Dominionism is still in the news. Jack Cafferty brought it up on his rarely watched TV show. Then there are the current links to Katherine Yurica’s 2004 article “The Despoiling of America: How George W. Bush Became the Head of the New American Dominionist Church/State.” Quoting from J. J. Ligon Duncan’s 1994 article “Moses’ Law for Modern Government, that cites Kenneth L. Gentry’s book God’s Law in the Modern World (1993), she asks “What would a ‘reconstructed’ America look like under the Dominionists?”:
“1. It obligates government to maintain just monetary policies … [thus prohibiting] fiat money, fractional reserve banking, and deficit spending.
“2. It provides a moral basis for elective government officials. …
“3. It forbids undue, abusive taxation of the rich. …
“4. It calls for the abolishing of the prison system and establishing a system of just restitution. …
“5. A theonomic [God’s law] approach also forbids the release, pardoning, and paroling of murderers by requiring their execution. …
“6. It forbids industrial pollution that destroys the value of property. …
“7. It punishes malicious, frivolous malpractice suits. …
“8. It forbids abortion rights. … Abortion is not only a sin, but a crime, and, indeed, a capital crime.”
If this is what Dominionism is all about, then give me more of it! I suspect the majority of Americans would also like a dose of it.
But are today’s Republican candidates really associated with the particulars of Dominion theology as advocated by, for example, the New Apostolic Reformation Movement? I haven’t seen any evidence of it. This group refers to the “Seven Mountains” of society — family, religion, arts and entertainment, media, government, education, and business — and that Christians should be involved in all of them. What is so fringe for Christians to want to engage culture at every level? There was a time when Christians were criticized for not taking culture and politics seriously. Writing in the Washington Post, Lisa Miller, the religion editor of Newsweek, for once gets it right when she states, “In its broadest sense, the term [Dominion] describes a Christian’s obligation to be active in the world, including in politics and government. . . . You could argue that the 19th- and early 20th-century reformers – abolitionists, suffragists and temperance activists, for example – were dominionists, says Molly Worthen, who teaches religious history at the University of Toronto.”
What liberals hate is to have some group or competing ideology to claim what they believe is their turf. For decades liberals have staked out politics, education, media, entertainment, and every so-called secular area of life to be their domain, and woe to anyone who attempts to enter the gates to their heavily protected and subsidized kingdom.
So when liberals read about a group that wants to impact the family, religion, arts and entertainment, media, government, education, and business, they go into a frenzied dance of defiance and shock. There’s nothing new in any of this. It has a long history.
According to a radio editorial some years ago, “a man’s religion and the strength of his conviction are his own personal matter,” therefore “religion should not interfere with politics.”1 This is the way liberals think. They believe they and they alone own politics, and it’s not that they are opposed to mixing religion and politics, they welcome it as long as it’s their religion that’s doing the mixing.
Regrettably, many churches during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power accepted the argument that religion and morality should be separated from politics based on the neutrality claim mandated by secularists and liberal religionists. “Religion was a private matter,” historian Richard V. Pierard writes, “that concerned itself with the personal and moral development of the individual. The external order — nature, scientific knowledge, statecraft — operated on the basis of its own internal logic and discernable laws.”2
The church’s sole concern and domain was with a person’s spiritual life, and this is the way all tyrants like it. “The Erlangen church historian Hermann Jorda declared in 1917 that the state, the natural order of God, followed its own autonomous laws while the kingdom of God was concerned with the soul and operated separately on the basis of the morality of the gospel.”3 It was because of this disjunction — built on the myth of neutrality and a two-kingdom approach to reality — that Hitler hoped to carry out his devilish schemes unhindered by religious arguments and pressures. Not everyone succumbed to the neutrality logic. The “Confessional Church” took a different, non-neutral, position:
[It] opposed the Nazification of the Protestant churches, rejected the Nazi racial theories and denounced the anti-Christian doctrines of [Alfred] Rosenberg and other Nazi leaders. In between lay the majority of Protestants, who seemed too timid to join either of the two warring groups, who sat on the fence and eventually, for the most part, landed in the arms of Hitler, accepting his authority to intervene in church affairs and obeying his commands without open protest.4
Those “who sat on the fence,” having fallen for the neutrality myth, supported Hitler by default. While they did not openly join with the “German Christians,” a pro-Hitler alliance of ministers and churches, their inaction, their supposed neutrality, “landed them in the arms of Hitler” any way.
America had its own affair with religious neutrality. Congressman Wilson Lumpkin (1783–1870) attempted to use the neutrality argument to keep Christians from arguing against removing the Cherokee Indians from Georgia in what has become known as the “Trail of Tears”:
“[Lumpkin] decried those Christians who left their proper realm and sought to involve themselves in politics as ‘canting fanatics.’ He said he had no trouble with ‘pure religion’ (that is, religion that steered clear of politics), ‘but the undefiled religion of the Cross is a separate and distinct thing in its nature from the noisy cant of the pretenders who have cost this Government, since the commencement of the present session of Congress, considerably upwards of $100,000 by their various intermeddlings with the political concerns of the country.’”5
Liberals and conservatives alike would be horrified at Lumpkin’s claim of religious and moral neutrality if it had been used to overlook the horrors of slavery and ethnic cleansing. But the neutrality argument is still used, mostly by liberals who don’t want today’s Christians interfering with the burgeoning control and power of government that permits woman to kill their unborn babies and same-sex couples to marry.
