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!
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 outré, 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.