Richard John Neuhaus did not think dominionism was a myth

Richard John Neuhaus, the neoconservative intellectual and editor of the journal First Things, thought that adherents of “dominion theology” were nutty, but he did not think they were inconsequential.

In his May 1990 article “Why Wait for the Kingdom? The Theonomist Temptation,” Neuhaus introduced the prominent players and prominent ideas in play among the “theonomists” or “reconstructionists” or “theonomic reconstructionists” — the gothic Presbyterian wing of dominion theology or dominionism.

Dominion theology also has a creepy Pentecostal wing, the so-called “New Apostolic Reformation” which takes a very different route — more Peretti-esque “spiritual warfare,” less ultra-Calvinism — to arrive at a very similar millennialist political and theological agenda. Neuhaus here is writing before the rise of that branch of dominion theology, although he foresaw its arrival in the growing influence of theonomic reconstructionist doctrine among influential Pentecostals such as Pat Robertson.

Neuhaus’ tone in the piece is glibly dismissive and a bit condescending, but that’s just how Neuhaus wrote about everyone he disagreed with. He did not lightly dismiss what he viewed as the very real danger of the dominionists’ very real and growing influence.

Neuhaus begins with a brief introduction of some of the main personalities and a pithy summary of their shared ideology:

The theonomic movement is in some ways small, with perhaps no more than a dozen prominent representatives. Its influence, however, is disproportionate to its size, and familiarity with its personalities, positions, and purposes is important to understanding the ways in which some fundamentalists and evangelicals are making the connections between religion and public life. …

… To date the leadership of the theonomist movement is the trinity of [Rousas John] Rushdoony, [Gary] North, and [Greg] Bahnsen. Other prolific writers in the movement are David Chilton, Gary DeMar, George Grant (not the distinguished Canadian philosopher), and, at least until recently, James Jordan. In truth, “prolific” is hardly adequate to suggest the veritable flood of publications from these writers. …

Most other Christians … are conventionally given to saying that the Bible contains “no blueprint for the right ordering of society.” That is precisely what the theonomists deny. In fact, one set of books is called “The Biblical Blueprint Series,” and it is nothing if not specific. The determining proposition is that the Mosaic law given at Sinai was not just for Israel but is God’s design for all nations of all times. … As most of the proponents of this viewpoint do not hesitate to say, a theonomic social order is a theocratic social order, and a theocratic social order is a Christian social order. (Some theonomists prefer “Christocracy” to theocracy.)

Bible law requires a radical decentralization of government under the rule of the righteous. Private property rights, especially for the sake of the family, must be rigorously protected, with very limited interference by the state and the institutional church. Restitution, including voluntary slavery, should be an important element of the criminal justice system. A strong national defense should be maintained until the whole world is “reconstructed” (which may be a very long time). Capital punishment will be employed for almost all the capital crimes listed in the Old Testament, including adultery, homosexual acts, apostasy, incorrigibility of children (meaning late teenagers), and blasphemy, along with murder and kidnapping. There will be a cash, gold-based economy with limited or no debt. These are among the specifics broadly shared by people who associate themselves with the theonomic viewpoint.

That’s an extreme agenda, but the details — extreme social conservatism, gold-buggery, economic lawlessness — may be a bit familiar. Those extreme ideas are more mainstream today than they were when Neuhaus published this article in 1990.

Neuhaus wasn’t wrong about dominion theology’s “disproportionate” influence.

He continues about the political agenda of the theonomists:

Some Reconstructionists express resentment of the way their critics focus on their view of capital crimes in connection with Bible law. …  It seems hardly surprising that such views should attract considerable attention, but those who hold them insist that the attention is exaggerated. They point out that they are not advocating the death penalty today to punish, for example, homosexual acts. Their proposal would be applicable, they point out, only in a reconstructed society that may be thousands of years away. And in a reconstructed society the level of righteousness will be such that capital crimes will be almost unheard of.

To which the critics of theonomy might respond that the time factor is quite irrelevant. In their view we should resist taking the first step toward a destination whose distance makes it no less grotesque. And the assurance that very few people will be stoned to death for apostasy, for example, is small comfort for those who think that apostasy does not belong in the criminal code at all.

A reconstructed world ruled by future Rushdoonyites will not, needless to say, be democratic. Rushdoony is straightforward in condemning democracy as a “heresy.” … His opposition to democracy and any form of legally protected pluralism is enprincipled, as it should be in the argument of a reflective theocrat. The free exercise of religion, for example, must be only for the free exercise of true religion. As Rushdoony says, “The right have rights,” thus echoing the Roman Catholic dictum of an earlier day that “error has no rights.”

Again, this is all pretty horrifying, but if you’ve been paying attention at all to the tea party or to Glenn Beck and his former colleagues at Fox News, then this is all also pretty familiar. When Neuhaus was writing this 20 years ago, David Barton was a small-time conman swindling one congregation at a time with his bogus histories and his theories about freedom of religion applying only to “true religion.” Now Barton — still telling the same outrageous, brazen lies — is a respected TV commentator and a political advisor to several of the leading GOP contenders for their party’s nomination for president.

Neuhaus was not wrong about the dominionists’ disproportionate influence.

