Sunday, August 28, 2005

marching as to war

The witty and erudite Joseph at Martini Republic (drinks are on us) suggested to some of the members of the Greater LA Bloggers Alliance (I made that name up) that we follow his lead and make a concerted effort to post about topics of religion and faith on Saturdays, and I think that's a grand idea.

Well, it's still Saturday night here, as anyone who knows my rules is aware, "It's still today until you go to bed. When you wake up it will be tomorrow."

When I wake up tomorrow, Sunday, I'll be afraid to find this from

Oklahoma is one of the few states where influential people have little fear that their credibility could be undermined by being openly identified with Rushdoony or with the Chalcedon Foundation that he started. I suspect that the Daily Oklahoman is the only major daily newspaper in the world to eulogize Rushdoony on its editorial page and State Representative Bill Graves of Oklahoma City is one of the few elected officials in the country who writes articles for the Chalcedon Report -- the Foundation’s monthly newsletter. Bill Graves has articles published in both the January and the March 2002 issues of the Chalcedon Report.

Openly identifying with Rushdoony and the Reconstructionist movement is problematic for people in the public eye because Rushdoony was an adamant opponent of the First Amendment to the constitution. His magnum opus, published in 1973, is an 800 page tome patterned after Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion that Rushdoony entitled The Institutes of Biblical Law. On page 294, Rushdoony gives an indication why he believes that the American system of pluralistic democracy is heresy. He wrote, “In the name of toleration, the believer is asked to associate on a common level of total acceptance with the atheist, the pervert, the criminal, and the adherents of other religions.”

The writer, Dr. Bruce Prescott, of the Interfaith Alliance forum on Religious Extremism, goes on to say:

If Rushdoony and his disciples had their way, democracy would be abolished and a Christian theocracy would be established. A theocracy based on the Bible along the lines of John Cotton’s Massachusetts Bay Colony. Rushdoony wrote, “The only true order is founded on Biblical Law. All law is religious in nature, and every non-Biblical law-order represents an anti-Christian religion.” (p. 113) He also made it clear that he expects that force will be necessary to impose such order, “Every law-order is in a state of war against the enemies of that order, and all law is a form of warfare.” (p. 93)

At its root, Reconstructionism is a militant Biblicism. In many ways, it is a revival of the holy war theology of the Hebrew Bible under the guise of Christianity. The chief difference being that Reconstructionists believe they have a mandate to claim more than the land of Palestine, they believe they are commanded to conquer the entire world and exercise “dominion” over all its peoples. That is why Reconstructionism is also known as “dominion theology.”

To a man, Reconstructionists believe that Biblical prophecies assure them that they will ultimately be victorious in the war they wage. This chief thing that distinguishes them from a lot of the conservative Christians who have been influenced by them is that they are not pessimistic about the possibility of men ushering in the millennial reign of Christ. A lot of conservative Christians are pre-millenialists. They think Jesus has to return to usher in the kingdom of God on earth. Reconstructionists are post-millenialists. They think Jesus expects them to usher in the kingdom of God before he returns and they expect to do it by force – by force of law and/or by force of arms.

This was found by my lovely wife Pam in a comment to a Huffpo article by Russell Shaw: What's Really Bothering Pat Robertson About Chavez.

I have some substantial experience with the evangelical right, from my days in Orange County, when I took care of technical issues for recording studios belonging to 2 of the largest of these organizations. How they went about running Christian record labels is another story, but I can state with certainty that these feelings are colse to the surface with many people, even those who seem calmer and more sane.

That the US would assume a theocratic government is a true dream of many of these folks. They prefess to love the Original Intent of the framers of the Constitution, but never mind, Jefferson's "Separation" seems inconvenient. And yet the Dominionist ideology is riddled with inconsistencies.

When quoting scripture to support Radical Right positions on poverty (7Jesus replied, "Leave her alone. She did it in preparation for my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer."), they seem to believe in a laissez faire attitude, in other words, that which is ordained will be.

And yet regarding other issues they preach that zealous activism is needed. On the one hand" "Unto Caeser what is Caesar's", on the other hand:

The laws that Reconstructionists want to enforce are those of Ancient Israel. They believe that the Mosaic law is God’s blueprint for all societies. Transported to the context of twenty-first century America, they see themselves as “Christian Libertarians.” Stripped to its barest essentials, here is their blueprint for America. Their ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Constitution conform to a strict, literal interpretation of Biblical law. To do that involves a series of legal and social reforms that will move society toward their goal. 1) Make the ten commandments the law of the land, 2) Reduce the role of government to the defense of property rights, 3) Require “tithes” to ecclesiastical agencies to provide welfare services, 4) Close prisons – reinstitute slavery as a form of punishment and require capital punishment for all of ancient Israel’s capital offenses – including apostacy, blasphemy, incorrigibility in children, murder, rape, Sabbath breaking, sodomy, and witchcraft, 5) Close public schools – make parents totally responsible for the education of their children, and 6) Strengthen patriarchically ordered families.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.