“Dominionist” follies: Wholly fictional cult ties dog ID-friendly US prez candidates

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Here , re Perry and Bachmann. The “Dominionist” cult slander spread to ID-friendly philosopher Nancy Pearcey, as well.

Five Feet of Fury, a Canadian blogger, says she got through a long career writing religion news and never heard of “Dominionism.”

Incidentally, that reminds: In Canada (aka “Dominion of Canada”), a Dominionist would just be a patriot, probably a lover of all things British. The food, of course, is terrible, but otherwise, they’re Not Scary.

Actually, it isn’t “Dominionism” that’s scary. It’s scary is that some people need this garbage to be true.

Because they can’t address real problems, they make up stuff they can deal with?

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25 Replies to ““Dominionist” follies: Wholly fictional cult ties dog ID-friendly US prez candidates

  1. 1
    fmarotta says:

    I first heard of Dominionism about 20 years ago and have seen it discussed hundreds of times in books, articles and online. So I am puzzled that some would see this as a new term.

    While there is no universal definition of dominionism (or the related term reconstructionism), there are people that apply these terms to their beliefs. And there are people that hold to beliefs labeled as dominionist. Whether these labels can be applied to certain presidential candidates is relevant, as it may impact their view of governing.

    For an overview of how this term is used there are numerous references. The article on Wikipedia shows that it encompasses a broad range of views.

  2. 2
    O'Leary says:

    Lots of journalists who cover the religion beat have never heard of it – which means it wasn’t important. I heard of it in the mid-1990s, from a political science prof. Then it sank out of sight. Figures.

  3. 3

    Meet Michelle Goldberg:

    “(born 1975) is a Brooklyn-based journalist and the author of the books Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, and The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World.”

    I found this response to the article from an anonymous “KingMe” as a good refutation:

    “Michele Goldberg’s religious bigotry on display here!! But wait, there’s more. It doesn’t bother her in the least that Obama is an avowed Christian (something his handlers keep reminding us of). The key difference she should be pointing out between theses candidates and Barack Obama, is that they actually have their feet planted in the real world despite their religious fervor. They have a history we can look at which includes real accomplishments. Their shared views about fiscal matters show a common sense the current and last occupants of the white house were sorely missing.
    One thought we know will never enter Ms. Goldberg’s head: ‘Maybe what this country needs is a president who not only claims to be a christian, but lives like one.’
    I’m just saying that she is the absolute worst kind of commentator that our secular university system could produce. Pretense at open-mindedness as a cover for her own anti-religious fervor, which appears from her article to be much stronger than any fervor for so-called Dominionism by any of the candidates.
    In the spirit of full-disclosure, I am a native-american, schoolteacher, a christian, and (according to people like the author, a radical, racist, homophobe) Tea Partier.”

  4. 4
    fmarotta says:

    I just typed in “dominion theology” in google and got 2,430,000 hits. I think anyone who is aware of the significant theological controversies within evangelical protestantism within the last 30 years would be aware of it. It was not an insignificant movement and produced a large body of literature. And yes, it still exists today.

  5. 5
    fmarotta says:

    I disagree with this comment. Goldberg is attempting to link Bachmann and Perry with a certain type of religious doctrine that would impact their political thought. It isn’t just about being a Christian as the quoted comment implies; rather it is being one that holds to ‘dominionist theology’. And I would be concerned if in fact a presidential candidate held these views. I am not convinced Goldberg has made a compelling case though, as her argument is primarily based upon associations, as opposed to explicit statements of the candidates.

  6. 6
    junkdnaforlife says:

    nobody cared that obama went to a church were the pastor blamed the US for 911 and was on tape screaming “God damn America.” Nobody seemed to question any of his radical religious affiliations. Funny

  7. 7
    O'Leary says:

    But how much of that is a cookup due to today’s candidacies? UD News could find nothing on it previous years. Not especially looking, just routine net dragging, but still … Absence.

  8. 8
    fmarotta says:

    Actually, lots of people cared about Obama being a member of Jeremiah Wright’s church and it was frequently commented on. He ended up leaving the church. For a summary of the controversy, see:

  9. 9
    fmarotta says:

    I agree there is less discussion about dominion theology currently than there was 15 or so years ago. At least there is where I read and travel!

