Monday, December 04, 2006

Progressive Christian Dominionists

On September 12, Rosie O'Donnell made a statement on ABC's The View that had many Christians in an uproar:

"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state."

At the time O'Donnell made this statement I, personally didn't really care. I mean, it was Rosie O'Donnell, who really cares what she thinks about Christians?

Rosie O'Donnell is known for her leftist views, no big surprise there and what with O'Donnell being a lesbian, many gay Americans are spiteful of Christians, so is Rosie O'Donnell. After all, many Christians challenge the practice of homosexuality as sinful, abnormal behavior. This fact doesn't sit well with a large portion of the gay population in America. No one likes to be told that what they do is wrong, especially when it is something they have no intention of giving up and are in the business of promoting as just another normal, healthy alternative lifestyle. People simply like to be approved and have their actions approved by other people. Even anarchists are anarchists for effect, they simply seek approval from other anarchists.

If Rosie O'Donnell lived in vacuum, I wouldn't really care what she says but the fact is she shares this view of Christians with other people and other people are thinking the things to which she gives voice.

For instance, recently on Curbstone Critic, John Stone had this to say:

"There is really not much difference between the Muslims that want to convert all of us by the sword, and the crazy Xtian Dominionist Americans who want to convert everyone by the sword."

Later, when I asked Stone:

"Is there a large percentage of the Christian population who you would consider to be "dominionists?""


"What do you consider to be indicative of "Dominionism?" Clearly not all Christians are "Dominionists," so which Christians are? "

He replied...:

"Last I heard the crazies were about 25 % of America."

and referred me to this Wikipedia article on Dominionism. To quote it:

"The dominionist interpretation sees adherents as heeding a command from God to all humankind to subject the world to the rule of the Word of God. The terminology of dominionism, and the broad concept of the trend described by critics, has been taken from the King James Version of the Bible, Genesis 1:26

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Christians typically interpret this verse as meaning that God gave humankind responsibility over the Earth, but anti-Dominionist critics commonly point to this passage as a paradigm that influences Christian attitudes of Western domination over the Earth and everything in it."

Wikipedia is correct in stating that "Christians typically interpret this verse as meaning that God gave humankind responsibility over the Earth," but the anti-Dominionist critics don't allow that fact to deter them in their slander of Christians.

It is clear from the Wikipedia article that those who are fear mongering about Christians wanting to set up a theocracy and force the entire world to believe in the Bible by the sword believe that Christians who voted for George W. Bush are of necessity "Dominionists," whether they realize it or not. I think it is a safe bet to assume that most people would identify Christians who voted for Bush as the "Christian Right" or "conservative Christians":

"Dominionism...seeks to establish specific political policies based on religious beliefs.

It is most often used to describe politically active conservative Christians with a specific agenda. The term is rarely used as a self-description; many feel it is a loaded or pejorative term, and use of the term is primarily limited to critics of the Christian Right.

The term emerged in relation to the Christian Right in the mid-1990s, but became more widely known due in large part to the U.S. presidential election, 2004 where the media attributed Republican wins to Evangelical voters in Red states who voted for "moral values".[1] "

I find it interesting that the term is "most often used to describe politically active conservative Christians with a specific agenda." It is not used to describe politically active progressive Christians with a specific agenda. What would be the difference? If politically active Christians who are seeking a specific agenda are "Dominionists" there are plenty of progressive Christian "Dominionists," as well.

I do appreciate the link provided, a close reading garners this:

"Sara Diamond warns, however, that while dominionism has influenced the Christian Right, liberals too often use hyperbolic language to describe the activities and goals of the Christian Right.[4]

The term "Dominionism" - with its close affiliation with notions of theocracy - can be used pejoratively to inaccurately describes the philosophical underpinnings of some individuals who identify themselves with the Christian Right. Very few of these see the Christian Right as an eschatological political movement designed to usher in the Kingdom of God; for them, the Christian Right articulates the traditional cultural critiques of paleoconservatives in the context of a worldview informed by orthodox Christian teaching.[citation needed] Moreover, many policies endorsed by the Christian Right contradict Dominionist notions. For example, the avid support of school vouchers by the Christian Right could lead to greater plurality in educational institutions, rather than a monolithic education system shaped by Dominionist ideas"

Using the term "radical Christianity" and comparing it to "radical Islam," as in the case of Rosie O'Donnell and claiming that "There is really not much difference between the Muslims that want to convert all of us by the sword, and the crazy Xtian Dominionist Americans who want to convert everyone by the sword," as in the case of Stone is used far too often to describe the "Christian Right."

