Barber: No Dominionism, Just Taking Over the Government

Barber: No Dominionism, Just Taking Over the Government October 17, 2011

The endlessly ridiculous Matt Barber says that those who are critical of the religious right’s dominionist tendencies are inventing it out of thin air — they have no intention of taking dominion over the country, they just want to take over the government:

They’re painting those who call for a return to moral principle in public policy “dominionist” bogeymen who seek to “take over government” and impose an American, Taliban-like theocracy.

This, of course, is propagandist nonsense– a silly ploy intended to frighten into action both the “progressive” base and fence-sitting independents.

Still, this much they have right: Christians and constitutionalists alike do intend to win the ongoing war for our culture. We do intend to “take over government” insofar as this means ensuring that true, traditionalist statesmen are elected to office.

The important part, of course, is what happens when those people take over. Kiss reproductive rights goodbye. And you can forget even the most basic equal protection for gays and lesbians; these people literally want to go back to the days when they were thrown in jail. There would be a crackdown on anything they regard as indecent. Funny, that sounds a lot like a Taliban-like theocracy, doesn’t it?

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  • Tualha

    Jail? Oh dear me no. Mental hospitals. Electroshock, baby. Drugs. Force those nasty sinful tendencies out.

  • gshelley

    I’ve heard of cognitive dissonance, but even in Barber’s head, I can’t see how this statement makes any sense. They don’t want to take over government and impose their morality on the country they just want to ‘take over government’ and impose their morality on the country

  • Aquaria

    You can also roll back all women’s rights to at least the stone age.

  • collinb

    Let me get this straight, Ed. You really, really believe that traditional view of government, that small-r republicanism (identified by Mark Noll as core in the evangelical relationship with government [see Scandal of the Evangelical Mind]), a place for something other than Rationalist values, and other traditional matters amounts to a Taliban-equivalent system? Could you go into some detail as to what these similarities might be and how broadly they are apparently held within the evangelical community? Which seminaries are teaching them? Which profs? Which books? How big (% of evangelicals) in this consensus?

  • Dennis N

    I’m pretty sure all Ed said is that Matt Barber is an idiot. Do you not agree?

  • collinb:

    Sorry. Your attempt to “get this straight” didn’t even come close. In fact, your first sentence was simply gibberish.

  • Michael Heath

    Herman Cain’s interview with David Gregory on yesterday’s Meet the Press was fascinating and frustrating. On the social issues we saw a candidate which fits Matt Barber’s fantasy.

    Mr. Cain clearly argued he stood for “traditional marriage”, having the states decide, and would unenthusiastically sign a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Mr. Gregory, as always, cowardly refused to follow-up Cain’s answer by challenging his fealty to the plain language of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment which explicitly prohibits states from depriving individuals of their equal rights.

    Mr. Cain also clearly articulated he believed abortion should be illegal in cases of rape and incest. His idiotic rationale was that this was a somewhat rare event. Again Mr. Gregory cowardly or idiotically failed to follow-up by asking Mr. Cain why he was opposed to individual liberty rights.

    Mr. Gregory did however follow-up his rape/incest question with where Cain stood on abortion rights when the life of the mother was at stake. Mr. Cain’s response was that the woman shouldn’t be allowed to exercise her right to life, but instead, “the family should decide”, a point which he repeated. I took that to mean the patriarch. Mr. Gregory once again failed to follow-up for clarification on what Cain meant “by the family” or introduce pragmatic examples like a pregnant women in an emergency room where no family members were present. But it’s clear, Mr. Cain doesn’t believe women have an individual right to life equal to that of men and in fact argues that men should hold power over women’s right to life in certain cases.

    A Supreme Court case a fews years back reviewed emergency room practioner testimony which revealed that getting in touch with judges or family members, even if they were easily available, stands directly opposed to the interests of treating the pregnant woman since they didn’t have the time nor the resources to get a judge or other family member’s consent in many cases. This was the rare case where we got to hear recorded audio of a Supreme Court hearing. Though I don’t follow the abortion rights debate very closely even I know this; so I see zero excuses for someone like David Gregory who is paid to know such things and obligated to follow-up to better inform his audience.

    Mr. Cain also had a Sarah Palin moment in that interview. While we’ve already discovered that Mr. Cain knows nothing about economics and cares little about foreign policy, he clearly revealed in that interview he didn’t know anything about what a neocon was or what they advocated. I’d argue that’s a far bigger failure than Palin’s ignorance regarding the so-called and then tepidly presented Bush Doctrine justification invading Iraq in 2003. Mr. Cain also arrogantly claimed he was still the right guy to be president because in spite of his vain ignorance, he can make great decisions once the experts lay-out the facts.

