When you hear a politician or preacher talk about turning the US into a Christian nation, beware. This does NOT mean keeping “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” in our money. Turning America into a Christian nation means fundamentally changing our system of law and governance.
The religious right wants America to become a Christian Theocracy – a government which bases its laws on a strict biblical interpretation of the will of God as defined in the Old Testament, specifically in the Book of Leviticus. God’s will would be interpreted for Americans by radical fundamentalist Christian authorities.
Most of us are just becoming aware of this extreme view of government, but the religious right has been building support for this concept of theocracy since the 1970s when Francis Schaeffer activated the evangelical right to take up the cause of “Christianizing the United States.”
For the last few years, we’ve heard a slew of right-wing Republicans claim direct, personal communication with God. Apparently, God is quite busy instructing his chosen politicians to run for President, Senate or Congress. Here are just a few of the folks who’ve been called just in the last two presidential-election cycles:
- In 2012, Mitt Romney, a Mormon with his own Messianic ideas, admitted that God had sent him direct instructions to run for president.
- Similar directives were handed down from the Almighty to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain.
- Sarah Palin has been lifted up by God according to her own testimony.
- In 2016, Ted Cruz decided to run for president after six months of prayer and two hours on bended knee. According to his father, “It was as if there was a presence of the Holy spirit in the room and we all were at awe, and Ted, all that came out of this mouth, he said – “Here am I Lord, use me.”
- Scott Walker announced his intention to run for president by saying, “this is God’s plan for me.”
- Rick Santorum described his run for president as “this is what God wants.”
- Marco Rubio believes that God’s law is the ultimate law of the United States.
- Donald Trump has taken on the banner of a warrior for Christianity. He declared that when he is elected president, “Christianity will have power.”
These days in the GOP, it’s all Christian, all the time. The separation of Church and State is out.
Many of these right wingers are part of, or at least sympathetic to, the Dominionist movement-a subset of evangelical theology that envisions an America ruled by Christians and governed by biblical law as the means to bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth.
Dominionism was founded by and promulgated by Rousas John Rushdoony. This stern, rigid theocrat, who lead the Christian Reconstructionist Movement, had a close personal friendship with Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society. Rushdoony said that he admired the John Birch Society but never became a member.
“Welch always saw things in terms of conspiracy,” Rushdoony explained, “and I always see things in terms of sin. ”
In his magnum opus, Institutes of Biblical Law,’ published in 1973, Rushdoony described the Old Testament laws that would be the backbone of the new justice system in a Christian America. He 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.” (page 11).
Capital punishment is central to imposing Biblical Law. Rushdoony called for the death penalty for crimes such as rape, kidnapping, and murder, homosexuality, juvenile delinquency, adultery, and unchastity before marriage. Crimes against faith like heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology also carried the death penalty.
Rushdoony wrote: “God’s government prevails, and His alternatives are clear-cut: either men and nations obey His laws, or God invokes the death penalty against them.”
Criminals would be burned at the stake, hanged and stoned, depending on their sins. The folks facing such punishment included gays, blasphemers, unchaste women, and incorrigible juvenile delinquents. Of course, doctors providing abortions and their patients would also be executed.
John Rushdoony understood that it would take time and hard work to bring his vision for America to fruition. He saw HOME SCHOOLING as the way to “train up a generation of people who know that this is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government.”
When you hear the term “Dominionists,” know that these are NOT just Christians; these people intend to turn the US into a replay of the Spanish Inquisition, this time run by radical evangelicals.
This fusion of radical right-wing politics and radical right-wing religion has been fueled by Robert Welch, John Rushdoony, Gary North, and Rafael Cruz (Ted’s father) and is being embraced by most of the Republican candidates running for president. They believe they are chosen by God to turn American into a Christian nation governed by biblical law.
I am terrified by these radical right-wing Christians and their radical right-wing religion.
There’s much more . . .
Frank Schaeffer, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back
Jeff Sharlet, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
Max Blumenthal, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party
Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism