"Dominionism"? (or "The Christian States of America")

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I think this article is a bit over the top, but if you set your paranoia filters to about 5.5, there's still some interesting and scary material to contemplate:



The Despoiling of America: How George W. Bush became the head of the new American Dominionist Church/State, by Katherine Yurica

Quote:

A summary from within the article:

This article is the documented story of how a political religious movement called Dominionism gained control of the Republican Party, then took over Congress, then took over the White House, and now is sealing the conversion of America to a theocracy by taking over the American Judiciary. It's the story of why and how "the wrath of God Almighty" will be unleashed against the middle class, against the poor, and against the elderly and sick of this nation by George W. Bush and his army of Republican Dominionist "rulers."



I sincerely doubt that there's quite as entrenched or commited a conspiracy as this article implies, or that very many religious conservatives have such extremist goals. (Then again, you don't need to have something as a "goal" per se, like hurting the poor and the elderly, to cause these things to happen as a thoughtless consequence of another agenda.)



I don't doubt, however, that there are quite a number of people who think in this Dominionist way, and that at least a few of them are in positions of power. What's really scary is seeing the kinds of things people like Pat Robertson are directly quoted as saying, and knowing that he has a fair number of followers.



I certainly worry about how Biblical literalists might literally interpret this passage from the New Testament:

Quote:

From Romans 13:

Every person must submit to the supreme authorities. There is no authority but by act of God, and the existing authorities are instituted by him; consequently anyone who rebels against authority is resisting a divine institution, and those who so resist have themselves to thank for the punishment they will receive. For government, a terror to crime, has no terrors for good behaviour. You wish to have no fear of the authorities? Then continue to do right and you will have their approval, for they are God's agents working for your good. But if you are doing wrong, then you will have cause to fear them; it is not for nothing that they hold the power of the sword, for they are God's agents of punishment, for retribution on the offender. That is why you are obliged to submit. It is an obligation imposed not merely by fear of retribution but by conscience. That is also why you pay taxes. The authorities are in God's service and to these duties they devote their energies.



I can see a lot of people thinking that as long as they aren't "rebelious", but work within the system of government to take over the government, then that would make them Rightful Authorities, and perfectly correct to lock in any power that they grab by dismantling as much of our free society as they'd need to to stay in power. There's a dangerous tautology one can read here, if it suits one's purposes, that whatever you do as an authority is righteous because you wouldn't have authority unless you were righteous. Might makes right, and right makes might, and doing wrong is by definition impossible.



(I wonder how hard it would be for most Biblical literalists to choke out saying that Clinton represented the authority of God while he was in power. On the other, I can also imagine how easily many would gush about Bush's Godly Authority.)
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,805member
    I'm sure I'm going to regret replying to this thread, but here goes nothing.



    1. It would have been far easier to launch a "Christian States of America" when the Puritans were large and in charge. They didn't do it then, and nobody who's sane and takes their Christianity seriously wants to do it now.



    The battle is generally about symbols that show a Christian heritage in North America, such as the Ten Commandments being the foundation of the continents legal principles, or the Pledge of Alligiance highlighting the choice of submission to the Almighty rather than choosing godless atheism.



    2. I'm not a Bush basher, and rather like the guy. He's no Einstein, but he calmed and connected to Americans after Sept 11 far better than Gore would have. That said, any Christian who sees Bush as the head of the church is a wacko, and is in direct violation of Ephesians 5:23, which states that Christ is the head of the church. We Protestants broke away from Rome over little things like this.



    3. It may surprise you to learn that Born Again, Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches regularly prayed for Clinton. It is a given in Evangelical circles that leaders are "put up and pulled down" by the hand of God, whether they act godly or not. The fact that Christians in those churches had serious differences with his positions and didn't likely vote for him doesn't mean he was despised by them. Again I think, many are confusing the So-cons (social conservatives) with the Neo-cons.
  • Reply 2 of 65
    brbr Posts: 8,395member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Frank777

    or the Pledge of Alligiance highlighting the choice of submission to the Almighty rather than choosing godless atheism.





    Which wasn't the original pledge...
  • Reply 3 of 65
    sammi josammi jo Posts: 4,634member
    Paranoia shouldn't enter the equation considering how vocal and public the evangelical religious right are with their aims. You can switch to "Christian" TV channel or radio station anywhere in the country and listen to it! It's out front! Bush hasn't been excatly secretive about it either, and truly believes that his mission is "from God" (!).



