May 02, 2005,
What is the real agenda of the religious far Right? I’ll tell you what it is. These nuts want to take over the federal government and suppress other religions through genocide and mass murder, rather than through proselytizing. They want to reestablish slavery. They want to reduce women to near-slavery by making them property, first of their fathers, and then of their husbands. They want to execute anyone found guilty of pre-martial, extramaritial, or homosexual sex. They want to bring back the death penalty for witchcraft.
But aren’t extremists like this far from political power? On the contrary, the political and religious movement called "Dominionism" has gained control of the Republican party, and taken over Congress and the White House as well. Once they take over the judiciary, the conversion of America to a theocracy will be sealed. The Dominionists are very close to achieving their goal. Once they have the courts in their hands, a willing Dominionist Republican-controlled Congress can simply extend the death penalty to witchcraft, adultery, homosexuality, and heresy. The courts will uphold all this once conservatives are in control, since Scalia himself appears to be a Dominionist.
Shocking as it seems, Dominionists have gained extensive control of the Republican party, and the apparatus of government throughout the United States. Yet Dominionists continue to operate in secrecy. It is estimated that 35 million Americans who call themselves Christian adhere to Dominionism, although most of them are unaware of the true nature of their own beliefs and goals. Dominionism has met its timetable for the complete takeover of the American government. It would be a mistake, by the way, to think of Dominionists as fundamentalist Protestants alone. Dominionism has stealthily swept over America, incorporating conservative Roman Catholics and Episcopalians within its ranks. And of course, Dominionists are allied with the neoconservative followers of the political philosopher, Leo Strauss. The quest of these neoconservatives for power and world domination is a self-conscious program of pure, unmitigated evil.
You don’t believe me? Well, consider the fact that on December 24, 2001, Pat Robertson resigned his position as president of the Christian Coalition. Religious conservatives understood very well that Robertson had stepped aside to allow the new president of the United States to take his rightful place as the head of the true American Holy Christian Church. Robertson openly revealed at least a portion of his Dominionist plans on The 700 Club on May 13, 1986, when he clearly stated: “We can change the government, we can change the court systems, we can change the poverty problem, we can change education...We can make a difference.”
For Dominionists, possibly the single-most-important event of the last half of the 20th century occurred when Jim Jones proved that religious people would follow a leader, even to their deaths. Lest we all end up like the followers of Jim Jones, it’s time for Americans to take a leaf from those rare, brave souls, like George Soros. Following Soros, we’ve got to stand up to the Dominionist menace. There is an infection, a religious and political pathology that has corrupted our churches. Those we have trusted have embraced evil. Let us pray that Americans will go to the voting booth and finally free this country from the Republican Dominionist menace.
But They're SeriousO.K., it’s me again. I’m back from the fever swamps of the Left, which I’ve been exploring ever since I discovered a wild conspiracy theory about conservative Christians in the latest cover story of Harper’s Magazine. You want political paranoia? You want guilt by association? You want flat-out looniness? Well, Joe McCarthy’s got nothing on the good liberal folks who are warning us about a takeover by “Dominionist” Christians. What you've just read is a composite I've created (often word for word) by drawing on a couple of web-sites I'll link you to in a moment. The disturbing thing is that this sort of conspiratorial nonsense is being taken seriously by real media and political players.
There is, in fact, a fringe Christian group of “Dominionists” or “Reconstructionists,” who really would like to see an American theocracy, and a return to the death penalty for blasphemy, adultery, sodomy, and witchcraft. The dystopian political program of this utterly marginal, extremist sect has absolutely no traction with anyone of significance. But that hasn’t stopped conspiracy mongers on the Left from imagining a murderous Christian plot to destroy America. I’ve found a number of Lefty sites that link to the following description of Dominionism at religioustolerance.org. This description includes the claim that Dominionists “advocate genocide for followers of minority groups and non-conforming members of their own religion.” I’m not sure this is accurate, even for the minuscule number of actual Dominionists. But the disturbing thing is the way this and other Left-leaning sites use logical sleight-of-hand to tar ordinary evangelicals with the madcap musings of a few fevered “Dominionists.”
You can see the basic technique of the conspiracy mongers in this 1994 report on the Dominionists for Public Eye Magazine. All you have to do is quote a fringe Dominionist desperate to prove that his radical ideas are catching on. Dominionists have a long-term political strategy to establish a full-blown American theocracy based on Old Testament law. And look! Some other Christians want to participate in the political process, too. They even believe in developing a long-term political strategy! Ah ha! That must mean that, even though they are “unaware of the original source of their ideas,” conservative Christians are in fact under the influence of authentic Dominionists. Voila. By quoting a pathetic Dominionist extremist’s desperate efforts to prove his own influence, clever liberals can now argue that the ultimate goal of all conservative Christians is the re-institution of slavery, and execution for blasphemers and witches.
This theory reminds me of the poor kid who thought he’d caused the great New York City blackout of 1965 because he happened to throw a rock at a transformer the moment the lights went out. Conservative Christians didn’t turn to politics because they were egged on by wild-eyed Dominionists. They were goaded into defensive action by the post-sixties secularist challenge to their way of life. Christians would have taken up politics whether a silly Dominionist fringe existed or not. In fact, Dominionism itself is nothing but a hapless and hopeless response to the secular social changes of the past forty years. But the Left has decided that it’s in their interest to buy into the Dominionists’ own bogus and pathetic claims of influence and to exaggerate even those bogus claims beyond recognition.
The champion of this approach appears to be Kathryn Yurica, whose piece, “The Despoiling of America,” was the source for much of the account at the beginning of this piece. (Unlike religoustolerance.org, Yurica does not use the word "genocide" and does not talk about re-instituting slavery. She speaks only of extending the death penalty to things like adultery, rebelliousness, homosexuality, witchcraft, effeminateness, and heresy.) Yurica’s article is so wild-eyed and strange that it would barely be worth mentioning, were Yurica not a featured speaker at a recent conference called, “Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right.” That conference, held this past weekend, was supported by the National Council of Churches, People for the American Way, The Nation, The Village Voice, and United Americans for Separation of Church and State. (You can read a Washington Times report on the conference here.)
I noted last week that Dominionist conspiracy theory broke into the mainstream with the latest cover story of Harper’s Magazine. (Yurica herself now supplements her own account of the Dominionist conspiracy with a link to one of those Harper’s articles.)
The notion that conservative Christians want to reinstitute slavery and rule by genocide is not just crazy, it’s downright dangerous. The most disturbing part of the Harper’s cover story (the one by Chris Hedges) was the attempt to link Christian conservatives with Hitler and fascism. Once we acknowledge the similarity between conservative Christians and fascists, Hedges appears to suggest, we can confront Christian evil by setting aside “the old polite rules of democracy.” So wild conspiracy theories and visions of genocide are really excuses for the Left to disregard the rules of democracy and defeat conservative Christians by any means necessary.
In the wake of their big New York City conference, we’ll see what, if anything, The Nation, The Village Voice, and People for the American Way actually do with this newly fashionable Dominionist conspiracy theory. I hope a little sunlight suffices to put a stop to these ill-advised attack on conservative Christians. I guess we’ll soon enough learn what the real agenda of the irreligious far Left actually is.