Theonomy would no doubt strike most Americans as a particularly outlandish and easily dismissable effluent of fundamentalist fanaticism. Others might, not without reason, view it as an alarmingly dangerous development. Of course the influence of theonomy is not so great as its advocates suggest, but it is not inconsiderable, and it is growing. …

Theonomy currently shapes a good deal of conservative Christian writing on the Constitution and the moral basis of law. Its real growth market, however, may be among charismatic and pentecostal Christians who are the chief constituency of, among others, Pat Robertson. As is the way with ideas, theonomist doctrine has insinuated itself in circles where people would be not at all comfortable to think of themselves as theonomists. …

Bingo.

Twenty years later, dominionist doctrine has insinuated itself into many more circles where people are not only uncomfortable thinking of themselves as dominionists, the very word makes them recoil in horror.

And after recoiling, it makes them reflexively write disingenuous and deeply weird denials that dominionism even exists or that it has any influence at all over anyone or that liberal journalists are just making the whole thing up and overreacting.

The Herescope blog has been collecting these disingenuous denials — including contributions from Pat Robertson, from his former lieutenant Ralph Reed, and from Joe Carter, Web editor of the journal Neuhaus founded.

Carter’s is particularly disingenuous. Here is Carter, writing, mind you, on First Things‘ website:

First, there is no “school of thought” known as “dominionism.” The term was coined in the 1980s by [Sara] Diamond and is never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.

And here, again, is Carter’s late boss, Fr. Neuhaus, writing for First Things in 1990:

Although their analysis of the shape of the world is typically bleak, the theonomists insist that the kingdom is now, if only the true believers have the boldness to take dominion (hence “dominion theology”).

The quote from Carter above comes from a long, contemptuous post ridiculing Ryan Lizza for suggesting in The New Yorker that Francis Schaeffer was ever associated with dominion theology or in any way influenced by it.

Here, from the Aug./Sept. 2001 issue of First Things, is an article on “The Passing of R.J. Rushdoony“:

I first encountered Rushdoony at L’Abri, a Christian community high in the Swiss Alps. The year was 1964. Francis Schaeffer, the founder and director of L’Abri, had recently come across a little book by Rushdoony called This Independent Republic: Studies in the Nature and Meaning of American History, and he made it the basis for a seminar with the students at L’Abri. We gathered in the living room of Chalet les Mélèzes, where most of the community’s meetings were held. …

The topics covered in the Rushdoony book were wide–ranging. The chapter that Schaeffer chose for the subject of his seminar focused on the difference between the American and the French Revolutions. … Rushdoony challenged the propriety of calling America’s defensive war against Great Britain a true revolution. According to him it was instead a “conservative counterrevolution,” whose purpose was to preserve American liberties from their usurpation by the British Parliament. It owed nothing to the Enlightenment. By contrast, the French Revolution was the direct result of the Enlightenment, along with the organizational strategies fostered by various secret and esoteric societies. …

Schaeffer later did come to realize that Rushdoony’s “theonomic reconstructionism” …

Wait. This is a “liberal blog,” right? So here I’m allowed to follow Richard John Neuhaus’ left-wing example and use the shorter, more inclusive term “dominionism,” right? Let me do that, then.

Schaeffer later did come to regard Rushdoony’s brand of dominionism as kooky and dangerous. But that muddled antipathy for the Enlightenment will certainly sound familiar to anyone who has read Schaeffer’s How Shall We Then Live? or A Christian Manifesto. Far too familiar for me to take seriously any of these critiques of Lizza’s article expressing disingenuous dismay over his seeing a connection between Schaeffer and the dominionists. (Other commonalities: Both Francis Schaeffer and the theonomists were fond of garbling Kuyper and Van Til, although in slightly different ways.)

The main difference between dominion theology in 1990 and dominion theology today is that 20 years ago, the dominionists were eager to exaggerate their influence. Today, having achieved much greater influence, they are eager to deny it.

Neuhaus noted in 1990 that “the proponents of this viewpoint do not hesitate to say, a theonomic social order is a theocratic social order, and a theocratic social order is a Christian social order.”

But today they do hesitate to say that.

And they hesitate to admit that they ever said that.

Or that anybody ever said that.

And they’ve got people like Joe Carter and Doug Groothuis and Larry Ross lining up to write weird little screeds affirming that this was never said and that when it was said no one was listening and besides R.J. Rushdoony and C. Peter Wagner are just figments of Sara Diamond’s imagination.

And they’ve got warped, soul-shriveled trolls in my comment section dismissing a 20 year old article in a respected conservative journal as something libruls just made up out of thin air “a month ago” while refusing to engage any of the substance of the article.

But “a theocratic social order” was what they said in 1990 and they meant it then.

And they mean it still, even if they’ve become savvier about saying it quite as bluntly or honestly. Dominion theology is not a myth. It remains relatively small, but it is larger than it was in 1990.

And its ongoing influence continues to be, as Neuhaus said, disproportionate.

