Posts Tagged “city action coalition international”

Since I started this blog, I’ve mentioned the amorphous Christian movement known as “dominionism” many times, and have suggested that it’s much more of a motive force for the Religious Right than even they might let on. I’ve been asked if my assertion might not be more paranoia than insightful conclusion.

Let’s face it, not many people really know what dominionism is or what it’s trying to do; and I fully admit that at least some Religious Right leaders sincerely do not view themselves as dominionists. Not only that, the scenario does carry of whiff of “conspiracy theory” and I’m far too skeptical to be susceptible to that. So it’s rare that anyone ever says anything that offers any similar thinking. But I recently came across something that speaks to this movement and the tentacular entanglements it has throughout the Right in the US. That comes from Sarah Posner over at Religion Dispatches:

Despite all the attention paid to the religious right’s declining interest in gay marriage as a key issue, it’s clear homosexuality is still a vibrant bogeyman—but the tea party bandwagon is simply more enticing at the moment. [Chaplain Viviana] Hernandez’s activist roots, for example, are with the National Organization for Marriage, though she is now affiliated with a group called the City Action Coalition International which, she says, trains pastors to be political activists. It is led by Bishop Joseph Mattera, whose son, Jason, is a well-known conservative activist and blogger who led another Values Voter workshop, “Turning the Tide in Your Generation.” …

The continuing influence of “Christian nation” mythology and dominionism is evident in Hernandez’s activist trajectory. She told me that before running (unsuccessfully) for state senate and city council in New York, she attended classes at the Providence Foundation, a small group based in Charlottesville, Virginia that has been described as Christian Reconstructionist. …

Religion Dispatches goes on to describe this group and its relationships to other arms of the Right:

Stephen McDowell, Providence’s co-founder, said in a telephone interview that he would not consider himself a Christian Reconstructionist, “but I do believe that the Bible is the template that we ought to look to to build our life upon and our family and our business and our civil society. That’s where the people who founded America looked.” According to its Web site, “The Scriptures contain a theology of the family, the church, and the state. Principles in God’s written Word that relate to civil government, politics, economics, and education are timeless and universally useful for the benefit of any culture on Earth today.” …

Although it’s a small operation, Providence has the blessing of David Barton, the religious right propagandist and Republican activist who claims the separation of church and state is a myth, and who serves on its board. Barton’s attempts to influence both politics and public education with his “Christian nation” mythology are legion; most recently, right-wing members of the Texas State Board of Education appointed Barton to serve as an “expert” on its social studies curriculum. McDowell serves on the board of Barton’s organization, WallBuilders. …

Whatever the tea party movement is—Dick Armey’s astroturf to kill health care reform, Rupert Murdoch’s marketing plan to boost Glenn Beck’s ratings, a grassroots outlet for right-wing rage and paranoia—the Values Voter Summit made clear the religious right is hitching its wagon to that horse. Sharing a common enemy (Obama, the Democratic Party, liberalism writ large), different participants wrap their rhetoric in red, white, and blue, whether the endgame is a romanticized rebellion of “authentic” patriots, uber-libertarianism—or Biblical law.

The notion of a “Christian nation” is one that the country’s Christian majority finds attractive. Rightist Christians definitely would love to see the US government overtly “Christianized,” even if they do not count themselves among dominionists. The truth is, though, that this sentiment makes them tacit dominionists. And even some Christians who are not committed Rightists, may find some appeal in it.

The dominionism movement is very dangerous, because its appeal is pervasive and because it’s often very hard to discern deep under the Religious Right’s machinations. Be afraid … be very, very afraid!

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