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August 24, 2011 10:53 AM   Subscribe

NPR reports about The Evangelicals Engaged In Spiritual Warfare who orchestrated Rick Perry's recent prayer rally; as previously exposed by Rachel Maddow.
According to The New Apostolic Reformation "a chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was 'The Prophet State. Both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have deep ties to a fringe fundamentalist movement known as Dominionism, which says Christians should rule the world. Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions.
Rachel Tabachnick has been reporting on the religious right who among other things want to kill public education. (Previously 1; 2 ).
posted by adamvasco (277 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
To be fair, some form of Dominionism has been prominent in the Christian faith since at least Augustine (the idea's most prominent proponent, probably), and it is hardly 'fringe.' But that should give one comfort; if this idea has not been successfully implemented in the West over the past 1600 or so years, years when it was at times acceptable to slaughter or torture people in the free world because of their dissident religious views, it's probably not going to suddenly take off in a major political way because of the likes of Perry and Bachmann.

I hope.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:58 AM on August 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


So, here's a thought experiment:

Suppose you have a President Bachmann or President Perry and, with a Republican congress, they began to follow some sort dominionist i.e. Christian fascist program. Note that these people (the domionists) actually don't get along so well with Wall Street and traditional Republican business interests.

What would a constitutional crisis look like? Would you, coming from the left, imagine that the only remedy to catastrophe is something extra-constitutional?

I think people on the left imagine some sort of Salvador Allende event in the US when they think of a military coup, but I imagine a coup or de facto coup is more likely to occur in response to an radical right-wing president.

The important thing to remember is that forever reign of christ on earth is not what the plutocracy wants either.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:01 AM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Suppose you have a President Bachmann or President Perry and, with a Republican congress, they began to follow some sort dominionist i.e. Christian fascist program. Note that these people (the domionists) actually don't get along so well with Wall Street and traditional Republican business interests.

Not really at all likely though. These people are going to follow the plutocrat's dictates just like Prince W did. They make the Jesus talk for the rabid base.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:03 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Daily Beast: "Christian Dominionism is a Myth." That sounds about right to me.

Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry might just be know-nothing idiots. That doesn't mean they're secretly connected to a shadowy cabal of scary cultish evangelicals.
posted by koeselitz at 11:04 AM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


it's probably not going to suddenly take off in a major political way because of the likes of Perry and Bachmann

So, here's a thought experiment

They are pretty slick for being crazies, and demonstrably electable despite being crazies. Historically, crazies have placated business and military interests to maximize their power. I wouldn't discount these two crazies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:06 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


For the love of...

It's unfair to say that Obama is a black nationalist terrorist because a pastor at a church he attended for a while was tangentially connected to some questionable stuff a few decades ago.

It's just as unfair to say that Bachmann et al are fascist theocrats because of bullshit like this.

It's exactly the same kind of slanderous, paranoid nonsense regardless of who does it.
posted by valkyryn at 11:06 AM on August 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


Note that these people (the domionists) actually don't get along so well with Wall Street and traditional Republican business interests.

Don't they? Aren't the for elimination of taxation, elimination of government regulation of industry, etc?

Seems to me their views are exactly in line with corporate libertarianism, cynically dressed up in Christian language in order to attract an easily herded voter base.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:06 AM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


The farther right the right gets, the farther right the left gets in this country. It's like the pendulum's got a rope attached, and the religious extremists just keep pulling and pulling.

And here we are, tied to a platform like a Poe story, watching the dreaded blade poised in the air farther and farther, gathering more and more poe-tential energy, waiting in horror for the inevitable moment when the rope breaks.

This is why I don't watch the news anymore.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:06 AM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


valkyryn: “It's exactly the same kind of slanderous, paranoid nonsense regardless of who does it.”

Quoted for truth.

"Dominionism" is one of those ghost stories liberals tell each other when they want a good scare. It has no basis whatsoever in fact, and it does not in the slightest move Evangelicals in America. To believe that "Dominionism" exists, you must not only be a dyed-in-the-wool liberal; you must also have the pleasure of having never even met an Evangelical Republican and talked seriously to them about politics and justice.
posted by koeselitz at 11:13 AM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


i don't recall that Obama led a would-be giant prayer rally in a professional football facility with his pastor or a number of pastors, or that he led anything with said pastor or pastors.
posted by raysmj at 11:15 AM on August 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


The Daily Beast: "Christian Dominionism is a Myth." That sounds about right to me.

What this article does get right among its rather trite points, is that dominionism, or whatever other names this belief goes by, is a theological view - much more common than the article and others seem to think, at least among the fundies - but it is not some organized conspiracy being systemically carried out by a political order.

Still, as a personal belief, it's slightly disturbing.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:15 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


forever reign of christ on earth is not what the plutocracy wants either

Well, to keep thought experimenting, the plutocracy of the Islamic world seems to get along quite well with extreme Wahhabist dominionism. It keeps the peasants in their place, while the elites simply break out the Cristal and the western clothing as soon as their wheels leave the runway.
posted by Naberius at 11:16 AM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Koeselitz and Valkyryn have nailed it. This sounds like a particular type of liberal's Freemasons and Jews to me.
posted by resurrexit at 11:16 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's just as unfair to say that Bachmann et al are fascist theocrats because of bullshit like this.
On [Bachmann's] state-senate-campaign website, she recommended a book co-authored by Grant titled Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee, which, as Lizza reported, depicted the civil war as a battle between the devout Christian South and the Godless North, and lauded slavery as a benevolent institution.
I don't know about you, but that certain sounds like the open lauding of an ideal of fascist theocracy.
posted by griphus at 11:16 AM on August 24, 2011 [27 favorites]


It's unfair to say that Obama is a black nationalist terrorist because a pastor at a church he attended for a while was tangentially connected to some questionable stuff a few decades ago...It's exactly the same kind of slanderous, paranoid nonsense regardless of who does it.

That is ridiculous. Obama attending a church and Perry endorsing and attending a meeting of these pastors are not even in the same ballpark.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:17 AM on August 24, 2011 [42 favorites]


Having a pastor with crazy views is not at all the same thing as affiliation with a radical Christian political movement with professed worldly political ambitions that include establishing a Christian theocracy in the US through political deception and sedition... It's amazing what some people can mistake for resemblances between completely unlike things in the interest of maintaining their internal sense of well-being that the world is, at bottom, a reasonable place!
posted by saulgoodman at 11:17 AM on August 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


(Although, no, I don't think they meet in capes and robes in a mansion on a hill and plot the trajectory of this country toward a Margaret Atwood novel.)
posted by griphus at 11:17 AM on August 24, 2011


It's exactly the same kind of slanderous, paranoid nonsense regardless of who does it.

Um, no. Have you heard anything Bachmann has ever said? It may not be capital-D Dominionism, but it's undeniably Christian Supremacy.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:19 AM on August 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


> Well, to keep thought experimenting, the plutocracy of the Islamic world seems to get along quite well with extreme Wahhabist dominionism.

Er, not really. The House of Al Saud and the Wahabbi clerics are always at an uneasy truce. It almost blew up in 1979, but they contained it somewhat. Do you have something specific in mind?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:19 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


griphus: “I don't know about you, but that certain sounds like the open lauding of an ideal of fascist theocracy.”

Yes, because the prebellum South was a fascist theocracy.
posted by koeselitz at 11:21 AM on August 24, 2011


Yeah...this is "Obama is a secret Muslim" from the other side. The politics of fear is the kind of bullshit we don't need here
posted by rocket88 at 11:21 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stop it with the goddamned FTFYs already.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:23 AM on August 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


There is a difference between "secret Muslim" and "loud & proud batshit."
posted by Sys Rq at 11:23 AM on August 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


Bachmann hired a christian terrorist. She doesn't think anything's wrong with what this guy did. And to believe that right wing christians don't believe that only christians should hold office seems a little naive. You don't need to believe in shadowy organizations, because they do all of this out in the open.
posted by stavrogin at 11:24 AM on August 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


Damn Liberals. Next they'll be telling us that Christians do bizzare things like handling snakes and ranting gibberish, which they claim to be the Holy Spirit speaking through them.

If any of you liberals had ever had a conversation with a member of the Church of England, you'd know none of them ever handles snakes as a test of their faith.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:24 AM on August 24, 2011 [26 favorites]


As a homeschooler I have had way too much contact with the religious right over the years. Dominionism exists. Even among the majority of evangelicals don't don't have a wife at home meekly submitting to the husband, many of them would like to. Economic realities may force them into a two income family, but given a choice, the mom would happily submit and stay home. It's not hyperbole, I personally know dozens of families like this. They take certain bible passages literally about gender roles, about not sparing the rod when it comes to discipline with kids, about their roles on earth to be "salt and light" (if I remember the phrase correctly) spreading the gospel among all around them.

Look no further than Patrick Henry College in VA. It's a 4 year school based on dominionist principles, and it is a direct line feeding interns into the Republican party. Take a look at The Joshua Project, a youth group from the same vein, providing volunteers for evangelical political candidates.

There is clearly a group of people, fairly well connected in the Republican Party, that believe God wants them to take over and remake the country in their image of a domionist paradise. I beliee the mainstream wing of the Republicans have been using them for years, but essentially lost control, and the moment are terrified of them. They need the dominionist/ evangelical vote, even if the movement scares the hell out of them.
posted by COD at 11:25 AM on August 24, 2011 [60 favorites]


The Daily Beast: "Christian Dominionism is a Myth." That sounds about right to me.

that essay is "no true christian" in a list. also, it's basically denying the existence of the christian right, in addition to the christian far-right. yes, in the end, it may not have much to do with theology in the end, but i don't see have you can deny the influence radical right-wing political movements clothing themselves in evangelical christianity?

Not really at all likely though. These people are going to follow the plutocrat's dictates just like Prince W did. They make the Jesus talk for the rabid base.

Bush is from Connecticut. Both, Perry and Bachmann would not do well Greenwich.

Koeselitz and Valkyryn have nailed it. This sounds like a particular type of liberal's Freemasons and Jews to me.

Well, it's the equivalent of tarring the radical left with the beliefs of the Weather Underground. But, it's funny to hear people deny just how radical right-wing politics in the US has gotten. I mean, how do you classify General Boykin? Liberal fantasy?
The latest proposed victim in our struggle against terrorism is Army Lt. General William G. "Jerry" Boykin, recently named Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. His mission is to reinvigorate the search for bin Laden, Mullah Omar and other leaders of global terrorism. By training and experience he is marvelously prepared for his new duties -- having risen from a Delta Force commando to top-secret Joint Special Operations Command, through the CIA, to command of the Army's Special Forces. For a quarter century he has been fighting terror with his bare hands, his fine mind and his faith-shaped soul. It is that last matter -- his faith, and his willingness to give politically incorrect witness to that faith in Christian churches -- that has drawn furious media and political fire in the last week. The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Howard Dean, The Egyptian Foreign Minister and other less lofty entities have all called for his removal from office because of his expressed religious views. And, of course, these calls for his head are all made on behalf of religious tolerance.

While the full text of the general's comments will not been released by the Los Angeles Times columnist who secretly recorded them during the general's witness in churches in Oklahoma, Oregon and Florida, the purportedly scandalous bits have been selectively published in print and on television. General Boykin said the terrorists come from "the principalities of darkness," that they are "demonic," and they hate us because "We're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian, and the enemy is a guy named Satan." The general also recounted the time he was chasing down a Somali warlord who was bragging that the Americans would not capture him because his god, Allah, would protect him. "Well," Boykin responded, "my God is bigger than his God. I knew my God was a real God, and his was an idol."
And it's not like the Weather Underground had sleeper cells in the Pentagon... You are right that all of this isn't very Christian, but it is real (IMHO.)
posted by ennui.bz at 11:26 AM on August 24, 2011 [31 favorites]


Er, not really. The House of Al Saud and the Wahabbi clerics are always at an uneasy truce.

Well, I suppose it's a question of perspective, but given how incompatible they are, their ability to maintain an easy truce that lets both sides get pretty much what they want is what I'd call getting along "quite well" under the circumstances.
posted by Naberius at 11:27 AM on August 24, 2011


Wait, are people really arguing that this belief doesn't exist? As someone raised in the fundamental christian tradition, I can assure you that it most certainly does. Furthermore, Augustine's influence really cannot be overstated; the 'City of God' has served as a real and literal goal of Christians for hundreds and hundreds of years.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:28 AM on August 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


That is ridiculous. Obama attending a church and Perry endorsing and attending a meeting of these pastors are not even in the same ballpark.

You're right: attending a church over a period of years is way, way more significant than showing up at a meeting that one time.
posted by valkyryn at 11:28 AM on August 24, 2011


For fuck's sake, we've had first person testimonials on MeFi from people who know the people who run the damned 7 Mountains splinter of dominionism, and they've basically confirmed that yes, these folks actually are as nutty and potentially dangerous as advertised.

And they explicitly say their raison d'etre is to take over the "seven mountains," which they define as: Arts & Entertainment, Business, Education, Family, Government, Media, Religion.

You might no be able to convince yourself about just what these new Dominionists are really up to, but there's little doubt in their minds on that point.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:29 AM on August 24, 2011 [39 favorites]


Data point: are you guys watching Glenn Beck's Jerusalem rally?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:30 AM on August 24, 2011


Yes, because the prebellum South was a fascist theocracy.

It sure was if you were black.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:30 AM on August 24, 2011 [35 favorites]


> Bush is from Connecticut.

Quoted for untruth.
posted by jfuller at 11:31 AM on August 24, 2011


I can confirm that Dominion theology exists. How do I know? I go to church with people who espouse it and where it is preached quite often from the pulpit. Yep, it does.
posted by RedShrek at 11:31 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're right: attending a church over a period of years is way, way more significant than showing up at a meeting that one time.

Not really. Do you go to church? There's much more to going to church than the pastor's views - for instance, social interaction with people from the community. A meeting organized around a particular idea, which Perry endorsed, is much more significant.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:32 AM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wait, are people really arguing that this belief doesn't exist?

No. Merely that the fact that it exists does not mean that it's 1) all that widespread, or 2) even remotely related to most of what goes on in right-wing politics.

Believe me, if the theological types we're talking about had a fraction of the political influence attributed to them, not only would I know about it (because I know a decent number of these people personally), but they'd be freaking overjoyed. Theonomists have been railing about how disenfranchised and powerless they are for decades because they're disenfranchised and powerless.

Also, thinking that because certain pentecostal charismatics (the Dominionists) and certain people on the fringes of the Reformed tradition (theonomists and Reconstructionists) have absolutely anything to do with each other just doesn't deal with the realities of the church in America. Painting a picture as if they're this big, scary conspiracy implies that there's some organic connection at minimum. The groups aren't even on speaking terms.
posted by valkyryn at 11:34 AM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's exactly the same kind of slanderous, paranoid nonsense regardless of who does it.

Did Jon Stewart walk in here?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 AM on August 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


All of this would make a badass movie. Just like how zombies are excellent material for badass movies. But the idea of either one existing and taking place in real life scares the shit out of me.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:35 AM on August 24, 2011


How about this:

The concept of Christian Dominionism exists -- in the sense that yes, there are indeed people who do want the United States government to be taken over by religious influences.

The existance of an organized Christian Dominionist movement, however, is far less of a threat than some would fear. There are those in politics who espouse similar-sounding views at first blush, but they're not quite as all-encompassing as full-on Dominionism, and they are not being wholly and entirely funded by a huge sekrit cabal of Dominionists.

The good news is, Dominionism is unconstitutional, and so are the similar-sounding beliefs espoused by imitators, and so you can use the one principle to quell both problems. (The First Amendment: It's a floor wax and a dessert topping!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:36 AM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


[FTFY games considered harmful. If you want these complicated-topic threads to not be deleted on sight, please act like it. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:37 AM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Bachmann hired a christian terrorist. She doesn't think anything's wrong with what this guy did.

To discount this criticism, all the false-equivalence machine needs to do is find someone vaguely left-of-center who hired someone vaguely shady that one time, therefore making the left just as bad as the right and therefore Bachmann is not a crazy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not really. Do you go to church? There's much more to going to church than the pastor's views - for instance, social interaction with people from the community.

Uh, yes. Most definitely I do. Which is why I say the things I do. And for conservatives, showing up at a particular church for a period of time signals a lot about what a person believes. Many conservative evangelical types will leave a church if the pastor says things they disagree with. Sometimes over a single instance. It's just a feature of evangelical culture, but it's also probably why the whole Wright fiasco got so much traction.
posted by valkyryn at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2011


> Bush is from Connecticut.