    It never ceases to amaze me that so many people genuinely believe that Robertson, Graham, Falwell, Hinn etc. are true Christians. They offer a cherry-picked version of Christianity, where the inconvenient stuff, ie most of Jesus' teachings are sidelined, (maybe because they sound suspiciously "socialist"), while latching onto Old Testament manipulative fearmongering, vengeance and wrath etc. The teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the "American religious right " are poles apart. Such widespread derangement from reality looks like a case of mass psychosis brought on via charismatic evangelism by clever confidence tricksters using the vehicle and label of "Christianity" to mislead and fool people. These people are not about spirituality: their aim is about political power and personal gain, disguised as something honorable.
  • Reply 4 of 65
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,805member
    I know. But the new pledge is a "symbol" of the fight against the "godless atheism" promoted by the Soviet Union.



    People, religious or otherwise are notorious for defending symbols. The confedrate flag in the South is a prime example.
  • Reply 5 of 65
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,805member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sammi jo

    Such widespread derangement from reality looks like a case of mass psychosis brought on via charismatic evangelism...



    Thank God there are people like you to explain to us what Evangelicalism is about.



    BTW, Isn't calling an identifyable group "deranged" and suffering from "mass psychosis" a violation of the posting guidelines?



    People who don't think like you do have mental problems. Nice.
  • Reply 6 of 65
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Boy those evengelical-ultra-right-wing-fundamentalists that want to mix their religion with politics sure are a bunch of deranged wackos who suffer from obviouse mass-psychosis . .



    I wonder why any Christian would want to defent those deranged wackos who suffer from mass-psychosis . . . . maybe they have 'mental problems'?!
  • Reply 7 of 65
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    No, but seriously folks, if, as Antonin Scalia says in the article, Government gets its authority from God then that means Any Government!! That means any Ruling Elite . . .



    well, we have a complex God that can rule through Stalin, Hitler and Roosevelt all at once!!

    and, be at war with himself . . . or would those Ruling Authorities be more properly called 'modes of his-being'?!?!



    I haven't read the entire article yet . . .



    But, this reminds me of my post back before the war that talked about that Ultra-Right wing "Christian" group with enourmous political power called, IIRC, "The Brotherhood",

    They have a pancake breakfast every year.

    They believe in secrecy: trying to take control of the means of power through stealthy behind the scenes power-plays.

    hey also look towards Hitler and Mao and even Ghegis Khan as role models for power strategies . . . they believe in power: might makes right except where power is not in 'Christ's name'

    More latter . . .must go now . ..
  • Reply 8 of 65
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Frank777

    I'm sure I'm going to regret replying to this thread, but here goes nothing.



    Bwahahahahah!

    Quote:

    1. It would have been far easier to launch a "Christian States of America" when the Puritans were large and in charge. They didn't do it then, and nobody who's sane and takes their Christianity seriously wants to do it now.



    I take great comfort in the fact that trying to establish a theocracy in the US would be very difficult. But, whether they are sane or not, there are still plenty of people in the US who would like to make secular law and Biblical law the same thing. There are also others quite happy to pander to such desires to gain political power, regardless of whether their own personal aims are Christian or not.



    Not too many members of the Christian Right would come right out and say they wanted a Christian theocracy, but I think many are capable of wanting the same end result without realizing the implications. These are people who could keeping waving the flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and mooning over how wonderful it is to live in a free country while simultaneous applauding if laws were passed to jail homosexuals and blasphemers, if not put them to death.



    There are a lot of people in this country who have absolutely no clue what the word "liberty" means, for whom the concept is little more that "our team", "our side". Since freedom obviously isn't absolute it's easy to rationalize it away. Start with legitimate restrictions like laws against murder or slander, draw parallels with the religious agenda of your choice, and you can quickly turn "freedom" into a harshly restrictive little box while convincing yourself that you're a great defender of freedom.



    I've heard people say flat out that living under Biblical law is the "greatest freedom" that there can be. Some will say this freedom comes only by personally embracing Biblical Law. Others, however, would be more than happy to enforce such Law on everyone -- for our own good, of course.

    Quote:

    From http://4religious-right.info/biblical_law2.htm:

    The ultimate legal goal of the Religious Right is to make the U.S. Constitution conform to Biblical Law. Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel in 1989 declares it's time to get Jesus into the judicial mix.



    "Now we're working to establish Liberty University School of Law, which will open its doors in August 2004. We are going to teach lawyers to think in a biblical, Christian world view."



