Monday, August 15, 2011

With Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry now two of the three GOP front runners, Dominionism is now getting the scrutiny it deserves. Update!

Sarah Palin may have been the first shiny object to really draw our attention to the Dominionist movement, but now that it has been clearly defined the media is beginning to pick up the signs of its influence on OTHER candidates as well.

Courtesy of The Daily Beast:

With Tim Pawlenty out of the presidential race, it is now fairly clear that the GOP candidate will either be Mitt Romney or someone who makes George W. Bush look like Tom Paine. Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional. 

 Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outrĂ©, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult. Most writers, myself included, who explore it have been called paranoid. In a contemptuous 2006 First Things review of several books, including Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy, and my own Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote, “the fear of theocracy has become a defining panic of the Bush era.” 

 Now, however, we have the most theocratic Republican field in American history, and suddenly, the concept of Dominionism is reaching mainstream audiences. Writing about Bachmann in The New Yorker this month, Ryan Lizza spent several paragraphs explaining how the premise fit into the Minnesota congresswoman’s intellectual and theological development. And a recent Texas Observer cover story on Rick Perry examined his relationship with the New Apostolic Reformation, a Dominionist variant of Pentecostalism that coalesced about a decade ago. “[W]hat makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government,” wrote Forrest Wilder. Its members “believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take ‘dominion’ over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the ‘Seven Mountains’ of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world.”

I was talking to a very good, and well informed, friend recently about this topic and was told that someday we may all feel a sense of gratitude toward Sarah Palin for clumsily revealing just how influential and pervasive these Fundamentalist Christian groups had become.

Before Palin people like Leah Burton and Frank Schaeffer were considered "Chicken Little's" crying about a sky that was falling which nobody else could see. But with their help, and the help of many others, we are now able to see great chunks of falling debris and recognize the danger that they represent.

It reminds me of the movie "They Live" in which the danger was all around, but until you put on those special sunglasses you were completely unaware that everything you thought you knew was false.

Those of us who visit here, as well as God's Own Party, and various other informational blogs and websites, have our glasses firmly in place, and KNOW exactly what we are looking at when it comes to a Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, or Rick Santorum.

Now it falls on those of us who are newly aware, to open the eyes of our friends and families to the dangers that are posed by this EXTREMELY aggressive and determined group of Theocrats.

Sarah Palin maybe yesterday's news, but the headlines for tomorrow may be equally as grim.

Update: A friend just reminded me that Leah Burton has a very important book on this subject coming out soon, called "God, Guns, and Greed." You can check it out for yourself, and even pre-order it, by clicking here.


  1. Anonymous3:39 PM

    They scare the shit out of me!

  2. Anonymous3:44 PM

    I've already been talking about this w/friends and family members. A frightening bunch, there is no doubt.

    Thankfully Palin has fallen from grace. It took three years, but she is going down, down, down even further. She'll be in more trouble when these latest publications about her come out in September. She's not going to be able to put out the fires.

    I suspect Perry will win the primary...then it will be no holds barred in going after him. He is really disliked in TX.

  3. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Her idiotic behavior as a media critic is also under scrutiny:

    "If Palin wants to get rid of the image of being a difficult diva with a rude streak, she needs to stop acting like a difficult diva with a rude streak."

  4. Sorry, Gryph, have to disagree with your friend.

    Obama still would have won if McCain had chose Pawlenty or Joe Lieberman. Instead, McCain unleashed Palin onto this unsuspecting country, fueling these completely out-of-the-mainstream unqualified Christianistas publicity hounds. And most shamefully, the media goes along. As if Christine O'Donnell were qualified to be a U.S. Senator, and yet she defeated the moderate, honorable Mike Castle. As if Michele Bachmann were qualified to be President as a Congressional Rep (qualification: be at least 25 years old) with a "degree" from Orel Roberts University. Sharron Angle, etc.

    No, if McCain hadn't selected Palin, the celebrity seeking Christianistas would not have been able to propel this country to the brink of ungovernability.

  5. Anonymous4:08 PM

    Isn't the "C Street" group a part of this also? From what I've read, the Dominionists believe that they are not subject to the same rules as the rest of us, and they can use any means to promote their agenda. They are scary and we need to be on guard.