Quoted for untruth.
Rick Perry on Bush: 'He's a Yale Graduate; I'm a Texas A&M Grad'
posted by ennui.bz at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Bush is from Connecticut.

Quoted for untruth.


Well, he was born there, so it's not exactly untrue.
posted by ndfine at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2011


Yes, because the prebellum South was a fascist theocracy.

Of course not - they hadn't discovered the Assembly Line technology yet.

On the other hand, Fredric Douglas saying something about how much more horrible your lot was if you were a slave owned by someone who was serious about religion.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:39 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


All of this would make a badass movie.

They already did, and while I haven't seen it, I can certainly say the book it is based on is one of the most depressing things I have ever read.
posted by griphus at 11:39 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


some form of Dominionism has been prominent in the Christian faith since at least Augustine

Since Constantine, perhaps, but Augustine was actually a spokesman of a counter-tradition. He was cosmopolitan, the exact opposite of a dominionist.

The Roman Empire was collapsing around Augustine. It could no longer be called politically unified, not with various waves of barbarians seizing control of province after province, each tribe taking possession only to be driven out themselves by the next wave. Augustine's own city was sacked by the Vandals around the time of his death.

However, there was some degree of religious unity (well, kinda. various Christian sects were in all out war against each other and the Arian sect was still a big deal, but what's now orthodoxy was winning the argument/fight). That gave Augustine a bit of leverage to argue that people should stop massacring each other (all accountable to the same God) but that wasn't his main point.

He wanted to talk about two kinds of authority: the City of God and the City of Man. Some people care about the City of Man: politics, wars, trade, power. Some people care about the City of God. Why does God need a starship Why would God care about Rome or America? God doesn't care if the Vandals win, God wants you out there doing God's work no matter who's in power. Love God, your neighbor and the stranger with all of your heart. If you're going to pray at all, pray that the invisible empire of love will grow and grow in you.

Don't get me wrong - Augustine was also a political philosopher. He thought that governments are worth having and that wars are very rarely worth fighting, if absolutely necessary and fought in the least monstrous way possible. His point was that earthly Cities of Men are just means to an end. Support them if they produce peace, order and good government, resist them if they do the opposite. Never imagine that any country is either God or the great Satan.

For Augustine, praying for America is on a par with praying for the Montreal Canadians to win the Stanley Cup.

The dominionist/cosmopolitan divide runs right through the Bible (King David vs Elijah the dissident) but it seems to me as though dominionists are ignoring what Jesus said about himself: "My kingdom is not of this world." "Give onto Caesar what is Caesar's (taxes) and give onto God what is God's."

superstitious mumbo jumbo and where's your messiah now, fine, but you've got to admit it's better than dominionism
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:40 AM on August 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


The good news is, Dominionism is unconstitutional, and so are the similar-sounding beliefs espoused by imitators, and so you can use the one principle to quell both problems. (The First Amendment: It's a floor wax and a dessert topping!)

well, how about warrantless wiretapping, executing US citizens (i.e. terrorists) abroad without trial, torture... all not constitutional. So, how did that change anything?

The constitutional remedy is, of course, impeachment. Now, who does the impeaching these days?
posted by ennui.bz at 11:41 AM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yes, because the prebellum South was a fascist theocracy.

It sure was if you were black.


Fascist doesn't mean "bad," and theocracy doesn't mean "largely religious society."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:43 AM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


re: city of god. it's not like Oliver Cromwell is a part of the anglo-american political tradition.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:43 AM on August 24, 2011


It's crazy how much of this stuff has started cropping up in every day life, honestly, considering my wife and I don't even attend church services or anything. As a young IT professional, a few years ago it would have seemed unfathomable to me to find professional clients and coworkers routinely bringing their religion into the workplace. More recently, I've been invited to at least three different work-day prayer meetings just in recent memory, and I hear people telling others to "have a blessed day" in that creepy, pointed way that seems meant to say "You get it, don't you? We're both good Christians, aren't we?" on a daily basis in professional settings now. It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or something. I overheard one coworker (whom I'm pretty sure is a Dominionist, and who also invited me to one of those prayer meetings) recently say of a state-side SME words to the effect: "He's a liberal, but he's not bad to work with."
posted by saulgoodman at 11:43 AM on August 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Wait, are people really arguing that this belief doesn't exist?

No. Merely that the fact that it exists does not mean that it's 1) all that widespread, or 2) even remotely related to most of what goes on in right-wing politics.


I respectfully disagree with you on 1, but agree with you on 2. I think that - and not everyone will readily admit it - but among the evangelical subculture, it's pretty widespread. Much more than people would like to think. You'd be surprised.

I do agree, however, that this is much less of a political force than it's being made out to be. I think openly advocating it would be political suicide; I don't think that means that behind closed doors this doesn't come up in Bachmann's prayer meetings.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:44 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The existance of an organized Christian Dominionist movement, however, is far less of a threat than some would fear.

What do you think has been pulling the Republican Party right for the last 30 years, and giving rise to people like Backmann and Perry? They've been working hard for years to influence Republican politics from the bottom up. And they are starting to see they fruits of the labors.

Now, I for one, don't believe that we will really elect somebody like that to President. However, I would love to see a credible Republican candidate to deliver a swift kick in the ass to the Democrats. The parties are co-dependent. We need both functioning rationally in order to have good results from a two party system.
posted by COD at 11:46 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's because I've lived next door to Pat Robertson and CNN for so long, but I take this threat seriously. There is a large and very dedicated group that have worked for years to deliberately conflate fundamentalist Christianity and politics. They absolutely want God in government - Sharia law American style. To say they aren't organized and/or don't exist as a group is to deny reality, IMO.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:47 AM on August 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


I hear people telling others to "have a blessed day" in that creepy, pointed way

I just want to say that this is indeed creepy. Even more creepy than the people who spit 'Merry Christmas' at you as if they're daring you to say 'Happy Holidays'.
posted by winna at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Normalize away, Dr. Pangloss.

There are a lot of different flavors of dominionism out there. It's so varied that it doesn't deserve a big "D" anymore.

Properly speaking, the Christian Reconstructionism of RJ Rushdooney and Gary North was a pivotal event in the mobilization of the extreme Christian Right. Among other things, they laid the groundwork for the Republican victories in 1994 by gearing up a nationwide pattern of stealth politics intent on seizing local offices at the school board, city and county level. They were effective at it and permanently altered the structure of grassroots politics in the US.

The important thing about Rushdooney was his promotion of postmillenial dispensationalism in a politicized context. In a nutshell, it charged the Reconstructionists with establishing a worldwide Christian theocracy as a precondition of the Second Coming. In other words, Christ was not going to return until they seized power. This lunacy fed into the other millennial insanity and Reconstructionists, particularly North, were directly responsible for all the Y2K stupidity.

So feel free to handwave away these assholes, but just because their bubble burst about ten years ago, don't imagine for a minute that they aren't active in politics.
posted by warbaby at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


I hear people telling others to "have a blessed day" in that creepy, pointed way

I just want to say that this is indeed creepy. Even more creepy than the people who spit 'Merry Christmas' at you as if they're daring you to say 'Happy Holidays'.


Maybe this is my Southern roots showing, but this only seems creepy if it's actually pointed, but most of the time I don't think it is. Religious people interact with the world in a religious way; they genuinely want God to bless the people around them, and so they so. You might see the world in a different way, but they don't mean you any harm.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:51 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fascist doesn't mean "bad," and theocracy doesn't mean "largely religious society."

No, it means a form of government defined by a particular religious ideology, which is explicitly what these groups are endorsing. They're not being coy about it. And I feel really sorry for anyone who still doesn't get it.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:54 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe this is my Southern roots showing, but this only seems creepy if it's actually pointed, but most of the time I don't think it is.

I've been in the South my whole life, too. This is not that. It's like a creepy secret handshake thing. And the specific cases I'm talking about are very much spoken pointedly and in a weirdly sing-song tone.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:55 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


[There's a MeTa thread, you are welcome to go there to complain about moderation.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:56 AM on August 24, 2011


Benny Andajetz,

I don't think a lot of people understand how determined this small group of people are. It's the same dismissive attitude liberal types had towards the Tea Party when they first came on the scene and now look who's laughing.
posted by RedShrek at 11:56 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a large and very dedicated group that have worked for years to deliberately conflate fundamentalist Christianity and politics.

No, there isn't.

There are, however, about seven bajillion little groups that like those things. That doesn't mean that they talk to each other much or that there's any kind of coordination or even information sharing between them.

All that's really going on here is that a bunch of liberals are realizing, "Holy shit! There's a lot of Christians out there in flyover country! And they believe roughly the same things! They must be working together! OMG!!!!11!!"

It's just. not. true. The degree to which most evangelical Christians are ignorant even about other churches within their own denomination is really shocking. Look, we're talking about a massively heterogeneous group, a good chunk of which is deeply suspicious about working with other Christians about things like missionary work. The idea that there's this shadowy conspiracy amongst the Christian Right just completely ignores the internal institutional landscape of American Christianity.
posted by valkyryn at 11:56 AM on August 24, 2011


No. Merely that the fact that it exists does not mean that it's 1) all that widespread, or 2) even remotely related to most of what goes on in right-wing politics.

Hang on a sec. The subject of this post is about how there are potential Republican candidates for president who either personally share these views, or are closely connected with influential supporters who espouse them and seek to further their aims.

The fact that there might be any amount of other stuff that goes on in right-wing politics not connected to this doesn't mean that we should just ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist, does it?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:57 AM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, it means a form of government defined by a particular religious ideology, which is explicitly what these groups are endorsing.

My comment was part of the side discussion of the antebellum South, not the main discussion regarding Dominionists (real or imagined).
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:58 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


To address the, "have you ever talked to one of these people?" commenters: yes, I have. Got off a plane in Phoenix and chatted with a lady about the heat, humidity, then briefly about the economy.

God factored into all of these things, like he was up there with a fucking mirror reflecting extra scorching sunlight onto the Phoenix area.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:58 AM on August 24, 2011


In what ways does dominionism differ from basic participatory democracy. Isn't it basically saying that Christians should advocate for their beliefs in a political sphere? Christians believe their ideas are the correct ideas and so work to put them into practice. You get to advocate for your beliefs in the public sphere, they get to advocate for theirs. The notion that they can have their beliefs but should keep quiet about them is an ugly one.

Also: School vouchers are one of the few reasonable ideas the republicans have. My parents sacrificed quite a bit to send me to a private school while still supporting public schools with their taxes. The salaries paid to teachers at many private schools are a pittance, yet they still attract excellent teachers and do more with less. The only reason I can see for opposing them is fearing to lose the support of teacher's unions, which is a very poor one.
posted by pseudonick at 11:58 AM on August 24, 2011


Maybe this is my Southern roots showing, but this only seems creepy if it's actually pointed, but most of the time I don't think it is. Religious people interact with the world in a religious way; they genuinely want God to bless the people around them, and so they so. You might see the world in a different way, but they don't mean you any harm.

Yeah, this is generally the perception I have of "have a blessed day" here in Alabama. I don't even feel weird about saying 'you too' to them because even though we likely have very different ideas of what 'blessed' means, I do hope that they at least have a nice day.

Although, the "happy holiday's" vs "merry christmas" thing still weirds me out. I recall "happy holiday's" being around my tiny methodist church growing where it could be inclusive of wishing someone a merry christmas, but also that they should have a happy time at thanksgiving and new year's. It's not as if christmas is the only holiday in that time of the year, even for christians. Granted, the church I attended also celebrated halloween (with a haunted house and a palm reader) which is kind of shocking to many churchgoers that I meet.
posted by ndfine at 12:00 PM on August 24, 2011


Bulgaroktonos: "Maybe this is my Southern roots showing, but this only seems creepy if it's actually pointed, but most of the time I don't think it is. Religious people interact with the world in a religious way; they genuinely want God to bless the people around them, and so they so. You might see the world in a different way, but they don't mean you any harm."

That would be fine, if they just said "Bless you!" and "Merry Christmas!" but there's always a half-beat pause before the first syllable is uttered, and each syllable is stressed evenly and spoken ver-ry de-lib-er-ate-ly, and if it's in person, their eyes bug out to gaze intently into your soul. My parents do it. My uncle (the one who chided my sister for using the KJV to teach teh bible to her kids because it's "too liberal"), during the holidays, pretty much follows up "Mer-ry Christ-mas" with his rant about the phrase "happy holidays" before you can even say either phrase.

"Jesus hates sanctimony" is usually my response. That, or "I was having a merry time until you showed up."
posted by notsnot at 12:00 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


pseudonick,

Is that because you think that all ideas are born equal?
posted by RedShrek at 12:00 PM on August 24, 2011


While I think it's true that there's not really an organized Dominianist movement, it's also a mistake to underestimate the power of "like thinking people." Consider this quote from someone attacking a FB post I made recently.

"I'm sick of the fact that "God" and "prayer" and "Christian" has been taken away from almost everything - bc of being PC or trying to please too many minority groups. This is AMERICA dammit! In GOD we trust! Speak English or go home and leave your government handouts with your neighbor that is here legally on your way back to your homeland."

Now, if you don't think that people with those attitudes will vote as a block for the politicians who pull their particular chain, I think you're sadly mistaken.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:01 PM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


valkyryn: "No, there isn't. "

Off the top of my head, Focus on the Family.
posted by notsnot at 12:01 PM on August 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


RedShark,

I dunno about all ideas being equal, I certainly have some strong opinions about some being better than others. But the whole point of democracy is everyone gets a voice, even those we disagree with. There are limits in the form of the judicial system (which is good), but within those limits, people get to fight for their ideas, even when they disagree with yours. This is a feature of democracy, not a flaw.
posted by pseudonick at 12:06 PM on August 24, 2011


"Look! These confederates don't even have a perfectly identical set of uniforms, a lot of them are just wearing whatever! Must mean that the confederate army doesn't exist. I bet this civil war thing isn't even happening!"
posted by FatherDagon at 12:07 PM on August 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


There's a list of a dozen the 'most influential ' groups here, including FotF. There doesn't seem to be a lot of central control.
posted by bonehead at 12:09 PM on August 24, 2011


There is not any significant risk of the U.S. turning into Saudia Arabia overnight, but :

There are definitely many Americans who feel that only Christians should hold office, preferably Evangelicals, and laws should be decided by Evangelical Christian traditions/beliefs. Isn't that Dominionism? George Bush's two electoral victories both depended upon this Dominionist movement.

Islamism exists too. I'll observe that the only countries that practiced Islamism recently are either exceedingly poor, and got paid for it, i.e. Afghanistan, or else need it to maintain extreme inequality, i.e. Saudia Arabia. There isn't any formalized secret Islamist conspiracy either, but some awful people and memes exploit it.

There is a long term risk that the U.S. could mire itself in insane religiously couched bullshit that benefits certain industries, like defense, while the world abandons its currency.

Btw, you should all watch the documentary Fuck, which mentions the extremely activist role pursued by the FCC under Bush for the Dominionists. In particular, the FCC had seen 111 complaints in 2000, issuing around $48k in fines, and 1.4 million complains in 2004, issuing around $8 million in fines.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:10 PM on August 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


While I think it's true that there's not really an organized Dominianist movement, it's also a mistake to underestimate the power of "like thinking people."

I don't believe anyone's doing that, for the record.

Let me try another analogy: it's been observed that there are a couple of....mindsets that are popular amongst members of The Blue (and I'm kind of high on Claratin, so I can't for the life of me think of a good example right now). People who already had these ideas are united with others on The Blue, so they get a lot of play here. And they may thus feel more confident in bringing these views to the outside world.

HOWEVER -- that doesn't mean that it is accurate to say that MetaFilter is ACTIVELY PROMOTING those views. THAT'S the only bit that is being debated here.

well, how about warrantless wiretapping, executing US citizens (i.e. terrorists) abroad without trial, torture... all not constitutional. So, how did that change anything?

The people have to speak up for unconstitutional things to be righted. I wasn't calling that a magic panacea, I was pointing to the tool that we could use to strike back when we had to. Because I was still planning on doing that, weren't you?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:11 PM on August 24, 2011


Valkyryn: Uh, yes. Most definitely I do. Which is why I say the things I do. And for conservatives, showing up at a particular church for a period of time signals a lot about what a person believes. Many conservative evangelical types will leave a church if the pastor says things they disagree with. Sometimes over a single instance. It's just a feature of evangelical culture, but it's also probably why the whole Wright fiasco got so much traction.