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

I've got one hand in my pocket and the other one is doing something that doesn't rhyme
What if we learned about the Bible from the people who got it right?
White evangelicals and 'the social upheaval of the '60s'
Don't let the rain make you unhappy
  • Beatrix

    Daughter – The warning is in Fred’s post, Beatrix:
    Daughter –
    “And they’ve got warped, soul-shriveled trolls in my comment section dismissing a 20 year old article in a respected conservative journal as something libruls just made up out of thin air “a month ago” while refusing to engage any of the substance of the article.
    As people have pointed out, Fred virtually never calls out any of his commenters, but in your case, he did.  In case it’s not clear, the “warped, soul-shriveled troll” in his comments section is you. “Well, if that’s true, and Fred is “calling me out” then his method is remarkably passive-aggressive, cowardly, and really rather judgemental.  I’ve never offerred any opinions as to the degree of Clark’s warpdness or lack thereof or the dessication-level of his soul (although I have admitted to being puzzled as to his motivation for running this blog at all); and we all know that the lefties are the tolerant, non-judgemental ones, so I am puzzled; furthermore, who is this “they”?  From what I can make out, they’re “the proponents of this viewpoint (who) do not hesitate to say, a theonomic social order is a theocratic social order, and a theocratic social order is a Christian social order.”Well that’s not me.  I’m an agnostic (for the dozenth time) who certainly doesn’t want to live with the elders from footloose anymore than you do.  I’m not in the pay or under the influence of some shadowy totalitarian Protestant group anymore than I’m being paid by the Jooos to denigrate “Palestine”.  If Clark was really referring specifically to me in that paragraph then I would be amused, if not exactly honoured, to be banned by such a fool.  But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he isn’t a hysterical idiot.All Fred Clark has to do is ask me not to comment on his blog anymore, and I won’t.  He can post (I mean it’s his blog) or even email me (I assume he had my email, since I enter it every time I comment). 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’ve never offerred any opinions as to the degree of Clark’s warpdness or lack thereof or the dessication-level of his soul

    Well, for a start, you’ve said the left wing is evil. You’ve called Fred left wing. Would it help if I drew a diagram?

  • Beatrix

    Daughter – The warning is in Fred’s post, Beatrix:
    Daughter –
    “And they’ve got warped, soul-shriveled trolls in my comment section dismissing a 20 year old article in a respected conservative journal as something libruls just made up out of thin air “a month ago” while refusing to engage any of the substance of the article.
    As people have pointed out, Fred virtually never calls out any of his commenters, but in your case, he did.  In case it’s not clear, the “warped, soul-shriveled troll” in his comments section is you. “Well, if that’s true, and Fred is “calling me out” then his method is remarkably passive-aggressive, cowardly, and really rather judgemental.  I’ve never offerred any opinions as to the degree of Clark’s warpdness or lack thereof or the dessication-level of his soul (although I have admitted to being puzzled as to his motivation for running this blog at all); and we all know that the lefties are the tolerant, non-judgemental ones, so I am puzzled; furthermore, who is this “they”?  From what I can make out, they’re “the proponents of this viewpoint (who) do not hesitate to say, a theonomic social order is a theocratic social order, and a theocratic social order is a Christian social order.”Well that’s not me.  I’m an agnostic (for the dozenth time) who certainly doesn’t want to live with the elders from footloose anymore than you do.  I’m not in the pay or under the influence of some shadowy totalitarian Protestant group anymore than I’m being paid by the Jooos to denigrate “Palestine”.  If Clark was really referring specifically to me in that paragraph then I would be amused, if not exactly honoured, to be banned by such a fool.  But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he isn’t a hysterical idiot.All Fred Clark has to do is ask me not to comment on his blog anymore, and I won’t.  He can post (I mean it’s his blog) or even email me (I assume he had my email, since I enter it every time I comment). 

  • Beatrix

    Italics went weird.  Still, I think it can be made out.

  • Beatrix

    Italics went weird.  Still, I think it can be made out.

  • Anonymous

    All Fred Clark has to do is ask me not to comment on his blog anymore, and I won’t.

    Will that last as long as the other times you said you were through posting here?

  • P J Evans

     Longer, I hope, than the other times.

  • Beatrix

    Daughter – The warning is in Fred’s post, Beatrix:“And they’ve got warped, soul-shriveled trolls in my comment section dismissing a 20 year old article in a respected conservative journal as something libruls just made up out of thin air “a month ago” while refusing to engage any of the substance of the article.As people have pointed out, Fred virtually never calls out any of his commenters, but in your case, he did.  In case it’s not clear, the “warped, soul-shriveled troll” in his comments section is you.” Well, if that’s true, and Fred is “calling me out” then his method is remarkably passive-aggressive, cowardly, and really rather judgemental.  I’ve never offerred any opinions as to the degree of Clark’s warpdness or lack thereof or the dessication-level of his soul (although I have admitted to being puzzled as to his motivation for running this blog at all); and we all know that the lefties are the tolerant, non-judgemental ones, so I am puzzled; furthermore, who is this “they”?  From what I can make out, they’re “the proponents of this viewpoint (who) do not hesitate to say, a theonomic social order is a theocratic social order, and a theocratic social order is a Christian social order.”  Well that’s not me.  I’m an agnostic (for the dozenth time) who certainly doesn’t want to live with the elders from footloose anymore than you do.  I’m not in the pay or under the influence of some shadowy totalitarian Protestant group anymore than I’m being paid by the Jooos to denigrate “Palestine”.  If Clark was really referring specifically to me in that paragraph then I would be amused, if not exactly honoured, to be banned by such a fool.  But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he isn’t a hysterical idiot.All Fred Clark has to do is ask me not to comment on his blog anymore, and I won’t.  He can post (I mean it’s his blog) or even email me (I assume he has my email, since I enter it every time I comment).  Again, with maybe italics sorted.

  • Anonymous

    You may not have speculated on the state of his soul, but you have accused our host of hating all American protestants and claimed that therefore he should not be one.  A rather personal and offensive lie, I would think.  Tolerance does not mean liberals should be passive when presented with unveiled contempt.