When I asked Stone:

"Do you include the growing population of Progressive Christians among those Dominionists since they are actively trying to link Progressive politics with Christian values?"

He replied:

"The Progressives in the Church are less well known, I link Mainstream Baptist in the sidebar. I just heard of a minister of a megachurch who lost his congregation because he was interested in things like poverty and peace, rather than abortion and gays."

He dodged answering the question, as is a particularly prevalent liberal reaction when they are queried in depth about their beliefs and don't wish to face their own hypocrisy. But please, if the criteria for being a "Dominionist" is a politically active Christian with a specific agenda, then progressive Christians would qualify as "Dominionists" as well, right?

On Dec. 2, The Progressive Daily Beacon Opinion Piece, written by A. Alexander, "They are the Christian Taliban - The Christiban", Alexander writes:

"Still not convinced that today's Republican "Christians" are in the same league as Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan? In a moment you will be able to decide for yourself whether or not James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Donald Wildmon, Jerry Falwell, and other so-called Christian leaders are any less dangerous than the Imams and Ayatollahs preaching and practicing radical versions of Islam."

The author, A. Alexander, suggests because some Christian leaders wish to deny Keith Ellison's request that he hold the Quran when he is sworn into office in January rather than the Bible that they are seeking to go against this James Madison precident:

"Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience, or that one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform" - Annals of Congress, Sat Aug 15th, 1789 pages 730 - 731"

I don't know that I mind Ellison using the Quran when he's sworn in but if he doesn't, if he's required to place his hand on the Bible like everyone else does how the heck does that "establish a religion," "enforce the legal observation of it by law," or compel anyone to worship God in any manner?" Further, the whole premise that somehow this translates into ANY Christian becoming more of a threat to America than Islamo-fascists who want to enforce Sharia law across the entire world is just the most ridiculous premise I've heard recently. It certainly IS a "fear" tactic and an attack on a religion which, has shown no tangible indication of forcing itself on anyone by the sword. Why, they haven't even crossed Madison's lines as the author tried to suggest.

I would have to say that I believe a denial of Ellison being allowed to hold a Quran rather than a Bible goes against the spirit of historic freedom of religion in America but it is arguable that by wishing to hold him to being sworn in with his hand on the Bible, as has historically been done, somehow compels Ellison to worship a Christian God or establishes a religion to which Ellison must conform and, it is certainly arguable and quite ridiculous that it makes Christians comparable to the Taliban or equally as threatening to American life and liberty as is Islamo-fascism.

As far as I know, Rosie O'Donnell, John Stone or A. Alexander are not progressive Christians but it is and always has been interesting to me that some of the most vocal of critics of conservative Christianity have been progressive Christians.

There are progressive Christian blogs which I used to frequent and still occasionally visit in which the writers do little other than demonize and belittle conservative Christians for the very actions which they are currently promoting among their own flock. I have no problem with progressive Christians being politically active, as a matter of fact I believe that God admonishes the Christian, in his Word, to take an active role in government and politics. For that reason I would actually encourage progressive Christians to be outspoken in policy matters to bring them more in line with what they feel God would approve. Where I have a problem is them demonizing, belittling and libelously misrepresenting the majority of conservative Christians, their own brothers and sisters in Christ for doing what they, themselves, are doing. This is a sad situation for spiritual reasons.

In regards to others who use this moniker to bash conservative Christians, they too show their hypocrisy in that their complaints are exclusively leveled at conservative Christians, I suspect because they disagree politically with the actions of conservative Christians. They have nothing but accolades for progressive or emergent Christians, I suspect because they agree politically with the actions of progressive Christians.

