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Wed

23

Jan

2008

Dominionism’s Huckster
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 12:38
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

 
Mike Huckabee’s down-home, folksy media image is just that: an image, a facade not unlike the sheep’s clothing the proverbial wolf wears to conceal its pending lethal attack. What Huckabee wants to eviscerate is the United States Constitution and the civil society it supports.

What he wants to mold from the carcass is a theofascist state based on a literal application of the Old Testament, with divinely-appointed Huckabee presiding.

Joe Conason’s January 18, 2008 article peaked under the wolf’s cloak:
At a public forum on the eve of the Michigan primary, while mocking Republican opponents who don't want to append a “marriage amendment” or a “life amendment” to the Constitution, [Huckabee] said: “ 
The word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards.” …
But those offending phrases may have had even deeper significance. Not so long ago, he attributed his rising political fortunes, after many experts had written off his campaign, to the hand of the Almighty. “There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one,” he said. “It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people, and that’s the only way that our campaign could be doing what it's doing... That’s honestly why it’s happening."
Dominionism: Like all groups, even those that advocate extremist agendas, have a spectrum. As Mr. Conason noted, “The looniest dominionists publicly insist that a pious government would inflict Old Testament punishments, including death, on blasphemers, pornographers, homosexuals, adulterers and even disobedient children. They constantly talk about their duty to institute biblical rule in the United States.”

 


Given his belief that “God” is intervening in the primaries on his behalf, one has to wonder if “Huck” isn’t one of those “looniest dominionists” and is just keeping that fact under the sheep’s clothing, for now. He has, after all, suggested putting all gay people who test HIV+ in concentration camps. Apparently Mr. Huckabee is unaware the heterosexual men and women also test HIV+, as do children. But then again, fascists and theofascists such as Hitler and the Taliban also condemned only certain groups to the camps and death.

What does Huckabee think of gay Americans, especially those who are fighting for the civil right to enter into the civil institution called “marriage”? (It is, after all, the state that issues a marriage license, not a church or some religious organization.)

In his own words, from an interview the candidate gave to Steven Waldman and Dan Gilgoff and posted on BeliefNet:
[Interviewer]: Is it your goal to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible? Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations.

[Huckabee]: Well, I don’t think that’s a radical view to say we’re going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic.
“Variety of biblical interpretations”? Dominionists don’t acknowledge as valid any interpretation other than their own: absolute literalism.

As for gay Americans who fall in love and wish to commit their lives to each other, Huchabee directly equates them and their relationships to bestiality. As Greg Sargent noted in his commentary on Huckabee’s statement, “it’s worth pointing out that Huck’s quote above doesn’t even use the tried-and-true ‘slippery slope’ argument to couch his view that homosexuality is akin to bestiality. It’s a direct equivalence.” Mr. Sargent’s posting drew over 213 comments. A sampling tells the tale:
  1. Gay marriage = polygamy = bestiality
  2. I’ve heard this garbage before, and it disgusts me to no end.
  3. Not to mention him equating homosexuality with pedophilia.This guy is scary and the media has to stop finding him “charming.” This is an outrageous belief for anyone, let alone a presidential candidate, to have.
  4. What a loathsome ignoramus. What is it with Republicans and their obsession with sex between humans and animals? If he’s elected president, I'm moving to Canada.
  5. What about divorce and adultery? Both are explicitly condemned in the Bible. Jesus said clearly that divorce is only permitted when a spouse commits adultery. “No fault” divorce is a new invention, and adultery was illegal in most states until the 20th century. Why not Constitutional amendments on these issues, Huckabee?
  6. I hope people do understand that it is quite possible to be conservatively religious and still find Huckabee's beliefs to be an abomination and extremely anti-Biblical. He's more like one of the Pharisees described in the New Testament. Read what Jesus had to say about them!!
  7. Huckabee's mind-set is exactly what is wrong with him. Apparently a religious upbringing results in many a blind-spot which is why some think that a belief in the supernatural is a form of mental illness. His views about amending the Constitution are very scary considering the Founding Fathers did their outmost best to keep religion and God out of it. They could easily have used God rather than the word Creator, but realized the need to keep religion out of Government. Now we have Huckabee wanting to change all that. His views about homosexuality also point to religious based drivel – what I call the arrogance of the ignorant. [italics added]
In his assertions that “once we change the definition [of “traditional marriage”], the door is open to change it again” and “I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic,” Huckabee again demonstrated his arrogant ignorance and Dominionist goals. The definition of “traditional marriage” has changed quite regularly throughout history. Many of the biblical patriarchs had more than one wife. David had twenty-three wives, and Solomon a lot more than that. Marriages were once arranged and the woman thought of and treated as little more than property. Legalizing interracial marriage was once called a threat to “traditional marriage” by those who clutched their Bibles tightly… and literally.