    The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004, introduced into both houses of Congress on February 11, 2004, "includes the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law by an official in his capacity of executing his office."




    According to this web page, the author of which is very enamored of the bill, and very irate that it didn't pass, mentions that the "Initial sponsors of the bill include Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL), Rep. Michael Pence (IN), Sen. Richard Shelby (AL), Sen. Zell Miller (GA), Sen. Sam Brownback (KS), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC)." -- just in case any of you are wondering where this madness was coming from.



    Quote:

    The battle is generally about symbols that show a Christian heritage in North America, such as the Ten Commandments being the foundation of the continents legal principles, or the Pledge of Alligiance highlighting the choice of submission to the Almighty rather than choosing godless atheism.



    The battle over symbols is beginning to look like a mere sideshow at this point. I hope those pushing for government-sponsored religious symbolism keep losing out, because I don't even want that foot getting in the door, considering what could follow it.



    Quote:

    2. I'm not a Bush basher, and rather like the guy. He's no Einstein, but he calmed and connected to Americans after Sept 11 far better than Gore would have.



    Only to avoid spinning off topic will I not assail the above remark here and now.

    Quote:

    That said, any Christian who sees Bush as the head of the church is a wacko, and is in direct violation of Ephesians 5:23, which states that Christ is the head of the church. We Protestants broke away from Rome over little things like this.



    Throw in a little Romans 13, however, and you can convince yourself he's acting with God's authority.



    Quote:

    3. It may surprise you to learn that Born Again, Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches regularly prayed for Clinton. It is a given in Evangelical circles that leaders are "put up and pulled down" by the hand of God, whether they act godly or not. The fact that Christians in those churches had serious differences with his positions and didn't likely vote for him doesn't mean he was despised by them.



    I can imagine those prayers, like "Please God, help him see the error of his ways", "Please God, convince Clinton to toss out Al Gore, appoint Newt Gingrich as his VP, and then resign."

    Quote:

    Again I think, many are confusing the So-cons (social conservatives) with the Neo-cons.



    I'm not confusing them. I see there being an overlap between the two groups, and I also see the non-believing neos as quite happy to use the Religious Right as a means to their own ends.
  • Reply 9 of 65
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,805member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by shetline

    Bwahahahahah!



    I take great comfort in the fact that trying to establish a theocracy in the US would be very difficult. But, whether they are sane or not, there are still plenty of people in the US who would like to make secular law and Biblical law the same thing. There are also others quite happy to pander to such desires to gain political power, regardless of whether their own personal aims are Christian or not.



    Not too many members of the Christian Right would come right out and say they wanted a Christian theocracy, but I think many are capable of wanting the same end result without realizing the implications. These are people who could keeping waving the flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and mooning over how wonderful it is to live in a free country while simultaneous applauding if laws were passed to jail homosexuals and blasphemers, if not put them to death.




    As long as you remember there are an equal number of humanist nutbars out there, who would like to ban the mention of God in every public place.



    Christianity merged with government before, in Europe. That didn't work out too well.



    The Reformation was a battle partly over this issue, and the Puritans came ashore determined not to repeat Europe's mistakes. I guess my point is that you're not giving mainstream Christianity enough credit.



    Vigilance is one thing, FUD is another. Graham, Robertson and Falwell are no where as scary as SJO purports. They have always worked through the democratic system, and the humanitarian side of their ministries is impressive and does not get the coverage it deserves.



    They are, as all big interest groups, interested in having the ear of the President. But as your link suggests, their present focus in the 'culture war" is to raise up Christian lawyers to argue their points in a courtroom.



    If only Al Queda would take notice.
  • Reply 10 of 65
    Here's a thought. Why not take all the religious crazies (be they Christian, Muslim or whatever) and let them fight it out (with sticks mind...no guns, bombs, tanks or hijacked aircraft allowed) somewhere away from the rest of us. The winners gets to declare their interpretation of God to be the bestest and can have a medium sized island to rule over in His name and f*** up as best they like.



    I don't mind what people believe, just as long as I don't have their beliefs foisted upon me in the form of legislation motivated by said beliefs. The founding fathers of this country were right about a lot of things, but they were really on the money with the separation of church and state.
  • Reply 11 of 65
    Relax, it'll do you good.



    Now think. Sure these guys are a little behind the curve when it comes to the recent social, political, scientific, and cultural developements; but it's not like they are going to bring your country back to the seventeenth century, or even the nineteen-fifties for that matter.