    “They” includes both the group you name and their political supporters.  Even if you’re telling the truth about your agnosticism (which, given that you agree with labeling a humanitarian relief convoy “Sea Hitler” and vehemently deny that Breivik’s Knight Templar manifesto was at all related to Christianity, I highly doubt), you still fall into the latter category.  The candidates you champion aren’t even subtle about their theocratic goals.  The Christian Nation spiel and related repressive social issues have been used for ages and have only gotten louder in recent years.

  • Beatrix

    “Will that last as long as the other times you said you were through posting here? “

    I respect property rights.  Actually, is this blog “Patheos'” property? Well, even so.

  • Beatrix

    “Will that last as long as the other times you said you were through posting here? “

    I respect property rights.  Actually, is this blog “Patheos'” property? Well, even so.

  • Beatrix

    Astribulus – “…you have accused our host of hating all American protestants and claimed that therefore he should not be one.”   No.  It’s amazing to me; so many of you just make up half-quotes from vague impressions you got from something someone said.  I didn’t say that.  I said that Clark seems to a be a self-proclaimed Baptist who appears to hate everything about evangelicism, to the point where he has dedicated a whole blog to this.  I didn’t accuse him of “hating” anybody, or all protestantism. Some protestantism is not evengelical. 

    You need to try to be more precise when you say/remember/write things, especially when peoples’ reputations are being impugned.  Not just you personally.  Look, most of you are university kids, right?  Okay, so your professors aren’t telling you this, but I am.  Sloppy thinking never did anyone any good.  A lot of bad morality actually derives from lazy, imprecise mental habits.

  • Beatrix

    Turcano – “Seeing as how your main argument relies entirely on not being able to understand that “dominionism” and “dominion theology” are the exact same thing, it is quite reasonable to conclude that you are either a liar or a colossal moron.  Take your pick.” 

    You understand things so well, and are honest and clever.  Please to define both terms.  I won’t hold my breath.

  • Albanaeon

    You keep throwing out the term “sloppy thinking.” I’m pretty sure that someone that’s highly reliant on sematics and “No True Scotsman” fallacies, as well as a demonstrated lack of reading comprehension, should not be using this to try and describe others.

  • P J Evans

    I think that the troll only uses the material between its ears as a spacer between its skull bones. (We’ve seen no real evidence of actual thought going on.)

  • Anonymous

    You have a very bad habit of demanding that other people do your research for you, but very well.

    In short, dominionism is the belief that secular law is illegitimate and should be supplanted by religious law as enumerated in the Bible, either by cooption of the state (usually known as “soft” dominionism) or its direct overthrow (known as “hard” dominionism); this belief is often joined with contempt for the Enlightment, on which secular principles are based, and modernity in general.  “Hard” dominionism may be relegated to the fringes, but “soft” dominionism pervades the religious Right and is therefore more dangerous to the Republic.

  • Beatrix

    Astribulus – what’s the “Sea Hitler” got to do with agnosticism?  And a “humanitarian relief convoy” it was not.  It’s easy to get “relief” into Gaza via Israel, not that they need it.

    “”They” includes both the group you name and their political supporters.”  – I didn’t name them, Clark did.  It’s up there in the post, accusing some “warped”, shrivell-souled person who I’m informed is me of being “gotten” by ‘“the proponents of this viewpoint (who) do not hesitate to say, a theonomic social order is a theocratic social order, and a theocratic social order is a Christian social order.”’ to come and do wicked things to this blog.

    Oh this is annoying. 

    “The candidates you champion aren’t even subtle about their theocratic goals.” – if they aren’t subtle about it then they must have said stuff.  Make with the damning quotes.  I won’t hold my breath.

  • Anonymous

    Cella: So, when are you going to announce?

    Bachmann: Well I’ve let people know that in June I will be making that decision and quite literally I am asking your listeners now to please pray for me and my husband and my team. We’re in
    the process of planning an office decision; we’re putting our team together. Ask that the Lord will give us a special anointing on how to put our team together, who those team people will be, that He would bring those people to us. Because it won’t be easy, it will be a very, very difficult fight. But if this is something that the Lord has called us to, He will make a way where there is no way, and so we’re asking for that prayer.

    She’s convinced that she is the anointed frigging Messiah. And since she’s running for President, that means she wants to be a theocratic ruler.

    Somebody else Google Perry. I’ve just discovered that my class tonight was canceled, so I’m going home.

    ETA: Damn you Disqus.

  • Ldwheeler1

    A month ago?  I’d heard about dominionism as early as 1988-90 (though it was going by the name “Christian reconstructionism” then, though the basic ideas were the same), from actual adherents to (at least a portion of) the view.  There was a very tiny group of Calvinist reconstructionists who hung out together on my college campus (which was itself Wesleyan) — they shared some of the books and brought in George Grant for an economics conference and weren’t shy of making statements like “Christians should never support democracy.”  When I visited a friend on a Presbyterian campus, I found the same ideas, though a tetch more widespread.  Again, I’ll note:  This was in the late 80s, early 90s, around the time Neuhaus was writing.  And I would note — from what I’ve seen, “dominionism” is just the new term for what was once called “reconstructionism.”  Down the road, it might be called something else.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t a continuity/continuum there.