If an institution is to survive, it must evolve as society evolves. But evolving institutions in an evolving society are anathema to Dominionists. They desire to devolve into a dark biblical past when killing blasphemers, pornographers, homosexuals, adulterers and disobedient children was deemed “righteous.” Some, such as Rev. Mark H. Creech, even claim “Universal health care [is] Unbiblical socialism.”

“Reconstructionist” is another name for Dominionists. Not surprisingly, as Mr. Conason noted:
 
[Huckabee] still maintains contact with reconstructionist leaders … Just last month, Huckabee attended a campaign fundraiser at the Houston home of Dr. Steven Hotze, who became one of the nation's most notorious advocates of dominionist ideology when he led the religious right’s takeover of the Texas Republican Party.
 
Years before he became a Republican Party activist, Hotze played a role in the Coalition on Revival, one of the early organizations promoting reconstructionist thought among evangelicals. The coalition’s 1986 “manifesto for the Christian church” urged believers to accept the Bible as “the final measurement and depository of certain fundamental facts of reality and basic principles that God wants all mankind to know in the sphere of law, government, economics, business, education, arts and communication, medicine, psychology, and science. All theories and practices of these spheres of life are only true, right, and realistic to the degree that they agree with the Bible. 
Does this sound nightmarishly similar to the late Jerry Falwell’s assertion that “The Bible is the inerrant...word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc”?

“Inerrant.” The proposition that a book cobbled together over 1500 years and canonized by men whose was to create a religion – they excluded any text that didn’t support their dogma – is prima facie preposterous to any enlightened, rational human being. But history and reason have nothing to do with Dominionism. They are, in fact, its archenemies.

What we call “The Bible” has gone through many translations, significant “cleansing” and editing throughout its history. It was written by over forty different authors from all walks of life – shepherds, farmers, tent-makers, physicians, fishermen, priests, philosophers and kings – over a period of some 1500 years (from around 1450 B.C. to about 100 A.D.). The sundry texts were written in various languages and dialects. Early translations went from Hebrew, into Aramaic and Greek, and from there:
 
180 A.D. Early translations of the New Testament from Greek into Latin, Syriac, and Coptic versions began about 180 A.D.

195 A.D. The name of the first translation of the Old and New Testaments into Latin was termed Old Latin, both Testaments having been translated from the Greek. Parts of the Old Latin were found in quotes by the church father Tertullian, who lived around 160-220 A.D. in north Africa and wrote treatises on theology.

300 A.D. The Old Syriac was a translation of the New Testament from the Greek into Syriac.

300 A.D. The Coptic Versions: Coptic was spoken in four dialects in Egypt. The Bible was translated into each of these four dialects.

380 A.D. The Latin Vulgate was translated by St. Jerome. He translated into Latin the Old Testament from the Hebrew and the New Testament from Greek. The Latin Vulgate became the Bible of the Western Church until the Protestant Reformation in the 1500's. It continues to be the authoritative translation of the Roman Catholic Church to this day. The Protestant Reformation saw an increase in translations of the Bible into the common languages of the people.

Other early translations of the Bible were in Armenian, Georgian, and Ethiopic, Slavic, and Gothic.

1380 A.D. The first English translation of the Bible was by John Wycliffe. He translated the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate. This was a translation from a translation and not a translation from the original Hebrew and Greek. Wycliffe was forced to translate from the Latin Vulgate because he did not know Hebrew or Greek. [www.bible.com: italics added]
“The Bible is the inerrant... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters … as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc” [italics added]. Only a dim, closeted (since the darkest of the Dark Ages) mind would believe that. But then again, history and the real world are the archenemies of Dominionism.

Nevertheless, Dominionists already occupy positions of power within the U.S. government. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has stated he believes “that government … derives its moral authority from God. Government is the ‘minister of God’ with powers to ‘revenge,’ to ‘execute wrath,’ including even wrath by the sword.” So much for the Declaration of Independence that clearly states the American government derives its “just powers” – moral and otherwise – “from the consent of the governed.”

