“This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy.”- Former US Representative Christopher Shays, Republican, New York Times, March 23, 2005
Chances are you really don’t know what the Dominionists are all about, and that’s just the way they like it. At one time, they were content to operate under the radar screen. Today, they are much more militant and outspoken about just exactly what their long-term goals are. So, just what are the Dominionists all about? The short answer is that the Dominionists are members of one of the most extreme forms of Fundamentalist Christianity, and their goal is to replace the American democracy with a theocratic form of government. The modern form of Dominionism is Christian Reconstructionism, which was founded in the 1970s by R.J. Rushdoony. Reconstructionists believe that Christians alone should control civil government, conducting it according to Biblical law, not secular law. It is estimated that 35 million Americans who call themselves ‘Christians’ adhere to Dominionism, some without really understanding its dangers. This may seem unbelievable to you, but consider the transformation of the Republican party since the Ronald Reagan era.
President George W. Bush was once a binge-drinking, coke-snorting good ole’ Texas party boy. As president, he was a Born Again Christian touting faith-based programs and denying schools funding if they taught anything but abstinence-only sex education. In 2004, while debating John Kerry, George Bush stated that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. One of the reasons George Bush completely destabilized the Middle East by invading Iraq and Afghanistan is because he truly believed he was on a mission from God to eradicate fundamentalist Islam.
In 2000, when John McCain first ran for president, he called the right-wing Christian movement’s infiltration of the Republican party its ‘ruination.’ He was right. By the time the 2008 election rolled around we had Mike Huckabee as a presidential candidate, who wanted to reclaim America for Jesus Christ. In 2008, when John McCain again ran for president, he was forced to embrace them because their hold on the party had become so strong. It’s now a well-known fact that McCain wanted Joe Lieberman as his running mate but, in the end, he was forced to choose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the gun-toting hockey mom who proclaimed a devotion to God, family and country, because the right-wing Christian extremists told McCain they’d never support him any other way.
Barack Obama’s election has not derailed the Dominionists’ infiltration of our government. A 2008 post-election Rasmussen Poll showed that 64% of Republicans viewed Sarah Palin as their top presidential choice in 2012. Although Palin has taken herself out of the running for the 2012 presidential elections, the Dominionists have two very dangerous candidates in the running: Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Most people do not see either of these candidates as serious contenders for the presidency, and they may well not be. However, the fact is that they are both elected officials, are open about their positions of God and country, and affect legislation on a local and national level.
Although there are several factions, Dominionism is a natural extension of ‘Social Darwinism’ and is often called ‘Christian Reconstructionism.’ Dominionists base their beliefs in Genesis 1:26 which states that man is to “have dominion over the fish in the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Dominionists are charged with replacing our democracy with a theocratic elite ruling class who will impose their interpretation of Biblical Law. Here’s how our society would change:
The first task would be to eliminate religious choice and freedoms, and create a ‘Kingdom of God’ where much of the nation would be converted to Christianity. All religious organizations, congregations and churches other than those that are strictly viewed as ‘Fundamentalist Christianity’ would be suppressed. Nonconformist Evangelical, main line and liberal Christian religious institutions would be forbidden from organizing or holding services. Because society would revert to the laws and punishments of the Hebrew Scriptures, those practicing other religions outside their homes would be tried for idolatry and executed if convicted.
- Dominionists will eliminate labor unions, civil rights and public schools.
- Blasphemy, adultery and homosexuality would be treated as crimes, and those found guilty would be executed.
- Womens’ role in society would be relegated to homemaker (and baby maker, of course).
The only good thing in all of this is that Dominionists have come a long way in their method of execution. We heathens wouldn’t be stoned (thank God; I hate the thought of a slow, painful and bloody death). Instead the Dominionists would use either the electric chair or lethal injection (my choice, thank you very much).
What I have listed here are not the only characteristics of a theocratic, Dominionist society, but they are the high points. Others have spent a considerable amount of time studying Dominionism, so I urge you to read the links I’ve provided to educate yourself.
Heaven’s master plan
The goal of Dominionists is to convert U.S. laws to match those of Hebrew Scriptures (read: The Old Testament), a sort of Christian Sharia law. This will be achieved by using America’s freedom of religion to train children in private Christian religious schools. These trained children will then go out and form a new Bible-based political, religious and social order. Why children? Why not? The idea is to indoctrinate when future soldiers are the most subject to suggestion. However, the training doesn’t exist strictly at the elementary school level. It goes way beyond that.
Regent University, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, provides “Christian leadership to change the world.” In 2007, there were 150 graduates of Regent working in the Bush administration. The most famous of these graduates is Monica Goodling, a top aide to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and, apparently, a central figure in the firing of the US Attorneys during the Bush administration. Goodling, ever the good Christian soldier, took the Fifth rather than testify to Congress.
Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, where faculty must sign a pledge that they share a literal belief in the Bible, trains young Christians to be politicians. Of the sixty graduates in 2004, two found work at the White House, six were on the staffs of conservative members of Congress and eight were working in federal agencies. Two also joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and at least one worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. In 2004, Patrick Henry College also began offering a major in strategic intelligence, where students learn both the history of and tactics used in covert operations. Students majoring in strategic intelligence take on internships that allow them to graduate with a security clearance. Seniors must also complete a directed research project that is designed to mimic the work of an entry-level congressional staffer. According to Michael Farris, the school’s founder, “If you want to train a new generation of leaders, you have to get in on the ground floor.”
The Christian right has gained extensive control of the Republican party. It is now evident that no GOP candidate will be able to capture the presidency without its backing. That’s how pervasive its control has become. Back in 1986, Pat Robertson – himself once a presidential candidate – distributed a memo to the Iowa Republican County Caucus entitled “How to Participate in a Political Party.” Here’s what it said:
“Rule the world for God.
“Give the impression that you are there to work for the party, not to push an ideology.
“Hide your strength.
“Don’t flaunt your Christianity.
“Christians need to take leadership positions. Party officers control political parties and so it is very important that mature Christians have a majority of leadership positions wherever possible, God willing.”
The goal was to be in control of the government by 2004. George Bush may not have been quite as rabid an idealogue as Sarah Palin, but he was close. Bush took care of those who helped get him elected by pushing faith-based initiatives. He stifled stem cell research. He held back funding for schools unless they taught abstinence-only sex education. George Bush actively sought a Constitutional ban on gay marriage more than once. Had George Bush not blown it in so many other areas, John McCain may well have been elected in 2008, bringing Sarah Palin with him.
The 2008 election
Although I’ve mentioned this before, I’ll mention it again because it’s that important. Sarah Palin was not John McCain’s first choice for the vice presidency. It has now been revealed that McCain and Palin barely spoke during the campaign. McCain himself was never the Christian right’s first choice as president either. It was Mike Huckabee, a Dominionist who wanted to reclaim the land for Jesus. When it became evident that McCain was going to be the presumptive nominee, the Christians moved to Plan B, which was to control the game via the vice presidency. McCain was told that if he chose Joseph Lieberman, he would not receive their support. The Council for National Policy vetted and chose Sarah Palin for him. She did what she was expected to do: She energized the Christian base and it was intended to carry over to 2012 because they truly believed that Sarah Palin would replace Barack Obama as president of the United States.
After Barack Obama’s election, there were many stories about Sarah Palin having been a “rogue” candidate who would not adhere to the McCain campaign strategy. It was reported that she gave unapproved interviews, and attacked Barack Obama with the William Ayers allegation without the McCain camp’s approval. That’s because Sarah Palin has her own agenda. The mainstream media interpreted this as Sarah Palin’s own ambitiousness, and they are right to a certain point. What the mainstream media completely missed is why she’s driven. She’s driven because she’s a Dominionist of the first magnitude. This is a woman who believes that we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan because it was God’s will. Sarah Palin, much like the Reverend John Hagee, believes that a preemptive strike on Iran (in concert with Israel) will fulfill Biblical prophesy.
Here’s what Palin had to say to Greta Van Susteren of FOX News when asked about a 2012 presidential run, “You know, I have – faith is a very big part of my life. And putting my life in my creator’s hands – this is what I always do. I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door.”
At one point, Palin stated that she would not rule out a run for the Senate, particularly when Ted Stevens ran afoul of the law. When Larry King asked if she’d serve out her term as governor, Palin replied, “I will do what the people of Alaska want me to do.” Then she added, “if they call an audible on me, and if they say they want me in another position, I’m going to do it…My life is in God’s hands. If he’s got doors open for me, that I believe are in our state’s best interest, the nation’s best interest,I’m going to go through those doors.”
Of course, Sarah Palin did not complete her term as Governor of Alaska. She resigned under the guise of wanting to spend more time with her family. She then promptly got herself a tour bus and started running around the country, looking very much like a 2012 presidential candidate. That is, until some very personally unsavory allegations came to light. It has been reported that she had an affair with NBA player Glen Rice back in the eighties when she was a budding sports reporter. It was also reported that she smoked pot and snorted coke. While these allegations came from anonymous sources, they served to derail her presidential run. Needless to say, she’s no longer the Darling of the Dominionists. That is not the face they want on their movement. But no mind, there are others GOP candidates in the running right now who fit the bill.
Dominionists and the 2012 election
Republicans have already elected Dominionist public servants, perhaps unwittingly. Sam Brownback, the former Republican senator from Kansas (1996-2011) and now the Governor of Kansas is a Dominionist. Perhaps the most well-known of the Bush-era lot, however, is former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris – infamous for helping George Bush win the presidency in 2000. She later went on to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 2006, Harris went on a rambling, run-on explanation about how religion fits into government, “The Bible says we are to be salt and light. And salt and light means not just in the church and not just as a teacher or as a pastor or a banker or lawyer, but in government and we have to have the faithful in government and over time, that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers.”