Bottom line, this "Dominionism" talk is mostly a bunch of hogwash and those engaging in it are hypocritical at best and just outright ridiculous in their claims that Christians are threatening theocracy and are forcing their religion on anyone "by the sword."

By the way, I just named the post "Progressive Christian Dominionists" to show progressive Christians how it feels to be labeled as such. :)


shak el said...

The bible is not used in the swearing in ceremony. Some members bring a bible for a photo-op but it is not used in the cermony. PLus two Buddhists were elected for the first time to the House and no one seems to be giving htem the time of day :-)

Jacke M. said...

Good point, Shak el, I'll take your word for it. :)

One must then ask, what's the big hairy deal? Why is Ellison making a big deal out of it and others in turn?

My husband and I were discussing this earlier and he had a good suggestion. Why aren't our politicians swearing in on our constitution rather than ANY holy book?

Anonymous said...

Shak is correct. The bible has never been used at swearing-in ceremonies for MOC: only in photo sessions afterwards that are arranged for PR purposes.


Jacke M. said...

That's fine, I'm not arguing that point with either of you. It really wasn't the main point of the post.

If my focus had been on Ellison's swearing into office I might have researched that aspect a little better and worded it a little differently when I addressed the Ellison issue.

You two are getting stuck on a sidebar rather than the main point. But thanks for your comments. :)

Elmo said...

I wrote about this Rosie incident, a couple weeks after it happened, and it just drove me crazy. Why is it people can get away with comparing Bush to Hitler, and "radical" (aka conservative) Christians with terrorists, but when somebody says Barack Obama's middle name (Hussein), the media and the rest of the left get indignant (especially Olbi-wan) and act as though it was a low blow? Do they really think they're that pure?

Other than that, it seems the only way that secular-progressives and progressive Christians can win an argument is by setting up straw men. It would seem that these Dominionists don't even exist. They are a hypothetical group defined by their opponent, who can't even name a one of them who believes the nonsense.

Jacke M. said...

Elmo writes:

"Do they really think they're that pure?"

Elmo, it is my impression that because the Democrats have never claimed to be the party of moral values (though I'm not sure the Republicans have either) that anything deviant they do is not hypocritical. Because they perceive the Republican party as supportive of a "higher standard" it is the Democrat or liberal's JOB to make sure they livee up to that "higher standard" and if they exhibit deviant behavior they are hypocritical. See how that works?

So, whatever Democrats do is fine, it's the party of anything goes because they don't pretend to stand for anything.

Republicans, while not being perfect by any stretch of the imagination are EXPECTED to be perfect because they DO stand for something...or at least they have been perceived to stand for something, whether they do or not is debatable. :)

I know this is confusing. Libruls usually ARE confusing. ;)

John Stone said...

Nicely written, JackeM -- -wrong --- but nicely written.

No one give much of a rats rear if others judge Rosie's Christianity by her sexual preference or her political leanings, but then again, Rosie doesn't hold public office, or make rules for the rest of us unwashed heterosexuals to follow.

I do appreciate that you agree with me that the definition of a domionist is what somone does, rather than what religion they practice. If you want to say that the only domionists (using my definition) are those who make public policy -- hey, we can agree again.

But of course, these are the scary people. These are the Assama's of the world (Christian and Muslim, and just to make sure bases are covered -- not a few Jews too) who take a few carefully selected verses out of their holy books and shove them down everyone else's throat .. by the sword if necessary. In the case of Bush, to make sure Jesus comes back soon and finishes off slaughtering all of humanity, rather than him trying to do it alone.

Jacke M. said...

John, you say "nicely written" but "wrong" and yet you appear to agree with, at least the parts you've mentioned.

I'd be interested in what you think is "wrong" about what I wrote?

What is actually being legislated in the name of these elusive "dominionists?" Where is your evidence that "dominionists" are forcing their theology down the throats of others, by the sword if necessary? Where is your evidence that Bush entered the war on terrorism for no reason other than to expedite the coming of Jesus?

John, you make claims which cannot be backed up with fact, causing you to look like an extremist alarmist and Christian bigot.

