Monday, August 15, 2011

A Dominionist Movement For Theocratic Government?

By Michelle Goldberg - Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional.

Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outré, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult.

We [now] have the most theocratic Republican field [of Presidential candidates] in American history, and suddenly, the concept of Dominionism is reaching mainstream audiences. Writing about Bachmann in The New Yorker this month, Ryan Lizza spent several paragraphs explaining how the premise fit into the Minnesota congresswoman’s intellectual and theological development.

A recent Texas Observer cover story on Rick Perry by Forrest Wilder examined his relationship with the New Apostolic Reformation, a Dominionist variant of Pentecostalism that coalesced about a decade ago. In many ways, Dominionism is more a political phenomenon than a theological one. [Pastors in the movement believe themselves to be modern day prophets or apostles, directly linked to God.

Their aim, explained the article author Forrest Wilder, is "to infiltrate government, and Rick Perry might be their man."]

“What makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government,” wrote Forrest Wilder. Its members “believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take ‘dominion’ over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the ‘Seven Mountains’ of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world.”

The "New Apostles" believe they're intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an 'army of God' to commandeer civilian government.
Dominionism derives from a small fringe sect called Christian Reconstructionism, founded by a Calvinist theologian named R. J. Rushdoony in the 1960s. Christian Reconstructionism openly advocates replacing American law with the strictures of the Old Testament, replete with the death penalty for homosexuality, abortion, and even apostasy.

Read the full story @ The Daily Beast / Newsweek

Rachel Maddow discussed Texas Gov. Rick Perry's prayer event, The Response, which took place in early August 2011. The event "raised eyebrows," she noted, for involving pastors known for their extreme conservative views. A number of the pastors have something more in common explained Maddow:

"Many of them are part of a little-known, very specific religious and political movement... The New Apostolic Reformation."
Just days before Perry is expected to announce his presidential run, Maddow expressed concern that the Texas governor was able to hold a very public prayer event, largely organized by members of this group, without the Beltway media exposing who they really are.

Listen to Michelle Goldberg on Sam Seder's new Majority Report podcast.

Watch the clip from Maddow's Wednesday show below, including a montage of the New Apostolic pastors' more bizarre comments:

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