Sunday, May 08, 2005
Dominionism, Part 3
The reach of Dominionism is much broader than most people realize. A well-articulated politico-religious philosophy such as Dominionism has a ripple effect on both segments of Christianity as well as right-wing politicians. Christian Reconstructionism by Dr. Bruce Prescott of the Interfaith Alliance forum on Religious Extremism has this to say about their beliefs:
To a man, Reconstructionists believe that Biblical prophecies assure them that they will ultimately be victorious in the war they wage. This chief thing that distinguishes them from a lot of the conservative Christians who have been influenced by them is that they are not pessimistic about the possibility of men ushering in the millennial reign of Christ. A lot of conservative Christians are pre-millenialists. They think Jesus has to return to usher in the kingdom of God on earth. Reconstructionists are post-millenialists. They think Jesus expects them to usher in the kingdom of God before he returns and they expect to do it by force by force of law and/or by force of arms.If these goals seem wildly unlikely, consider the inroads made on all these points in recent years. Except for number four (closing prisons, reinstituting slavery, vastly increased capital punishment), significant changes along these lines can easily be seen in society and government. Giving government funding to "faith-based" organizations (3) has been institutionalized in the Bush administration. Attempts to strengthen a patriarchical family structure (6) are too numerous to itemize. In many local communities, there is great activity to influence curricula in public schools to reflect certain "Christian" values and ideas (5). Related to this is a long-standing trend toward Christian home-schooling, sheltering their children from the evils of a pluralistic and democratic society.
The laws that Reconstructionists want to enforce are those of Ancient Israel. They believe that the Mosaic law is Gods blueprint for all societies. Transported to the context of twenty-first century America, they see themselves as Christian Libertarians. Stripped to its barest essentials, here is their blueprint for America. Their ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Constitution conform to a strict, literal interpretation of Biblical law. To do that involves a series of legal and social reforms that will move society toward their goal. 1) Make the ten commandments the law of the land, 2) Reduce the role of government to the defense of property rights, 3) Require tithes to ecclesiastical agencies to provide welfare services, 4) Close prisons reinstitute slavery as a form of punishment and require capital punishment for all of ancient Israels capital offenses including apostacy, blasphemy, incorrigibility in children, murder, rape, Sabbath breaking, sodomy, and witchcraft, 5) Close public schools make parents totally responsible for the education of their children, and 6) Strengthen patriarchically ordered families.
There is an excellent wiki style entry for Dominion Theology on Lockergnome. It's too dense with hyperlinks to quote adequately but it seems very concise and thorough.
This has not been an exhaustive look at the Dominionism philosophy and its influence. I felt it was important to bring together a collection of sources to provide a starting point for anyone wanting to learn some basic facts about Dominionism. I hope you find it valuable.