One other contention: I don't think Rosie O'Donuts has any "Christianity" TO follow. Has she made a statement of faith in Jesus the Christ of which I am unaware?

Let's get to the truth, John. Is that possible?

John Stone said...

"Let's get to the truth, John. Is that possible?"

Sure it's possible -- it's also possible that a Martian will abduct you tonight, and after a careful inspection of your plumbing, also with several probes, and a microscopic implant to track you, will release you back under the electric blanket. But I am not holding my breath.

We seem to have a different concept of "truth". "Truth" in politics -- and religion --is what people do, and not what they say other people should do. You conservatives are real big on "responsibility", just so long as you get to make the decision of what is "responsible."

Some of us, religious or not, look at your holy book of "truth" and find enough howlers to keep a stand-up comic in material for lifetimes -- come to think of it -- in the case of George Carlin, it has.

If you want to follow every jot and tittle of your book for yourself - fine. However, that is not the goal of Xtians in 'Merica today. They want to pass all sorts of laws forcing *ME* to be as devote as you in your religion. And yes it involves all sorts of evils... all being tried because they had the power to try them.

That power is gone - at least for awhile - thank Rosie and the archangle Michael. We will be a better nation because it is gone.

BTW -- I have never understood what a "tittle" is (jots I get): I hear preachers talking about "tittles" all the time, and I'm mystified. Any suggestions?

Jacke M. said...

Hey, John, I asked for some specifics:

"What is actually being legislated in the name of these elusive "dominionists?" Where is your evidence that "dominionists" are forcing their theology down the throats of others, BY THE SWORD IF NECESSARY? Where is your evidence that Bush entered the war on terrorism for no reason other than to expedite the coming of Jesus?"

Instead of answering me, you gave more of your generalized statements:

"*They* want to pass all sorts of laws forcing *ME* to be as devote as you in your religion. And yes it involves all sorts of evils... all being tried because they had the power to try them."

Who specifically are "they?" What laws have they PASSED to "FORCE" you to be as devoted to "MY" religion?

My other questions went unanswered as well. Where is your evidence? And WHO is TRYING?

Are you planning to blog about the "EVIL" Progressive Christian Dominionists soon?

Momma Twoop said...

As far as anyone passing laws which force people to live as they see fit, the liberals, or 'progressives', if you will, have had much better success at such things than anyone else. Through legislation and judicial fiat Christians are forced to live with, and tolerate, many things - behaviors, not people - which are against their beliefs - satanism, abortion, condoms handed out at schools, etc. Liberals and progressives have done the very thing they accuse Christians of attempting. Mr. Stone seems to be intolerant of Christians without reason.

John Stone said...

OK .. .you want names and reasons? Try this one to argue with:

And MommaT ... no ... I have plenty of reason to be intolerant of Xtians.

Jacke M. said...

John, I'll take a look at your link but first I'll remind you that we have a representative government and that the constitution garantees freedom of speech.

Now, how do you propose to stop these evil "dominionists" from voicing their opinions and trying to have an effect on policy matters? Ban Christian's freedom of speech rights? Ban Christians from being allowed to seek office?

It seems as though you cherish free speech and a representative government for those with whom you agree but wish to draw a line in the sand that Christians are barred from crossing. You cannot have it both ways.

Keith has alluded to you being a socialist...are you? And if so, if socialism takes a foot hold in America who would YOU select as the elite leaders who would then determine what's best for all the rest of us little, stoopid peons?

John Stone said...

Hillary seems pretty good to me ... with either Michael Moore or Rosie as Veep....

shak el said...

If you want to read about Dominion Theology just google "Gary North."

Elmo said...

Jot: the smallest Hebrew letter.
Tittle: the smallest Hebrew mark.

Think of it as a lowercase "i" and a period.

Jacke M. said...

Thanks for the link, John. I'll be addressing it as I have the time.

Stay tuned! ;)

John Stone said...

Take time on it Jacke ... it is long and very extensively footnoted. In this case it is important to read the footnotes and follow the links to place the quotation in context.