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. …


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.

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  • Geniasis

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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, 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.  

  • Presidential candidates should never, ever kick off their campaign with a public prayer meeting. I don’t care if he waited a week to “officially” toss his hat in, Perry deliberately timed this utterly inappropriate prayer meeting to draw attention to it.

  • I could be wrong, but I get the impression that the enlisted rank and file in the US armed forces are *not* into this craziness to anything like the degree that the academy graduates are.  If said officers actually attempted a Christianist military coup there would be interesting times indeed.

  • P J Evans

     Longer, I hope, than the other times.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

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

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart


    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?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    they were all either Catholics or otherwise tainted by Satan.



  • 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?

  • Anonymous

    Hee. It’s true! Our pastor and/or Jack Chick would never lie! I know what you people do, in your convents and monasteries and ‘cathedrals’… well, actually, I don’t, it’s vaguely hinted at, never actually stated, but clearly eviiiiiil, evil I tell you! AND you have (dramatic pause) graven images! In the forms of Jesus, and Mary, and Joseph! And praying to anyone who’s not Jesus is Satan worship! Actually, you need to pray specifically with “Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” otherwise your prayer might be intercepted by demons who also use the word Jesus, just to catch the unwary.

    I was reading a book this morning, Beyond the Western Sea, by Avi. There’s this scene where a young Irish boy, Patrick, is terrified to go into this church with a minister, and he cautions a new friend, “He’s a Protestant. Back home, they say don’t show them your tongue, or they’ll strangle you with it.” And that’s about what I thought of nuns, priests, and Catholics in general at that age.

    So yes. Catholic or otherwise Satanic! I couldn’t make this shit up, I swear.

  • Anonymous

    Hee. It’s true! Our pastor and/or Jack Chick would never lie! I know what you people do, in your convents and monasteries and ‘cathedrals’… well, actually, I don’t, it’s vaguely hinted at, never actually stated, but clearly eviiiiiil, evil I tell you! AND you have (dramatic pause) graven images! In the forms of Jesus, and Mary, and Joseph! And praying to anyone who’s not Jesus is Satan worship! Actually, you need to pray specifically with “Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” otherwise your prayer might be intercepted by demons who also use the word Jesus, just to catch the unwary.

    I was reading a book this morning, Beyond the Western Sea, by Avi. There’s this scene where a young Irish boy, Patrick, is terrified to go into this church with a minister, and he cautions a new friend, “He’s a Protestant. Back home, they say don’t show them your tongue, or they’ll strangle you with it.” And that’s about what I thought of nuns, priests, and Catholics in general at that age.

    So yes. Catholic or otherwise Satanic! I couldn’t make this shit up, I swear.

  • 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.)

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

    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?

  • Anonymous

    Personally speaking, I first heard of Dominionism in 2008, when
    Rushdoony’s financial backer, Howard Ahmanson, Jr., personally funded
    Proposition 8 to the tune of over a million dollars.

    Ahmanson was my introduction to Dominionism too, in 2004 or so, when I was first learning about the Discovery Institute and its work marketing intelligent design creationism.   (Ahmanson’s the DI’s main financial backer.)  The Wedge Document was clearly crafted to appeal to dominionist sensibilities–probably Ahmanson’s in particular.  Not that I think most ID spokesmen actually care much about dominionism, but you’ve got to please the guy who writes the checks….

  • Consumer Unit 5012


    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Just me

    We discussed Dominionism in my political science studies 10 years ago. You know, as part of my liberal, elite indoctrination.

  • 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.)

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

  • Crystal Kendrick

    It’s really strange then that I remember very clearly, say about 1995-ish, sitting in the little conservative church I was raised in and being warned about Dominionism and the disservice it did to Christianity as a whole.  Odd, isn’t it?  Dominionism is not a new term and most conservative Christians are at least cursorily familiar with it.

  • Crystal Kendrick

    And that’s how they infiltrate.  Someone hears something about these authors, they agree on some detail of doctrine- say abortion or the ten commandments, something fairly general; once that happens it’s hard to stop the onslaught.  The little branch of Christianity I was raised in once upon a time never brought up politics in the pulpit.  Now many of their members openly embrace the philosophy of David Barton and his Wallbuilders Foundation.  Scary stuff.

  • Crystal Kendrick

    Extreme tolerance for cognitive dissonance?

  • Crystal Kendrick

    This is evident.  Anecdotally, several family members who consider themselves middle of the road Methodists ate up the Left Behind series and own every title.

  • Crystal Kendrick

    Bad news is that many mainline Christians have unknowingly accepted many Dominionist ideals, and more than likely have monetarily funded them at one point or another.

  • Anonymous

    The technique you describe is known as ‘steeplejacking.’  And it pretty much works in that manner.

  • 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…

  • Madhabmatics

    Before I became a Muslim I went to a very liberal church in Alabama. There’s a Dominionist youth organization around here that literally had meeting on how to infiltrate lesser churches and make them embrace dominionism. They would plant “armor bearers” in the church whose goal was to suborn the people in authority over the church by getting close to the pastor and suggesting they replace current youth pastors, deacons, etc with ones that supported theocracy.

    It’s still very popular, if you’ve watched CBN you’ve probably seen 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.  

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Dominionists:  The Communist Party of the 21st Century?

  • Anonymous

    No, no. Can’t be. Communism Bad. Dominionism Good. As long as it’s Christian Dominionism, not–*ritual warding gestures*–sharia law.

  • Madhabmatics

    I’m always joking about them being secret Trotskyites, it’s my favorite joke. Glad I’m not the only one that has sees that comparison! :P

  • 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.