Posted by: maboulette | September 24, 2011

DOMINIONISM PART I

Sarah Palin addressing the Republican National...

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Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Sarah Palin aren’t just devout—all have deep ties to a fringe fundamentalist movement known as Dominionism, which says Christians should rule the world. 

With Tim Pawlenty out of the presidential race, it is now fairly clear that the GOP candidate will either be Mitt Romney or someone who makes George W. Bush look like Tom Paine. 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, Rick Perry and Sarah Palin 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 eccentric, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult. Most writers who explore it have been called paranoid. In a contemptuous 2006 First Things review of several books, including Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy, and Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote, “the fear of theocracy has become a defining panic of the Bush era.” 

Now, however, we have the most theocratic Republican field 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. And a recent Texas Observer cover story on Rick Perry examined his relationship with the New Apostolic Reformation, a Dominionist variant of Pentecostalism that coalesced about a decade ago. “[W]hat 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.” 

In many ways, Dominionism is more a political phenomenon than a theological one. It cuts across Christian denominations, from stern, austere sects to the signs-and-wonders culture of modern mega churches. Think of it like political Islamism, which shapes the activism of a number of antagonistic fundamentalist movements, from Sunni Wahabis in the Arab world to Shiite fundamentalists in Iran.


Responses

  1. You have nothing to fear from Christians. none of these candidates advocate a theocratic government. However I find it interesting that you fear someone that ascribes to Christian principles in the way they look at life yet have no fear of a man that obviously espouses the intolerance of Islam and the likes of Rev. Wright. I think that says a lot about your perspective of things.

  2. Even the slightest application of reason, logic, and common sense would dictate that it is practically impossible and certainly irresponsible to host a “dominionism” discussion absent a bold and direct reference to Sara Diamond. Before buying into the left-wing ‘dominion’ hype, before nesting in her bed covers, the informed political observer should, at the very least, read Diamond’s “Road To Dominion”. Let’s hope that the subsequent ‘parts’ of this ‘discussion’ at least give credit where credit is due. I mean, after all, it is HER word.


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