In 2003, Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry criticized the Vatican for saying that “Catholic politicians like him have a ‘moral duty’ to oppose laws granting legal rights to gay couples.” He went on to say that “it’s important to not have the church instructing politicians. That is an inappropriate crossing of the line in America.”6 Would Kerry agree to the following logic of his position?:
- “It’s important not to have the church instructing politicians about slavery.”
- “It’s important not to have the church instructing politicians about ethnic cleansing.”
- “It’s important not to have the church instructing politicians about civil rights.”
Al Gore appealed to the Bible at the Tennessee Democratic Party’s annual Jackson Day dinner on August 29, 2009 in support of national healthcare. “[P]laying off the focus of the [Ted] Kennedy funeral on the Gospel of Matthew’s parable of Jesus taking care of ‘the least of us,’ [he] thundered that the country has ‘a moral duty to pass health care reform. This year.’” A “moral duty”? Of course, in this case Dominionism is a good thing, because it’s their dominion.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she believes she must pursue public policies “in keeping with the values” of Jesus Christ, “The Word made Flesh.” At a May 6  Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill, the then speaker said: “They ask me all the time, ‘What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that? What is your favorite that?’ And one time, ‘What is your favorite word?’ And I said, ‘My favorite word? That is really easy. My favorite word is the Word, is the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word.”
The church’s failure to address these issues based on the false concept of moral neutrality has only made it possible for the enemies of the gospel to impose their wicked version of Dominion on the most innocent among us, in the name of Jesus and the gospel!
So then, for a Christian to adopt the neutrality myth is to fall into the humanist trap, to believe that religious convictions are reserved for the heart, home, and place of worship, while the affairs of this world are best handled by using reason, experience, and technical expertise devoid of religious assumptions and convictions, unless, of course, when those religious assumptions and convictions support the liberal Dominion cause.
Secular humanists have no objection to our Christian faith at all, provided we reserve it strictly for ourselves in the privacy of our homes and church buildings, and just as long as we do not try to live up to our Christ principles in our business and public life. On no account must the Spirit and Word of the Lord Jesus Christ be allowed to enter the ballot booth or the market place where the real decisions of modern life are made, nor must religion interfere with such vital matters as education, politics, labor relations and profits and wages. These activities are all supposed to be “neutral” and they can therefore be withdrawn from sectarian influences so that the secular spirit of the community may prevail.7
Roger Kimball describes liberal Dominionism in his book The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America: “The long march through the institutions signified in the words of [Herbert] Marcuse, ‘working against the established institutions while working in them’. By this means — by insinuation and infiltration rather than by confrontation — the counter-cultural dreams of radicals like Marcuse have triumphed.”8
Before Marcuse there was Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937). Gramsci considered Christianity to be the “force binding all the classes — peasants and workers and princes priests and popes and all the rest besides, into a single, homogeneous culture. It was specifically Christian culture, in which individual men and women understood that the most important things about human life transcend the material conditions in which they lived out their mortal lives.”9 Gramsci broke with Marx and Lenin’s belief that the masses would rise up and overthrow the ruling “superstructure.” No matter how oppressed the working classes might be, their Christian faith would not allow such an overthrow, Gramsci theorized. Marxists taught “that everything valuable in life was within mankind.”10
Gramsci wasn’t finished. After building their coalition “they must enter into every civil, cultural and political activity in every nation, patiently leavening them all as thoroughly as yeast leavens bread.”11 To change the culture, Gramsci argued, “would require a ‘long march through the institutions’ — the arts, cinema, theater, schools, colleges, seminaries, newspapers, magazines, and the new electronic medium [of the time], radio.”12 This is the very definition of Leftist Dominionism. No wonder liberals are worried. They’re afraid that they might lose what they worked so hard to control and get us to pay for – our own destruction!
- Heard on WGST radio, Atlanta, Georgia (September 12, 1986). [↩]
- Richard V. Pierard, “Why Did Protestants Welcome Hitler?,” Fides et Historia (North Newton, KS: The Conference on Faith and History), X:2 (Spring 1978), 13. [↩]
- Pierard, “Why Did Protestants Welcome Hitler?,” 14. [↩]
- William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), 236. Emphasis added. [↩]
- Quoted in John Wilson, “Why Evangelicals Can’t Opt Out of Political Engagement,” Books & Culture (July 15, 2002), www.christianitytoday.com/books/features/bccorner/020715.html. See John G. West, Jr, The Politics of Revelation and Reason: Religion and Civic Life in the New (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1996). [↩]
- Quoted in “Kerry criticizes Vatican Pressure,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution (August 2, 2003), D4. [↩]
- E. L. Hebden Taylor, “Religious Neutrality in Politics,” Applied Christianity (April 1974), 19. [↩]
- Roger Kimball, The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America (San Franciso: Encounter Books, 2000), 15. [↩]
- Malachi Martin, The Keys of This Blood: The Struggle for World Dominion Between Pope John II, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Capitalist West (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990), 245. [↩]
- Martin, The Keys of This Blood, 245. [↩]
- Martin, The Keys of This Blood, 250. [↩]
- Patrick J. Buchanan, Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (New York: St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books, 2001), 77. [↩]