And this is not generally the way a liberal would react. Which is exactly why it is not very significant that Obama didn't leave the church, and it IS significant that Perry endorsed this meeting. You've supported my point.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:12 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


pseudonick,

I understand what you're getting at and it is right that everyone should have a voice. That said, there are some voices that just by the very nature of what they say be drowned out.
posted by RedShrek at 12:13 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


That said, there are some voices that just by the very nature of what they say be drowned out.

"Drowned out," no. "Spoken against," absolutely.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:14 PM on August 24, 2011


That^^
posted by RedShrek at 12:15 PM on August 24, 2011


What is wrong with killing public education? I have no problem with letting that be handled on a local basis.
posted by Ardiril at 12:17 PM on August 24, 2011


In what ways does dominionism differ from basic participatory democracy. Isn't it basically saying that Christians should advocate for their beliefs in a political sphere?

No, they actually believe that political authority can derive only from God, and that the financially successful are God's anointed rulers of men. And as for dealing with America's actual problems--or really, using the government as anything more than a machine for indoctrinating people into this latest variation on the Divine Right of Kings and supporting their desired social order--their position is simple, and best summed up by Perry himself:
“I think it’s time for us to just hand it over to God, and say, ‘God: You’re going to have to fix this,’” he said in a speech in May, explaining how some of the nation’s most serious problems could be solved.
This is exactly why we were supposed to have that fire-wall between church and state.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:18 PM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


What is wrong with killing public education? I have no problem with letting that be handled on a local basis.

As someone with a child in public school and several years experience working with the state DOE, I want to beat you over the head for stupidity right now, but instead, I'll just say I respectfully disagree.

I understand what you're getting at and it is right that everyone should have a voice. That said, there are some voices that just by the very nature of what they say be drowned out.

And this isn't about people "having a voice"; it's about people wanting to dictate the spiritual beliefs of our entire nation using the official apparatus of the state. That's theocracy and a fundamental betrayal of our form of Democratic Republic.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:21 PM on August 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


I just want to clear something up, since people keep saying Perry endorsed this meeting. He didn't endorse the prayer rally in Houston. He planned it, organized it, promoted it, and invited "important" people to attend it. The prayer rally was entirely Perry's party, paid for by the AFA.
posted by Orb at 12:22 PM on August 24, 2011 [40 favorites]


I am a canadian, and I am in a liberal theological college, but I've been thinking about this for a while. I don't think there is one movement, but I think there should be things said:

a) That there is a large number of different political movements that could be considered Dominonist--and they rarely talk to each other. Rushdooney, of course and the Pentacostals, but also Mormons and some people who might not be protestant at all. And it ranges from a kind of manifest destiny to a very explicit seeking to violently overthrow the government. We should be careful of not putting everyone in the same pot.
b) I think that for a bunch of reasons, mainline protestant denominations have been drying out, and I think that mainline protestant denominations are a moderating force. Reagan's soft Presbyterianism was a far far way away from Rushdooney's more unaffilated Calvinism; and Bush's Methodism had much more moderation than some of his inner circle--but also remember his inner circle included atheists (Rove, Cheney). There is no atheists in Perry's inner circle--and Bachman does not have the moderation of mainstream denomination--She was part of the Wisconsin synod, which is the crazier ends of Lutheranism (Pope as Anti-Christ, etc) but her withdrawl from the synod is a major story, and one that has been under reported.
c) I think that secular reporters on the coast don't know how to read Religion and tend to be dismissive of it.
d) I think that the moving towards Africa (and I have a lot of evangelical friends who have spent time in Tanzanina, Malawai, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda, and Nigeria) for example, and fueling the dangerous rhetoric about sexuality there is a set of Christian actions that combine colonialism with evangelicalism. I think that by using Africa as a testing ground, that they are working on how to bring that kind of work home, and that really scares me.
e) Cornelius van Til, the Dutch Calvinist, who was the first person to connect these thoughts together, ended up with some pretty difficult political positions. Van Til claims that there can be no neutral ground between the believer and the non believer, that there can be no place for conversation, for discussion--this seem to be an anathema to the democratic project.
f) This idea against neutrality suggests that via home schooling and other institutional building up, there is an attempt to pull certain kinds of American Christian's away from America--or to pull American citizens towards Christianity. There is a long tradition of dropping out, from the state, in Christendom, but that tradition is often tempered by a strong belief in hospitality. I am okay with the dropping out, but I think that the forcing towards, is a violation of Christian hospitality.
g) I don't like Calvin.
h) Rushdooney's holocaust denial is something that should pretty much disqualify him as a historian, which he claims to be. It is not outside the realm of Christan exceptionalism, and the connection between Zionism and antisemitism by his followers has a distasteful history.
i) as someone on the left, who is also spends time with a wide variety of Christians, and who is Christian himself, we have to be careful not to hang before trial, but there is a strong matter of concern here.

Bachman and Perry scare me, in ways that Wright doesn't--because I think Wright is working against privilege, and Bachman/Perry are working towards it.
posted by PinkMoose at 12:23 PM on August 24, 2011 [79 favorites]


PinkMoose, I'm just going to sit here and stare at your comment in mild awe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:25 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is not some random conspiracy theory, folks. While there may be no "central" organization called American Dominionist Society and no directly-affiliated political party, there are plenty of organizations, candidates, and, most importantly, voters, who preach that: This is not a joke. This is not extremist-lefty, tree-hugging hand-waving. This is real, and Perry and Bachmann are real candidates with these beliefs. Don't think for a second that the Constitution will prevent them from making their policies come to fruition. They'll just appoint SCOTUS judges and make amendments until the US is a defacto, if not codified, Christian Fundamentalist Theocracy.
posted by Revvy at 12:26 PM on August 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


C'mon, I read The Handmaids Tale. Theocracy means wild bordello scenes, so bring it on!
posted by telstar at 12:28 PM on August 24, 2011


Thanks EmpressCallipygos !
posted by PinkMoose at 12:32 PM on August 24, 2011


pinkmose,

I'd like to second your point about how African countries have become export grounds for ideas that would be denounced in the US. I lived in Nigeria for a bit and I ran into these types of Evangelicals all the time. I learned to fear the impact that Evangelicals have by observing first hand what they were and are able to do in Nigeria.
posted by RedShrek at 12:37 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can you talk more about that?
posted by PinkMoose at 12:38 PM on August 24, 2011


More and more often of late, this song has been on my mind.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:38 PM on August 24, 2011


The people have to speak up for unconstitutional things to be righted. I wasn't calling that a magic panacea, I was pointing to the tool that we could use to strike back when we had to. Because I was still planning on doing that, weren't you?

There isn't anything "the people" can do about a constitutional crisis. There's really only one remedy for unconstitutional acts by the president, contrary to legality, and it's *unlikely* that a Republican congress would impeach a Republican president.

In this scenario, there will be pressure for extra-constitutional action.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:39 PM on August 24, 2011


What’s Beck Doing in Israel? At the first of three rallies he is holding in Israel, Glenn Beck preached to his followers like a pastor. Michelle Goldberg reports on Beck’s ridiculous attempt to become a religious leader.
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


> “I think it’s time for us to just hand it over to God, and say, ‘God: You’re going to have to fix this,’” he said in a speech in May, explaining how some of the nation’s most serious problems could be solved."

Texas Drought Losses Hit Record $5.2 Billion
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:40 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised no one's mentioned The Family yet.

(Apologies, of course, if I've missed it.)
posted by Gelatin at 12:44 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and then the community undergoes a transformation in which there can be miraculous healing, the growth of very large vegetables [and] the end of corruption and crime.


Gimme that old time six-foot carrrot!

posted by mmrtnt at 12:44 PM on August 24, 2011


Gimme that old time six-foot carrrot!

Okay.
posted by Gelatin at 12:48 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


pinkmose,

I used to visit a church in Lagos that had a lot of American evangelicals visit for missionary and guest appearances. These folks were usually involved in projects such as bore hole projects and Christian education in remote villages. I would listen to these guys talk about how God is giving money to the business elite but that the money really belongs to these poor people and these poor people should vote for men who believe in Jesus so that they can take the money from the elite business people and give it to the believers who are the rightful owners of the money. I saw them encourage people to reject family planning and contraception in a country that is rife with HIV. I saw them encourage people to go convert people who practiced native religions and Islam because these people were lost and leading false lives. I saw them encourage people to question the ex-President (Obasanjo) because they saw him as too accommodating of muslims in the north of Nigeria.
posted by RedShrek at 12:50 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dominionism is as real as the Homosexual Agenda. It strikes me as a nearly exact parallel.

Both are bugaboos of their respective corners of the political spectrum. But really, both are just largish, mostly unorganized, groups of people advocating a wide variety of opinions within our democratic framework. And the fact that people have the right to do this infuriates and terrifies people who disagree with them.
posted by pseudonick at 12:51 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


There isn't anything "the people" can do about a constitutional crisis. There's really only one remedy for unconstitutional acts by the president, contrary to legality, and it's *unlikely* that a Republican congress would impeach a Republican president.

*shrug* I seem to recall that political action on the part of the populace works, but only if the populace actually does something rather than just shrugging and saying "oh well, it's a Republican congress and a Republican president, they're not going to do anything so I'm not going to bother calling."

I'll admit I have a faint rose-colored tint to my perspective, but I really don't think it's that much of one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:52 PM on August 24, 2011


But the whole point of democracy is everyone gets a voice, even those we disagree with.

I'm not getting your point here. Has anybody on this thread said that conservative Christians shouldn't have a voice?
posted by steambadger at 12:53 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a real Homosexual agenda. I believe that agenda is "Stop trying to fuck over Homosexuals."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:53 PM on August 24, 2011 [39 favorites]


Has anybody on this thread said that conservative Christians shouldn't have a voice?

Not in so many words, but it was hinted.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2011


>Painting a picture as if they're this big, scary conspiracy implies that there's some organic connection at minimum. The groups aren't even on speaking terms.

But is this sectarianism not something you can attribute to their sense that they are powerless?

Once they have a sufficiently large, obvious focal point, such as the election of a strident evangelical as president, that internal discord should evaporate fairly quickly. If that did not happen during GW Bush's time, that's at least in part because the Dubya administration was busy helping to build and support the infrastructure for these folks.

The citations others have given of Africa is spot-on; I've come across surveys indicating that current US cultural attitudes, in terms of the intersection of religion, politics, and social practices, are closer to some African states than the West European norm.

In any case, Dominionism, as an organized entity, isn't the problem; the problem is that those with much milder versions of that viewpoint are a quite large and extremely active group.
posted by darth_tedious at 12:55 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


pseudonick ,

You're being cute by a mile and a half. One thing is about people who believe the own the world because a book said so while another is about people seeking equal rights in the face of the law (secular law mind you). You attempt at moral equivalency is not persuasive.
posted by RedShrek at 12:55 PM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Dominionism is as real as the Homosexual Agenda. It strikes me as a nearly exact parallel.

Um, yeah, because just like these specific Dominionist groups we've been discussing and citing, the "homosexuals" literally had all sorts of well-funded political organizations promoting the idea of establishing a homosexual-ocracy in the US. And so many gay groups out there still make it their publicly declared mission statement to "reclaim" the media, industry and government in the name of the one true sexuality.

Am I getting those "exact parallels" right?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:56 PM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh come on, RedShrek! It's two groups of people who want things! OBVIOUSLY they are exactly the same. Everything is the same in politics!
posted by FatherDagon at 12:58 PM on August 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


One thing is about people who believe the own the world because a book said so while another is about people seeking equal rights in the face of the law (secular law mind you). You attempt at moral equivalency is not persuasive

Neither one of those facts is relevant to a consideration of whether the two groups actually exist, which is what we're doing here. I tend to agree with pseudonick, the idea of the "gay agenda" is based to some extent in the reality of there being organized, politically active gays, but it's mostly a right-wing fantasy. Dominionism's relationship to existence is very similar.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:59 PM on August 24, 2011


FatherDagon beat me to it.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:59 PM on August 24, 2011


Have you ever read FreeRepublic discussing Islam? It's just like this.
posted by rocket88 at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dominionism is as real as the Homosexual Agenda. It strikes me as a nearly exact parallel.

This is hilarious. Seriously, who set up Jon Stewart with an account?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bachmann hired a christian terrorist. She doesn't think anything's wrong with what this guy did.

To discount this criticism, all the false-equivalence machine needs to do is find someone vaguely left-of-center who hired someone vaguely shady that one time, therefore making the left just as bad as the right and therefore Bachmann is not a crazy.


You betcha!
posted by homunculus at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2011


For starters, the Chalcedon Foundation. And *cough, cough* Rev. Moon's organization.

If you want the history, read Sara Diamond: Spiritual Warfare, The Roads To Dominion, Not By Politics Alone and Facing The Wrath. Sara works mostly from resource mobilization theory.

To get the movement/network analysis, see Luther Gerlach: People, Power, Change for an examination of the spread of Pentacostalism, Black Power and Environmentalism (more sociology than polisci.)

Those who learn from history are condemned to see it repeated by those who don't.
posted by warbaby at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


No, it's not. Dominionism isn't even something whose existence the practitioners themselves deny. The only ones denying its existence are people weirdly thinking they're being fair-minded or "above the fray" by apologizing for them or something.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:01 PM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Nope, sure doesn't look like it exists. Or if it does, nobody's ever heard of it and it's certainly not espoused by anyone with any kind of political power or media pull.
The race to lead the Texas House of Representatives has taken a religious turn, with some conservatives in the state suggesting that the speaker of the House, who is a Jewish Republican, should be replaced by a "Christian conservative."

Over the past month, in a spate of e-mails and political pitches, conservative opponents of incumbent Speaker Joe Straus have said they want him replaced not because of his Jewish religion, but because of his betrayal of Republican principles.

But several of Straus' critics have noted how important it is that a Christian be named to take his place. These discussions have been made public by a series of media reports, drawing condemnation from some corners and making others in the GOP more than a bit uncomfortable.

In one e-mail conversation between two members of the State Republican Executive Committee, official John Cook stressed the need for a Christian to lead other Christians in the legislature.

"We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it," Cook said in the Nov. 30 e-mail, first published by the Texas Observer.

Cook, confirming the e-mail's authenticity, told FoxNews.com that his conversation was not about Straus' religion and that he didn't even know until recently that Straus was Jewish. But he stood by his belief that Christian conservatives should lead.

"My e-mail said nothing about Jewish people. I just want Christian conservatives in office," he said.
posted by rtha at 1:01 PM on August 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


So lets look at what I posted and pull out some names apart from the two batshitinsane politicians.
Perry 's prayer rally was orgainized by Lou Engle who has claimed that gay people are controlled by "demonic spirits. One of his previous rallys was in Uganda where other speakers were promotors of execution for homosexuality
Peter Wagner founded the NAR whose main belief is that in order to bring about the coming of Christ, Apostles must be recognized, and the government should be run by Christians in order to cleanse the world for Christ’s coming
Thomas Muthee is the he Kenyan pastor who anointed Sarah Palin at the Wasilla Assembly of God Church in 2005
Mike Bickle who led part of Perry's event, has claimed that Oprah Winfrey is a precursor of the Antichrist
Taking dominion of government and other social, cultural, and political structures has long been the overtly stated goal of the religious right, long documented by scholars and journalists from Sara Diamond to Fred Clarkson to Michelle Goldberg.
Perry Prayer event is “Getting Traction” with Religious Right Elites.
Of course you can't really mention Dominionism without mentioning C Street; and then there is the money$1 billion for Conservative think tanks in 1999. These guys play a long game. And so it goes on Betsy Prince DeVos is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the notorious private military contractor Blackwater.
So I think Saul Goodman understands what's up here and I'm afraid that those playing ostrich might be be in for a bit of a wake up call.
posted by adamvasco at 1:01 PM on August 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


Not in so many words, but it was hinted.

And immediately followed by a palliative, with which the commenter accepted at once.

Everybody should have a voice. Nobody should expect his or her voice to be exempted from criticism.
posted by steambadger at 1:02 PM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


What is wrong with killing public education?

Um, what exactly do you expect to happen to all the children whose parents cannot afford to sent their kids to private school, and can't afford to pay for daycare to take care of them while they work? Not those future "maybe people won't have them if there are no public schools for them" theoretical kids; the ones around now.
posted by davejay at 1:02 PM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Has anybody on this thread said that conservative Christians shouldn't have a voice?

EmpressCallipygos :Not in so many words, but it was hinted.

The post you link to says exactly the opposite of what you claim it does.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:05 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Both are bugaboos of their respective corners of the political spectrum. But really, both are just largish, mostly unorganized, groups of people advocating a wide variety of opinions within our democratic framework. And the fact that people have the right to do this infuriates and terrifies people who disagree with them.

