A fundamentalist Christian ideology called Dominionism is currently infiltrating a segment of the Christian Right. As a political movement, it seeks to overthrow democracy and transform America into a biblical theocracy. Also known as Christian Reconstructionism, it cuts across denominational lines but does not represent mainstream American Christianity. Many Christians even see it as a heresy and perversion of the gospels.
Within the movement are differing views, and its broad complexity should caution us from labeling it as a monolithic conspiracy. Liberals are often accused of exaggerating the Dominionist threat and are called paranoid conspiracy theorists. But whatever the true numbers of those who hold this radical doctrine, they exert a powerful influence on policy makers of the right wing.
10The Seven Mountains Mandate
Dominionists believe that Jesus Christ is not going to return until He has gained control of the world’s nations through Christians. This is how they interpret Jesus’s command “Occupy till I come.” The Dominionist blueprint for “reclaiming America for Christ” is spelled out in the Seven Mountains Mandate—Christian takeover and control of the “seven mountains” of society: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion. Lance Wallnau, a leading Seven Mountains theologian, explains that Christians must install a theocracy governed by “true apostles” to battle Satan and his Antichrist.
Wallnau envisions the conquest of the Seven Mountains as a covert operation. He said, “[A] very small minority of people . . . as small as 3–5 percent . . . can control how the agenda works in a nation and thus create or dominate the culture.”
The Seven Mountains concept was first enunciated as a supposed revelation from God given simultaneously in 1975 to two “generals” of the faith, Loren Cunningham of Youth With A Mission and Bill Bright of the Campus Crusade For Christ. In all likelihood, they plagiarized it from a TV talk by theologian Dr. Francis Shaffer. The mountains are portrayed as “mind molders” by which the “rulers of darkness” influence people, leading to such trends as gay marriage, pornography, and abortion.
9Capture The Republican Party
Perhaps most of us are wondering why, in spite of the Constitution, there seems to be a religious test for those seeking public office in the US. The Republican Party in particular has made it an unwritten premise that a candidate’s faith is a matter of public debate. Local party meetings feature activists determined to bring “biblical principles” into government. How did the party of Lincoln become, in the words of an insider, “more religious cult than a political organization”?
To conquer the Seven Mountains, Dominionists are stealthily infiltrating the GOP and increasing their political influence. Recent presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann have ties to Dominionist groups. In 1979, GOP strategist Paul Weyrich politically mobilized factions of fundamentalist, Pentecostal, and charismatic churches under the umbrella term “Moral Majority.” It was led by Rev. Jerry Fallwell. Weyrich made no secret of its goal: “We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context.” The clout of the Religious Right became apparent in the 1980 elections, when it unseated liberal Democrats in the Senate and helped propel Ronald Reagan into the White House.
The Moral Majority is no longer around, but Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition has continued its work. “We want . . . as soon as possible to see a majority of the Republican Party in the hands of pro-family Christians,” Robertson declared in 1992. He and fellow pastors have schools and universities to train Christians how to run for public offices and how to influence policy once in power. Robertson named his institution Regent University because its students are destined to take over the government as Christ’s “regents.” Robertson himself made a losing bid for the presidency in 1988.
Robertson did not mince words: “We are not going to stand for those coercive utopians in the Supreme Court and in Washington ruling over us anymore. We’re not gonna stand for it. We are going to say, ‘we want freedom in this country, and we want power.’ ”
8The End Of Pluralism
In a disturbing rant, Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, said: “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good . . . Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.”
Once Dominionists are in power, only one religion and lifestyle will be recognized—fundamentalist Christianity. Democracy and Christian nationalism are diametrically opposed. While theocrats will invoke the religious liberty guaranteed by the Constitution to further their agenda, they have no intention of keeping it when they win. Gary North, one of the movement’s ideological founders, made their goal clear: ” . . . a Bible-based social, political, and religious order, which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.” They view the system that treats everybody equally as the greatest obstacle in their plans.
Secular humanism and all systems that bypass biblical knowledge will have to go. The “us vs. them” mentality that treats the rest of the non-Christian world as satanic will make pluralism impossible. Rick Joyner admits, “At first it may seem like totalitarianism, as the Lord will destroy the antichrist spirit now dominating the world.” But he assures those willing to be deluded that the Kingdom of Christ “will move toward increasing liberty.” That would be “liberty” as defined by a Fascist dictionary somewhere.
7Undermining The Constitution
The US Constitution, the bedrock upon which pluralism thrives, will obviously have to be abrogated or else reinterpreted under the Dominionists. In its place will be a government based on Old Testament laws. The Law of Moses features, among other things, 1) the death penalty for idolaters, i.e. non-Christians, 2) the likelihood of the reinstitution of slavery, 3) abolition of the income tax in favor of the tithing system, and 4) elimination of the prison system in favor of the system of restitution for non-capital offenses.
