Thursday, May 05, 2005
I learned a new word today. Dominionist. I embrace this label whole heartedly.
Meet the Dominionists -- biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government. As the far-right wing of the evangelical movement, Dominionists are pressing an agenda that makes Newt Gingrich's Contract With America look like the Communist Manifesto. They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation's courts with judges who follow Old Testament law, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions. In Florida, when the courts ordered Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed, it was the Dominionists who organized round-the-clock protests and issued a fiery call for Gov. Jeb Bush to defy the law and take Schiavo into state custody. Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a "faith-based" government that will endure far longer than Bush's presidency -- all the way until Jesus comes back.
"The First Amendment does not say there should be a separation of church and state," declares Alan Sears, president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund, a team of 750 attorneys trained by the Dominionists to fight abortion and gay marriage. Sears argues that the constitutional guarantee against state-sponsored religion is actually designed to "shield" the church from federal interference -- allowing Christians to take their rightful place at the head of the government. "We have a right, indeed an obligation, to govern," says David Limbaugh, brother of Rush and author of Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity. Nothing gets the Dominionists to their feet faster than ringing condemnations of judicial tyranny. "Activist judges have systematically deconstructed the Constitution," roars Rick Scarborough, author of Mixing Church and State. "A God-free society is their goal!"
In the conference's opening ceremony, the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of hearing in every classroom: "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."
And Don Feder chimes in with his two cents and a little propaganda which I'll ignore: The Left's "Dominionist" Demons
Since the founding of the Moral Majority in the late 1970s, the Left has been obsessed with conservative Christians. This fixation is driven by fear, loathing, and old-fashioned opportunism.
Hatred of traditional Christians is as old as H.L. Mencken (who, by the way, didn’t have the warm fuzzies for blacks or Jews either). In recent decades, the Left has come to see evangelical Christians as the principal obstacle to the realization of its social agenda, hence the embodiment of evil. Correspondingly, attacks on "fundamentalists" have grown increasingly shrill.
Even so, the rhetoric of the past two weeks has taken the anti-religious right jihad to new depths.
Last week, Colorado Senator Ken Salazar (a Democrat, naturally) told a radio interviewer that Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family "are the Antichrist of the world" for urging citizens to demand their senators vote to end the filibuster of Bush judges. (Aside: Imagine the furor if Jerry Falwell had called Hillary Clinton "the Antichrist.")
Salazar later amended himself to say Focus and Dobson’s "approach was un-Christian, meaning self-serving and selfish." In effect, Salazar is saying that for a Christian group to attempt to get government to reflect Christian values is "un-Christian." If you say so, Senator....
Repeating a mantra of the secular Left, Salazar warned, "What has happened here (Christian political activism in behalf of Bush judicial nominees) is there has been a hijacking of the U.S. Senate by what I call the religious right-wing of the country."
When any other group (environmentalists, feminists, peace activists) organizes to effect political change through education, lobbying, and get-out-the-vote efforts, it’s called...democracy.
When Christians (as Christians) try to exercise their rights as citizens, it’s called sinister, an attempted hijacking of the political process – theocracy!
That was the message of a conference in New York City last weekend ("Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right"). Apparently, "Religious Right" no longer sounds scary enough, so the Left is upping the ad hominem ante with "Religious Far Right." Soon they’ll be warning us of the clear and present danger of the "Ultra-Religious, Reactionary Far Right," and so on.
The conference (co-sponsored by City University of New York and People For the American Way) had two themes: 1) Minions of the "Religious Far Right" are hateful, so we should hate them; and 2) Theocracy (replete with heretic-roasts) is just around the corner.
"Most Americans outside the Bible Belt" – where a barely literate populace wanders about shoeless – "have little idea of the beliefs held by millions of fundamentalist churchgoers," a conference brochure discloses in the hushed tones of revelation. "We have an almost total lack of awareness of the rise of Dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism, forms of theology that advocate a biblical vision of God’s kingdom on earth."