    I think it is normal (and reasonable) to want to understand and investigate how a person’s faith/beliefs will affect how they govern. It was a question raised with Mitt Romney (Mormon association) and President Obama (Jeremiah Wright association). I suspect it will be raised with any serious presidential candidate.

  10. 10
    junkdnaforlife says:

    “He ended up leaving the church.”

    When he left the church for PR and political reasons that definitely meant that he no longer held those views.

  11. 11

    Your disagreement is noted; but what Goldberg has done is to misconstrue the views of people she referenced; particularly Francis Schaeffer, who was not in the least a “dominionist” as defined in Wikipedia, which also makes the error.

    That some groups have misused Schaeffer for political reasons is not an indication that Schaeffer agreed with their misuse. Even Frank Schaeffer, Francis’s son, who’s no friend of the religious right and is now not a conservative Christian, but of the Orthodox faith has acknowledged that some (not all) in the religious right have misinterpreted his father.

    Schaeffer believed of course that Christians have a duty to speak up against immorality and injustice, and that in some instances civil disobedience is called for. However, he did not believe that some sort of Christian theocracy was in any way a solution, or even mandated by scripture. And rightly so, because he knew the passage of scripture, which states: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

    Incidentally, the Wikipedia article on Bachmann ties her to dominionism because of her reading of Schaeffer and Nancy Pearcey – a Schaeffer scholar herself.

    Also, Goldberg’s associating Schaeffer with Rushdooney is completely in error. Schaeffer may have been influenced by Rushdoony, but as Frank has stated recently, his father believed that Rushdoony was “crazy.”

    The following article puts this issue in it’s proper perspective:

    So what we have here is shoddy, uninformed scare-tactic journalism motivated by anti-religious bigotry. The comment is quite apt.

    And BTW, Christians – Evangelical even, believe the constitution when it says that government has no business establishing a state religion. That’s the true meaning of the First Amendment.

  12. 12
    molch says:

    junkdnaforlife makes an unsubstantiated claim in 3, which is shown to be wrong by fmarotta in 3.1;
    so next, instead of admitting that he/she was wrong, junkdnaforlife turns around in 3.1.1 and makes another unsubstantiated claim in response…
    go figure…

  13. 13
    fmarotta says:

    You make a good point on Goldberg (and Wikipedia) miscontruing Francis Schaeffer.

  14. 14

    Here’s a snippet from the Spectator article cited above:

    “Citing his influence on Dominionism, then running that influence backward to imply Schaeffer or Nancy Pearcey were Dominionists is akin to arguing that since Ho Chi Minh cited the Declaration of Independence when proclaiming Vietnam’s independence in 1945, Thomas Jefferson must have been a communist.”

  15. 15

    So it’s really the other way around. It’s not Christians who don’t want anybody else in power; it’s certain anti-Christians who don’t want Christians in power, and will resort to any kind of journalistic distortion to make it so.

  16. 16
    material.infantacy says:

    I’m inclined to suspect that the Dominionist label serves a primary purpose as a wedge — a code word intended to resonate primarily with conservative evangelicals — an attempt to divide grass roots support for Bachmann along theological lines.

    Keep in mind, the primary propaganda aims are currently focused on affecting the Republican primary, not the general election. The leftist media ultimately wants to select the Republican opponent; they would prefer a squishy white dude — as opposed to a strong, principled woman.

    The term “Dominionist” has little meaning outside of conservative Christian circles — and exposes a theological disparity amongst Biblical fundamentalists. Of course, if it has the added benefit of branding Bachmann as some sort of fundie cultist, all the better. That tactic was used against Palin when she joined McCain’s ticket in ’08.

    But the game right now is to steer the Republican primary toward a candidate that has fewer fundamental, fiscal and social disparities with the incumbent; and the more that candidate resembles the white-rich-guy stereotype, the more effective the MSM’s usual tactics will be.

  17. 17

    But Perry IS a rich white guy, and they’re giving him the same treatment as Bachmann. Yeah, they’re bigoted on gender grounds too, but much more so on religious grounds.

    Take a look at the pics they used of the two candidates in the article. As was done in Newsweek last week, they’ve done it again this week using unflattering photos of Bachmann and Perry, while depicting them as religious fanatics with a theocratic agenda.

    So in my view it’s much more than simply trying to choose the Republican candidate that is least likely to beat Obama. That would probably be Romney, so that IS part of it, but not all.

