Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I'm dreaming of a white Christian

If it's at all unclear about whom Dean was referring when he called the GOP "a white Christian party", Chris Hedges writes about them in the latest issue of Harper's Magazine.

In his article Soldiers of Christ II: Feeling the hate with the National Religious Broadcasters, Hedges reports on the most recent NRB convention in Anaheim, CA. Much of the article deals with the mundanities that you might expect from a convention of ultra-right wing religious types, but to provide a bit of context, Hedges includes a bit of background to describe these people and their goals:

What the disparate sects of this movement, known as Dominionism, share is an obsession with political power. A decades-long refusal to engage in politics at all following the Scopes trial has been replaced by a call for Christian “dominion” over the nation and, eventually, over the earth itself. Dominionists preach that Jesus has called them to build the kingdom of God in the here and now, whereas previously it was thought that we would have to wait for it. America becomes, in this militant biblicism, an agent of God, and all political and intellectual opponents of America’s Christian leaders are viewed, quite simply, as agents of Satan. Under Christian dominion, America will no longer be a sinful and fallen nation but one in which the Ten Commandments form the basis of our legal system, Creationism and “Christian values” form the basis of our educational system, and the media and the government proclaim the Good News to one and all. Aside from its proselytizing mandate, the federal government will be reduced to the protection of property rights and “homeland” security.[When George W. Bush was first elected, Pat Robertson resigned as head of the Christian Coalition, a sign to many that Bush was the first in an expected line of regents that will herald the coming of the Messiah.] Some Dominionists (not all of whom accept the label, at least not publicly) would further require all citizens to pay “tithes” to church organizations empowered by the government to run our social-welfare agencies, and a number of influential figures advocate the death penalty for a host of “moral crimes,” including apostasy, blasphemy, sodomy, and witchcraft. The only legitimate voices in this state will be Christian. All others will be silenced.

The traditional evangelicals, those who come out of Billy Graham’s mold, are not necessarily comfortable with the direction taken by the Dominionists, who now control most of America’s major evangelical organizations, from the NRB to the Southern Baptist Convention, and may already claim dominion over the Christian media outlets. But Christians who challenge Dominionists, even if they are fundamentalist or conservative or born-again, tend to be ruthlessly thrust aside.

These are a group of people who have a guiding voice in Republican politics and want to remake the U.S. into a Christian Fascist state.

After the Schiavo mess earlier this year, I read many people saying that these people had finally jumped the shark, and indeed Kevin Drum is predicting that their over-reaching will work for us next Presidential election. It is way too soon to make an accurate prediction about what will happen to this movement and that race, and to the extent that such expectations encourage complacency they are dangerous.

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Also worth reading is the first article in the series Soldiers of Christ I: Inside America's most powerful megachurch by Jeff Sharlet, and the follow up story by Non-Prophet about how questioning Pastor Ted of the New Life Church with respect to Sharlet's article got a congregant excommunicated.


Blogger Non Prophet said...

Interesting piece about Ted Haggard's past experience with fighting demonic forces first hand. He's the pastor from New Life Church and President of the NAE who recently sent out an email to his congregation telling them not to act weird in front of Barbara Walters and Tom Brokaw.

Though the book Primary Purpose isn't new, Noel Black over at the Toilet Paper Blog combed through it and found lots of funny and disturbing stuff about Ted's views on covens, warlocks, demon battle etc..

And check out the numerous original stories on my blog ( ) linked at the top of my sidebar. A bunch have content sent to me from Jeff Sharlet.

11:30 PM  

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