Dominionists themselves are divided on how to apply these archaic biblical laws to modern America. Not all of them are keen on reintroducing slavery, but some do think that its legalization would be a good thing. While a majority support the death penalty, they differ on the method of execution. Strangely, though polygamy was permitted in ancient Israel, they define marriage as between one man and one woman. It is also unclear what they will do in the “Jubilee Year,” when estranged property is supposed to revert to its original owners. Will they give back the land to Native Americans (the Christian ones, of course)? Will they return Hawaii to the Hawaiians?
The Christian Right has the means to exploit loopholes through the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), its legal advocacy arm. Founded by Pat Robertson and armed with a $30 million annual budget, it seeks to overturn rulings the Right abhors, like Roe vs. Wade. It is also noteworthy that ACLJ supported the Bush administration in its holding Guantanamo detainees without charges and without trial.
In a Public Policy Polling survey released on February 24, 2015, an astonishing 57 percent of Republicans favor abandoning the Constitution to make the US a Christian nation. Only 30 percent are opposed, and 13 percent are not sure.
6Death Penalty For Gays And Rebellious Teens
Being a worshiper of false gods (i.e., non-Christian) is not the only capital crime under Mosaic Law, besides murder and rape. Dominionists believe those deserving the death penalty include homosexuals, children who struck their parents, brides who were unchaste before marriage, juvenile delinquents, psychics (“false prophets”), adulterers, and blasphemers. Executions would be made public with full participation of the community, like square dances and quilting bees. Gary North prefers stoning as the method of killing because stones cost nothing and are readily available.
North laments that our humanist society paints the Mosaic Law as barbaric. He himself has no problems executing rebellious teens: “The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death.” What’s more, North says that those accusing a suspect of a capital crime must be among the executioners. For citizens to arm themselves in self-defense is a mark of their judicial sovereignty, North asserts, something gun control advocates want to take away. He extends this concept of judicial sovereignty to executions. He doesn’t want people to delegate the task to agents of the state. Participation in public executions is “an act of citizenship.”
How does this system propose to deal with perjury and false accusation? Perjury would be considered a crime against the accused, not against the court as in the present system. False witnesses will suffer the same penalty supposed to be imposed on the accused had they been found guilty. North believes that the Mosaic system of justice will actually reduce perjury in courts.
David Barton is a pseudohistorian obsessed with altering historical facts to portray America as a Christian nation founded on biblical principles. This makes him a darling of the Right, with an enthusiastic Mike Huckabee proclaiming him America’s greatest historian, who should be writing the curriculum for the schools. Huckabee suggested (in jest, presumably) that all Americans should be “forced at gunpoint” to listen to Barton. To Glenn Beck, he is “the most important man in America.”
Such accolades come in the wake of Barton’s best-selling books, which claim that the Founding Fathers were devout Christians inspired by colonial preachers to found a society based on the biblical model. Barton teaches that America’s constitutional government was patterned after the ancient Hebrew “federative republic.” He accuses academics of hiding these truths from the average citizen.
In response, academics and even fellow conservatives have exposed Barton’s lies and errors. Barton is caught distorting or even inventing quotes placed on the lips of deist Founding Fathers to prove his point. One blatant example of Barton’s deception is his quote of John Adams’s letter to Benjamin Rush in 1809. In it, Adams says: “There is no authority, civil or religious—there can be no legitimate government—but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it—all without it is rebellion and perdition, or, in more orthodox words, damnation.” Barton makes it sound like Adams was proposing a government led by the Holy Ghost. But Barton has left out the last part of the quote, in which Adams mocks the very notion: “Although this is all Artifice and Cunning in the secret original in the heart, yet they all believe it so sincerely that they would lay down their Lives under the Axe or the fiery Fagot for it. Alas the poor weak ignorant Dupe human Nature.”
Barton makes the tortuous argument that the Constitution, which never once mentions God, is in fact a godly document because it makes a passing reference to the Declaration of Independence which does mention a “Creator” (a deist Creator, alas for Barton). Barton was also forced to admit that he fabricated out of thin air a supposed quote from James Madison in which the staunch advocate of church-state separation was made to beseech Americans to “govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
David Barton is a propagandist masquerading as a historian. Though exposed as a fraud, he remains unrepentant.
4Abolition Of Medicare And Social Security
Dominionists base their economics on Deuteronomy 28, the “Blessings and Cursings” chapter of the Pentateuch. They believe that wealth is a sign of God’s favor, and poverty and illness are visitations of His displeasure and wrath. The poor and sick deserve their lot. It is God’s way to prick their conscience and provoke introspection. Therefore, governments who seek to alleviate their plight are contravening God’s will. Poverty is not seen as a problem to be solved. This is why Dominionists view Social Security and Medicare as evil programs that take money from others to give to those being punished.