    As for the influence?  I would agree that elements of the thought have had subtle influence, maybe reinforcing prejudices that already existed.  I’ve lost count of the amount of Christians — everyday people, people in “average” churches, some in *my* church — who say they believe in freedom of religion, but that doesn’t mean for Muslims, atheists, Pagans, etc.  Or say it means you’re free to be any kind of Christian you want to be (and consider themselves progressive for allowing Quakers, Mormons, etc. under that umbrella).

    Do I think a Perry or Bachmann would try to institute a whole-hog dominionist agenda?  Doubtful — in fact it’s doubtful they necessarily know what a whole-hog dominionist agenda is.  But neither seem all that uncomfortable with the idea of the U.S. as a “Christian nation,” whatever that means, rather than a religiously pluralistic one.

    “University kids?”  Amusing to me as a 42-year-old.  I don’t know everyone in the comment section, either here or in the old Slacktivites site, but my impression is that it’s a lively mix of demographics, from, yes, college/university students up through senior citizens, with a big 40ish contingent.  (I would be interested in an informal shout-out from regular commenters as to their general age/life-circumstance.

    As far as being a Baptist who hates most of evangelicism … I believe that to be a somewhat simplistic view of Fred’s stance.  Rather, I see him as trying to hold fast to what is good and worthy and *core* about the Christian belief system and pointed out the unhealthy and negative barnacles that have come to be attached to it over the years, pointing out the harm they do to both society and to the church itself.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I would be interested in an informal shout-out from regular commenters as to their general age/life-circumstance.

    Gen X who got the highest level of education available at the country’s best universities despite growing up in a family in the poorest 2% of my country, thanks to social democratic policies.

    Social democracy FTW!

    (Also, fist in the air for Gen X.)

  • Ldwheeler1

    A month ago?  I’d heard about dominionism as early as 1988-90 (though it was going by the name “Christian reconstructionism” then, though the basic ideas were the same), from actual adherents to (at least a portion of) the view.  There was a very tiny group of Calvinist reconstructionists who hung out together on my college campus (which was itself Wesleyan) — they shared some of the books and brought in George Grant for an economics conference and weren’t shy of making statements like “Christians should never support democracy.”  When I visited a friend on a Presbyterian campus, I found the same ideas, though a tetch more widespread.  Again, I’ll note:  This was in the late 80s, early 90s, around the time Neuhaus was writing.  And I would note — from what I’ve seen, “dominionism” is just the new term for what was once called “reconstructionism.”  Down the road, it might be called something else.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t a continuity/continuum there.

    As for the influence?  I would agree that elements of the thought have had subtle influence, maybe reinforcing prejudices that already existed.  I’ve lost count of the amount of Christians — everyday people, people in “average” churches, some in *my* church — who say they believe in freedom of religion, but that doesn’t mean for Muslims, atheists, Pagans, etc.  Or say it means you’re free to be any kind of Christian you want to be (and consider themselves progressive for allowing Quakers, Mormons, etc. under that umbrella).

    Do I think a Perry or Bachmann would try to institute a whole-hog dominionist agenda?  Doubtful — in fact it’s doubtful they necessarily know what a whole-hog dominionist agenda is.  But neither seem all that uncomfortable with the idea of the U.S. as a “Christian nation,” whatever that means, rather than a religiously pluralistic one.

    “University kids?”  Amusing to me as a 42-year-old.  I don’t know everyone in the comment section, either here or in the old Slacktivites site, but my impression is that it’s a lively mix of demographics, from, yes, college/university students up through senior citizens, with a big 40ish contingent.  (I would be interested in an informal shout-out from regular commenters as to their general age/life-circumstance.

    As far as being a Baptist who hates most of evangelicism … I believe that to be a somewhat simplistic view of Fred’s stance.  Rather, I see him as trying to hold fast to what is good and worthy and *core* about the Christian belief system and pointed out the unhealthy and negative barnacles that have come to be attached to it over the years, pointing out the harm they do to both society and to the church itself.

  • Scyllacat

    41, about Fred’s age, I think.

    And dominionism, yes, I’ve known the tenets, if not the word for it, for 25 years now.

    Beatrix, we call you a troll because you post nothing that could not be taken as insistent contrarianism to make people fuss at you or either get bogged down in 101 explanation.

    Personally, I try not to read your comments because, as the ” smart girl” in my class, people loved to ask me dumb questions so I would explain the obvious. Giving you credit for not being dim as a post, I have to assume you’re trolling for foolishness so you can laugh at us. Feel free to actually respond to content at any time.

  • Geniasis

    Frankly, I’m not sure Beatrix has the capacity to distinguish truth from lies at this point.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    It is not a matter of capacity, but rather desire. 

    Why bother with truth (or even facts, for that matter) when one has abandoned at the outset any notion of arguing in good faith?  At that point, it becomes a contest of who can shout the loudest; and, in that regard, the troll is winning.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, one think I noticed when looking through the site I linked to earlier is that its archive is incomplete, so I had t go to the Wayback Machine to find these blasts from the past:

    “Moving Beyond ‘Pro-Life:'” Christians shouldn’t be worried about non-Christians getting abortions because they will abort and buttsex themselves into extinction, leaving the world to us.
    “True Defiance:” Slaves were happy to take up arms in defense of their slavery.
    “Appomattox and Wounded Knee:” The Trail of Tears, enacted by a president from Tennessee on behalf of Georgia and Mississippi and in defiance of Supreme Court prohibition, was somehow the North’s fault.
    “Ministers in Skirts:” Letting women into the clergy turns men into sissies.
    “Beer:” Women’s suffrage is responsible for Prohibition and weak beer.
    “Buzz Flits By:” What a woman really wants is a man willing to put her in her place.
    “The Hearing:” Douglas Wilson fantasizes about being subjected to a Senate confirmation hearing by Democratic bugbears Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton on the assumption that there’s a president baked enough to appoint him as Secretary of Education.