Yes, homosexual rights are exactly the same. Aside from the whole asking for more rights instead of taking them away thing.

I wonder why that would terrify people?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:08 PM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Peter Wagner founded the NAR whose main belief is that in order to bring about the coming of Christ, Apostles must be recognized, and the government should be run by Christians in order to cleanse the world for Christ’s coming"

That's pretty straightforward Postmillenial Dispensationalism via Christian Reconstructionism.
posted by warbaby at 1:09 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is no atheists in Perry's inner circle--and Bachman does not have the moderation of mainstream denomination--She was part of the Wisconsin synod, which is the crazier ends of Lutheranism (Pope as Anti-Christ, etc) but her withdrawl from the synod is a major story, and one that has been under reported.

I think it's too early to say without some extensive research that there are no athiests in Perry's inner circle. I'm not sure we've pinned down who constitutes the inner circle and I doubt that it's stable at this point. I did find this article about Perry working with an athiest filmmaker.

Regarding Bachmann, mainstream (of American Christianity) and mainline are not the same thing. (E.g. as I wrote in another thread, Christianity Today magazine is pretty mainstream, but not at all mainline.)

The church Bachmann reportedly attends, Eagle Brook Church is affiliated with the "Converge Worldwide" denomination, formerly the Baptist General Conference. These folks are not far out loons unless you think all evangelical Christians are.

her withdrawl from the synod is a major story, and one that has been under reported

Not really. She moved from one evangelical denomination to another. It's not that big a deal and it doesn't seem to reflect any major change in her beliefs. Furthermore, the formal withdrawal is merely the administrative mopping up of a change that happened years ago. The story has been widely reported (from the NY Times to the Baptist press to religion bloggers), if not highly placed.

Reagan's soft Presbyterianism was a far far way away from Rushdooney's more unaffilated Calvinism;

There's a sort of "look back in fondness" about Reagan among liberals now that he's safely dead and buried, expressed both in your comment and in the Daily Beast article linked in the FPP. The author there writes:
We have not seen this sort of thing at the highest levels of the Republican Party before. Those of us who wrote about the Christian fundamentalist influence on the Bush administration were alarmed that one of his advisers, Marvin Olasky, was associated with Christian Reconstructionism. It seemed unthinkable, at the time, that an American president was taking advice from even a single person whose ideas were so inimical to democracy.
But she also writes about Francis Shaeffer:
One could go on and on listing the Dominionist influences on Bachmann’s thinking. She often cites Francis Schaeffer, the godfather of the anti-abortion movement, who held seminars on Rushdoony’s work and helped disseminate his ideas to a larger evangelical audience.
But if that's evidence of Bachmann's "Dominionism", it should also be evidence of Reagan's and he was at the "at the highest levels of the Republican Party!" When Francis Shaeffer died, Reagan wrote to his widow praising him as one of the great Christian thinkers of the 20th century.
posted by Jahaza at 1:11 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


And immediately followed by a palliative, with which the commenter accepted at once.

Ah, I missed that it was the original commenter.

Everybody should have a voice. Nobody should expect his or her voice to be exempted from criticism.

Oh, I agree with criticism. There's a difference, though, between "criticism" and "not allowing to speak in the first place," is all.

The post you link to says exactly the opposite of what you claim it does.

What do you mean? Someone asked whether anyone said that "Conservative Christians shouldn't have a voice," and someone else said that there were some people who should be "drowned out" just because of "the very nature of what they say." How is that the 'exact opposite"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:12 PM on August 24, 2011


OK, so let's work with the assumption that there are many,many small fundamentalist groups that snipe with each other and don't really see eye-to-eye. Isn't that even more reason why a candidate who openly pushes their particular brand of Christian ideology through government should be mistrusted and called out?

It doesn't work that way in theory or practice. There is a dedicated bloc here that would welcome American theocracy without blinking. As soon as people are willing to let any politician get away with proclaiming "America is a Christian nation, founded on Judeo-Christian principles" and not calling them out on it, the battle is lost. For everybody.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:12 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Have you ever read FreeRepublic discussing Islam? It's just like this.

Only if you assume (uncharitably) that posters discussing Dominionism are really referring to Christianity and Christians in toto, and I have yet to see a single person make anything remotely approaching that false equivalence.

I have seen plenty of other examples of false equivalencies in this thread, though. And not from folks affirming that, yes, Virginia, there are American Dominionists who vocally endorse a theocratic takeover.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:13 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great, now I have Toto stuck in my head.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:14 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Has anybody on this thread said that conservative Christians shouldn't have a voice?"

I'm fine with them having a voice, I just wish they would turn down the megaphones after 10pm.
posted by HFSH at 1:14 PM on August 24, 2011


Rick Perry's Army of God was the cover story in August in the Texas Observer.
Perry has given self-proclaimed prophets and apostles leading roles in The Response, a much-publicized Christians-only prayer rally that Perry is organizing at Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Aug. 6.

The Response has engendered widespread criticism of its deliberate blurring of church and state and for the involvement of the American Family Association, labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its leadership’s homophobic and anti-Muslim statements. But it’s the involvement of New Apostolic leaders that’s more telling about Perry’s convictions and campaign strategy.
The author of the peice, Forrest Wilder, was interviewed on Democracy Now a couple of weeks ago.
Peter Wagner, the founder of the movement, for example, has said that he supernaturally—when he was in Germany in 2001, God acted through him to end mad cow disease in Germany. So they actually—they think that they have some supernatural abilities, at least as God works through them, to do things in what they call "the natural." The natural is basically the real world. So they—the supernatural and the natural, for them, are constantly interacting, and they’re kind of the bridge between the two.
posted by euphorb at 1:14 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, and that Daily Beast article koeselitz posted is kind of crap:

6. Separation of Church and State

This often misapplied term, used most recently in reference to Perry’s privately funded prayer rally before he launched his presidential campaign, is never mentioned in the Constitution, which instead specifies against any “law respecting an establishment of religion.” In an effort to avoid another state church like the one in England, the Framers wanted to protect the church from the state, and religion from any government interference—not the reverse.


Don't tell me not to be scared of Domionism at the same time you tell me the Constitution is totally okay with a religious group taking over government. I would be paranoid of all religious groups if that was true.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:16 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


There is a dedicated bloc here that would welcome American theocracy without blinking. As soon as people are willing to let any politician get away with proclaiming "America is a Christian nation, founded on Judeo-Christian principles" and not calling them out on it, the battle is lost.

Again, no one is saying that we shouldn't call out the concept. I think the argument is coming from a place of not wanting to go all Conspiracy-Theory "there's a big cabal somewhere running everything from a shadowy room" about it.

But calling foul on the notion that we should have a theocracy, absolutely. Go nuts with that, I know I would. (I do have the luxury of living in a city where the reaction to most Dominionist politicians is "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:17 PM on August 24, 2011


guns ✔
ammo ✔
canned goods ✔
house on hill ✔
big dog ✔
able to get off grid ✔
wine cellar ✔
posted by tomswift at 1:18 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, I know whose house I am going to when the zombies attack.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:20 PM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I got room, Joe... and I'll lend you ammo, but bring your own damn wine!
posted by tomswift at 1:21 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: Someone asked whether anyone said that "Conservative Christians shouldn't have a voice," and someone else said that there were some people who should be "drowned out" just because of "the very nature of what they say." How is that the 'exact opposite"?

Oh, come on, read the post in question! I understand what you're getting at and it is right that everyone should have a voice. That said, there are some voices that just by the very nature of what they say be drowned out.

There are exactly two sentences there. The first one is exactly the opposite of what you said - that is, it DOES say that everyone should have a voice. Now, you claim that this post hints that conservative Christians shouldn't have a voice, when in fact it explicitly says they should!

Now what are we to make of the second sentence? Well, unless you believe that the poster was directly contradicting themselves in the space of two sentences, you've got to interpret the second sentence in light of the first. The most reasonable interpretation is one in which they don't contradict. Try reading the two sentences again. It isn't hard to figure out what was being said, and it ISN'T that conservative Christians don't deserve a voice.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:22 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure why what I said upsets you, philosoper, but somehow I did and I'm just going to apologize and back away.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:24 PM on August 24, 2011


Oh, I agree with criticism. There's a difference, though, between "criticism" and "not allowing to speak in the first place," is all.

Then we don't disagree at all. I was responding to a specific post which tipped one of my hobby horses -- the widely-held notion that freedom of speech also confers protection against criticism.
posted by steambadger at 1:25 PM on August 24, 2011


6. Separation of Church and State

This often misapplied term, used most recently in reference to Perry’s privately funded prayer rally before he launched his presidential campaign, is never mentioned in the Constitution, which instead specifies against any “law respecting an establishment of religion.” In an effort to avoid another state church like the one in England, the Framers wanted to protect the church from the state, and religion from any government interference—not the reverse.


This is actually true. "Separation of church and state" is a phrase Jefferson used in correspondence. Regardless, it still argues against commingling religion and government.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:25 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't had time to read everything, though I did see a few others already address this, and wanted to add my voice:
"Dominionism" is one of those ghost stories liberals tell each other when they want a good scare. It has no basis whatsoever in fact, and it does not in the slightest move Evangelicals in America. To believe that "Dominionism" exists, you must not only be a dyed-in-the-wool liberal; you must also have the pleasure of having never even met an Evangelical Republican and talked seriously to them about politics and justice.

I too was raised in fundamentalist/Evangelical churches and I can assure you it does exist, in all seriousness, and grave indeed because you really do not want to discount this.

The reason people think it's "ghostly" is that, well, that's how churches who believe this stuff want people to think. They honestly believe that secular humanism is waging a war against Christianity, and that this war is secret, so theirs should be as secret as possible too. We were taught not to be too overt with our political beliefs, and at least in the churches my family attended, the political aspects weren't taught in Sunday sermons. Sunday was bread and butter theology, meant to bring in converts (people visiting with family or friends, that sort of thing). The political stuff came in when people had attended for a while and, for whatever reasons, seemed attractive to church leaders (fervency, etc.).

It isn't really a cabal, this is true... it's "just" a bunch of VERY highly-motivated people who honestly believe they have God on their side while fighting a secret war with the Devil on the other.

I'll say what I've said before on the matter of best dealing with these beliefs – I Corinthians 13. Selected phrase: "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."

Their faith requires them to doubt; requires them to recognize that they cannot know everything, including God's will. They must acknowledge that they could be mistaken. And in the end: "now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." So if they're all faith and 'hope' in their stuff, and show no love? Well.
posted by fraula at 1:26 PM on August 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


I'm not sure why what I said upsets you, philosoper, but somehow I did and I'm just going to apologize and back away.

Upset? No.

Frustrated that you would misrepresent what someone else says so blatantly, and imply that their motive was to silence people? Yes.

If that makes you back away, so be it.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:27 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is actually true. "Separation of church and state" is a phrase Jefferson used in correspondence. Regardless, it still argues against commingling religion and government.

I know the exact phrase isn't there, the stupid is in taking that to mean it isn't the legal concept Jefferson was aiming for.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:28 PM on August 24, 2011


Jahaza:


Thank you for the correctives. I need to be more careful than I was, esp. about the Reagan as more moderate than perhaps he was. I also think that you are right about Bachman maybe being a bit more mainstream--or at least on the edge of a mainstream, and I think that she is not as much of a Dominionist as others. I think Perry might be the bigger threat.

Good notes.
posted by PinkMoose at 1:28 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Dominionism Doesn't Exist, Someone Forgot To Tell The Dominionists
posted by daHIFI at 1:30 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I know the exact phrase isn't there, the stupid is in taking that to mean it isn't the legal concept Jefferson was aiming for.

I think the stupid is in not being able to recognize that the what's in the Constitution says the same fucking thing.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:30 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then we don't disagree at all. I was responding to a specific post which tipped one of my hobby horses -- the widely-held notion that freedom of speech also confers protection against criticism.

Oh, yeah, that chaps my ass too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on August 24, 2011


Frustrated that you would misrepresent what someone else says so blatantly, and imply that their motive was to silence people? Yes.

We had different interpretations of what they said. It happens. Chill out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:32 PM on August 24, 2011


LOL. I find that, usually, if you're not getting criticized, you're not doing it right.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:33 PM on August 24, 2011


I'm quite surprised to see people claiming that this "isn't real". Like saulgoodman said, the change in tenor is both obvious and extreme. Twenty-five years ago religion (even deeply conservative religion) was generally treated as a private, local matter; now it is public, national(ist), and explicitly political, and this change was deliberately brought about by political Christian organizations. The fact that these groups "aren't even on speaking terms" matters very little -- for example, the same is true amongst radical Islamic or neo-Nazi/nationalist groups (or anti-radical/anti-racist ones, for that matter), and I doubt anyone here would claim that those are no more than "a fantasy" or "a bogeyman".

Besides, one need only look at the US military for an example of how small, disparate Dominionist groups which "aren't even on speaking terms" can influence and even dictate policy on the national level, whether de-facto or de-jure.

As for free speech: yes, these people have a right to claim that America should be a theocracy, just as neo-Nazis have a right to claim that it should be National Socialist. However, the rest of us don't have to sit here with zipped lips for fear of "silencing" them. Nothing anyone has said in this thread "takes away people's voice", and none of it constitutes the slightest threat to anyone's rights... especially not compared to what's been openly said about non-Christians by Bachmann, Perry, et al.

Lastly: power matters. The idea that this is just "the homosexual agenda" from the opposite direction assumes that all vaguely-similar speech is exactly the same in its content, impact, and consequence. It's not. Call me when homosexuals in positions of public power start to gain actual support for the idea that other politicians should be removed because they are straight, and maybe I'll care.
posted by vorfeed at 1:41 PM on August 24, 2011 [27 favorites]


There is an article in the other Tea party thread that makes the Dominionist seem less scary, albeit remarkably influential.

Atheists and Muslims less unpopular than Tea Party.
Also, Tea Party is just a new name for Racist Christian Right

posted by jeffburdges at 1:43 PM on August 24, 2011


the same is true amongst radical Islamic or neo-Nazi/nationalist groups (or anti-radical/anti-racist ones, for that matter), and I doubt anyone here would claim that those are no more than "a fantasy" or "a bogeyman".

You doubt that anyone would call a radical Islam a bogeyman? I'm guessing the next time there's a discussion of radical Islam on Metafilter it will happen a dozen times, because they are bogeyman. Not because radical Islamic groups doesn't exist, but because they aren't as powerful organized or threatening as the people who are afraid of them suggest, which is basically where Dominionism is.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:49 PM on August 24, 2011


Just call them Christian Supremacists, since that's who they are.
posted by klangklangston at 2:04 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Suppose you have a President Bachmann or President Perry and, with a Republican congress, they began to follow some sort dominionist i.e. Christian fascist program.

Many of us would say "Hey...maybe I do want America to fall...hey what does that make me? OMG!"
posted by hal_c_on at 2:10 PM on August 24, 2011


Not because radical Islamic groups doesn't exist, but because they aren't as powerful organized or threatening as the people who are afraid of them suggest, which is basically where Dominionism is.

Right. Tell that to people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.

I have no interest in sitting here with my metaphorical dick in my hand while people in power -- we're talking possible presidential level -- suggest that we should have a theocracy in this country. That is, by definition, both powerful and threatening, and a lack of central organization doesn't change that.
posted by vorfeed at 2:16 PM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Cabalistic Christianity, which is Catholic Christianity, and which has prevailed for 1,500 years, has received a mortal wound, of which the monster must finally die. Yet so strong is his constitution, that he may endure for centuries before he expires."

- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 16, 1814
posted by clavdivs at 2:17 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right. Tell that to people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.

I read the comment as "they don't exist here in the United States." And they don't, not in any sense that makes them a greater threat to people here than the current cream of the Republican crop.
posted by rtha at 2:23 PM on August 24, 2011


Coloquialism.

That said, there are some voices that just by the very nature of what they say be drowned out.

Just replace the word "be" (as in , "Where the coach and the captain?" "They be over there, man.) with the word "are", and I think the problem disolves.

As opposed to interpolating the word "should" in the sentence.
posted by carping demon at 2:27 PM on August 24, 2011


adamvasco: Of course you can't really mention Dominionism without mentioning C Street

Yeah, as I read the thread I kept wondering why more people weren't mentioning it. koeselitz, valkyryn et al, if you've read Jeff Sharlet's books (1, 2) on The Family, and you disagree with his conclusions about the breadth and power of The Family's reach, could you please explain? His research and analysis seemed sound to me. But then, I'm not well acquainted with Christianity generally.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:31 PM on August 24, 2011


Twenty-five years ago religion (even deeply conservative religion) was generally treated as a private, local matter; now it is public, national(ist), and explicitly political, and this change was deliberately brought about by political Christian organizations.