  6. angela4:14 PM

    Bachmann and Perry are the face of the American Taliban. So many dismiss these people but I have seen a whole town engulfed by Dominionists. It is something to behold. If you are not one of them you do not sit on city council, school boards or any other position in city government.

    Many of their children are home schooled—and not in a good liberal education way. These people are teaching their children about theocratic power and what some of us would never recognize as American history. The election of a black man as President of the United States pushed them over . . . .quicker.

    Their public schools might as well be a private one as the kids social lives surround the church--thus funneling into school functions and sports and other extra curricular activities. Ever wonder how some of those southern and midwestern school boards decided to teach their kids intelligent design and hiss at evolution so easily?

    Did anyone read about Sarah Palin's education in Wasilla? It was all about what church these kids went to that affected their school life. But in the end its all about power and less about god.

  7. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Leah is a wealth of knowledge, but I fear her website is so cumbersome to read and navigate that people won't spend much time there.

  8. I'm starting to notice it in other arenas too. In a waiting room I happened across a Good Housekeeping interview with Meredith Viera, conducted by the magazine's editor in chief. One of the questions was whethe Viera had prayed over her decision to leave the Today Show. Such a gratuitous reference to religion, when Viera is not known for her faith and was on a secular show.

    And on a talk radio show a guest's objection to Obama included the fact that he'd not visited Israel.

    In the passed I would have missed this, but now I see them as potential indicators of Dominionism.

    FWIW Terry Gross of Fresh air did a great job laying out Dominionism in her interview of Ryan Lizza last week.

  9. Anonymous4:35 PM

    I've been screaming about this to family and friends for years. Scary. Now I'm trying to work up the nerve to talk to my Republican relatives about it. I'm sure their reaction will be the same as my own when I first heard about this bunch (years before they were being called Dominionists): "You're making a mountain out of a molehill. That's just too crazy to be true."

  10. Olivia4:40 PM

    I first heard about this in the mid 70s and it was scary then. People were mocking the concern but so many of the things that had been warned about have happened. The thing that concerned me was the plan to send people from these fundy schools out to different states, especially more liberal ones, to live and work and raise families and start changing the culture and politics. One of the things that made me really angry was the business associations set up to only do business with other fundys. I was a pretty conservative person back then and this is just one small thing of the many many small things that turned me into a raging liberal.

  11. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Mitt Romney Mistakes New Hampshire For Iowa (VIDEO)

  12. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Rick Perry's Ruthless Drive to Win

    Rick Perry has called Social Security unconstitutional and presided over the execution of a man who was probably innocent. But as Paul Begala argues, that’s just the beginning.

    ...That's truer than ever in relation to today's Tea Party–dominated Republican Party. You’ve gotta be willing to do anything, say anything, accept anything, propose anything, endorse anything, pledge anything. There is nothing too bats--t for these people.

  13. Anonymous4:54 PM

    They seem to believe -- or at least dare not say that they DON'T believe -- in a new Ten Commandments. Ironically, there is plenty of "Big Government" on their stone tablets, at least in the form of proposed new constitutional amendments that would override the freedom of the states to set their own rules on social behavior. "States rights" is no longer necessarily a high priority in every or even most respects.

    Instead, the contenders are adhering to the following guidelines:

  14. Anonymous4:56 PM

    WATCH: What Bill Clinton Thinks Of Rick Perry Run

  15. Anonymous5:03 PM

    Gloria Steinem said it best .
    "These people are why our Founding Fathers came to this Country "

    You get the idea .

    They want to control everything in the name of Christianity .It will be ugly .

    Be very afraid .

  16. Anonymous5:03 PM

    Bachmann gives out 6,000 strawpoll tickets to get 4,823 votes. Ron Paul gives out 4,750 to get 4,671 votes.

  17. Anonymous5:04 PM

    We are in sorry ass trouble!


    As president of the United States, I would pray. I would pray and ask the Lord for guidance." - Michele Bachmann

  18. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Charismatic Dominionists believe Christians are commanded by God to rule; they do faith healing and cast out demons; they claim their political enemies are under the power of Satan. They are the shock troops in Rick Perry's "Army of God".

