A recent attempted expose by a “lefty pinko rag” called Mother Jones has called out Michelle Bachmann and Coral Ridge Ministries and its founder D. James Kennedy for allegedly being tied to “Christian Reconstructionists.” Coral Ridge has answered the charge as nonsensical and distorted considering the religious expression of some of our founding fathers.
I think the retort against the obvious propaganda of Mother Jones is needed, but protests a bit too much. After all, Kennedy did have friendly connections with the Christian Reconstruction leaders, had them at his conferences and shows, and said things like this:
“As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government…our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors—in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”
Readers of American Vision will notice a certain kinship to our own agenda in this quotation. To shrink back in horror, then, at the thought of being called a “theocrat” is to be a bit sensitive to the leftists perceptions of God’s truth, dominion, and influence in all spheres of life. Whether or not Kennedy made a point to disavow the label “theocracy” is fairly pointless when his agenda is stated as above. It would be more honest, I think, to embrace the label and insist on a proper definition.
But my purpose here is not to bash Coral Ridge. Rather, I would like to address the smear job itself. For in Mother Jones’ cleverly-knitted hosing, a bleak picture of Christian Reconstruction appears—a representation of us which even some Christians have naively (or maliciously?) promoted.
To give you an example of the type of dishonest representation leftists like Mother Jones engage in (I am sure many of you are aware already), consider their representation of Gary North in the same article. It reports,
[I]n his 1989 book, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism, he wrote, “The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise… Those who refuse to submit publicly … must be denied citizenship.”
Now there’s no indication that the author of this piece actually read North’s book. Rather, the exact same quotation with the exact same ellipses (remarks edited out) appears in another Mother Jones article from 2005. It appears to have been lifted uncritically.
The author of that 2005 masterpiece of wolf-bleating offered us his interpretation of Dominionism as well. It is equally a manufactured picture of bloody tyranny:
The Old Testament—with its 600 or so Mosaic laws—is the inflexible guide for the society DeMar and other Reconstructionists envision. . . . There would be thousands of executions a year, with stoning a preferred method. . . .
So the implication is obvious: Dominionism believes that Christians should “gain exclusive control over the franchise” so that we can daily execute thousands of people who disagree with us.
Every reader who’s ever followed any Christian Reconstructionist of note knows this is a classic smear job, but they may not be aware just how deviously this leftist author has created his point. For example, consulting Dr. North’s actual quotation shows a very interesting context. Immediately following the quotation about gaining “exclusive control,” North adds:
The way to achieve this political goal is through successful mass evangelism followed by constitutional revision. ((Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Plurality (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), 87. Emphasis mine.))
Please note that if such Christian civilization does not start in the heart and proceed according to legal means, then it’s never going to happen. But if it does, then why should liberals be concerned about what comes to pass in a democratic, peaceful, and legal manner? But the writer of this article purposefully left this part out. (This, of course, assumes that he himself got the quotation from the book; he may have picked it uncritically and ignorantly from another source just as the Bachmann article did.)
The leftists are not only devious in their selective quotations, but contradictory in general as well: they cannot keep their story straight. For example, the smear piece on Coral Ridge and Bachmann accuses us evil theocratic, women-killing, child-killing, homosexual-stoning dominionists (their descriptions) of aiming to “take over the world” by subverting political order until “Christians have taken over all forms of government, among other things.” The 2005 piece quoted this as well, as we saw. Yet in the very same article the author gets fairly close to an actual picture of our beliefs:
Besides facilitating evangelism, Reconstructionists believe, government should largely be limited to building and maintaining roads, enforcing land-use contracts, and ensuring just weights and measures. Unions would not exist, and neither would unemployment benefits, Social Security, and environmental protection laws. Public schools would disappear; one of the movement’s great successes has been promoting homeschooling programs and publishing texts used by tens of thousands of homeschooling families.
So, on the one hand we allegedly desire to take over all governments, impose 600 laws and kill thousands daily; but then on the other hand, we wish to limit the scope of government to minimal proportions and functions (personally, I think the government could even get out of the roads and bridges business). In reality, this latter view is more representative of Reconstructionist or Dominionist aims.