25 years ago was 1986 and in pretty much the heyday of the Christian Coalition and Operation Rescue.

You could go back to the 50's and 60's and cite the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

There is no golden age (or benighted time) in which religion was separate from politics.
posted by Jahaza at 2:35 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is no golden age (or benighted time) in which religion was separate from politics.

In the revolutionary spirit of the Founding Fathers, let's start one right now. By not electing lizard people to the highest office in the land.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:37 PM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


GOOGLE DAVID ICKE
posted by griphus at 2:44 PM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Rick Perry now polling higher than any other GOP candidate, by double digits

This is starting to uncannily look like the year 2004. I still don't think Perry will make it through the gauntlet, but this is going to be one ugly race - both for the GOP nomination, and in the general election.

I see no candidate with unwavering support, or popularity - it's gonna be a mud-slinger.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:45 PM on August 24, 2011


If the GOP got its act together you'd see a ticket that was Huntsman and some as-yet not well known retired general or diplomat.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:51 PM on August 24, 2011


The Christian Coalition wasn't even around in 1986 (it started in '89). Likewise, Operation Rescue was just getting started in '86; its heyday was from '88 to the mid-90s. And these are the very same "political Christian organizations" I was talking about, so the fact that they were around in the 80s is not surprising. What is surprising is the extent to which they and their supporters have changed the tenor of our national outlook on religion since.

I'll be the first to agree that religion was never separate from politics, but the idea that they are one and the same was much further out on the margins in 1986. For one thing, you didn't see presidential-candidate-caliber politicians making this sort of rhetoric a major part of their campaigns back then. The closest was David Duke... who was a national joke with all of 0.04 percent of the vote, not the winner of major preliminary polls.
posted by vorfeed at 3:01 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jeff Sharlet and C Street previously.
How can anyone here be in denial that there is a concerted right wing Christian movement to dictate and influence US policy by whatever means necessary within the system; whether it is education, military or foreign affairs. They have huge influence and a massive warchest.
Progressive is a dirty word to them. These are the people who want to dictate how your kids are educated (Creationalism), what you believe in (Christian Right wing values) and how you live your private lives (Burn faggot burn). Before long if you disagree you will become second class citizens (like they women to be) and you will only have yourselves to blame.
As warbaby so aptly says: Those who learn from history are condemned to see it repeated by those who don't.
posted by adamvasco at 3:08 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have you ever read FreeRepublic discussing Islam? It's just like this.

I have not, but I had always imagined it would be something like this. That said, what makes this a different conversation is that Islam is not really a factor in American politics, other than as a boogeyman. When we talk about the politicians being influenced by the religious right, it is not Islam we are talking about. I can't comment on the Dominionists though, I don't run in circles that overlap with fundie types
posted by Hoopo at 3:15 PM on August 24, 2011


Great, now I have Toto stuck in my head.

All Michelle Bachmann wants is to never ever have to compromise.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:49 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always wondered how the prelude to Revolt in 2100 was supposed to start out. Seems pretty clear that this would be it.

Also, re: factions. The dominionists aren't stupid. You don't take control with a single massive easily targeted army. You have cells, each operating locally on it's own with no central "head" to be decapitated. Each cell can work to spread the ideas of rebellion and contempt of the existing power structure which will lead to a general uprising when "the event" happens. It's simple 3rd wave political strategy, making it easier to hide in plain sight.

I learned all this from reading 3 books. Revolt in 2100 being one, The Fifth Column being another, and the whole cell theory came from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. Gotta love Heinlein for at least getting the theory right, though his mishagosh later stuff just went crazy for the sake of crazy...


I have met one dyed in the wool Dominionist. Had a very long and drawn out "debate" with them about theology and really wish I could have used the I Corinthians 13 line on them. Lately I've been getting away from theology and going straight into brain function theory, which helps me understand the reasons for insane beliefs, but has yet to provide any really good tools for addressing people who have fallen from rational thought into purely irrational fairy tale thinking.
posted by daq at 4:04 PM on August 24, 2011


We were taught not to be too overt with our political beliefs, and at least in the churches my family attended, the political aspects weren't taught in Sunday sermons. Sunday was bread and butter theology, meant to bring in converts (people visiting with family or friends, that sort of thing). The political stuff came in when people had attended for a while and, for whatever reasons, seemed attractive to church leaders (fervency, etc.).

That sounds remarkably like how I imagine terrorist cells recruit.
posted by JHarris at 4:04 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Hm, maybe I should qualify that. I don't believe these guys are terrorists, which my comment could be considered as directly comparing the two. [Generally -- there are such things as abortion clinic bombers after all.] It is a point of simularity between them, though. The thing I was actually reminded of was the way secret societies are handled in the role-playing game Paranoia.)
posted by JHarris at 4:06 PM on August 24, 2011


Why are mainstream Christians so quick to dismiss and apologize for Dominionists?
posted by maxwelton at 4:10 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


[...]has yet to provide any really good tools for addressing people who have fallen from rational thought into purely irrational fairy tale thinking.

I hate to put it in these terms, but... you could explain it using simple logic. As in, if you accept a false basic premise, then you're open to all kinds of irrational conclusions. In much the same way that, if you believe 2+2=5 then most other forms of math you attempt are going to come out wrong, if you believe there is an invisible authority figure out there who speaks directly to you and your associates, you can probably believe and do just about anything.

I hate to put it in these terms because I think most Christians are good, but most also seem to be more grounded in reality.
posted by JHarris at 4:12 PM on August 24, 2011


Warning about Dominionism is like being that kid in the 50s horror film that's the first to see the monster. No matter how much you try to warn people, the sherif and other adults won't believe there's a giant eyeball monster in the woods thril it crashes the sock hop and starts eating people.

Ok, so maybe it's not quite the same thing. But is it really too soon to see if Dominionists melt in seawater?
posted by happyroach at 4:15 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Or the guy at the end of the original "Bodysnatchers".
posted by carping demon at 4:22 PM on August 24, 2011


I've been waiting for a thread like this to pop up.

I'm on C. Peter Wagner's email list. He sent this out not too long ago. So, for your reading pleasure:


THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION
An Update

C. Peter Wagner, Ph.D.

Surprisingly, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has recently become a topic of discussion in the political media. I noticed some mention of it in connection with Sarah Palin's run for Vice-President, but I considered it relatively insignificant. Then more talk of the NAR surfaced around Michelle Bachman, but it soared to a new level when Rick Perry entered the race for the Republican nomination for President in August. The best I can discern, the NAR has become a tool in the hands of certain liberal opponents of the conservative candidates designed to discredit them on the basis of their friendship with certain Christian leaders supposedly affiliated with the NAR. To bolster this attempt, they seek to accuse the NAR of teaching false doctrine and paste on it the label of "cult." For example, Forgotten Word Ministries posts an article by Marsha West expressing concerns about Rick Perry's prayer assembly in Houston on August 6, that uses the title: "Texas Governor's Upcoming Leadership Event Includes Cult Members."[1]

Soon after the event, nothing less than Al Jazeera News picked up on the theme and posted an article on the NAR under the title "America's own Taliban." My name comes up in most of the Internet postings on NAR, but in this one I am called the "intellectual godfather" of the movement.[2] When I read that, I felt that I had a responsibility to attempt to bring some clarification as to what the NAR is, what are its goals, and how these goals are being implemented. That is why I am writing this brief paper.

What Is the NAR?

The NAR is definitely not a cult. Those who affiliate with it believe the Apostles' Creed and all the standard classic statements of Christian doctrine. It will surprise some to know that the NAR embraces the largest non-Catholic segment of world Christianity. It is also the fastest growing segment, the only segment of Christianity currently growing faster than the world population and faster than Islam.[3] Christianity is booming now in the Global South which includes sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and large parts of Asia. Most of the new churches in the Global South, even including many which belong to denominations, would comfortably fit the NAR template.

The NAR represents the most radical change in the way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation. This is not a doctrinal change. We adhere to the major tenets of the Reformation: the authority of Scripture, justification by faith, and the priesthood of all believers. But the quality of church life, the governance of the church, the worship, the theology of prayer, the missional goals, the optimistic vision for the future, and other features, constitute quite a change from traditional Protestantism.

The NAR is not an organization. No one can join or carry a card. It has no leader. I have been called the "founder," but this is not the case. One reason I might be seen as an "intellectual godfather" is that I might have been the first to observe the movement, give a name to it, and describe its characteristics as I saw them. When this began to come together through my research in 1993, I was Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, where I taught for 30 years. The roots of the NAR go back to the beginning of the African Independent Church Movement in 1900, the Chinese House Church Movement beginning in 1976, the U.S. Independent Charismatic Movement beginning in the 1970s and the Latin American Grassroots Church Movement beginning around the same time. I was neither the founder nor a member of any of these movements, I was simply a professor who observed that they were the fastest growing churches in their respective regions and that they had a number of common characteristics.

If I was going to write about this phenomenal move of the Holy Spirit, I knew I had to give it a name. I tried "Postdenominational" but soon dropped it because of the objections of many of my friends who were denominational executives. Then, in 1994, I tested "New Apostolic Reformation." "Reformation" because the movement matched the Protestant Reformation in world impact; "Apostolic" because of all the changes the most radical one was apostolic governance, which I'll explain in due time; and "New" because several churches and denominations already carried the name "apostolic," but they did not fit the NAR pattern. Other names of this movement which are more or less synonymous with NAR have been "Neopentecostal," "Neocharismatic," "Independent," or "Nondenominational."

I am rather fascinated at the lists of individuals whom the media glibly connects with the NAR. I'm sure that some of them wouldn't even recognize the term. In many cases, however, they would fit the NAR template, but since the NAR has no membership list they themselves would need to say whether they consider themselves affiliated or not.

For those who might be interested in such things, the books I have written related to NAR include The New Apostolic Churches (1998); Churchquake! (1999); Apostles and Prophets (2000), Changing Church (2004); and Apostles Today (2006). These are all available on amazon.com.

Concerns about the NAR

If the critics are using openness to NAR as a slur against conservative political candidates, they obviously need to verbalize what could be wrong with NAR in the first place. To suppose that NAR is a "cult" or that it teaches "heresy" can be attributed only to sloppy or immature journalism. All too often "heresy" has come to mean only that the person disagrees with me and my friends, but the purpose of using the word is to project guilt by association on the politician. It attempts to implant a question: Who would vote for a heretic? But there is little evidence presented that the issue in question incorporates the doctrinal unorthodoxy of a true heresy. Instead, key words are usually dropped which describe legitimate areas of disagreement among Christian theologians on the level of whether or not we baptize infants. Neither of the opposite positions on matters like this deserve to be placed in the category of heresy.

Let me review the media pieces I have collected and pick out some key words in order to clarify my position. I say "my position," because others in NAR might not agree with me, and they are not compelled to do so. NAR has no official statements of theology or ecclesiology, although a large number of us do happen to agree upon many somewhat radical conclusions. Most of us have long track records of service within traditional Christianity, and we have needed to go through paradigm shifts to get where we are now. Keep in mind that one of the affects of every paradigm shift is that some people get pulled out of their comfort zones. One of the reasons for opposition to some of the more radical ideas of NAR is that certain people have decided not to change and they are upset with those who have chosen to change.

Apostolic governance. As I mentioned before, this is probably the most radical change. I take literally St. Paul's words that Jesus, at His ascension into heaven, "gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry" (Ephesians 4:11-12). Most of traditional Christianity accepts evangelists, pastors, and teachers, but not apostles and prophets. I think that all five are given to be active in churches today. In fact, St. Paul goes on to say, "And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers..." (1 Corinthians 12:28). This does not describe a hierarchy, but a divine order. Apostles are first in that order.

I strongly object to journalists using the adjective "self-appointed" or "self-declared" when referring to apostles. No true apostle is self-appointed. First of all, they are gifted by God for that ministry. Secondly, the gift and its fruit are recognized by peers and the apostle is "set in" or "commissioned" to the office of apostle by other respected and qualified leaders.

The office of prophet. Prophets are prominent in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. As we just saw above, apostles are first and prophets are second. Every apostle needs alignment with prophets and every prophet needs apostolic alignment. One of the reasons why both should be active in our churches today is that the Bible says, "Surely God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). And also: "Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established; believe His prophets and you shall prosper" (2 Chronicles 20:20). I want to prosper and I want you to prosper.

Dominionism. This refers to the desire that some of my friends and I have to follow Jesus and do what He wants. One of the things He does want He taught us to pray for in the Lord's Prayer: "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This means that we do our best to see that what we know is characteristic of heaven work its way into the warp and woof of our society here on earth. Think of heaven: no injustice, no poverty, righteousness, peace, prosperity, no disease, love, no corruption, no crime, no misery, no racism, and I could go on. Wouldn't you like your city to display those characteristics?

But where does dominion come in? On the first page of the Bible, God told Adam and Eve to "fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, etc." (Genesis 1:28). Adam, Eve, and the whole human race were to take dominion over the rest of creation, but Satan entered the picture, succeeded in usurping Adam's dominion for himself and became what Jesus calls "the ruler of this world" (John 14:30). When Jesus came, he brought the kingdom of God and He expects His kingdom-minded people to take whatever action is needed to push back the long-standing kingdom of Satan and bring the peace and prosperity of His kingdom here on earth. This is what we mean by dominionism.

A theocracy. The usual meaning of theocracy is that a nation is run by authorized representatives of the church or its functional religious equivalent. Everyone I know in NAR would absolutely reject this idea, thinking back to Constantine's failed experiment or some of the oppressive Islamic governments today. The way to achieve dominion is not to become "America's Taliban," but rather to have kingdom-minded people in every one of the Seven Mountains: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business so that they can use their influence to create an environment in which the blessings and prosperity of the Kingdom of God can permeate all areas of society.

Extra-biblical revelation. Some object to the notion that God communicates directly with us, supposing that everything that God wanted to reveal He revealed in the Bible. This cannot be true, however, because there is nothing in the Bible that says it has 66 books. It actually took God a couple of hundred years to reveal to the church which writings should be included in the Bible and which should not. That is extra-biblical revelation. Even so, Catholics and Protestants still disagree on the number. Beyond that, I believe that prayer is two way, we speak to God and expect Him to speak with us. We can hear God's voice. He also reveals new things to prophets as we have seen. The one major rule governing any new revelation from God is that it cannot contradict what has already been written in the Bible. It may supplement it, however.

Supernatural signs and wonders. I have a hard time understanding why some include this in their list of "heresies." Whenever Jesus sent out His disciples he told them to heal the sick and cast out demons. Why we should expect that He has anything else in mind for us today is puzzling. True, this still pulls some traditionalists out of their comfort zones, but that just goes with the territory. One critic claimed that the NAR has excessive fixation on Satan and demonic spirits. This is purely a judgment call, and it may only mean that we cast out more demons than they do. So what?

Relational Structures

Some of the authors I read expressed certain frustrations because they found it difficult to get their arms around the NAR. They couldn't find a top leader or even a leadership team. There was no newsletter. The NAR didn't have an annual meeting. There was no printed doctrinal statement or code of ethics. This was very different from dealing with traditional denominations. The reason behind this is that, whereas denominations are legal structures, the NAR is a relational structure. Everyone is related to, or aligned, with an apostle or apostles. This alignment is voluntary. There is no legal tie that binds it. In fact, some have dual alignment or multiple alignment. Apostles are not in competition with each other, they are in cahoots. They do not seek the best for themselves, but for those who choose to align with them. If the spotlight comes on them, they will accept it, but they do not seek it.

The key to this? The mutual and overriding desire that "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!"
-end-

[1] http://www.forgottenword.org/leadershipevent.htm1
[2] http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/20117259426336524.htm1
[3] David B. Barrett, et. al., eds., World Christian Encyclopedia,, Volume 1, Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, 2001,
p. 4
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:23 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


(And for those that don't know, C. Peter Wagner and his wife are both in their eighties, former missionaries, and have been around for pert near forever. Also, fwiw the Rushdoony crowd and C. Peter Wagner's crowd are like apples and oranges-totally different expressions of Christianity.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:25 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whew, I sure am glad to hear that they reject "the usual meaning of" theocracy. No loopholes there!
posted by vorfeed at 4:27 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is like LARPing, only with consequences.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:34 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


If the critics are using openness to NAR as a slur against conservative political candidates, they obviously need to verbalize what could be wrong with NAR in the first place.