    Sadly, I could not find the short story that includes the execution of a college professor who decided to moonlight as a serial rapist because book-learning makes you evil.

  • Rikalous

    “Buzz Flits By:” What a woman really wants is a man willing to put her in her place.

    There was actually more asshattery in that story than I expected. Those links would be comedy gold if they weren’t so damn disturbing.

  • Anonymous

    Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply,
    and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish
    of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing
    that moveth upon the earth.”

    That is from the King James version.
    See that word dominion there in the text?

    I am 65 yeas old and the dominionist argument was alive and thriving when I was a twerp in Sunday School singing Onward Christian Soldiers and plotting to overthrow the government.

  • Lemming

    I’ve been following dominionism by that name for more than five years, originally via a now-defunct LiveJournal community, and I’ve been familiar with dominionist threads in the Pentecostal church for longer.  There is an abundance of background information available on dominionism and other closely-related sets of beliefs, although it hasn’t been neatly collated, identified, and distributed by major news organs.  I am both relieved and worried that some light is beginning to be shone on dominion theology from outside the church at this point:  relieved because it must be recognized in order to be effectively combated and limit its influence on the lives of others, and worried that dominionists (whether by that or any other name) will somehow manage to use this exposure to expand their influence, instead, and limit others’ freedoms.  

    In an article last updated in August of 2009, religioustolerance.org says this:  
    “Dominionism, Dominion Theology, Christian Reconstructionism, Theocratic Dominionism, Kingdom Now theology, and Theonomy are interrelated Christian belief systems that are followed by members from a wide range of conservative Protestant denominations. They are not in themselves denominations or faith groups.”
    In the Canadian Pentecostal church in which I was raised, the word “dominionism” was never used, but the term “dominion” sometimes was in conjunction with spiritual warfare and the identifying label of Kingdom Now.  My former church passionately supported a number of dominionist goals.  Their beliefs align sufficiently that they would rejoice at a great many dominionist successes so long as the faces of the political movement chose their words carefully.  Too much candor, and the degrees of difference between their end goals might begin to make them uncomfortable.  

    Basically, they agree with this:
    “One of the first tasks of this order will be to eliminate religious choice and freedom. Their eventual goal is to achieve the “Kingdom of God” in which much of the world is converted to Christianity. They feel that the power of God’s word will bring about this conversion peacefully. No armed force or insurrection will be needed; in fact, they believe that there will be little opposition to their plan.”  They unabashedly believe that it is their duty to bring about God’s will on earth, and that will is for all to live Biblically (and not in the general love-god-and-love-your-neighbor sense).  

    They would be concerned by this:
    “If, as many commentators predict, conversion of the U.S. to a theocracy is met with opposition, Dominionists may have to revert to force.”  Physically, anyway.  Spiritually, they are fine with force.

    I doubt any member of my former church has ever held a physical firearm for any purpose other than hunting, but they felt they were at daily war on political, cultural, and spiritual grounds.  I am not terrifically comforted that they *only* want everyone to live according to the rules of their religion (but don’t want to actually execute us).  I am disturbed by “prayer warriors” going on prayer walks and asserting their “authority” to bind up demons supposedly at work.  Anointing street corners with oil.  Intercessory prayer for people who have specifically asked to NOT be prayed for.  Carmen’s RIOT junk.  Being told “we’re taking over the world/we’re the alien youth/we’re coming for your souls” and “every day the kingdom is advancing/the earth invasion has just begun” (Skillet).  The violence is creepy.  Their belief in their supposedly god-given right to control the world is creepy.  

    Dominionist beliefs, no matter what name we put on them, are creepy.  

  • Anonymous

    Lazy, imprecise mental habits?  They’re your own words from just days ago.

    furthermore, your host, who clearly doesn’t read his own comments section, hates American Protestantism; which is fine, and even understandable; but me, when I dislike a religion (say Islam) I don’t join it, let alone dedicate a religious blog to how I’m a member of it but I hate it.

    How’s that for precise?  Also college was years ago, so that’s another assumption you can readjust.  And to really blow your mind, I’m a Christian as well.  One thing that impressed me from my very first reading of the Left Behind archive a few months back was how well reasoned and consistent Fred’s theology was and how well it fit with the real world as we experience it.  Your tossing of insults without logical backing has been infuriating.

    As to the connection between “Sea Hitler” and fundamentalism, there’s a strong correlation between people who unequivocally support the Israeli government and follow end times rapture-style prophecies.  Its not 100% by any means, but it fits the pattern of your overly defensive behavior regarding the Christian faith.  In actuality, the middle east is much more complicated than that.  Both side have been at fault, and the majority of population in either side is innocent.  These are the people that need help, not the terrorists nor the war criminals, just the regular folk just trying to get by.

    Finally, I don’t see much point in making you another list.  You tend to ignore posts that actually contradict your arguments such as the list of Glenn Beck mistakes you claimed didn’t exist.  But if you insist, I’ve had most direct experience with Bachmann as she’s embarrassed my state for far too long.  Here’s a taste.

