Dominionism: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
The future we must stop!
Revolution #33, February 5, 2006, posted at revcom.us
Are you one of millions of people in this country and around the world who are alarmed about the rise of extreme reactionary religious fundamentalism in America? Angry at the growing attacks on the separation of church and state? Or weirded out when you see one of your relatives reading yet another one of the "Left Behind" novels, which have sold 60 million copies? You may get chills when you hear Bush's supporters say he was "sent by God." You hear some right-wing pastors talking about "reclaiming America for Jesus Christ" or bringing "the rule and reign of the cross to America," and it makes your skin crawl1. You have a creeping sense that the society these reactionary leaders would bring about would be horrible. But what you probably don't know is just how bad it would be - and what this has to do with Dominionism.
Don't know what Dominionism is? You're not alone. Very few people have heard of this brand of theology - let alone know what its program would represent if carried out, or how influential its doctrines and mandates are within the Bush administration and the Republican Party.
Dominionism2 is a doctrine which demands the total remaking of society to conform with the laws of the Old Testament of the Bible, and it states that the second coming of Jesus Christ will never occur until "God’s kingdom" is established on earth and reigns for either a thousand years or an unknown time period. They contend that all of the laws of the Old Testament, unless specifically revoked later in the Bible, are still valid and they want to literally replace the U.S. Constitution and legal system with the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic laws of the Bible. If you have read Bob Avakian’s writings on religion, or the Revolution series "God the Original Fascist," you know what this would mean:
If you don't follow the Christian faith, or if you ever leave it (we're talking millions of people in the U.S. alone) you'd be punished by death. Same thing for anyone who commits theft, who blasphemes (says "goddamn it"), or who commits heresy (says god does not exist). Frederick Clarkson, who wrote the book Eternal Hostilities: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, points out that "anyone responsible for abortion" (meaning women and abortion providers) would be given the death penalty as well.
For those who think this sounds too alarmist, consider anti-abortion activist Nellie Gray at the recent anti-abortion March for Life in Washington (which received a telephone message of support from Bush). She was quoted in the New York Times calling for Nurembrg-style trials of "feminist abortionists" -- doctors who provide abortions. And note that the actual Nurembrg trials, of former Nazi war criminals and mass murderers, resulted in executions.
Here's another Mosaic law: Leviticus 20:13.... "If a man lie with a man, as he would with a woman, they both commit abomination: they shall be put to death." Dominionist Gary DeMar told John Sugg of Mother Jones magazine that he was considered "liberal" among his cohorts because he only supported the death penalty for those who were actually caught engaging in "homosexual acts." And if the Dominionists made the laws, anyone who practices witchcraft or astrology, children who disobey their parents, women who commit adultery, and rape victims who don't resist sufficiently would all be executed.
Dominionists would nearly dismantle government, and establish the family as the basic governing unit of society - a family that would be mandated by god to unchallenged rule by the father. The role of the government would be limited to building roads and raising funds for armies carrying out sanctified battles.
You may be thinking, "Okay, so these guys are seriously lunatics, but there's no way they could gain enough influence or power to actually carry this out." But consider how many of its leaders or open proponents are well-connected to the Bush administration. Leaders who espouse Dominionist doctrines include former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice and a likely candidate for governor, Roy Moore, who installed a 5,200-pound engraved granite monument of the Ten Commandments in the judicial building of the state capital. There is the "Left Behind" author Tim LaHaye, whose wife heads up the Christian Fascist group Concerned Women for America. Pat Robertson, a powerful televangelist with a strong influence in the Republican Party, who is frequently asked to serve as a "religious commentator" by mainstream channels like CNN. D. James Kennedy, who hosts a yearly "Reclaiming America for Christ" conference that brings together nearly every major Christian fascist leader and many powerful Republican Party leaders (this year's conference will feature Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee). Dominionist Jack Hayford gave the benediction at George W. Bush's first presidential inauguration.
This Dominionist trend has been promoted and built up with major assistance from powerful ruling class forces. For example, two major contributors to the [Dominionist think tank] Chalcedon Foundation are Howard Ahmanson and Nelson Bunker Hunt - who are big monopoly capitalists and whose families played key roles in financing electronic voting machine manufacturer Election Systems & Software.
Dominionists call for reinstating slavery, which is upheld throughout the Old Testament, most notably in the Ten Commandments. Slavery is openly defended by Dominionist writers such as David Chilton: "Heathen slaves ... were actually favored by [slavery], since it placed them in contact with believers. They received the relatively lenient treatment of the biblical slavery regulations, and they were also able to hear the liberating message of the gospel."3
Dominionism, like many fundamentalist denominations of Christianity, holds that every word in the Bible is the literal, unerring word of god. But unlike more "typical" Christian fundamentalism, it opposes the idea that Christians should stay out of politics, and explicitly mandates that they work to bring about a theocracy. Dominionism calls for Christians to take literally Genesis 1:26: "... let man have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." D. James Kennedy sums up their calling:
"As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government ... our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society." (quoted in the Christian Science Monitor, March 16, 2005)
These are the people giving benedictions at presidential functions and breaking bread with U.S. Senators. They must be stopped - and they can be.
Will you join in the fight to stop them?
1. These quotes are from, in order, U.S. Army General William Boykin, megachurch pastor D. James Kennedy, and Bishop Harry Jackson. Kennedy is not a marginal political player; his Center for Christian Statesmanship hosts prayer sessions with Congress members and boasts that it has "41 members in the House and nine in the Senate".
2."Dominionism" is not a universally accepted term; most of its followers avoid the term. Some prefer the term "Christian Reconstructionism." Some writers on the subject classify Dominionism as a particularly influential branch of Christian Reconstructionism.
3. Dominionists use Black pastors, such as Harry Jackson, quoted above, to pull in Black people to what is a pro-slavery, white supremacist movement. Key Dominionist writers, such as RJ Rushdoony and Gary North, openly proclaim white supremacy, and Dominionists such as Tony Perkins and Roy Moore have ties to white supremacist groups and leaders in Louisiana and Alabama, respectively