Okay, how about that it wants

to have kingdom-minded people in every one of the Seven Mountains: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business so that they can use their influence to create an environment in which the blessings and prosperity of the Kingdom of God can permeate all areas of society.

Did I take that too much out of context? It seems pretty straightforward, but I don't want to misrepresent anyone.
posted by Quonab at 4:40 PM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well that quote was intensely creepy. If that's what Bachmann and Perry stand for we aren't fighting them hard enough.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:40 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, being the particular "flavor" of Christian as Wagner is I'm thinking he means that there just needs to be folks represented in all those "mountains."

Honestly, it's no more creepy than me being a member of Metafilter.


It might help if I explain that for too long most Christians (of mine and similar ilk anyway) thought that it would be much better for us to collect up under each other in Christian ghettos and only deal with other Christians, staying far far away from "all those heathens." So, politics was seen as dirty, Hollywood is seen as dirty, etc etc and so forth. The salt analogy only means that just like a little salt in a recipe adds flavor and seasoning etc, so we are to be to a society, being kind and being just and being loving, etc. etc.


I don't deny that there are those folks who would want to set up a literal "theocracy" (to my mind that would be the rushdoony types) and they do creep me out.

I just don't think that the folks Wagner is associated with (the church folks, I don't know these politicians) are that type. Again, I know nada about Perry (nor do I know squat about Bachmann) so I cannot give you an opinion on them at all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:50 PM on August 24, 2011


so that they can use their influence to create an environment in which the blessings and prosperity of the Kingdom of God can permeate all areas of society.

And the gays' blessings and prosperity in this Kingdom will include the delights of marriage to people they're not attracted to, the martyrdom of feeling one way and pretending to a different ie socially and theologically approved way, and the shame of being born supposedly defective and disgusting. Makes me wish I were gay so I too could partake of this bounty! Sign me up!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:00 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Christ was not going to return until they seized power.

Lovecraft as theologian: if you see some people trying to open the hellmouth, start sharpening wooden stakes and/or charging proton packs.

Man, I miss the old fashioned postmillenial dispensationalists, who thought that Christ would not return until we had eliminated poverty, illness, ignorance, isolation and oppression.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:07 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


It might help if I explain that for too long most Christians (of mine and similar ilk anyway) thought that it would be much better for us to collect up under each other in Christian ghettos and only deal with other Christians, staying far far away from "all those heathens."

Well, maybe Dr. Wagner has spent too much time talking to a limited audience, and doesn't understand how absolutely repelling it is to hear that he thinks we should have "kingdom-minded people" in government using their influence to make their vision "permeate all areas of society."

If the goal of the Christians that you mention is to talk with people outside of their "ghetto" (and the idea that Christians in America are any kind of shunned minority is absolutely laughable. Maybe you mean "gated community") then they should take some time to understand these non-kingdom-minded people, and speak in a way that might have some meaning for them. But as it is, I don't see that there is any such inclination.
posted by Quonab at 5:11 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Quonab, that email was sent to Christians and as such was in Christianese. But, heh, gated community for the win.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:15 PM on August 24, 2011


Does he ever talk in something besides Christianese?
posted by Quonab at 5:23 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I miss the old fashioned postmillenial dispensationalists, who thought that Christ would not return until we had eliminated poverty, illness, ignorance, isolation and oppression.

What is next, asking me to sell all of my possessions and give the proceeds to the poor?
posted by joe lisboa at 5:29 PM on August 24, 2011


Oh, right.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:29 PM on August 24, 2011


Why are mainstream Christians so quick to dismiss and apologize for Dominionists?

?.....Who's been doing that?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:22 PM on August 24, 2011


Frederick Clarkson has been researching and writing about dominionism for years. Here is a a short definition from "The Rise of Dominionism: Remaking America as a Christian Nation" (2005):

"As readers of The Public Eye know, dominionism--in its "softest" form the belief that "America is a Christian Nation," and that Christians need to re-assert control over political and cultural institutions--has been on the rise for a long time. Since The Public Eye first began writing about dominionism ten years ago, the movement, broadly defined, has gained considerable power. Recently however, the term has become fashionable with some lumping every form of evangelical Christianity and every faction in the Bush White House into one big, single-minded imperial dominionist plot. Dominionism is narrower and more profound than that. It is the driving ideology of the Christian Right.

"It comes in "hard" and "soft" varieties, with the "hard" or theocratic dominionists "a religious trend that arose in the 1970s as a series of small Christian movements that seek to establish a theocratic form of government," according Political Research Associates Senior Analyst Chip Berlet. The seminal form of Hard Dominionism is Christian Reconstructionism, which seeks to replace secular governance, and subsequently the U.S. Constitution, with a political and judicial system based on Old Testament Law, or Mosaic Law (see box). Not all dominionists embrace this view, though most dominionists look back to the early years of the American colonies to argue that before the Constitution, "the United States was originally envisioned as a society based on Biblical law.""
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:39 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


""Dominionism" is one of those ghost stories liberals tell each other when they want a good scare. It has no basis whatsoever in fact, and it does not in the slightest move Evangelicals in America. To believe that "Dominionism" exists, you must not only be a dyed-in-the-wool liberal; you must also have the pleasure of having never even met an Evangelical Republican and talked seriously to them about politics and justice."

@koeselitz

You sir have no fucking idea what you are talking about. I grew up in exactly such a church in the 1970s and 1980s that exercised a degree of mind control or their "flock" that the North Koreans would admire. This shit is 100% totally for real once you get outside a major metropolitan area (and within a few as well.)
posted by digitalprimate at 6:42 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also it's not new in American politics and ironically reached its first major accomplishment in electing Carter.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:45 PM on August 24, 2011


In other spiritual warfare news: Look God, No Hands! Dirty Girls Ministries is on a crusade against the evils of female masturbation
posted by homunculus at 6:48 PM on August 24, 2011


To believe that "Dominionism" exists, you must not only be a dyed-in-the-wool liberal; you must also have the pleasure of having never even met an Evangelical Republican and talked seriously to them about politics and justice."

As Rachel Tabachnick says at the end of her 40 minutes with Terry Gross in the radio interview which accompanies the main article of this FPP,
Ms. TABACHNICK: But having that background, having the Southern Baptist background and growing up in the Deep South, has helped me to be able to do this research. And it's also helped me to realize something that might not be apparent to some other people looking at the movement, that this is quite radically different than the evangelicalism of my youth. And the things that we've been talking about are not representative of evangelicalism. They're not representative of conservative evangelicalism. So I think that's important to keep in mind.

This is a movement that is growing in popularity and I think one of the ways they have been able to do that is they're not very identifiable to most people. They're just presented as nondenominational or just Christian. But it is an identifiable movement now with an identifiable ideology.
(emphasis mine)

If you don't have the 40 minutes needed to listen to the interview, you can read the transcript here.
posted by hippybear at 6:58 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I didn't read all of the comments between this one and the others but here you go...

This is why I don't watch the news anymore.

F you and F everyone who does this. You are not worth my time, effort or money. I want you to leave. now.

Dominionists and the rest of these death-cultist evangelists present an existential threat to the species. They need to be scoured off of the planet like so much deadly mold. There are real, functional reasons these groups were evicted from Europe and sent west to north america and it is time that we, as north americans finished what they were unwilling to do.

We (as a species) need to destroy the evangelical and dominionist movements before these crazies hold the rest of the species hostage with their craziness. If you think they will stop, you are painfully, naively, dangerously mistaken and need to get out of the way of people who are willing to do something awful to prevent larger tragedies.
posted by Fuka at 7:04 PM on August 24, 2011


So we should round them up?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:28 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Species demands it!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:31 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


F the Species!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:34 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blasphemy!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:35 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why are mainstream Christians so quick to dismiss and apologize for Dominionists?

?.....Who's been doing that?


Yeah, I haven't seen that either. The Baptists are probably at the head of the fight, but that's been true since before the founding of our country.
posted by Quonab at 7:42 PM on August 24, 2011


S the Feces!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:44 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, wait a minute...
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:45 PM on August 24, 2011



Dominionists and the rest of these death-cultist evangelists present an existential threat to the species. They need to be scoured off of the planet like so much deadly mold. There are real, functional reasons these groups were evicted from Europe and sent west to north america and it is time that we, as north americans finished what they were unwilling to do.

We (as a species) need to destroy the evangelical and dominionist movements before these crazies hold the rest of the species hostage with their craziness. If you think they will stop, you are painfully, naively, dangerously mistaken and need to get out of the way of people who are willing to do something awful to prevent larger tragedies.


Its almost like there's a secret war between good and evil, and you're on the Good side. And you need to find and attack the Bad Side, who hide in plain site!

See how appealing this world view is? Domioionist-style narratives are so attractive to me, and I barely believe in them.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:45 PM on August 24, 2011


Why are mainstream Christians so quick to dismiss and apologize for Dominionists?

?.....Who's been doing that?

Yeah, I haven't seen that either.


I just did. A Christian friend of mine just told me that this is just more of the same anti-Christian rhetoric that's been going on for years. When I asked him if he still believed that everyone had the right to worship whatever they wanted, he replied "of course". "They don't," I said, to which he replied, incredulously, "Bull. Nobody's stupid enough to try to control an entire country through religion."

I'm reevaluating this friendship.
posted by Revvy at 7:48 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Folks, this sort of needs to go into MeTa and not be here anymore. "These people need slaughtering" is not an okay direction for this thread to go in.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:06 PM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


While the whole "we've got to wipe them out!" thing is, um, more than a little overblown, I've long felt that this (a major backlash up to and including violence) might actually be the outcome of any serious attempt to put the genie of Christian authority back in the bottle. We're talking about people who believe that they need to eliminate literally every other way of thinking... and that makes for a long, long list of enemies. If things do get pushed to the point of Culture War(tm), being alone in the middle against The Feminists, The Gays, The Secular Heathens, The Drinkers/Dancers/Druggies, and Everyone Who Likes To Touch Their Own Genitals is likely to work out for the crazy-Christians about as well as it worked for Germany.

These people live painful, isolating fantasy-lives in which "true" Christianity is openly reviled and driven underground... yet they've spent the last twenty years pushing the country toward pretty much the only course of action which could conceivably make that future come to pass. It's the world's biggest self-fulfilling prophecy.

With friends like these, does Dominionism really need enemies?
posted by vorfeed at 8:09 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


See how appealing this world view is? Domioionist-style narratives are so attractive to me, and I barely believe in them.

er, I phrased that wrong. I meant fictional versions of this narrative are attractive, and people get sucked in even though they don't believe.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:19 PM on August 24, 2011


Honestly, it's no more creepy than me being a member of Metafilter.

Hmmmmm.
posted by spitbull at 8:21 PM on August 24, 2011


Domioionist-style narratives

This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti.
posted by hippybear at 8:23 PM on August 24, 2011


I definitely don't like the idea of religion in government, but I'm more scared of people who think violence is the solution to political debate or who can't see the other side as anything but a caricature of a nazi.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:46 PM on August 24, 2011


England exported some crazies, yes. France, Germany, Spain, etc., not so much. You know, England exported their criminals too, but you're vastly more likely to get mugged, stabbed, or shot in England than over that rainbow today.

There isn't much benefit to exporting your problems, well unless they're business owners who's shit you repossess. Europe has found some way to stamp out religious faith without bloodshed, well unless the world wars caused it. And those countries who stamped out religion through repression under communism have witnessed a resurgence in religious fervor.

There is I hope a way forward to purge maliciously-organized religion's pernicious influence upon the world, namely advancing science and technology until any weakness in a nation's educational policy significantly reduces that nation's long term cultural impact upon the world.

Ironically, such a 'global technocracy' need not require the venerated protestant work ethic so much as technological innovations that make 'working smarter' require vastly more education and yield vastly greater results.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:22 PM on August 24, 2011


St. Alia, thanks for posting that. I am normally a very neutral person when it comes to that stuff, and I am actually kind of surprised that as I started reading, I found myself considering the author a very reasonable person...and by the end of it, I was startled by how...well, frankly, insane he sounded, and how nervous it made me.

I guess as much as I try to keep an open mind, I'm just not wired to accept that specific kind of thing that he's talking about. I'll try to maintain an open mind and consider the possibility that maybe it is him, and maybe it is me.

This time, though, it's...really hard.
posted by davejay at 9:39 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's irrelevant that Wagner himself recognizes the horror that an "American/Christian Taliban" represents St. Alia because his philosophy is trivially pervertible into the classical repressive christian theocracy and provides cover for those who seek it directly.

There is a reason why christianity has survived to the present day. And god ain't involved. In essence, the Judeo-Christian tradition's entire strength lies in it's spirituality's ability to quickly turn brutal by forgetting exactly the subtle distinctions that Wagner makes.

Any surviving religion has adaptive value under it's own specific historical conditions. Ancient civilized cultures produced stabilizing religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. that focus on an enlightenment which cannot easily be turned outwards Vicious barbarians produced vicious destructive religions like Christianity and Islam that focus upon a spirituality that's easily refocused externally for conquest.

You cannot simply fix the Judeo-Christian tradition by exposing good deeds. Jesus already tried and failed. Others have tried cleverer more spiritual reforms and also failed. Judaism's pedantics failed too.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:30 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bud: Credit is a sacred trust, it's what our free society is founded on. Do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia? I said, do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia?
Otto: They don't pay bills in Russia, it's all free.
Bud: All free? Free my ass. What are you, a fuckin' commie? Huh?
Otto: No, I ain't no commie.
Bud: Well, you better not be. I don't want no commies in my car. *double take* No Christians either.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:04 AM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sarah Posner is another journalist closely following the Religious right.
For a good history about the rise of the movement check our narwatch which also has some interesting little titbits such as :-
Peter Waldron, a self-proclaimed Christian Dominionist, is now doing faith-based organizing for Michele Bachmann in Iowa and South Carolina.
In 2006, he was arrested in Uganda for having four AK-47s.
and
Christian Zionist Agenda Exposed by NAR Apostle Don Finto at Rick Perry Event, and Few Noticed.
posted by adamvasco at 1:44 AM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. that focus on an enlightenment which cannot easily be turned outwards Vicious barbarians

Really? A cursory look at the history of East Asia puts the lie to this assumption.
posted by absalom at 5:51 AM on August 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ancient civilized cultures produced stabilizing religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. that focus on an enlightenment which cannot easily be turned outwards Vicious barbarians produced vicious destructive religions like Christianity and Islam that focus upon a spirituality that's easily refocused externally for conquest.

An argument that requires one to hold that the ancient Greeks were uncivilized "barbarians" will be a hard sell. Christianity is very much a product of Greek thought.
posted by Jahaza at 6:48 AM on August 25, 2011


THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION
An Update

C. Peter Wagner, Ph.D.


Thanks to this I finally understand how NAR is structured. Doesn't make me any more comfortable with them, mind you. They still see themselves as chosen by God to be put in charge of the world & somehow not subject to the corrupting influences of the world that affect all men & organizations built by them. One way or another the far Right keeps pushing for a true civil war in America & they won't be satisfied until they get one.
posted by scalefree at 6:52 AM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dominionism. This refers to the desire that some of my friends and I have to follow Jesus and do what He wants. One of the things He does want He taught us to pray for in the Lord's Prayer: "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This means that we do our best to see that what we know is characteristic of heaven work its way into the warp and woof of our society here on earth. Think of heaven: no injustice, no poverty, righteousness, peace, prosperity, no disease, love, no corruption, no crime, no misery, no racism, and I could go on. Wouldn't you like your city to display those characteristics?
Wow, this instantly brought to mind Mark Twain's Letters from Earth:
You know what the human race enjoys and what it doesn't enjoy. It has invented a heaven out of its own head, all by itself: guess what it is like! In fifteen hundred eternities you couldn't do it. The ablest mind known to you or me in fifty million aeons couldn't do it. Very well, I will tell you about it.

1. First of all, I recall to your attention the extraordinary fact with which I began. To wit, that the human being, like the immortals, naturally places sexual intercourse far and away above all other joys -- yet he has left it out of his heaven! The very thought of it excites him; opportunity sets him wild; in this state he will risk life, reputation, everything -- even his queer heaven itself -- to make good that opportunity and ride it to the overwhelming climax. From youth to middle age all men and all women prize copulation above all other pleasures combined, yet it is actually as I have said: it is not in their heaven; prayer takes its place.

They prize it thus highly; yet, like all their so-called "boons," it is a poor thing. At its very best and longest the act is brief beyond imagination -- the imagination of an immortal, I mean. In the matter of repetition the man is limited -- oh, quite beyond immortal conception. We who continue the act and its supremest ecstasies unbroken and without withdrawal for centuries, will never be able to understand or adequately pity the awful poverty of these people in that rich gift which, possessed as we possess it, makes all other possessions trivial and not worth the trouble of invoicing.