    Michelle Goldberg's recent article warns that we now have two presidential candidates with "Dominionist" ties and explains what that means. Goldberg emphasizes the Dominionism of Christian Reconstructionism and the huge impact of the late Rousas J. Rushdoony on today's Religious Right. The Charismatic Dominionists of the New Apostolic Reformation have emerged as a political force and were the organizers and leaders of Rick Perry's prayer rally to kick-off his campaign. How is the Charismatic Dominionism of the NAR different from Reconstructionism and where do they overlap? Where did the unique components of NAR's theology come from? I wrote this article in 2008, just after the election and amid publicity about the demise of the Religious Right, but first posted it in January 2011. I've added a few notes in brackets about Rick Perry's prayer rally.

  19. Anonymous5:09 PM

    Does Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann really believe foreigners have no rights under American law? Apparently so, according to her remarks during the Ames, Iowa debate August 11.

    Fox News' Chris Wallace asked her why Rep. Ron Paul was wrong to insist that trials be held for terror suspects: "You say that we don't win the war on terror by closing Guantanamo and reading Miranda rights to terrorists. Congressman Paul says terrorists have committed a crime and should be given due process in civilian courts. Could you please tell Congressman Paul why he is wrong?"

    Bachmann, who calls herself a "constitutional conservative," responded: "Because, simply, terrorists who commit acts against United States citizens, people who come from foreign countries to do that, do not have any right under our Constitution to Miranda rights."

    Constitutionalist observers note that Bachmann's statement that foreigners "do not have any right under our Constitution" is at war with both the Fifth and Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the entire philosophical underpinning of the American system of government. The Fifth Amendment guarantees "no person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Sixth Amendment reads:

  20. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Michele Bachmann claims unemployment benefits are unaffordable, but she and her husband have taken $1,100,000 from taxpayers for her clinic, farm, and salary since she has been in the US Congress for the past 4 years

  21. Anonymous5:11 PM

    What Would President Perry Mean for Your Rights? Get Ready for Forced Ultrasound and Other Violations

  22. Anonymous5:13 PM

    Rick Perry’s Plan For Higher Taxes On The Retired And Disabled

  23. Anonymous5:17 PM

    Sarah Palin tour comes to abrupt halt, AGAIN:

  24. Anonymous5:42 PM

    Jerry Prevo is alive and well right there in Anchorage. A very dangerous man

  25. Anonymous5:43 PM

    We would expect any potential candidate to be scrutinized thoroughly, though unfortunately the 4th Estate has failed miserably in recent years so folks understandably are skeptical about journalists doing their jobs. If that includes revealing any extremist religious views of candidates, because in these particular cases it is relevant, that's good - it goes without saying.

    The idea that this is somehow earth-shattering or new, however, just doesn't hold water with me. Barack Obama had to answer for his affiliations with his church, too. (A highly exaggerated picture of Reverend Wright emerged in the process.)

    Many political candidates in America are religious. Some of these Evangelical candidates get money through religious identification, though I believe that financial support has more to do with extra-religious motivations hiding behind religion. (Racism, financial, etc...) Any power in these circles is largely because there is traditionally a strong link between wealth and social conservatism in this country, not because they are all Christians who want to take over America.

    Personally, I trust the American people to make a decision in favor of a moderate candidate, religiously speaking. I think that is simply the statistical reality and likelihood. I think they will show their wishes come election time, and this idea that there is a powerful Far Right conspiracy will be discredited to a great extent.

    If it is revealed that some of these candidates have some sort of religious agenda for world domination, they will fail come election time. As much as people like to get up in arms about lots of Christians trying to take over the world, the truth is that the vast majority have no such designs. Many Christian citizens have no interest in this Dominionist movement whatsoever, as much as people seem to wish it were so. (And why? To make Christians look bad? To show that religion is "wrong", period?)

    The movement isn't widespread enough to ever succeed is what I am saying, and have been saying. It is worth knowing about, of course, but there is a big jump between just knowing about something and universalizing it or becoming paranoid about it. Yes, I said paranoid.

    Michelle and Rick don't make your fears justified. They are probably going to fall apart based on much more than Dominionism, you realize. The gay rights issue alone will bring Michelle down, it already is. I understand that is based on her erroneous religious views, but it's not her religion per se that will necessarily stall her candidacy. She has so many other problems, really.

