What's Past is Prologue: Dominionism is Still Rising
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Jul 16, 2016 at 09:00:48 PM EST
For a half century, a theocratic political movement has been rising in the U.S.  Like any large, successful movement in history, it has a variety of sources and tendencies.  A number of scholars and journalists (including me) have called this movement dominionism. We see it as the driving ideology of the wider Christian Right in the U.S.  But like any movement, it changes over time;  organizations and leaders come and go; and even its ideology evolves.

This year, the political poster boy for dominionism was Ted Cruz.  He lost in the GOP primaries for president to celebrity billionaire Donald Trump -- but he did pretty darn well for a freshman Senator  We have certainly not heard the last from Cruz, and dominionism will continue to be a force in public life regardless of the fortunes of any one pol.

The occasion for this post is that I have an article coming out soon in The Public Eye magazine, the quarterly journal of Political Research Associates  -- the progressive social justice think tank where I am a fellow.   I am pleased to say that this follows a long history of well-sourced, long form reporting and analysis on this subject in The Public Eye beginning in 1992.   Students of the development of the Christian Right will find them useful in grappling with how we got to where we are today and why the Republican Party is the way it is.  What's past is prologue.

Here they are in chronological order:

    Chip Berlet and Margaret Quigley, Theocracy and White Supremacy: Behind the Culture War to Restore Traditional Values, The Public Eye, 1992.  This essay details the role of dominionism in the context of the wider spectrum and growth of the political and religious right.

    Frederick Clarkson, Christian Reconstructionism: Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence, The Public Eye, Spring 1994.  In which I discuss the origins of the dominionist theology of Christian Reconstructionism, which more than any other element, catalyzed and continues to inform and animate the political movement we call the Christian Right.

    Michael J. McVicar, The Libertarian Theocrats: The Long, Strange History of R.J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism, The Public Eye, Fall 2007. An academic with rare access to the archives of the late R.J. Rushdoony explains how some get the story of Christian Reconstructionism wrong.

    Frederick Clarkson, The Rise of Dominionism: Remaking America as a Christian Nation , The Public Eye, Winter, 2005.  "Following the logic of Occam's Razor, that the best explanation is usually the simplest, I offer this:  the Christian Right social movement, fueled by the growing influence of dominionist ideology, gained political influence because it was sufficiently well organized and willing to struggle for power. And now they are exercising it."

    Rachel Tabachnick, Spiritual Warriors with an Antigay Mission: The New Apostolic Reformation, The Public Eye, Spring 2013.  The political and cultural rise of dominionism is largely due to its adoption by a wide swath of Pentecostal/Charismatic evangelicalism.

    Peter Montgomery, Biblical Economics: The Divine Laissez-Faire Mandate, The Public Eye, Spring 2015.  The roots of Christian Right economics, exposed.

New articles for the magazine often appear first on the web site. But if you value long form reporting that takes the long view, please click here to subscribe to print edition of The Public Eye.




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gain when others claim that the Christian Right is dead, dying or deeply diminished -- and still others actually believe them.    

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Jul 16, 2016 at 10:04:01 PM EST
A few months ago, the Drudge Report front-paged my video that showcased Ted Cruz' father Rafael, at a Texas church appearance in 2012, talking about how his son Ted was anointed for dominion. Rafael Cruz talked about the upcoming "wealth transfer" from the godless to the godly.

That Drudge Report mention generated hundreds of thousands of views of my video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNa5w9js48s ), which currently boasts over 360,000 views.

Around the same time, the East Orlando Post ran an op-ed, from a self-described "seasoned political operative" who accused Ted Cruz of being a "closet Pentecostal" (see: http://eastorlandopost.com/ted-cruz-closet-pentecostal ).

Of course, this has little to do with traditional Pentecostalism. It's about the NAR. And the East Orlando Post  op-ed was in other ways misleading too - a significant NAR faction (leaders from which I met back in '012) have been pulling for Trump from early on.  
 

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Jul 17, 2016 at 09:19:36 AM EST
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are all the people who insist that dominionists don't believe their own ideology.  They insist that everything is about money, and that the leadership are just playing their followers.  I find that to be a way to be dismissive towards the dominionists, in that they think people can't take them seriously.  We know better.

There may be some truth in the economic angle, but the fact is, a lot of them actually believe what they preach.  I've heard too many people associated with their leadership, and it's not just a show.  They mean it.  I also associated with the "ministry students" being trained years ago, and THEY meant it.  Yeah, some of them were in it for the money, but not all by a long stretch.  The really bad ones... were dead serious.  (I also now realize another thing they are is DANGEROUS!)

I could see pundits and the average citizen thinking that it's all a scam, after Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, publicly stated that he'd vote for Trump over Jesus (and the way it was put).  However, I have a strong feeling that the pundits and commentators I'm talking about are missing some important points that would make it a religious instead of economic (greed-based) matter.

Here's a link to the video where they show Jeffress saying that, and part of his explanation.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeeUck3Fbrw

I do agree with the commentators that it's connected to hate - but I think that desire for power and dominance {dominion} are an even bigger factor.  It also, I think, is revealing regarding what sort of government they envision for this country if they get their way!  


by ArchaeoBob on Sun Jul 17, 2016 at 11:33:40 PM EST
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And making such pronouncements that they are small, don't have a following and are just scam artists or are dying out, really are a way of pulling that wool of ignorance over them and protects them. For when and if they have a real chance of taking power many will be flummoxed and shocked and just can't believe it is true. That such people actually exist and are not just cynics using it against the true believers.

They don't even have to really coordinate to be working to a similar goal. Once they sweep away those who are directly aware of them and against them that will be their goal. Then turn their eyes on converting all those others who "aren't the right flavor of Christianity" will be the last they will deal with. But only if they find some means of gaining plenary control. Which I hope never happens, but I do not have a positive spin on this.

by Nightgaunt on Mon Jul 18, 2016 at 09:23:01 PM EST



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