence is that they've gone even more to the right since we walked out, although there have been reports of resistance to things like "The Bible is absolutely, literally true".  They haven't fallen that far yet.

As a previous thread states, they also have targeted the US military for steeplejacking.  Think about that.

People shouldn't take this threat lightly or dismiss it because "they're Good Christians, they can't be THAT BAD!"

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 11:56:57 AM EST

I've heard of steeplejacking and how the conservatives take control of the churches but where do the liberals they drive out go to? Are there enough unaffected churches to take them in?

by Villabolo on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:59:35 PM EST
The definitive book on steeplejacking was written by former Talk to Action contributor, John Dorhauer. the book Steeplejacking was significantly based on his Talk to Action posts.

Sometimes there is a nearby church to go to if a "renewal" faction takes over, or drives people out. Sometimes not. It depends on the community. But there are people who have been driven out of churches where their family has attended for generations, and for the elderly, the church is in many ways, family. Dorhauer tells the story of one such person. It is a sad, ruthless business.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 11:47:42 PM EST

is not only confined to the membership who are no longer welcomed, but there are many clergy caught in this "conservative" take over of local congregations. Many times it all looks very normal from the outside, only those "in the know" pulling the strings really know what happened behind the closed doors.

by chaplain on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:47:42 AM EST
I've heard of that and met at least one ex-clergy who'd been driven out.  They also tried to take over another Episcopal church we used to attend, and when the priest died, they gained control of the selection committee.

The priest they brought in was a monster.  He had or developed ties with the local Pentecostal churches and his preaching was very conservative, especially for that place and time.  Ended up being fired, defrocked, divorced (serial adulterer caught in the act with the new church secretary) and someone later said he was seen selling used cars. His preaching was rather conservative even for the Episcopal churches in this area and at that time.

The priest in the last Episcopal church we attended - they had HIM marked for steeplejacking, and they've been largely successful.  They'll target individuals too, if that person has something they want (or they think that the person somehow could benefit their organization).  The Bishop of this diocese also was targeted, and later on was said to have told people he regretted letting them get in power, especially over the checkbook.

BTW... it's not "no longer welcomed" - it's "you have to submit to our authority over your life, or you're out".  Sometimes it's not even that... one of our LGBT friends was literally thrown out of the church.

I think the priest did tell him he could return if he openly repented of his homosexuality.  He's not open about it, BTW...

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:26:39 PM EST

From online conversations I've had, some areas have adequate more-liberal churches (usually more resistant to dominionism) to provide places for people to go, although if they'd been in the structure for a while, they'll probably be shell-shocked and damaged enough that they won't go to another church.  (Very complex situation, but that seems to be a general pattern.)

Some areas are worse than others.   We have our UU church and a couple of others that are not dominionist or dominionist-leaning that I know of in this area.  There used to be a couple of ex-pentecostal help groups as well, but the dominionists have pretty much put them out of business... steeplejacked them and turned them into traps designed to make people "return to the fold".  I should also mention that they will go all out to try to pressure (force/coerce) people into "returning"... and they have very long memories.  When I walked from the Assemblies of God, a "minister" and a Bible College student came to my parents house (where I was staying) and when I turned my back on them and went into the house (and locked the door), they tried to break down the door to get to me (they were yelling at me through the door).  My parents had always wondered how their door jamb had been split, but didn't know until about 3 years ago, when I told  them.

I'm glad the jamb and door were as solid as they were.

They've tried many times since then to force/coerce me to return, and when I married my wife they also went after her (and tried to break up our marriage a couple of times).  The last time we caught them messing with us was around two years ago - they were stalking her again.  (We've been married for 29 years.)  There have been incidents since then, but we're not certain they were a specifically targeted thing... may have been coincidence.

Of course, they've been doing other things like retaliating against the letters to the editor I've written, but that's a different story.

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:10:40 PM EST

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