    Btw, Michelle Goldberg? Is she ok with religion in general, or with Christianity in general? Why are we supposed to listen to her cries about the sky falling anyway? You guys just sort of band together and hope you are going to be hailed as the voices in the wilderness or something. The fact is that this is a theme that has gotten some attention already in larger quarters, and it will get more attention vis a vis certain candidates in the coming months now that we're past the straw poll.

    Sarah Palin may have had and continue to have some wacky religious agenda, but look what happened to her. Same will happen to Bachmann and Perry and Romney and anyone similar. Americans just aren't interested in having fanatical Evangelicals in the White House, and all it will take is simple press coverage to warn them. GW Bush's religious affiliation was probably no more or less than President Obama's, though very, very different in outlook. (His extremism had more to do with Neo-Conservatism, etc, which is in no way solely a Christian influence.)

    Ayway, thanks for doing your part, but don't kid yourselves that you do it alone. This is one time when I think you need to give the MSM a teensy bit of credit... They got this ;-).

  26. Anonymous5:47 PM

    Many smaller communities around this nation have had their school boards and city councils infiltrated by the religious right. Whether they are Mormans or so called Christians it is happening all over the U.S. and has been for some time now

  27. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I've always felt this infiltration of religion into govrenment was called into action with George Bush's Government funded "Faith based initiatives", allowing prayer in public buildings in washington, and using his religion as his basis for starting the wars in Iraq and Afganistan.
    I've travelled the south, especially the bible belt, and most of the small churches have been overtaken by dominionist ministers.
    The problem remains, that a lot of "Christians" are ignorant of the dominionist movement, yet accept them soley on their professes belief in "Chrisianity".

    We;ve come a long way, but we've got our work cut out for us. This movement needs to be put to the forefront, and all these politicians have to go on record as to where they stand on true dominionist issues, not be dismissed as "God fearing Christians" and blindly accepted.

    And that blind acceptance, is the basis of all religion to one degree or other.

    Thanks for opening this dialogue, it's something that needs to be addressed and people have to be educated about it.

  28. Anonymous5:53 PM

    Dominionist Chuck Kopp and his ilk are still among those in political power here in Alaska - be afraid, be alert, and let others know we will NOT invalidate what this country stands for - the separation of church and State.
    Kopp wants to start his political run taking over Dyson's seat. No way, Mr. "You will not find evidence of Sexual Harrasement in my file" Kopp - yet he has a prayer group for a bigger mortgage!

  29. Anonymous5:58 PM

    Check this out...@benpolitico: RT @DrewHampshire: Immature, unprofessional, unacceptable and indecent behavior. From Sarah Palin. #fitn

  30. LoveAndKnishesFromBrooklyn6:01 PM

    Perfect timing to have this creepy "Xtian" agenda get the roach-scattering spotlight it deserves. Now to make the less informed believe that the Dominiban is completely possible here in America--I'm spreading the word.

    Thanks to all who have done their job to bravely reveal it in the past. That includes you, Gryph!

  31. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Shoot i read the headline and read it is Demonism is now getting...

  32. Anonymous6:11 PM

    I have to thank the Palin BabyHoax for introducing me to Republican Gomorrah, a very fine book that explains Dominionism, by Max Blumenthal, who gives a one-hour version of that book here.

    Or here's a 3-minute version.

  33. Thank you Anon 5:07 pm
    "Gloria Steinem said it best. 'These people are why our Founding Fathers came to this Country.'

    What bothers me most about these wingnuts so close to power is that their ideas are so conspiratorially misguided that those of us who object end up sounding like paranoid scaredy cats.

    What these Dominionists believe and want have no basis in reality (again, minority rights, majority rules) and the fact that they can isolate and indoctrinate their children perpetuates a doomed cause. So limiting and sad for those kids.

  34. Anonymous6:27 PM

    We have friends visiting from another country. They cannot believe this is happening in the USA. They are completely shocked and disgusted with how far we've sunk.

  35. Anonymous6:59 PM

    In terms of the GOP and right, Palin is a has been .... good chance she has been for a while. Just all part of the smoke and mirrors.