In a 700 Club interview, economics professor Dr. Walter Williams gave this rationalization: “I think Christians should recognize that charity is good. I mean charity, when you reach into your pocket to help your fellow man for medical care or for food or to give them housing. But what the government is doing to help these older citizens is not charity at all. It is theft. That is, the government is using power to confiscate property that belongs to one American and give, or confiscate their money, and provide services for another set of Americans to whom it does not belong.” The Right’s creed of “personal responsibility” has no place for such economic safety nets. If you die of hunger, that’s your fault. Or, in the case of senior citizens, your children’s or family’s fault for not taking care of you.
If on the other hand, you’ve become filthy rich—well, the Lord must be mighty proud of you. So for the government to lay more taxes on you to even out the playing field is an abomination. It is God’s intention that the rich get richer. Charismatic pastor Larry Huch predicts an “end-time transfer of wealth” to blessed Christians who are destined to become God’s bankers. The Dominionists’ promotion of laissez-faire economics of minimum government intervention in business, and repudiation of its licensing and regulatory powers, can thus be seen as self-serving.
3Abolition Of Public Education
Christian theocrats are aware that they cannot hope to spread their miseducation through the present public school system, which propagates secular knowledge and values. In its place, they want a Christian-sponsored educational system that will assure that children are indoctrinated into fundamentalism, have daily prayers, teach creationism, do away with sex education, and propagate David Barton’s false history.
“I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we don’t have public schools,” wrote the Rev. Jerry Fallwell. “The churches will have taken them over again, and Christians will be running them.” Michelle Bachmann once started a charter school to replace the “godless” secular schools but was forced out of the board of directors when she proselytized the students.
Before a takeover happens, Christian parents are urged to take their children out of public schools to be homeschooled instead. A glimpse into a Dominionist homeschool gives us an idea on what American kids could expect to learn once Dominionists have taken over:
Government: “All governments are ordained by God, but none compare to government by God, theocracy.”
Economics: “We present free-enterprise economics without apology and point out the dangers of communism, socialism, and liberalism to the well-being of people across the globe.”
Science: ” . . . the universe as the direct creation of God and refutes the man-made idea of evolution.”
Math: “Unlike the ‘modern math’ theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, we believe that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute . . . [These books provide] mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory . . . ”
We read in Ephesians 5:22: “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord.” This forms the basis of women’s roles in the proposed theocracy. Simply put, it will mark the end of gender equality and women’s rights. Women will be relegated to the home, pleasing their husbands, taking care of the kids, and making more babies, or as a critic put it, “dishwashing, suckling and sex.” The Dominionist newsletter Chalcedon Report deplored the situation in America today: “The devastating curse of women ruling over men is getting the press it deserves today . . . Our nation is under judgment. As the home goes, so goes the nation.”
Young girls are taught that their place is in the home and that any desire for a college degree or a job outside the home is prideful and sinful. Homeschooler Doug Phillips says, “Daughters, by no means, are not to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope of their father, and then later, their husbands. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out independently and say, ‘I’m going to do this or marry whoever I want.’ ”
Once married, they are encouraged to “pop out some kids” to swell the ranks of Christian soldiers. So says Leah Smith in her to-do list for dominion, where she prompts Christian mothers to “get busy” and outstrip the Muslim birthrate (six kids per household average). Besides household skills, girls should learn apologetics, theology, and evangelism. Smith tells the ladies to “go back to being women, with joy and celebration” as slaves of men.
1World War III
If Dominionism poses a threat to American democracy, it is even more dangerous to world peace and stability. Dominionists taking over the US would give America’s nuclear stockpile to religious fundamentalists with an apocalyptic mentality. And recent news has shown us that religious fanaticism and military firepower are a lethal mix.
Consider Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who can be described as a Christian Jihadist. He believes in holy war against Islam, with the US military as God’s army. He reports seeing demonic entities in photos of fighting in Somalia, enemies who “will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus.” Incredibly, this intolerant warmonger became deputy Undersecretary of Defense for intelligence. With people like Boykin in command positions, World War III just might be the mother of all religious wars.
With a mindset that regards Israel as an important player in the prophetic end-times drama, the Christian Right is also against a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Palestinians are illegal occupants of the land God gave to His chosen people and there could never be a compromise, a two-state solution.
Dominionists can also self-righteously justify overthrowing foreign governments not Christian enough to their liking. Since the US already has a long history of such interventions, only a change in rationale from political to religious is needed.
The gap between the US and Europe may also widen, with Christians mistrusting the secular and irreligious tendencies of their trans-Atlantic allies. The end of the European partnership would have detrimental effects on global economy and security.
Larry is a freelance writer whose main interests are history and chess.