    Herman Cain is a smart guy. But he’s a classic example of a smart successful guy who thinks he’s informed by following Sean Hannity’s show while demonstrating his behavior is a classic example of the Dunning-Krueger effect.

    David Gregory, like his predecessor Tim Russert interviewing Mike Huckabee on the Fairtax in ’07/’08, also failed spectacularly in the portion of the interview where Gregory covered Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. While the plan itself would be a disaster in the making and never pass Congress, Gregory greatly helped Cain’s cause by showing only ignorant ideological bias towards the plan coupled to his own idiocy that state and local tax burdens are relevant when discussing the merits of Cain’s proposals, where Cain was right, they aren’t.

    Gregory also failed to assimilate Cain’s correctly pointing-out in the interview that the consumption tax portion wouldn’t be as burdensome as Gregory’s expert incorrectly noted. That’s because his plan also cut business taxes which are hidden in the prices of the goods and services we buy.

    Mr. Cain did himself no favors with informed viewers however since he doesn’t understand his own plan beyond the talking points. For example, how much his plan would cut embedded taxes in prices so we could understand the net impact to prices by cutting business taxes while adding a 9% consumption tax. He also failed to note is plan would have the vast majority of workers paying for consumption with gross income minus 9% (income tax rate) since his plan eradicates payroll withholding taxes beyond the 9% rate. So they’d have more take-home pay and pay lower prices with his plan. Those are features Cain couldn’t dig into. Cain’s plan would be catastrophic, but not for the reasons Gregory laid out except for how incredibly regressive it is.

  • Aquaria “You can also roll back all women’s rights to at least the stone age”

    I know there aren’t likely to be any representatives of H sapiens neanderthalensis or the like reading this blog, so no one is likely to be offended, but I do wish people would think a bit before making statements like that.

    Hunter-gatherer societies (if that’s what you meant) modern or, presumably, ancient as well, don’t in general have the club ’em on the head and drag ’em off by the hair culture that you are implying. That’s as foreign to them (in general) as horns are to tenth century Norse helmets. Codified ‘rights’ aren’t really applicable to those societies, but the relative worth of men and women seems, while various, usually much more equal. Subjugation of women is (relative to say the paleolithic or even the neolithic) a very modern phenomenon. To take an example at (extremely) random, curtailment of property ownership by women in mediæval England is largely a product of the Norman Conquest.

  • Tualha

    I know there aren’t likely to be any representatives of H sapiens neanderthalensis or the like reading this blog…

    Actually, most of us have some Neanderthal genes, and those of us on the autistic spectrum, like myself, may have more than the average. Time will tell.

    So, Thog say, respect Thog’s culture 😉

  • slc1

    Re Ed Brayton @ #6

    The collinb in #4 sounds suspiciously like our old friend Collin Brende**ehl who was banned from the old Scienceblogs Culture Wars blog as this is the sort of moronic comment he contributes to Jason Rosenhouse’s blog.

  • Ferrous Patella

    “…these people literally want to go back to the days when they were thrown in jail.”

    What? They are literally trying to build a time machine?

  • Tualha

    “Ferrous Patella”? Oh, the iron knee…

  • raven

    Theocracies got a bad reputation millennia ago. They don’t work.

    The current leading theocracies in the world today are Iran, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Lifespans in the latter two are about 45 years, 30 years less than in the USA.

  • raven

    Xian theocrats and the usual fundie Haters, Liars, Morons, and sometimes Terrorists have had one notable success.

    US xianity is dying slowly. According to the NCC, 1.5 million people dropped off the rolls last year. The Southern Baptist cult has their membership being cut in half in a few decades.

    It’s a race between whether the fundies destroy US xianity first or the USA itself.

    They do have a good chance of destroying the USA and have made some amazing progress. It turns out the US economy is our weak point and quite fragile. Bush spent 8 years wrecking it for a decade. One more Tea Party Christofascist economy wrecking president and our economy and country may never recover.

  • I’m a heterosexual male, and even I’ve got plenty of reason to fear loss of rights in a Dominionist theocracy. If I stumble onto Ms. Right and want to get married, they’d probably nullify it for reasons just as arbitrary as their reasons for banning same sex marriage. And that’s probably before they find out I’m an atheist.

  • John Hinkle

    We do intend to “take over government” insofar as this means ensuring that true, traditionalist statesmen are elected to office.

    As usual, someone like Barber knows how to dress his language in code speak, because if spoke plainly he probably couldn’t pull in as much money.