    However, I am more concerned about Scarey Perry then Screech or Bachman. Dominionism doesn't really seen to hold women in high regard so both are merely distractions. All part of the smoke and mirrors.

    As for Perry, he is certainly more charasmatic then all of the other male REPs. He appeals to the Christian right and the corporations....I have heard that the Bushs don't like him, but that may be a compliment. THe Bushs
    are not nor have they ever been "Texans."

    Perry is just another ego playing for the stage, but it is his baggae that is concerning.

  36. Anonymous7:05 PM

    Palin is and always has been nothing but a JOKE. A major distraction conjured up by the Christian Dominionsists to inflitrate the McCain campaign. THey all thought that McCain would win and then die because of his health. Hence, Palin...the so-called "Hot" VP candidate that McCain would accept as running mate ...male weakness...and the person that would be their bitch literaly after McCain died. Now they just can't get rid of her!

    HeHe...only good thing about Palin is that she continues to be a pain in the butt to the Christian Dominists!

  37. Anonymous7:27 PM

    Greetings! This is my first comment here, and I apologize for being a bit off topic. I have been enjoying this blog for quite some time, (beginning to look for it as a daily fix) and wondered if you had seen this......

    My regards and take care!

  38. Anonymous7:39 PM

    Will the mainstream really pick up on the Dominionism angle? Will people understand just how dangerous it is? Do they even know what theocracy means?

    Anyone I've mentioned it to blew it off entirely. Sheeple.

  39. DominionistEscapee7:55 PM

    5:53, I think you're right in saying that many Christians don't differentiate between Dominionists and other Christians. They just hear, "Oh, this candidate is a wonderful Christian!" and don't research or explore the implications.

    5:50, I hope you're right that dominionism will implode. I tend to think it will. There are so many internal inconsistencies, principles that have to be explained, Bible verses that can only be interpreted in one specific way for dominionism to make sense (and usually those aren't obvious interpretations but ones that require all sorts of crazy explication and twisting), etc. Coupled with the resistance to questions, it's a major flaw.

    But I still think it's important to oppose and expose Dominionism, and as soon as possible, and not just for political reasons. Think about the damage "pray away the gay" therapy has done--the number of suicides it's caused, the emotional scars--and then consider that it's just one manifestation of a philosophy that values conformity, obedience, and one-size-fits-all pat solutions, and that blames anyone who doesn't or can't fit in.

    Dominionism is terribly damaging to teenagers who can't live with it and/or don't agree with it but who have no recourse to people outside that community. I started cutting myself as a teenager because I was so desperate and in need of an outlet, and 20 years and extensive therapy later, I still cut at times.

  40. Anonymous8:38 PM

    I have family that is 'all in' within these clowns.... Lost in an alternative reality barely describes their delusion... It is truly scary, because like Perry, there is no compromise - ever.

  41. @3:39 PM They scare the shit out of me!

    Me too!

  42. The Daily Beast article had this line: "Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions."

    I would alter that line to more clearly reflect what the goal of Dominionism is:

    Dominionist Christians believe that they alone have a God-given right to rule over all earthly institutions and people.

    When they ask for you vote, they are really asking you to make them Kings or Queens, and to lower yourselves to the level of serfs or slaves.

  43. Anonymous3:13 PM

    "I was talking to a very good, and well informed, friend recently about this topic and was told that someday we may all feel a sense of gratitude toward Sarah Palin for clumsily revealing just how influential and pervasive these Fundamentalist Christian groups had become."

    She may have been the boob(s) that got the LSM's attetion but the take over by the Christianists began at least 25 yers ago with the move to make Christian based prayer mandatory in pubic schools.

    Also the Texas school book thing that finally go national attention this year has be an ever growing prolbem in Texas, and the nation's public schools, for decades,and was preceded by much the same problem in Oklahoma.
    Also the use of stealth candidates(ran a Dems or moderates but were conservative Republicans) began in Texas at least a far back as the late 70's.
    You don't think the Bush Mafia didn't realize how much spadework it was going to take to get Duhbya elected POTUS?

  44. Texas Mom6:58 AM

    My daughter who is agnostic did home school for a year. It was because the schools don't teach
    as well as she, a math and science major and phi beta kappa. So please don't lump all home schooling with religious fanaticism.


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