    Think again. Sure, they prefer to see women busy baking cakes, carrying and tending to little believers, and being generally subservient to their menfolk rather than competing with them for money and power; but they won't hide them behind black religi'o'ware or execute them publically in football stadia for some mild offenses like holding hands with a man not from their household.

    Think more. Sure they'd like state laws and symbols to be inspired from their religious values and traditions, so the public space is ?user-friendly? to that utterly distasteful thing they call ?family values?; but it's not like they'll be instituting some theocratic republic proscribing lewd entertainment, like any old Savonarola or Calvin did.

    And surely they support an assertive stand against whomever they perceive as enemies of their god and country but they wouldn't lure yor kids to strap on explosive belts and blow themsleves away with as many heathen swines as they can.



    Now, if these retrograde mediaevophiles were, say, in Egypt rather than in the U.S.A., and say, Muslim rather than Christian, you'd be hailing them as moderates!



    So relax.
  • Reply 12 of 65
    gilschgilsch Posts: 1,995member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kneelbeforezod

    Here's a thought. Why not take all the religious crazies (be they Christian, Muslim or whatever) and let them fight it out (with sticks mind...no guns, bombs, tanks or hijacked aircraft allowed) somewhere away from the rest of us. The winners gets to declare their interpretation of God to be the bestest and can have a medium sized island to rule over in His name and f*** up as best they like.



    I agree.
    Quote:

    I don't mind what people believe, just as long as I don't have their beliefs foisted upon me in the form of legislation motivated by said beliefs. The founding fathers of this country were right about a lot of things, but they were really on the money with the separation of church and state.



    I agree. Leave religion out of my government please.
    Quote:

    2. I'm not a Bush basher, and rather like the guy. He's no Einstein, but he calmed and connected to Americans after Sept 11 far better than Gore would have.



    And you know that Gore wouldn't have done better how? That's just your opinion. We will never know will we? Considering it's not just Bush, but "the crazies" around him, I totally disagree with you.
  • Reply 13 of 65
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Frank777

    As long as you remember there are an equal number of humanist nutbars out there, who would like to ban the mention of God in every public place.



    If you're talking about banning any mention of the word God, including people talking as private citizens, of course that's extreme. But if you're talking about government-sponsored invocations of God that lend the imprimatur of the State to belief in God, such as "one nation, under God", "In God We Trust", "So help you, God", and Ten Commandments monuments -- count me in with the nutbars. Chocolate with almonds, I think.



    I read an interesting article in the New Republic that showed how really weak the case for "under God" in the Pledge is. It covered some of the actual court briefs related to the upcoming Supreme Court case. You end up either having to admit its a religious endorsement by the State, or argue that the word "God" is so meaningless and vague that such usage should be insulting, not uplifting, to those with faith.



    Quote:

    Christianity merged with government before, in Europe. That didn't work out too well.



    Oh, but that was just Catholics. That doesn't count -- of course it didn't work out. True Christian goverment hasn't been tried yet, don't you know?



    Quote:

    Vigilance is one thing, FUD is another. Graham, Robertson and Falwell are no where as scary as SJO purports.



    The only thing that stops them from being as scary as they might be is not having enough power to get their way. If they could get their way, they'd be frightening.



    Public prayer back in public schools? Check.

    Religious oaths for public office? Check.

    Reinstitute old sodomy laws, and bump up the penalties? Check.

    Outlaw abortion, absolutely no exceptions, and sentence doctors who perform abortions to death? Check.

    End all stem cell research. Check.

    Eliminate all government financial and medical assistance, hoping to make the poor and the elderly rely on religious charities? Check.

    Ban evolution from the classroom, maybe even replace it with Creationism. Check.

    Bring back anti-porn laws, First Amendment be damned, with a vengeance? Check.

    Make blasphemy a crime? Wouldn't put it past them.



    I'm sure a lot of Christians would say, "Well, if we could get the votes and pass the amendments, wouldn't that fair then"?



    The fact that a lot of people would love to establish what I'd consider a hellishly intolerant society, one that uses the power of the State to enforce religious ideals and Christian values, is more than scary enough for me -- just wanting such changes shows that these people have no clue what freedom is all about. The biggest threat to a free society is too many people ready and willing to give away their own -- or more often, their neighbor's -- freedom.



    Quote:

    They have always worked through the democratic system,



    Out of respect for democracy, or out of necessity?

    Quote:

    and the humanitarian side of their ministries is impressive and does not get the coverage it deserves.