    We’re in a state of crisis where our nation is literally ripping apart at the seams right now, and lawlessness is occurring from one ocean to the other. And we’re seeing the fulfillment of the Book of Judges here in our own time, where every man doing that which is right in his own eyes—in other words, anarchy.

    And again, don’t misunderstand. I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians, who are bisexual, who are transgender. We need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual identity disorders. This is a very real issue. It’s not funny, it’s sad.
    Any of you who have members of your family that are in the lifestyle — we have a member of our family that is. This is not funny. It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is “gay”. It’s anything but gay.

    I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.

    She’s made a career out of this for years.

  • Tonio

    Given Bachmann’s propensity for verbal gaffes, I’m surprised she’s remained in office this long. Between her and Perry, I see the latter as more dangerous to religious freedom. Both don’t seem to conceive of the US as a religiously pluralistic nation, but Perry seems to have more polish and political savvy.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Tonio: Bachmann reminds me of that O’Donnell lady Fred wrote about a while ago. She was also given to such verbal missteps.

  • rm

    Wow, the links that Turcano provides several comments up are indeed bizarre and scary. Reading those articles, I immediately thought of Frederick Douglass’s indictment of American religion (scroll down to the Appendix at the end here): “What I have said respecting and against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the SLAVEHOLDING RELIGION of this land, and with no possible reference to Christianity proper; for, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference — so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked.” The authors of that magazine have decided that the Slaveholding Religion was the true faith, and that the anti-slavery reformist faiths of New England were weeds planted by Satan. They want to take us back to the “manly” religion of the antebellum South, quite explicitly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    I think that Inigo Montoya has the right words for the troll re Obama:

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Beatrix:

    I’ll insult on occasion, when provoked

    You insult Brevik’s victims every time you call him Lee Harvey Norway (which is neither cute nor clever).

    How did the murdered children provoke you?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Obligatory EoA update post.

  • Anonymous

    So I had a bit of time on my hands and put together this compilation, all italics are direct quotes from Beatrix’s comment history, bold quotes from other people.“I have never lied on this blog, not once, not about anything, and you can’t show I did.”The Lying Liar Lies – A Tale of a Troll“Breivik was not a Christian”The Lying Liar Lies“At the age of 15 I chose to be baptised (sic) and confirmed in the Norwegian State Church” “I consider myself to be 100 percent Christian.”This thing about “Dominionism” is a made up farce, a lame, manufactured talking-point, and this was predicted weeks ago by one of the smartest bloggers on the web.So “Dominionism”, which noone ever heard of a month ago, suddenly just means “anything fundamentalist I don’t like”The Lying Liar LiesI didn’t accuse him of “hating” anybody, or all protestantism.The Lying Liar LiesI think your average age is 21, you commenters; furthermore, your host, who clearly doesn’t read his own comments section, hates American Protestantism; which is fine, and even understandable; but me, when I dislike a religion (say Islam) I don’t join it, let alone dedicate a religious blog to how I’m a member of it but I hate it.Paul Krugman is a clown with no record of being right on anythingThe Lying Liar LiesBeck didn’t steal your money or anyone else’s.  I haven’t watched him since he was on CNN – not a dedicated fan – but apparently the man is very canny, and not just canny about money.  I mean, when has he been wrong?  Ever, really?The Lying Liar LiesThere have been more abortionists mudered in America on Law and Order than in reality.The Lying Liar LiesSo I checked. A poster on the Straight Dope forums claims that there have been 5 cases of abortion doctors being murdered on L&O and its spinoffs: 3 on L&O proper, 1 on SVU and 1 on Criminal Intent. My own check of episode listings suggests that this may be overcounted by 1; while I found three episodes of L&O featuring abortion violence, in one of them (S1E12, “Life Choice”) the deceased was an anti-abortion protester.The actual record of anti-abortion violence in the US is as follows: – 8 murders, of which 4 were doctors, 2 receptionists, 1 clinic escort and 1 security guard – at least 9 people (including at least one more doctor, not counting Dr. Tiller who was later shot dead in a separate attack) injured in shooting or bombing attacks  – at least 16 attempted murders, 3 kidnappings, 150+ assaults – at least 41 bombings, 173 arson attacks, 91 attempted bombings or arsons – over a thousand death threats and bomb threats – something on the order of three thousand cases of trespass or vandalismSo by my count, the original statement is false: the number of abortion doctors murdered on Law and Order and its spinoffs does not exceed the number of actual fatalities in the US, and considering the total record of violence is not especially disproportionate.If you want to dispute these figures, I’d suggest producing a list of the specific Law and Order episodes that you are claiming.Andrew G. 1 week ago in reply to BeatrixChristians offer no terroristic threats to anyone anywhere on the planetThe Lying Liar LiesAccording to the simple and literal meaning of the word, and its standard application, a genocide is not completed and accomplished if there are survivors.The Lying Liar LiesLee Harvey Norway is not “Christian-identified”.  Neither was Timothy McVeigh and neither was Hitler. The Lying Liar LiesI am the one and only me, and I’m gone after this night.TLDR: THE LYING LIAR LIES

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Nice work mal, but you missed my all-time favourite:

    I know more than you. I’ve read a few things.