America is a mess. The current president, once hailed by the Christianist Right as a divinely-appointed political messiah, is responsible for the needless deaths of millions. Even when he tried his blood-soaked hand at peace, he ran afoul of blood-thirsty, hate-mongering Christianist zealots:

Messianic believer concerned God may judge America with 2008 election

The head of a pro-Israel ministry [Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries] is concerned that God may allow the United States to suffer the same fate as ancient Israel for continuing to ignore God’s covenant with Jewish people. …

Jan Markell is a Messianic Jewish believer who directs Olive Tree Ministries in Minnesota. She shares that she is deeply disturbed about that summit [the late November 2007 international conference in Annapolis, Md., to promote the “two-state solution” for Israelis and Palestinians], believing that the U.S. could pay a serious price for Bush’s continued push for a Palestinian state to be carved out of God’s covenant land.
Since when does trying to achieve peace piss off God? But Ms. Markell’s fanaticism knows no bounds: 
“When Israel as a nation disobeyed, she got some pretty rotten kings. If she was in obedience, she got better kings – and we are entering an election year. I would hate to see America get judged because of what we’ve done, and the playing out of that judgment come through the election of 2008,” warns Markell. She says that the U.S. cannot continue to spit in the “apple of God’s eye.” … “Spit in the ‘apple of God's eye’”? That’s something only severely disturbed – and linguistically challenged – people who, in their own image, have concocted a mean-spirited, hateful “God” would say. And she did. And she also has an equally unhinged Dominionist chorus backing her.
When a non-Christian Congressman proposed a cabinet level Department of Peace, Dominionist and rabidly anti-gay Louis P. Sheldon and his daughter, Andrea Lafferty, chairman and executive director, respectively, of the Traditional Values Coalition attacked the idea and the man
First-term Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MI) recently returned from a taxpayer-funded trip to Norway where he studied peace and justice issues. His objective was to learn how to lobby for the creation of a cabinet level Department of Peace. …

“Rep. Ellison’s comments are ill informed and sophomoric. America has been the peacekeeper of the world for decades and we’ve spent millions to defend the freedoms of other nations from tyranny,” said TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty. …

Rep. Ellison was a keynote speaker at The Peace Alliance Annual Conference held in Washington, DC from February 3-5, 2007. The Peace Alliance is run by New Ager Marianne Williamson. The primary goal of The Peace Alliance is to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence in the U.S. Government.

The Department of Peace is also being pushed by Democrat Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinch (D-OH), who is a New Ager and committed leftist. (Kucinich married a fellow New Ager last year. Noted occultist Shirley MacLaine attended the wedding.)
Non sequitur and ad hominem arguments are the forte of Dominionists and, like all good religious fanatics, Sheldon and his TVC love violence and its metaphors. Lucky Louie’s TVC even has a “battle plan” for packing the courts with Dominionist sympathizers.

America is a mess. George W. Bush is arguably THE worst president, ever. He’s accomplished nothing other than bloody wars and infusing Christianist ideology into secular government. And Michael Dale Huckabee is George W. Bush’s evil twin.

The Democrats don’t offer much either. None of the candidates has the guts to support absolute civil equality for all Americans. They dance around equality issues such as same-sex marriage, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, workplace and housing non-discrimination legislation, even measures designed to provide a safer learning environment for all students in public schools.

None of the leading candidates has enough backbone to stand up to religious fanatics and affirm that all Americans are equal and deserve equal treatment. Perhaps the current crop of presidential candidates – beginning with Huckabee – should re-read the words of one great American and for once in their lives, think

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
- Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
 
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Bruce Wilson said:

0
Reconstructionism vs. Dominionism
I generally appreciate your writeup but I would suggest that what you are referring as "Dominionism" is related to but not interchangablre, as a term, with Christian Reconstructionism - which is a specific theolgical and political movement, whereas "Dominionism" is a political tendency that Reconstructionism has helped to create and shape.

As Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst For Political Research Associates (who has been studying and writing on the Christian Right for several decades) suggests, in a piece entitled The Christian Right, Dominionism and Theocracy" (part 1):

"More than anyone else, it was Sara Diamond who popularized the use of the term "dominionism" to describe a growing political tendency in the Christian Right. It is a useful term that has, unfortunately, been used in a variety of ways that are neither accurate nor useful. Diamond was careful to discuss how the small Christian Reconstructionist theological movement had helped introduce "dominionism" as a concept into the larger and more diverse social/political movements called the Christian Right.

Dominionism is therefore a tendency among Protestant Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists that encourages them to not only be active political participants in civic society, but also seek to dominate the political process as part of a mandate from God."

Best,
Bruce Wilson
 
February 02, 2008
Votes: +0

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