    Actually there’s a reason why we’re seeing all these “I’m a Mormon, and I also ride motorcycles” ads of late. I think they have it right. Present as many positives and you’ll drown out the negatives. That’s what Bachmann needs to focus on. She needs to step up and say “I am not a dominionist; I’m an American.” That’ll get ’em.

  18. 18
    material.infantacy says:

    Yes, I agree they’re as afraid of Perry as they are of Bachmann, or almost; after all, as you point out, he’s a rich white dude, but he’s not squishy — not apparently so. They have no choice but to demonize Perry, as he’s a principled conservative Christian who appears unafraid to criticize the incumbent.

    However Perry just announced, and thus made the game more interesting. Previously, the strongest candidate with wide support from conservative Christians was Bachmann, in my estimation; and I still think the Dominionist label was primarily concerned with causing some consternation in the conservative base.

    I don’t mean to suggest that the MSM is unconcerned with the general election; but the clear and present danger at this point is a strong, principled conservative, with a modicum of charisma coming out of the Republican primary. They’ll demonize any republican to emerge — but they’d rather it be an easier target. Attacking a woman would require a bit more finesse than they would prefer. And the fewer policy differences that exist between the challenger and the incumbent, the more that race and class politics will succeed.

    I agree, the MSM would prefer to run against Romney, since his religion is a more effective wedge to use within the conservative base (and he’s a rich white guy). He also has some relevant baggage in the form of state-run health care. But even he may not prove to be a push-over, if his campaign chest is any indication of his chances of success.

  19. 19
    Vern Crisler says:

    I don’t believe anything Franky Schaeffer says in the name of his deceased father. The claim that Francis said Rushdoony was “crazy” is absurd, given that Francis’s Manifesto book actually plagiarized from one of Rushdoony’s books. Undoubtedly, Francis didn’t agree with Rush’s views on the Mosaic law, but he still agreed wholeheartedly with Rushdoony’s cultural optimism vis-a-vis the culture-surrendering pietism of modern evangelicalism. That’s what Francis Schaeffer liked about Rushdoony.

  20. 20
    Timbo says:

    junkdnaforlife, I wonder if you are going to withdraw your comment at 3. It is clearly incorrect as fmarotta pointed out to you. I don’t even live in the US and I was well aware of the very vigorous reaction in relation to Obama’s religious affiliations. I just think when you are proved wrong you should concede it rather than raising a non sequitur.

  21. 21

    Well, if you read the article I cited, and I believe there’s enough other references to understand that Schaeffer did not support Rushdoony’s call for implementing Mosaic law into the secular state. This goes against Schaeffer’s belief that the gospel is a choice, and that it loses it’s power with coercion. Besides that, Francis Schaeffer stated so in certain terms. According to the article, Schaeffer’s interest in Rushdoony was not connected to that particular belief, but to Rushdoony’s own analysis of the historical breakdown of Christian morality in Western societies.

    I think I could reasonably retract the statement about Franky’s claim. I found it from only one source, so it could be spurious; but the argument itself stands on Francis Schaeffer’s own writings and statements.

    I agree with your assessment of Frank Schaeffer.

    Unfortunately the conspiracy fanatics are forcing Schaeffer into a particular mindset that he was not a part of. That’s where the shame lies. Schaeffer was a great thinker who often made mistakes. They shouldn’t hold those mistakes against him, given the larger positive impact he had.

  22. 22

    I also don’t believe that “A Christian Manifesto” was among Schaeffer’s best works. It’s his most influential work, but it lacks some of the cohesion of his earlier works. People who are using that work alone as Schaeffer’s thoughts would do well to read up a bit more. I recommend his first three books as a first step in understanding his thought. Missing those might be what is leading people to err on an understanding of his mindset.

    One thing about Schaeffer is that he wrote his books in a sort of logical continuum, and on occasionally he would briefly summarize what was covered in a previous book; but not always. This is why for me, after reading “Whatever Happened to the Human Race,” which was my first introduction to Schaeffer, I felt it necessary to go back and try to follow his thinking from the beginning.

  23. 23
    johnnyb says:

    Got an M.T.S from seminary, and it never even came up. Absolutely no one in evangelical or mainline protestantism cares one thing about Dmoninionist theology.

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    Well, at least we’ve now identified Goldberg’s “source.”

    But I got my facts from wikipedia!

  25. 25

    Who knows, maybe she wrote the Wikipedia article.

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