2. In man's heaven everybody sings! The man who did not sing on earth sings there; the man who could not sing on earth is able to do it there. The universal singing is not casual, not occasional, not relieved by intervals of quiet; it goes on, all day long, and every day, during a stretch of twelve hours. And everybody stays; whereas in the earth the place would be empty in two hours. The singing is of hymns alone. Nay, it is of one hymn alone. The words are always the same, in number they are only about a dozen, there is no rhyme, there is no poetry: "Hosannah, hosannah, hosannah, Lord God of Sabaoth, 'rah! 'rah! 'rah! siss! -- boom! ... a-a-ah!"

3. Meantime, every person is playing on a harp -- those millions and millions! -- whereas not more than twenty in the thousand of them could play an instrument in the earth, or ever wanted to.

Consider the deafening hurricane of sound -- millions and millions of voices screaming at once and millions and millions of harps gritting their teeth at the same time! I ask you: is it hideous, is it odious, is it horrible?

Consider further: it is a praise service; a service of compliment, of flattery, of adulation! Do you ask who it is that is willing to endure this strange compliment, this insane compliment; and who not only endures it, but likes it, enjoys it, requires if, commands it? Hold your breath!

It is God! This race's god, I mean. He sits on his throne, attended by his four and twenty elders and some other dignitaries pertaining to his court, and looks out over his miles and miles of tempestuous worshipers, and smiles, and purrs, and nods his satisfaction northward, eastward, southward; as quaint and nave a spectacle as has yet been imagined in this universe, I take it.

It is easy to see that the inventor of the heavens did not originate the idea, but copied it from the show-ceremonies of some sorry little sovereign State up in the back settlements of the Orient somewhere.
posted by mullingitover at 7:06 AM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ancient civilized cultures produced stabilizing religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. that focus on an enlightenment which cannot easily be turned outwards Vicious barbarians produced vicious destructive religions like Christianity and Islam that focus upon a spirituality that's easily refocused externally for conquest.

Wait, so your whole comment was based on bizarre racist stereotypes about groups that lived 2000 years ago? Good to know.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:11 AM on August 25, 2011


> Wait, so your whole comment was based on bizarre racist stereotypes about groups that lived 2000 years ago? Good to know.

He's also previously stated that the solution to Afghanistan is to introduce Western porn.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:55 AM on August 25, 2011


"Europe has found some way to stamp out religious faith without bloodshed, well unless the world wars caused it."

o_0

Europe's relative irreligiousity comes from hundreds of years of religious war in which millions were killed and the adoption of state religions (which ossified over time). The world wars caused many to lose their faith, and the second certainly popularized more than a few atheists, but it's kinda historically ignorant to think that everyone just decided that they'd be better without so much God.

"Ancient civilized cultures produced stabilizing religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. that focus on an enlightenment which cannot easily be turned outwards Vicious barbarians produced vicious destructive religions like Christianity and Islam that focus upon a spirituality that's easily refocused externally for conquest. "

I mean, now you're just fucking with us, right? Or do you actually believe that nonsense?
posted by klangklangston at 8:12 AM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Europe has found some way to stamp out religious faith without bloodshed, well unless the world wars caused it."

o_0


did that tdlr thing...who said this?

Ancient civilized cultures ... refocused externally for conquest.

lotta highlights on this one but klang says it best here. Why it is nonsense, imo, is that it begs a question and then one has to posit an example of say, were buddhism has been used for "evil" purposes or it's equavilent sic sp.
I'm sure theres a 20$ term but it's like lumping all religions in with negitive aspects of some religions.
posted by clavdivs at 8:38 AM on August 25, 2011


I definitely don't like the idea of religion in government, but I'm more scared of people who think violence is the solution to political debate or who can't see the other side as anything but a caricature of a nazi.

When the other side gets violent are we allowed to hit back? Serious question. The Dominionists have said gays are aligned with Satan. Do you think at some point in their Utopia they won't do something about that? If so, keep in mind that these are the same people helping draft legislation calling for the death penalty for gays in Uganda. They are people who have a deep and abiding faith in God, and it is that same deep and abiding faith that will let them do horrible things here on Earth.

Where it doesn't actually count, as long as they are doing those horrible things for the right reason they'll still get into Heaven, and possibly the people they are doing the horrible things to will as well, having seen the light at the last moment and died as faithful Christians as opposed to hell bound sinners. All of this has happened before.
posted by Peztopiary at 9:14 AM on August 25, 2011


> When the other side gets violent are we allowed to hit back? Serious question.

In self-defense and on a case by case basis, sure. Calling for some vague generalized massacre is another thing, and shows that one isn't any better than one's perceived enemies.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:16 AM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


When the other side gets violent are we allowed to hit back? Serious question.

When they get violent, we do this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:19 AM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Talk about religion being the opiate of the masses. I listened to Fresh Air on the way home yesterday, and it made me want to get home, and stay home with the covers over my head.

Maybe Christian Dominion is being used to control the political leanings of an army of Christians who want to be told what to believe so that the can be saved during the End Times. Maybe Bachmann and Perry are true believers, pawns of a Corporate Cabal making gobs of money by gaining control of the US Government, and others, or maybe they're cynical cabalistas. But what an ungodly, unholy, fuck-everybody-but-us, I-got-mine-and-you-can-go-to-hell mess. This theology is so disrespectful of others, narrow-minded, manipulative. I could just rant on and on, but my typing sucks too much.

They must hate NPR even more now. Makes me want to give public radio some money during the next begathon.

If there was (or if there is) Muslim group aiming for Dominion, they'd be lynched, their mosques would be torched, their women raped, their animals killed and their land salted.

I promise to keep my government out of your religion. Keep your religions, all of them, out of my government.
posted by theora55 at 9:46 AM on August 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't want to massacre anyone, I don't want to silence them, but I'll call people Nazis who call me and mine servants of Satan and imply "Wouldn't it be nice if all the sinners just vanished *wink wink* left the country to the Real American?s" (while having the fucking gall to run for President of the country. The president, whether we voted for or against them is still supposed to support our fundamental right to exist.) Seriously, this rhetoric is the kind of shit that happened in Germany. Sure it's prettier now, but that's just because blood and soil is shopworn and they need something more modern.
posted by Peztopiary at 9:51 AM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Makes me want to give public radio some money during the next begathon.

You can donate to your local public radio station or to NPR directly anytime. You don't have to wait for a pledge drive to do it. If you feel compelled to help with funding because of something you heard yesterday, then by all means, give money today. They need it.
posted by hippybear at 1:15 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


So - non-religious person here - what exactly is an apostle?
posted by eviemath at 1:42 PM on August 25, 2011


> what exactly is an apostle?

In these people's case, a label to feed their ego.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:53 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


So - non-religious person here - what exactly is an apostle?

In the New Testament, the twelve disciples became the twelve apostles (they picked a replacement for Judas). They are people who witnessed the testimony of the Jesus while he was alive, and who were sent out as teachers. This is as opposed to being a disciple, which is a student.

The Wikipedia page gets into the different greek words used and stuff, as well as a lot of the other historical uses of the word.

In this more modern usage, it has a much broader meaning, and the NAS meaning in particular is based on a claim that God is reinstituting the "offices" of apostle and prophet for the End Times.
posted by hippybear at 1:53 PM on August 25, 2011


So... basically, a New Apostle is just a head honcho? Decided to be one by the other current new apostles, like being asked to sit on the board of directors? Or is there more to it than that?
posted by eviemath at 2:07 PM on August 25, 2011


That I can't answer for you.

Back in the late 80s-early 90s when I was still involved with the early form of groups like this, there were people who were more extreme than I was in their rhetoric and use of buzzwords who would toss around "apostle" and "prophet" all the time. The way they used them it seemed like they just decided someone was one or the other or both and then declared them such and from that point on, that's what that person was in their mind. There were others who just decided that they, themselves, were one or the other or both and assumed the title upon themselves and referred to themselves as that from that point on.

As far as I know, there is no official whatsis for becoming an apostle or a prophet. Like, there's no bird-shaped aura which settles down upon you... there's no vision while on a journey which strikes you blind for days... there may be a ceremony full of laying-on-of-hands and prayer and possibly even some annointing with oil which people do... But I think pretty much people just decide that God has called them to be an apostle or a prophet and then, as long as they assume a leadership role or they start saying things which they claim come from God, they are one or the other or both.

I'd welcome being shown I'm wrong about that, but I'm not sure that I am.
posted by hippybear at 2:31 PM on August 25, 2011


As far as I understand, an apostle is someone who has witnessed and spreads the word, as opposed to a disciple, who has learned and spreads the word.

But as there's a whole thread of personal religious rebirth within the Born Again movement, every one of them is supposed to be an apostle, not a disciple.

And, obviously, they affirm the Apostle's Creed.

There are a couple of things that come with that — Especially within the context of the early Christian church, apostolic authority was the gold standard for orthodoxy, even as the apostles differed on a decent amount of doctrine (e.g. the incident at Antioch). So, being an apostle means that you have the ability, through communion with God, to decide doctrine unmediated through tradition; your apostolic faith is more pure than the faith of those who have merely learned history. It's democratic and populist in the same way that Luther's reformation was democratic and populist.

But the NAR interpretation is also hardline, regressive and ahistorical in a way that encourages zealotry and magical thinking (I'd say fundamentalism as well, but that's a term that'd only muddy things here).
posted by klangklangston at 3:04 PM on August 25, 2011


So, being an apostle means that you have the ability, through communion with God, to decide doctrine unmediated through tradition; your apostolic faith is more pure than the faith of those who have merely learned history.

I think what they intend it to mean is that you have supernatural authority granted by God to speak doctrine without relying on Scripture. It's a broad authority that puts you way above any common man or minister, although they do add a caveat that you can't directly contradict Scripture. When deciding if something is true in Christianity, it generally goes Scripture > Tradition > Reason. This is inserting their guys just a hair below Scripture. It's a New age of Apostles to Reform the Church.
posted by scalefree at 4:13 PM on August 25, 2011


One of the things that jumped out at me in Wagner's letter that St. Alia very kindly provided us is the construction of authority. Evangelicals that I've known certainly seem opposed to imbuing institutions with authority (like the Catholic Church); as I understand it, this being one of the main issues in the Reformation. Wagner's letter seems to agree with this, yet his divine order with Apostles on top sounded pretty hierarchical to me (despite his protestation to the contrary). This, too, fits with my understanding of, well, of less mainstream Protestant sects anyways. I'm thinking of early groups like the Puritans, as well as a number of evangelicals that I've known who just consider themselves "Christian" - not any specific sect of Christian - but tend to follow a couple charismatic preachers (whether locally or on tv) who resonate with them. I don't see how that makes the NAR significantly new or different from other Christian evangelical groups though? (Other factors, namely their view of the role of religion in public life, do seem to differentiate them, but I still don't understand this Apostolic governance distinction.)

Some of the debate/confusion upthread may arise from the distinction between a group of people being organized for a common goal or purpose and a group of people having an authority structure or vesting authority in institutions. The NAR definitely seems to me to be organized, from my reading of secondhand accounts. That's entirely possible in the absence of institutional authority (as with the NAR, again based on my readings of secondhand accounts), or even with the absence of authority period (eg. anarchist organizations). I think we lefties tend to associate rigid institutional authority structures with the Right, that being the end of the political spectrum groups like the NAR generally fall into. Perhaps it would help to think of these groups as sort of Libertarian evangelicals, though?
posted by eviemath at 4:15 PM on August 25, 2011


Perhaps it would help to think of these groups as sort of Libertarian evangelicals, though?

Good lord, no.

Did you even listen to that Fresh Air interview which is part of the main article of the FPP?

The interview subject speaks about the Seven Mountains, and the NAR drive to reclaim them for God. Among these is Business. Only they don't have any Libertarian-ness at their core, aside from removing government regulations from everything. They seek to substitute scriptural strictures on everything.

Here is the section of the transcript of that radio interview which pertains to the Seven Mountains and the opposite of libertarianism at the core of the NAR movement:
Ms. TABACHNICK: They have interesting campaigns. One that's been very successful for the last few years is called the Seven Mountains campaign. And what this means is they teach that they are reclaiming the seven mountains of culture and society. And those mountains are arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media and religion.

And business is considered to be one of the most important mountains to reclaim control because this is the way that they finance the other mountains.

GROSS: So when they want to, like, reclaim government or politics, what does that mean?

Ms. TABACHNICK: They teach, quite literally, that these mountains have fallen under the control of demonic influences in society. And therefore, they must reclaim them for God in order to bring about the kingdom of God on Earth.

GROSS: And what are some of the major issues that they think are important?

Ms. TABACHNICK: Well, they're the typical religious right hot-button issues, if you will - anti-abortion, anti-gay rights - but they also have a laissez-faire market ideology, the belief that government should not be involved in social safety nets, that the country is becoming socialist, if not communist - so a Tea Party mentality.

GROSS: And I think that they also advocate - tell me if I'm wrong here - the privatization of schools - of the school system.

Ms. TABACHNICK: Yes. All of the typical, you know, what we've come to call Tea Party issues of very small government. And in the case of the apostles, they believe this because they believe that a large government, or government that handles the safety net, is taking away what is the domain of the church and of Christianity.

GROSS: And what kind of authority do they want in government?

Ms. TABACHNICK: They want the authority to align government with what they believe is the kingdom of God, with biblical values in their interpretation.

Let me back up and say something about dominionism. Dominionism is very different than having strong beliefs or even having very strong beliefs about one's evangelical values. Dominionism is very controversial inside of the conservative and evangelical world. It's a specific theology that states that somehow God lost control of the Earth when Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden and that humans must help God regain control of the Earth. And the way that they do this is by taking dominion over society and government.

The apostles and prophets have an interesting twist on this. They're not the only dominionist movement out there. Some people may be familiar with Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism. This is a different brand of dominionism.

And the apostles teach what's called strategic-level spiritual warfare with the idea being that the reason why there is sin and corruption and poverty on the Earth is because the Earth is controlled by a hierarchy of demons under the authority of Satan.

And so they teach that not just evangelizing souls one by one, as we're accustomed to hearing about, they teach that they will go into a geographic region or to a people-group and conduct these spiritual warfare activities in order to remove the demons from the entire population or the demonic control over the entire population. And this is what makes what they're doing quite different than other conservative evangelical or fundamentalist groups of the past.
posted by hippybear at 4:25 PM on August 25, 2011


Definition of apostle as I understand it (and believe Wagner to understand it):

It's based on the fivefold ministry giftings Jesus gave to the church listed in Ephesians 4:11,

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

and the passage goes on to say this:

to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.


Now, what I have been taught is that an apostle, or "sent one" is a foundational ministry gift. Just as Paul in the book of Acts travelled and established churches, an apostle will establish works of one sort or another-church plants, missionary endeavors, etc. etc. and also has the authority to oversee the church. A true apostle should have the same ministry gifts as a prophet, a pastor, a teacher and an evangelist, enabling him to do the work of each as there is a need. Also, many believe that a true apostle will have signs and wonders in their ministry as well.

The job of any of these foundational church giftings is to do exactly what the Bible states-to prepare the rest of the Body of Christ for works of service. Good deeds, evangelism, knowledge of the Bible, etc. etc. The foundational gifts prepare the Church and then the Church turns around and ministers to everyone else.

An apostle is NOT to be "extrabiblical." Even prophetic people understand that any further revelation they get from God has to, HAS TO line up with what the Bible teaches, or it isn't from Him at all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:31 PM on August 25, 2011


Hippybear, I will address you in this comment, regarding "spiritual warfare." This has to do with spiritual beings and is not addressed to humans at all whatsoever. The Bible clearly states " we war not against flesh and blood." Anyone saying that a human is an enemy is wrong and not Biblical. This is more parenthetical than anything else but I just wanted to throw that out there.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:33 PM on August 25, 2011


Let me give you a clear example that might help. It is very biblical to pray that President Obama would be given wise counsel, that God would give him wisdom to lead the nation, and so on and so forth. It would be UN biblical to pray that he would be struck down or that any harm would come to him, etc. etc.


The former would be considered spiritual warfare, the latter would be considered bad theology in the extreme.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:36 PM on August 25, 2011


St. Alia: why are you addressing ME in this comment? Have I said anything about spiritual warfare? Anything which is in any of my comments regarding this matter are quotes from the Fresh Air interview.