But our schizophrenic leftist cannot even keep his story straight for two seconds. He immediately proceeds to say, “And, perhaps most importantly, the state is ‘God’s minister,’ as DeMar puts it in Liberty at Risk, ‘taking vengeance out on those who do evil.’” For the author, this means that “A major task for the government key Reconstructionists envision is fielding armies for conquest in the name of Jesus.”
So which is it? Does he intend to say that we dominionists want small and virtually powerless government, or that we want big, powerful, tyrannical armies overrunning the country? The author knows which is the case, but finds it convenient to imply darkness and fear. If he spent more time actually reading the full context of our material instead of searching for allegedly damning sound bites, he might run across a bit of truth. And if he knew how to handle the truth, he might just benefit from it.
Both authors find it convenient to lie, because it spreads fear. It spreads fear of a movement they despise—a movement toward freedom and individual responsibility.
This, above all things, is what liberals fear most: fear of the responsibilities of freedom. Fear they’ll have to work for and to pay for everything they have for themselves. Fear they won’t be able to indoctrinate other people’s children through government schooling, paid for by forced taxation (upon threat of violence). Fear they might be dependent upon family members some day. Fear they may have to form and to maintain family ties. Fear that no one or nothing actually owes them anything. Fear that someone may not take them—almighty, brilliant, elite them—seriously. Fear they’ll have to have the courage to defend their own person and property. Fear of all the unpredictables of life (Oh! that we should above all things create as many government agencies as necessary—all funded via taxes extorted by threat of violence—to insure us from every uncertainty and contingency of human life: sickness, old age, disability, healthcare, unemployment, climate change, alien invasion, and even conversion to Christianity).
The Gospel and the Civic Ethic
This is why these maniacs hate Christianity so much: it calls us not to burden others, but rather to bear our own burdens; and at the same time, always help another when we can. Paul writes:
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. . . . But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load (Gal. 6:2–5).
The lesson here is plain: every man must bear his own burden in such a way as they should not place any burden upon the neighbor; yet we are called in love to help our neighbor with their burden. Note that this is the “law of Christ.” Just as Christ Himself bore the burdens of the world, and asked for nothing in return, so should we take up our own burdens and those of others, and yet not ask or depend on anyone in return. Each must “test” or “prove” his own work, and thus not allow himself to be beholden to his neighbor. “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8). Once society is founded upon this ethic, then the seeking and helping that we do for others comes as a superabundance to society, because we will have all essentially taken care of our own to begin with.
This is just the opposite of the liberal view. The liberal seeks to impose his morality on society via force of law. The liberal wishes to make people beholden to other people (via the State) via taxation and force; it creates people who primarily depend upon others first for their sustenance, and the bearing of one’s own burdens becomes secondary, and eventually through the advance of moral hazard, unimportant at all.
And ironically, this coercive gospel of secularism and progress commits the very crime of which it accuses us “theocrats”: imposing its morality by force. Little children, and elderly and vulnerable people must be cared for; and you citizen, you must bear other people’s burdens. If you do not do it according to our mandate, we will make your burden unbearably great by confiscating your property and/or slamming you in jail.
This is why liberals fear “theocracy” so much: they’re really afraid someone is going to take their exalted position in society. They really do fear a nation ruled by God, for that would imply that they’re not gods. Add that to their list of fears: fear of losing demigod status. They could no longer present themselves before their groveling dependents as “benefactors.” Jesus warned against gaining influence in society in this way:
And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:25–27).
Humanists rely on imposing lordship and authority. Once again, this is why they hate “dominionism”: they can’t bear the thought of a free people taking dominion of their own lives for themselves; no, they believe very strongly that liberals should have authority and be exalted as benefactors of society.
Rather than urging faith, charity, and perseverance in one’s own burdens, and creating a society of work, thrift, and superabundant charity, Statists trust in coercion and authority first.
This is the liberal way, not the Christian way. This is why liberals lie about us: they can’t bear the burden on not ruling others.