Under the administration of George W. Bush, large majorities now understand the country has gotten off on the wrong track. People, reflecting on how the country is fairing under Bush, for the most part now believe that Bush is not competent, has not been truthful, and does not care about people like themselves. In fact, the polls say that only 29% of the American public holds a positive opinion regarding the job Bush is doing.
It might be surprising to view this as a positive sign for our country, but in one critical aspect, this is a very lucky break for Americans and the world. The fact that vast majorities have decided that Bush is a terrible leader means those working to create the Cult of Bush have been dealt a grievous setback. The mess that Bush and his cronies have made of everything also reflects on the conservatives that foisted him upon us and it demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of their vision for the country.
When George W. Bush was nominated for President, the Religious Right saw him as the leader that would finally bring the country under the dominion of God. Bush and his backers talked about how he had been chosen by God to protect the country. So when Pat Robertson, the head of the Christian Coalition stepped down after 9/11, the Christian Right saw this as a sign that Bush was now the leader of conservative Christians.
"I think Robertson stepped down because the position has already been filled," said Gary Bauer, a religious conservative who challenged Bush in the Republican primary. Bush "is that leader right now. There was already a great deal of identification with the president before 9-11 in the world of the Christian right, and the nature of this war is such that it's heightened the sense that a man of God is in the White House."
Although many people know the Religious Right is very influential in the Bush administration, not so many know what their goals are in the long run. Their goals are nothing less than the destruction of our democratic society and the imposition of a society that would harshly punish unruliness, dissent and any disobedience to the rule of the theocrats – those who they believe God put in charge.
During the 1990’s the Religious Right succeeded in uniting various strains of Christian fundamentalism to support the take over of the American government in order to impose a philosophy of governing known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism. As Katherine Yurica noted, "Be aware that Dominionism is in fact, a brilliantly executed road that leads to total power."
Frederick Clarkson laid out the route that Christian Reconstructionism planned to use to gain power: they planned to rewrite history to say the founding fathers wished to establish a Christian nation rather than a nation ruled by laws created by free citizens.
"Christian Reconstructionism is a stealth theology, spreading its influence throughout the Religious Right. Its analysis of America as a Christian nation and the security of complete control implied in the concept of dominion is understandably appealing to many conservative Christians. Its apocalyptic vision of rule by Biblical Law is a mandate for political involvement."
The laws that would govern us come the literal reading of the Old Testament. As Sara Diamond wrote in her definitive work on the Religious Right, Spiritual Warfare,
More seriously, Reconstructionists believe that society should be "reconstructed" to conform with the laws of the Old Testament. They focus particularly on Biblical prescriptions of capital punishment for homosexuals, adulterers and incorrigible criminals. A Reconstructionist society would include no prison systems – criminals would either die for their crimes or work as indentured servants to make restitution to their victims. Likewise, there would be no credit system; indigents would be forced to work off their debts. The economy would be based on a gold standard, children would be educated at home and there would be no property or income tax – instead everyone would give a ten percent “tithe” to the church which would administer welfare projects. -- pg 138
Speaking to outsiders, most Christian nationalists say they're simply responding to anti-Christian persecution. They say that secularism is itself a religion, one unfairly imposed on them. They say they're the victims in the culture wars. But Christian nationalist ideologues don't want equality, they want dominance. In his book "The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action," George Grant, former executive director of D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries, wrote:
Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ -- to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.
But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.
It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.
It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.
It is dominion we are after.
World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less... Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land -- of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ."
Ms. Yurica is correct that Dominionism is a philosophy that is extremely dangerous to our country. If they succeed in taking power, they will impose a society in which most of us would not wish to live nor one in which we would wish upon our children. Gary North, one of the leaders in the Christian Reconstructionists, defines this society as one using harsh Biblical punishment to keep order.
The Biblically approved methods of execution include burning (at the stake for example), stoning, hanging, and "the sword." Gary North, the self-described economist of Reconstructionism, prefers stoning because, among other things, stones are cheap, plentiful, and convenient. Punishments for non-capital crimes generally involve whipping, restitution in the form of indentured servitude, or slavery. Prisons would likely be only temporary holding tanks, prior to imposition of the actual sentence.
Americans were shocked and horrified at the society created by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Yet, there is much in the harsh vision of the Christian Reconstructionists that reminds thoughtful people of the Taliban. They too stoned people and suppressed women in the name of religion.
The Christian Reconstructionists have gained too much power in our society. They are not a group with which we can compromise because they feel compelled to impose their vision on our country and on the world. They constitute a looming danger to our country. They tied their fortunes to George W Bush as their avenging leader and he was more than happy to debase our constitutional checks and balances for them. Now that he has been shown to be deeply unpopular, they will need to find another leader to lead the charge. And we will have time to awaken the American public to this danger. We cannot let them destroy our American ideals and values: ideals that say we are a people who believe in the rule of law based on our Constitution including the separation of Church and State; and values that say we are a tolerant and open-minded people who revel in our democratic, dynamic and creative society made possible by our diversity.Posted by Mary at July 20, 2006 07:28 AM | Religion | TrackBack(2) | Technorati links |