  • d cwilson

    It never ceases to amaze me how these dominionists have succeeded in rewriting history. Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists was written as a promise to the evangelicals that the government would not interfere with their religious practices. Now they’ve turned things upsidedown and convinced themselves that the Founding Fathers were a bunch of evangelicals who envisioned a theocracy that was somehow stolen away from them by the evil secularists.

  • d cwilson

    I’ve heard of cognitive dissonance, but even in Barber’s head, I can’t see how this statement makes any sense. They don’t want to take over government and impose their morality on the country they just want to ‘take over government’ and impose their morality on the country

    Remember, these are people who define “Freedom” as the “right of everyone to live exactly the way we tell them to”. Cognitive dissonance is their default setting.

  • Chiroptera

    collinb, #4: You really, really believe that traditional view of government, that small-r republicanism (identified by Mark Noll as core in the evangelical relationship with government [see Scandal of the Evangelical Mind]), a place for something other than Rationalist values, and other traditional matters amounts to a Taliban-equivalent system?

    I think what Ed is talking about is what real life actual conservatives and real life actual big-R Republicans are saying. And what they are saying is nuts.

    Also, these nuts don’t even have even the least familiarity with real history, so they don’t actually have any ideas of what “traditional values” even means.

  • Tualha

    Right you are and that was lurking in the back of my mind as I wrote it. I was just trying to be a bit tongue-in-cheeky.

    And of course (whatever it may mean) the size of Thog the Neanderthal’s brain would likely have been above that of modern H. sapiens sapiens.

  • collinb

    It’s not really so amazing to read what is presented here. The term “religious right” has an understood meaning, but not “dominionist.” For instance, there are liberal and postmodern dominionists even today who teach things like “creation care.” Likewise, the postmill approach of those classed in that camp (Rushdoony & his fellow theonomists) are actually employing a unitarian theological system.

    So while Ed, though clearly insightful as to what constitutes problems, his solutions often lack a full historical insight. That’s why I complained — something as simple as conflating RR with Dom amounts to being seriously uninformed.

    So while banning may be the method of choice it is not what would normally be considered a source for productive discussion.

    Ed,

    What was unclear? I await answers to some quite simple questions, but I will also not hold my breath.

    Raven,

    ** US xianity is dying slowly. **

    Evangelicalism is stagnant, having sat at about 15%-18% of the population for about half a century now. Even Christine Wicker has acknowledged this. It is outside of evangelicalism that things have become really bleak. Fortunately, though, the US is not how Christianity is defined.

    d cwilson,

    I agree. Barton, while publishing some things that the secularists would rather hide, has also come to some wrong conclusions.

  • I’m sure slc is correct, this is indeed Brendemuehl. I should have spotted the vaguely intellectual-sounding bullshit the first time, but he hasn’t visited my blog in many years and I’d long since forgotten about him. The second message, full of the same gibberish, is no better than the first. And he is no more welcome here than he was at the old Dispatches.

  • DaveL

    You really, really believe that traditional view of government, that small-r republicanism (identified by Mark Noll as core in the evangelical relationship with government [see Scandal of the Evangelical Mind]), a place for something other than Rationalist values, and other traditional matters amounts to a Taliban-equivalent system?

    “Something other than Rationalist values?”

    “Other traditional matters?”

    You can cloak it in whatever flowery language you want, but here is the reality of actual policy positions such people have actually been advocating:

    -A nationwide ban on gay marriage, which helps nobody but actively hurts actual real-life gay people.

    -Re-criminalizing homosexuality, in other words putting actual real-life people in jail for being gay.

    -Official establishment of Christianity in public schools, in the form of mandatory prayer, sectarian bible study, and the censorship of science education according to religious dictates.

    -A radical rescinsion of women’s reproductive rights, including not only abortion but contraception as well. In case you didn’t know, that translates directly into massive child poverty and women (actual real-life women) dying in back-alley abortions.

    You can call it a defense of tradition if you want, but that’s the same rationale offered by the Klu Klux Klan. Strip away the spin and what you find is a wholesale assault on fundamental human rights.

  • “Barber: No Dominionism, Just Taking Over the Government”

    Excuse me, but that IS Dominionism…

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Michael Heath @ # 7: Again Mr. Gregory cowardly or idiotically failed to follow-up …

    A third possibility: Gregory knew that his network’s policy requires not getting tough on popular Republicans, and that others even more docile hunger for his position.

    This in turn raises the question of his bosses’ motivations, for which I (happily tv-less) have little more than speculation. Explicit partisan bias, for pecuniary or ideological reasons? Fear of organized insta-mobs lighting up the switchboard? Risk of boycott by other demagogues?

    The pathology of US media failure has multiple deep roots you betcha.