    With the motive of converting those they help playing a large part in this.
  • Reply 14 of 65
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,805member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Gilsch

    And you know that Gore wouldn't have done better how? That's just your opinion.



    Of course it's my opinion.

    Do you usually reply to internet forums so you can post somebody else's opinions?
  • Reply 15 of 65
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Immanuel Goldstein

    Now, if these retrograde mediaevophiles were, say, in Egypt rather than in the U.S.A., and say, Muslim rather than Christian, you'd be hailing them as moderates!



    True...but the problem is that these 'retrograde mediaevophiles' (love that phrase) represent a step backwards that would be comperable to the Taliban coming to power in Egypt.
  • Reply 16 of 65
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Quote:

    Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy Washington, D.C. January 20, 1961





    We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom--symbolizing an end as well as a beginning--signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.



    The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.







    .......In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.



    Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--not as a call to battle, though embattled we are-- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"--a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.



    Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?



    In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility--I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.



    And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.



    My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.



    Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.





    Oh yea, here's to the crazy ones. Enough hatred and unatural fear of Christians---this isn't sane.



  • Reply 17 of 65
    sammi josammi jo Posts: 4,634member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dmz

    Oh yea, here's to the crazy ones. Enough hatred and unatural fear of Christians---this isn't sane.







    That Kennedy quote does not mention Christianity, the Bible, or Jesus. The sole religious reference is "God"... so nobody of any faith is offended, or left out. And thats the way it should be. For Atheists, the "God" references are excess baggage anyway: the sentiments are no less valid without God.



    The founding fathers were not Christians btw, they were Deists.

    "I would not so much insult my God than have his name attached to that book": Jefferson, referring to the Bible.



    btw, are there any Atheist terrorist groups anywhere? A search failed to find anything.
  • Reply 18 of 65
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dmz

    Enough hatred and unatural fear of Christians---this isn't sane.



    I don't hate or fear Christians. Many of my family members and friends are Christian (there are also Jews, Muslims, Athiests and at least one kind-of-Buddhist)...what I fear are people - Christian or otherwise - who want to change the world I live in to better align with religious beliefs that I do not share.
  • Reply 19 of 65
    fangornfangorn Posts: 323member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sammi jo

    That Kennedy quote does not mention Christianity, the Bible, or Jesus. The sole religious reference is "God"... so nobody of any faith is offended, or left out. And thats the way it should be. For Atheists, the "God" references are excess baggage anyway: the sentiments are no less valid without God.



    The founding fathers were not Christians btw, they were Deists.

    "I would not so much insult my God than have his name attached to that book": Jefferson, referring to the Bible.



    btw, are there any Atheist terrorist groups anywhere? A search failed to find anything.




    Kennedy was a Roman Catholic. I'm sure he didn't have Allah in mind when he referred to God.



    Atheist terrorist? Let's see: Joe Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, Mao, Lenin, just to name a few.
  • Reply 20 of 65
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kneelbeforezod

    True...but the problem is that these 'retrograde mediaevophiles' (love that phrase) represent a step backwards that would be comparable to the Taliban coming to power in Egypt.



    Well, if I take this assessment of them as accurate, and I do:

    Quote:

    Originally posted by shetline

    If they could get their way, they'd be frightening.

    Public prayer back in public schools? Check.

    Religious oaths for public office? Check.

    Reinstitute old sodomy laws, and bump up the penalties? Check.

    Outlaw abortion, absolutely no exceptions, and sentence doctors who perform abortions to death? Check.

    End all stem cell research. Check.

    Eliminate all government financial and medical assistance, hoping to make the poor and the elderly rely on religious charities? Check.

    Ban evolution from the classroom, maybe even replace it with Creationism. Check.

    Bring back anti-porn laws, First Amendment be damned, with a vengeance? Check.

    Make blasphemy a crime? Wouldn't put it past them.




    Then this agenda is mostly implemented in Egypt today.



    If we placed today's U.S.A. as A, today's Egypt as B, today's and Saudi Arabia as C (given that Taliban Afghanistan is no more), a jump from A to B would be quite similar to a jump from B to C, as you have so pertinently observed.



    And yet?

    The last time the North-American puritans were politically efficacious enough to significantly advance their agenda was in the early nineteen-twenties, which is why the U.S.A. was the only country without a Muslim majority to ban the trade and consumption of alcohol (which remained legally obtainable in most Muslim-majority countries at the time) in the twentieth century.

    They are nowhere near that level of political efficacy today.
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