Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin and Dominionism

First, a brief explanation of Dominionism from ReligiousTolerance.org:

"Its most common form, Dominionism, represents one of the most extreme forms of Fundamentalist Christianity thought. Its followers, called Dominionists, are attempting to peacefully convert the laws of United States so that they match those of the Hebrew Scriptures. They intend to achieve this by using the freedom of religion in the US to train a generation of children in private Christian religious schools. Later, their graduates will be charged with the responsibility of creating a new Bible-based political, religious and social order. One of the first tasks of this order will be to eliminate religious choice and freedom. Their eventual goal is to achieve the 'Kingdom of God' in which much of the world is converted to Christianity. They feel that the power of God's word will bring about this conversion. No armed force or insurrection will be needed; in fact, they believe that there will be little opposition to their plan. People will willingly accept it. All that needs to be done is to properly explain it to them.

"All religious organizations, congregations etc. other than strictly Fundamentalist Christianity would be suppressed. Nonconforming Evangelical, main line and liberal Christian religious institutions would no longer be allowed to hold services, organize, proselytize, etc. Society would revert to the laws and punishments of the Hebrew Scriptures. Any person who advocated or practiced other religious beliefs outside of their home would be tried for idolatry and executed. Blasphemy, adultery and homosexual behavior would be criminalized; those found guilty would also be executed. At that time that this essay was originally written, this was the only religious movement in North America of which we were aware which advocates genocide for followers of minority religions and non-conforming members of their own religion. Since then, we have learned of two conservative Christian pastors in Texas who have advocated the execution of all Wiccans. Ralph Reed, the executive director of the conservative public policy group the Christian Coalition has criticized Reconstructionism as "an authoritarian ideology that threatens the most basic civil liberties of a free and democratic society."

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Second, these two articles lay out the connection between Sarah Palin and the Dominionists - she is a member of the Assemblies of God: here and here.

Dominionism is also known as Christian Reconstructionism.

From my book, Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, Chapter Five, pp. 107-108:

"'Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors—in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.' --D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries Pastor, at a “Reclaiming America for Christ” conference in February, 2005

"'Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ—to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness. . .. World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish.' —George Grant

Here is what Dr. Bruce Prescott, Executive Director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists, a critic of the religious right, said in 2005:

'Stripped to its barest essentials, here is their [Reconstructionists] blueprint for America. Their ultimate goal is to make the US Constitution conform to a strict, literal interpretation of Biblical law. To do that involves a series of legal and social reforms that will move society toward their goal. Here is their blueprint: 1) Make the ten commandments the law of the land, 2) Strengthen patriarchically ordered families, 3) Close public schools—make parents totally responsible for the education of their children, 4) Reduce the role of government to the defense of property rights, 5) Require “tithes” to ecclesiastical agencies to provide welfare services, 6) Close prisons—reinstitute slavery as a form of punishment and require capital punishment for all of ancient Israel’s capital offenses—including apostacy [sic: apostasy], blasphemy, incorrigibility in children, murder, rape, Sabbath breaking, sodomy, and witchcraft.

'Some Reconstructionists realize that, sooner or later, there is bound to be a backlash against the kind of society that they intend to create. Many seem to be biding their time until public sentiment turns decisively against the kind of reforms they are seeking. When that happens, I believe that some, if given the opportunity, will be willing to take up arms and wage another civil war. Some of their literature indicates that they believe that such actions can be morally and theologically justified if they follow a lesser magistrate (like the Governor of a state) who claims to be following biblical law while refusing to submit to a rule of law that is imposed by a secular constitutional authority. This kind of crisis could easily be precipitated by the Governor of state, like Alabama, refusing to execute a Court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from state government property.'"

4 comments:

Laughtech said...

Thank you for giving everyone an explanation of "dominionism". As an evangelical conservative who is politically active, and studies political science at the graduate level...I've never heard of the term.

Sounds to me like a derisive term fabricated by anti-Christian bigots in order to marginalize them. It is definitely not used in a positive manner. When will we be able to put this anti-Christian bias behind us?

Why is it that the links discussing "dominionism" only come from far left sites like Daily Kos or the "big in 2003-2004" World Can't Wait?

I wish you folks went after Islamo-fascists and Jihadists as hard as you do harmless, decent Christian people.

Dennis Loo said...

Dominionism is also sometimes referred to by other names, as I note in my entry and as discussed by one of the links in this entry, and by other theologians (i.e., not only "far left sites.") This is something that you should have noticed if you actually read my entry carefully.

I find it odd that you would never have encountered the term. In any case, what matters most here is the content of the belief.

Stating that you've never heard of the term doesn't really address the question of the nature and goals/agenda of the movement, which you don't comment upon.

Theocratic fascists exist in various incarnations. Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda are one of them. Christian fascists are another. They share a great deal in common. Both of them paint a picture of the world in black and white polar opposites in which they themselves are "harmless, decent" people and the other is evil incarnate. So evil, in fact, that is permissible to do monstrous things to them such as torture and murder them.

Exactly what is "harmless and decent" about justifying torture and murder as does Palin and Romney by ridiculing the giving of Constitutional rights to people being held by US forces and tortured? What is "harmless and decent" about invading and occupying a country - leading to the deaths of more than 1.2 million Iraqis to date and thousands of Americans - that had NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11?

Do you and do they not know the reason for habeas corpus rights and due process? If you and they are such fans of the American Revolution, then why are you so blithe about jettisoning the Bill of Rights? Are you aware that even the US government has admitted that most of the people being held at Gitmo are innocent? Are you not aware that most of these people have not been captured on the "battlefield" but were turned in for bounty by jealous neighbors?

Fascists of either stripe are a bane on humanity.

Graduate school is supposed to help one think in more sophisticated and nuanced ways,drawing upon a wider and more diverse body of knowledge.

The fact that your comments are as simplistic as they are, devoid of knowing some of the most elementary facts such as how exactly most of the left (I say most because it would be inappropriate to make a blanket statement about all of the left) sees the al-Qaeda terrorists and how many on the left see Obama, says something unfortunate about your erudition and curiousity.

Arthur84 said...

I see no bias on Dr. Loo's part. The thing I think he is trying to point out that the problem with any religion is the fact that most people associated with any one religion start to feel and express that their religion is better than your religion. This is ridiculous. How can one person's beliefs be "better" than anothers? This is my problem with the world today. No one is born better than the other, though people would like to think that. We are all born equal, though we may not be born into equal socioeconomic status. Until people realize this, and begin treating everyone as human, and that is all we are, we are all human, then maybe the human race can finally move forward toward new endevours.

punditman said...

Laughtech's comments are laughable.