Please don't address me specifically about topics which I have not actually mentioned with my own words.
posted by hippybear at 4:37 PM on August 25, 2011


Oh, I saw it addressed in your quote, is all. Sorry.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:41 PM on August 25, 2011


St. Alia: anyway, the example you give of "spiritual warfare" isn't at ALL what the NAR people are talking about when THEY talk about "spiritual warfare". I suggest you take the 40 minutes required to actually listen to the Fresh Air interview, since you seem to be speaking from a position of not having actually done that.

But here is another section of the transcript of that interview which illustrates the kind of "spiritual warfare" that the NAR people are talking about, which isn't just praying for Obama to get wisdom as a leader:
Ms. TABACHNICK: Let me explain this concept of strategic-level spiritual warfare. They teach that there are three levels of spiritual warfare. The first is ground-level warfare, which is expulsion of demons - exorcism, if you will, of demons from individuals. This is nothing new. We've seen this for centuries. They have a little - a controversial twist to it because they teach that born-again Christians can harbor these demons.

Then they have a second level called occult-level spiritual warfare. This they say is fighting freemasonry, Eastern religions and witchcraft. Then there's the third level, strategic-level spiritual warfare, which is removing these principalities they call them, the most powerful demons that hold in spiritual bondage entire populations. And this might be a community, a geographic area, what they call a people group, an ethnic group or a religious group. They literally name these demons and then go on these excursions to fight these demons.

GROSS: So let me see if I understand this. Does that mean that these prayer groups are trying to exorcise mosques and get the demons out of mosques so that Muslims can convert to Christianity?

Ms. TABACHNICK: They see the demon as holding sway over a large area, so over not just the mosque but the entire people group. Let me give you a specific example about this and this is something that's coming up this November. Several groups have come together for another The Call event which will be in Detroit on November 11th. And the purpose of this one is to fight the demonic spirit of Islam.

Now I was listening to a recording. They're in preparation for this and this has been going on all throughout the year. And one of the leading apostles, and one who endorsed Perry's event, was speaking in a conference call to a group, and they placed these recordings online, and explaining to them the way that they were preparing for The Call Detroit. And one of the things that they're doing is they're literally going and putting a stake in the ground with a verse from Jeremiah at every Masonic lodge in the state. They have a ceremony to fight the demons and then they put the stake in the ground.

This is a type of ceremony that's been taking place all over the country. In all 50 states, ceremonies, which they call divorcing Baal - Baal being what the Israelites worshiped when they abandoned God in the Old Testament.

GROSS: So the event is in Detroit, which is very near Dearborn, Michigan, which has I think the - or one of the largest populations of Muslims in the United States.

Ms. TABACHNICK: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: Is that significant?

Ms. TABACHNICK: Yes, that's very significant. The purpose of that event is to fight the spirit of Islam. In other words, to conduct spiritual warfare against the demons which they claim hold Muslims in bondage and keep them from converting. Now, of course, this is expressed in terms of love. They say we don't hate Muslims. We love Muslims but we hate that they are in spiritual bondage and don't convert to Christianity.
posted by hippybear at 4:56 PM on August 25, 2011


Oh yeah. I've known about that type for quite a number of years. I've actually participated in it myself.

However there is some controversy over the technique in our circles. I have missionary friends who definitely believe in the supernatural who think that's the wrong approach to take. We do see the spiritual realm as described but vary in how we think it should be....addressed.

We are getting into some very, very specific approaches in a very specific subset of Christianity now. To compare, it's like talking about Calculus III instead of Algebra II. I don't think too many Mefites would have the background required to really get what is going on with this type of prayer without a LOT of background reading.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:18 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are getting into some very, very specific approaches in a very specific subset of Christianity now.

Yes, as I pointed out in yet another quote from the same interview in a previous comment, this is a very specific worldview and approach.

If you're only just now realizing what this conversation is really about, I'll exhort you once again to actually listen to the interview.
posted by hippybear at 5:27 PM on August 25, 2011


It's just the latest variety of toxic nationalism, American style. Texans make crappy presidents, get used to it.
posted by warbaby at 7:30 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Much of Protestant theology since the reformation has argued that the church had rotted, and that God restored their gospels, in the molds of the leaders. Apostle is a linguistic clue that they think that God restored the gospel, had returned it to the primitive churches purity, using the leader who self identifies as an apostle. You can see it in how some Calvinists use the word Presbyter, which comes from the Greek πρεσβύτερος or roughly old man. It's the argument that they are the one true church, and not heretics, though they have split from the Catholics (or the Orthodox, really)
posted by PinkMoose at 7:43 PM on August 25, 2011


Also, I think this call to spirtual warfare is affilated with the idea of returning purity, in the same way that the muslim idea of Jihad is a call towards purity...sorry, it's hard to keep up.

Thanks St Atila and Hippybear for working through this.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:45 PM on August 25, 2011


Texans make crappy presidents

That's a ridiculous statement, ugly and prejudicial at its heart, full of bullshit coastal stereotyping about a state in the middle of the country.

As a matter of fact, exactly two presidents in US history have been native Texans. Dwight D Eisenhower and Lyndon B Johnson.
posted by hippybear at 7:46 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


and both were pretty good.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:52 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"To compare, it's like talking about Calculus III instead of Algebra II. I don't think too many Mefites would have the background required to really get what is going on with this type of prayer without a LOT of background reading."

Oh, hush your mouth with that sort of nonsense. I don't think too many Christians have the background reading to engage with their faith on even an Algerbra I level, and most of the folks here on Metafilter this deep into a religious discussion have had enough theology and philosophy to muddle through the metaphysics. What you're complaining from is that it's a narrow slice of American Christianity that seems weird because it is weird, a bit of superstitious hoodoo ritual no more deep or profound than a Hot Topic wiccan.

It makes you itch because it's not far off of what you believe, and yet you've got the glimmer of realization that it's bogus and mostly based on self-delusion, wishful thinking and manipulated antipathy.

So don't be hiding behind some flimflam curtains of this being inexplicable differences of legitimate dogma — the idea of literal demons or exorcisms is absurd, and that you've participated in them should be something you're vaguely embarrassed about, like a high school haircut.

God love ya, Alia, but you make friends with a lot of nice people who want terrible things for a lot of irrational reasons.
posted by klangklangston at 8:07 PM on August 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Didn't Johnson make Social Security accessible by the general fund? In other words, Johnson enabled the crack addled spending sprees of Reagan and Bush. Eisenhower made an awesome youtube video though!
posted by jeffburdges at 8:10 PM on August 25, 2011


Not embarrased,kk bt not a topic for this crowd.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:57 PM on August 25, 2011


We are getting into some very, very specific approaches in a very specific subset of Christianity now. To compare, it's like talking about Calculus III instead of Algebra II. I don't think too many Mefites would have the background required to really get what is going on with this type of prayer without a LOT of background reading.

It's not a great intellectual challenge, more of an imaginative leap really. There may be some finer points that elude me but I played enough Dungeons & Dragons in my youth to be able to pick the system up pretty quickly if I had to. I completely understand it, both the theological framework & the historical lineage it came out of. I just don't agree with the reality of it.
posted by scalefree at 9:17 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I don't think too many Mefites would have the background required to really get what is going on with this type of prayer without a LOT of background reading

I doubt that, actually. I've studied pretty much every religious system out there since my time as a seeking teen. None are really all that complex to grok on a systematic level once one is able to string everything together with a touch of faith. What you're talking about isn't even approaching the complexity of, say, traditional Kabbalah studies (not the new age crap).
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:18 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hippybear, I was trying to merely make an comparison about approaches authority and institutional power structures, but I'll take the bait:) Admittedly I only browsed the transcript of the Fresh Air interview, but I did read the section that you quoted, and re-read it when you quoted it, and still do not see how it shows the NAR folks to be un-Libertarian? I do not know any actual, living Libertarians who really want *no* government - just small government that does little besides validate their property rights and pay for certain common infrastructure items that they, personally, are not yet able to afford (that is, the Libertarians that I know who are only upper middle class still want government to take care of defense of property rights and national defense; I hear that wealthier Libertarians who can afford their own private armies take a more principled stance on this issue). On the social end of things, there are both liberal and conservative Libertarians. The NAR would definitely fall into the conservative Libertarian camp.

Now, there's a difference between Libertarian and libertarian, and I used the capitalised form intentionally.
posted by eviemath at 1:56 AM on August 26, 2011


Oh, hush your mouth with that sort of nonsense...God love ya, Alia, but you make friends with a lot of nice people who want terrible things for a lot of irrational reasons.

This is not cool, Klang. This isn't about Alia, who's been nothing but polite and respectful in this thread.
posted by clockzero at 11:35 AM on August 26, 2011


You'll notice I didn't say "Shut the fuck up with that bullshit." Rather, I pointed out that pretending this is some deep Christian theory that requires specialized hermeneutics is dissembling, that the belief itself is outside the mainstream and magical (in the irrational way), and that Alia's arguing out of misplaced loyalty. That I did so in a colloquial way doesn't make it impolite, and I stand by my conclusion — her defense of her friends is gracious, but anyone doing an exorcism or believing in literal demons is a kook. Some kooks are very nice people, but that's irrelevant to their kookdom.

But I separated belief from believer while dismissing a fallacious defense. So save your gallantry for when it's appropriate.
posted by klangklangston at 11:57 AM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well,in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a kook. No offence taken. :p
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:04 PM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hippybear, I was trying to merely make an comparison about approaches authority and institutional power structures, but I'll take the bait

Somehow I think you're entirely missing the bit where they want to substitute Church Authority for Government Regulation. It's entirely anti-liberterian (or Liberterian) because they don't seek to increase the liberty of the individual in society. They seek to REDUCE the liberty of the individual and institute strict legalistic church doctrine.

Just because they don't want a "government" doesn't mean they don't seek to govern with a narrow vision and an iron fist. They just want church in place of government. Opposite of l(L)ibertarian to the very core.
posted by hippybear at 3:15 PM on August 26, 2011


It's entirely anti-liberterian (or Liberterian) because they don't seek to increase the liberty of the individual in society. They seek to REDUCE the liberty of the individual and institute strict legalistic church doctrine.

That's all well and good in theory, but in practice, the only real difference is that libertarianism (regardless of capitalization) simply swaps out "church doctrine" for "corporate money." That's really not much of a difference.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:21 PM on August 26, 2011


Be that as it may, the libertarians CLAIM to be wanting to increase individual liberty. The NAR group doesn't now and has never claimed this, and shouldn't be regarded as libertarians of any stripe.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on August 26, 2011


sigh. There is in fact a not insignificant difference with the capitalization. Your average Libertarian and your average libertarian communist would not get along very well, for example.

Libertarian:

The Libertarian Party is the third largest[1] and fastest growing[2] political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration across borders, and non-interventionism in foreign policy, i.e., avoiding foreign military or economic entanglements with other nations and respect for freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries.

libertarian:

Libertarian schools of thought differ over the degree to which the state should be reduced. Anarchists advocate complete elimination of the state. Minarchists advocate a state which is limited to protecting its citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Some libertarians go further, such as by supporting minimal public assistance for the poor. Additionally, some schools are supportive of private property rights in the ownership of unappropriated land and natural resources while others reject such private ownership and often support common ownership instead. Another distinction can be made among libertarians who support private ownership and co-operative ownership of the means of production; the former generally supporting a capitalist economy, the latter a libertarian socialist economic system.

I certainly agree with you, hippybear, that the NAR have a vision of the world that many of the rest of us would find incredibly restrictive and oppressive. Failing to understand the nuances in such things as where they think authority comes from, how they think it should be applied, that they even still support authority though it not be vested in institutional structures, and so on is not going to help with understanding their growth (their appeal to people in the US and elsewhere, and their organizational structure), accurately assessing whether or how much of a threat they are to democratic decision-making in the US, nor how best to diffuse any such threat they may pose.
posted by eviemath at 4:11 PM on August 26, 2011


Well, their appeal is pretty obvious, at least to me. They claim to be fighting a war against an unseen enemy, and that the fighting can be done with little or no personal risk, and even little or no actual outlay of effort or expense on behalf of those who join up. They substitute magical thinking and the basic tools of spellcasting for the actual hard work laid out by Jesus (feed the poor, care for the sick, etc). Instead, it can all be won by driving inscribed stakes in the ground, doing a lot of chanting, and getting the right people installed in political office.

It all provides the illusion of doing something while not actually doing anything.

The scary part of it all, from my perspective, is what they want to impose when they finally do win power. At that point, they'll begin to install their own version of sharia law on the populace, or will try to, and all the while they'll sell it as being what is best for us, for our own good.

There's no Jesus sitting on a cloud waiting for all the right political offices to be filled before he can take the down escalator and make a grand entrance. But that's all these people can think about, and they'll do anything they feel they must in order to further their delusional goals.

All the while, they ignore the actual instructions which were left to them by the man they believe founded their belief system, and actually work against those instructions in a lot of ways.

They have such a fully developed eschatological system worked out, all the while ignoring the idea that, perhaps, the Anti-christ religion they so fear is the one they've signed up for themselves. Spell-casting, belief in angels and demons, ignoring the work of the Church... I can't quote the chapters and verses, but if I remember, those were all warned against as being signs of a false religion at various points in the Bible.
posted by hippybear at 5:43 AM on August 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another good reason to bring back the Inquisition. Nobody expects it.
posted by warbaby at 7:19 AM on August 27, 2011


Hippybear, I assume you are aware that a person can pray AND help the poor at the same time? The same Book that teaches we should help the poor also teaches we should pray without ceasing.

Oh, and belief in angels and demons is not only not nonbiblical, but totally Biblical.

Okay, this is how I see all this: there are two groups out there. One denies that the Gifts of the Spirit are now operational, and wants to see the Kingdom of God to come on earth by having tons of children, and voting for those who promise to do exactly what they want done once elected.

The other group believes in praying "come thy kingdom be done thy will" and prays that hearts would change, and be influenced by God instead of Satan.

I'm just as worried as you guys are about the first group, but I admit I am a member of the second group, and am puzzled that so many here that don't believe in God, much less the power of prayer, are freaked out by them. I mean, point and laugh at us if you like, but why are you worried?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:09 AM on August 27, 2011


I mean, point and laugh at us if you like, but why are you worried?

Well, I don't believe that Allah is real either, but I look at the plight of women in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who are afforded a second-class status based on religious belief, and thus are required to eat after the men in their households, resulting in undernourishment not only to the women but to the infants they are trying to breastfeed...

Whether or not the supernatural agents posited by a belief system are real doesn't matter when there is genuine harm being done to individuals as the result of said belief system. When that harm is being done to voluntary participants in a system, it's tragic enough. When that system becomes prescribed by the government of a country, it's horrific.

The NAR, the subject of this FPP, has close ties to (if not is the same as) the group which seeks to institute the death penalty against homosexuals in Uganda. If that's not something for me, personally, to be worried about, then I'm not sure what is.
posted by hippybear at 9:00 AM on August 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Asking Candidates Tougher Questions About Faith
posted by homunculus at 4:08 PM on August 27, 2011


David Barton: Demonic Powers Control Parts of the U.S. Government

Barton was on The Daily Show a few months ago.
posted by homunculus at 1:55 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now you see, when people start claming demons are in control of things I start smiling, because it's easy to troll people like that.

Once you make that leap into complete crazy thinking the world starts to seem a particularly strange and dangerous place, one in which specific sequences of words carry weird powers and influences. It's exactly like magic, that's the definition of magic in fact, but of course they'll claim to be utterly against sorcerers and wizards and witches, etc. What else is "casting out demons in the name of The Lord" than calling upon the power of your particular patron spirit to perform some supernatural function on your behalf?
posted by JHarris at 12:33 PM on September 11, 2011


Looks like the normal everyday conservative Christians are even a little bit disturbed by the Dominionists...
posted by symbioid at 4:22 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's healthy that saneish-but-conservative Christians are driven out of their churches by the crazier-than-thou types, i.e. they'll ultimately fall under the influence of more liberal religious thinkers, i.e. unitarians, anglicans, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:43 PM on September 11, 2011


Perry’s Theocratic Foreign Policy: ‘As A Christian I Have A Clear Directive To Support Israel’
posted by homunculus at 11:27 AM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Multi-Pronged Effort To Mobilize Millions Of Religious Right Voters
posted by homunculus at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2011


Alliance for Christ: Rick Perry's pledge to stand with Israel "as a Christian" is a gift to Islamic extremists.
posted by homunculus at 11:52 AM on September 21, 2011


In other news: Testicle-hating right-wing moms get steamy over “Schweddy Balls” Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
posted by homunculus at 11:16 PM on September 21, 2011


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