Mike Huckabee seems to have lost a bit of his his luster. Thankfully, Katherine Harris, Tom Tancredo and Brownback have lost their senate seats. But no matter. We now have the Tea Party, which positions itself as a proponent of “small government.” If you’ve ever tried to challenge a Tea Party member, you can get below the veneer and see what the movement is truly about. Religion plays a huge role in the Tea Party movement, and the interpretation of the Constitution would be done with a religious leaning. Under Tea Party rule, public schools would cease to exist and education would be privatized and controlled by the church. Women’s roles would be relegated to serving their husbands and children. They dislike the idea of a government safety net (read: Social Security, Medicare, Welfare) because they believe that is the domain of the church and Christianity. The Tea Party’s two shining lights are Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, both running on the 2012 GOP ticket.
Let’s first take a look at Michele Bachmann. You know, it’s fun to poke fun at Bachmann. There’s no question about that. I do it myself. But the notion that she’s just some kind of flake without an agenda is a mistaken notion. She is incredibly dangerous. According to Bachmann, she received a calling from God to enter the 2012 presidential race. She said she received the same type of spiritual calling in 2006 when she ran for the senate. Bachmann’s spiritual inspiration is none other than Francis Schaeffer, a Dominionist, who started the L’Abri (translation: The Shelter) Community in Switzerland. He also wrote and published “A Christian Manifesto” (a guide for Christian activism) in 1981. Of Schaeffer, she says he was, “A tremendous philosopher. He wrote marvelous books and was a tremendous inspiration.” According to Schaeffer’s philisophy, only Christians are Biblically mandated to occupy secular institutions until Christ returns.
Although the law school is no longer in operation, Michele Bachmann received her law degree from Oral Roberts University. In fact, she was in the very first graduating class. A New York Times article on Bachmann’s time at ORU, has reported that the law school’s dean, Charles Kothe, stated that the aim of the law school was to get the students to “Integrate their Christian faith into their chosen profession,” and to “restore law to its historic roots in the Bible.”
In 2006, while running for the senate, Bachmann told an audience that the idea of a separation between church and state was a myth. It is now 2011, and she continues to hold that position.
Another Tea Party darling is Rick Perry, Governor of Texas and 2012 GOP presidential hopeful. Many believe Perry is an idiot. But the Christian right sees him as a conduit to the presidency, even though he hasn’t got a chance. Perry sparked concern with his involvement in “The Response,” a revival-type prayer meeting broadcast over Christian channels and the Internet, whose organizers believe was the “solemn assembly” described by the prophet Joel. In this assembly, God’s end-time warriors prepare the nation for God’s judgment and Christ’s return. This group is called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), and draws on the ideas of dominionism. They also espouse the Seven Mountains movement of dominionism, which instructs Christians to take control of the seven spheres that shape human society: Business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family and religion. At “The Response,” which was held at Reliant Arena and drew about 30,000 Christians, Perry made a 12-minute speech that included these remarks:
“Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government and, as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us.”
He then asked Christians to pray to God for answers to the problems facing the nation.
Bachmann and Perry are not the only GOP candidates involved with Dominionism. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have ties as well.
If you’re going to worry, don’t just worry during an election cycle
Many people, including most of the mainstream media, dismiss the Dominionism issue as irrational left-wing paranoia. I do not. However, if you’re going to be concerned with the infiltration of religion into politics, don’t just worry during an election cycle. It’s going on all the time. Just this past week, the House of Representatives spent a day reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the national motto. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), who is also the founder and chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus (of which some Democrats are also members). Frankly, I’m bothered by the fact that a Congressional Prayer Caucus and a Congressional Prayer Breakfast even exists. In 2007, Forbes’ wife, Shirley, received a laying on of hands by Cindy Jacobs, self-proclaimed NAR prophet, and others in the Christian right-wing army. “You are going to be the mother of an army,” she was told. Shirley Forbes was also told that she would “speak the power of the word into politics and government.”
The infiltration of religion into politics has been a long-term political strategy (about 30 years in the making). Every year, the GOP is intimately involved in the Values Voter Summit. This year, every major GOP presidential candidate and two of the top GOP members of the House of Representatives, John Boehner and Eric Cantor, attended. They get to spend their time with anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-Mormon (yes, Mitt Romney attended) and anti-choice activists like Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association , Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (recently classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), Mat Staver of the Liberty University School of Law, and Lila Rose who orchestrated the attack against Planned Parenthood this year.
Ralph Reed, once considered the leading voice of the Christian right, has been replaced by more openly-militant warriors, like Gary North, a Christian reconstruction strategist at the Chalceldon Foundation, who says:
“We must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”
“World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less. Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land – of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ. It is to reinstitute the authority of God’s Word as supreme over all judgments, over all legislation, over all declarations, constitutions, and confederations.
Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ – to have dominion in the civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness. But it is a dominion we are after. Not just a voice. It is a dominion we are after. Not just an influence. It is a dominion we are after. Not just equal time.”
The Christian right-wing faction is no longer satisfied with tending to souls. It wants control of the government, and will continue to infiltrate on a local, state and federal level.
Author’s Note: I originally posted a version of this article on hypocrisy.com several years ago during the Bush regime. It has been updated. I urge you to read the links provided to learn more about Dominionism and the Christian right movement.