  • Madhabmatics

    Malpollyon, that last one got my hopes up. Why you gotta dredge up my hopes like some sort of tugboat. Are you from New England or something?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    TLDR: THE LYING LIAR LIES

    And upon the end of the pronouncement of the mighty Mapollyon, a great silence was heard across Alternia, as the skies opened and a legion of angels descended chanting an unending litany of Oh Snaps.

  • Anonymous

    Also, fuck disqus with a rusty spork. I had to edit that comment 4 times to get the line breaks all back in.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Say, Fred, if you’re still reading this far in…

    On at least three occasions in the past year or so you’ve pretty explicitly referred to people in the comments section–two who were being asshat trolls and one whose aunt hunted you down to yell over the phone (I *loved* your post in response to that last one, btw).

    Anyway, I got simultaneously fangirly at the knowledge that you read the comments (at least, to an extent) and are prompted to respond in your way, and sad at the realisation that one needs to engage in supreme dickishness (or have an aunt willing to do same) to be so engaged.

    So if you ever feel like giving a lucky door prize of a shout out to any of us who are not trying to be dicks, go right ahead. I can picture people jumping up and down with nerdish glee in front of computers all over the globe :)

  • Hawker40

    As a 20 year enlisted man (1984-2004) in the US Navy, I did see a few enlisted Dominionist.  A few.  Like a half dozen.  I did not see a single Dominionist officer, not even a chaplain.  And I work on a Navy base now, and still haven’t seen any Dominionist officers and no more enlisted.

    They aren’t trying to take over the navy.  You can’t conquer a country with a navy.

  • Anonymous

    From what I understand, most of the dominionists in the military were trying to go in through the Air Force, because that’s where the nukes were.  But that makes very little sense to me; it’s easier to fire off a nuke from a boomer than it is from a silo in Wisconsin.

    The US Army’s NORTHCOM, on the other hand….

  • rm

    I always thought it was because the Air Force Academy is in Colorado Springs. The other academies are in historic spots on the East Coast, where evangelical culture doesn’t dominate the entire local culture.

  • Hawker40

    I wouldn’t say that.  IIRC, to launch a nuke from a silo takes the cooperation of three men (one in the command center, two in the silo).  On the submarine, it takes a good portion of the crew… and if a substantial percentage object, it would be very hard to launch.

  • Anonymous

    Well, you can tell what my MOS *wasn’t*. =)

  • Hawker40

    Well, I worked in communications.  You have to learn a lot of ‘proceedures’ for other jobs.  They have more safeguards on ‘boomers’ because the sub captain ‘could’ order a launch on his own authority… theoretically.  Missile Silos need a command authority to order the launch, OR be out of touch with command authority for a period of time to launch.
    (I might be wrong, but I’m positive.)

  • Beady Sea

    I’m late and I haven’t read all the comments yet, but the conservative trolls accusing liberals of making this up bewilder me. I knew about dominionism (though not by that name) in 1990 and even earlier. I was raised in it. My parents were totally about Old Testament law and stoning and the gold standard and thought “separation of church and state” was anti-Christian. I don’t remember them using the word “dominion theology” but I do remember them giving me a lot of Gary North to read. These communities exist and have obviously influenced a lot of the more theocratic political candidates these days.

    If you don’t like the idea that conservative political candidates have dominionist influences, don’t deny that those communities exist, just find political candidates that aren’t influenced by them…

  • Ima Pseudonym

    It’s been a thing since about 1992 or thereabouts.  At least for me.  

  • Ima Pseudonym

    It’s been a thing since about 1992 or thereabouts.  At least for me.  

  • Hawker40

    Heck, a lot of the NeoCon leaders were Trotskyites in the 1960’s.  It’s like when they figured out that they couldn’t get into positions of power from the left, they abandoned Communism for Facism without batting an eye.

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    My own favourite comparison of Dominionists and Communists is Lysenkoism. Biological science conflicts with your ideology in some way, or comes from an ideologically unsound source? No problem: make up your own approved version and enforce the teaching and use of it despite the results. And it can work for climate science and other fields.

  • Anonymous

    Beer:” Women’s suffrage is responsible for Prohibition and weak beer.

    I was going to say that’s arguably true (at least the Prohibition part), because women were a large portion of the temperance movement,  but then I remembered that prohibition was the 18th amendment…  women’s suffrage was the 19th

    Being told “we’re taking over the world/we’re the alien youth/we’re coming for your souls” and “every day the kingdom is advancing/the earth invasion has just begun” (Skillet).

    Skillet has Dominionist leanings?  I actually liked their songs, although I can’t honestly say I’m surprised, ‘Whispers in the Dark”s lyrics made me think of a stalker more than anything else.

    According to the simple and literal meaning of the word, and its standard application, a genocide is not completed and accomplished if there are survivors.

    I mean… I suppose this could be argued, but… damn.  ‘It’s not a genocide because they didn’t *actually* kill everyone, therefore okay’ is pretty low on the list of things that are low.

    Well, I worked in communications.  You have to learn a lot of ‘proceedures’ for other jobs.  They have more safeguards on ‘boomers’ because the sub captain ‘could’ order a launch on his own authority… theoretically.  Missile Silos need a command authority to order the launch, OR be out of touch with command authority for a period of time to launch.

    In theory, sure… is there actually anything preventing a the silo crew launching of their own initiative?  I imagine so, but given the somewhat… sporadic… nature of military competence… (especially since the system was specifically designed to be fail-deadly.)


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X