The March Of Christian Dominionism 4: How Dominionists Are Trying To Undermine Our Country
Or “So THAT’S why the GOP has been doing that!!”
We know what Christian Dominionism is (if you don’t, go back and read parts one, two and three. No skipping!). We know what they want and we know why they want it. Now the question becomes: how are they doing it and what are the signs of their influence in politics? Again, we find there to be some overlap between your standard Right Wing, anti-government rhetoric and the goals of Christian Dominionists. But some of it is purely a creature of religious zealotry.
There are many fronts to the Dominionist attack on our way of life; one of them is the ongoing assault on the social safety nets that have been in place for decades. Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are under constant threat of being extinguished so we’ll start there:
Social Security: Technically, the Right hates Social Security because it’s “Big Government” and costs too much money. That is, of course, garbage. The amount of money and resources consumed by our bloated military dwarfs SS but that’s never an issue. No. The “problem” with Social Security is that it represents the country pulling together (the “social”) to ensure that no one is left to die in poverty and hunger (the “security”). This reliance on others goes against the Right’s creed of “personal responsibility” which is code for “everyone for themselves.” The Dominionists, however, have a slightly different take on SS. This collective pooling of resources for the betterment of all means that fewer people have to turn to them for their needs. Thus, Social Security deprives religious organizations of power in the form of less desperate people. Privatization is a good way to end it (and make Wall St. untold billions in profit in the process) but for Dominionists, the goal is simply to make it go away altogether.
Medicare and Medicaid: The objection to these stunningly popular and useful programs is similar to the objections against Social Security but the attack against them is far more insidious. Instead of dismantling the entire program the goal is vouchers. But why vouchers? The GOP seems to be quite taken with them. They want them for Medicare, Medicaid and schools. This is a clear sign of Dominionist influence on the GOP because vouchers are an end run around the Establishment clause of the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause forbids government money to be used to by an organization to evangelize as part of the disbursement of those funds. In other words, if you take government money to feed the hungry, you cannot promote your religion while doing so. Also, under no circumstances, can you withhold services based on your religious beliefs. So if the Westboro Baptist Church took government money to shelter the homeless, they could not turn away a homosexual. Vouchers, on the other hand, eliminate this prickly proselytization problem. The legal argument goes like this: Since the money is not coming directly from the government, all bets are off. By giving the voucher to the “consumer,” the choice of where to spend that money is solely up to them. The Establishment Clause does not apply. In this scenario, a church can turn away any “undesirables” while still providing services. In addition, they can also pressure the sick, the elderly and the desperate to embrace their particular worldview. These groups are already susceptible to manipulation and vouchers leave them all the more vulnerable to the depredations of Dominionists. School vouchers are even more easily abused as the schools will be free to teach Creationism and the Christian Dominionist worldview. Your tax dollars ALREADY get abused this way illegally as many schools corrupt the regular curriculum with religion until someone reports it. Imagine how widespread it would be if it was legal to teach our children that the world is only 6000 years old?
Grants work the same way. The government gives money to an umbrella organization, say, the Salvation Army, (a group that will no longer employee homosexuals) due to their “charity” work, and the organization disperses the money to smaller groups. Those groups are now free of the Establishment Clause to push their religious agenda, all the while using tax payer dollars. When you hear the word “voucher” or “grant” in any discussion of entitlements or schools, what you are really witnessing is the Religious Right attempting to bypass the Constitution. If you take away one thing from this article, let it be that.
But the Dominionists’ agenda goes far beyond just undermining the social safety net or subverting it for their own purposes. Dominionists are hard at work undermining the very concept of America as a democracy.
Tax cuts & deregulation: Totalitarian regimes exist with an extreme concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a very select few. Christian Dominionism is no different. To the Dominionist, there can be no such thing as democracy. The masses cannot be allowed self-rule; only those “chosen” by God (i.e., the Aristocracy) are worthy enough to divine “His” intent. And exactly what is “His” intent? Why, that the rich should get richer, of course! “God” hates taxes on the wealthy and massive corporations. This is why Big Business so readily gets into bed with Dominionists. They are very aware of the desire of Dominionism to concentrate all the wealth and power of the United States at the top of the economic food chain. In the schizophrenic world of the Dominionist, pollution is no big deal and natural resources are self-replenishing, even oil. Any toxins leaked into the environment are no difficulty to the faithful because “God” smiles upon those engines of enterprise, corporations. Therefore, government regulation is not just unnecessary; it’s against the will of “God.” Of course, the fact that deregulation only benefits an extremely small group of people while causing untold misery for the rest is just a coincidence and is probably punishment for our blasphemous ways. When you hear a religious leader proclaiming that the government is seeking to punish others through taxes and regulation, that’s a Dominionist speaking.
Have you ever wondered why it is that Republicans, who seem to utterly despise the Government, seek to be in charge of it by any immoral, unethical and borderline illegal means necessary? Have you noticed how, when they ARE in charge, they do everything they claim to be against? Run up deficits. Explode the national debt. Massively expand government. And then complain about all of those things when a Democrat takes the White house? There’s a very clear pattern of deliberate sabotage of the country by the Right. Part of it is simple cronyism. When your political philosophy is “less regulation” you do not put an unfriendly expert in charge of the regulatory agency of a particular industry, you put in an industry friend who will do what you want; Specifically, not regulate. Later, when the corruption is exposed and the damage is done, for instance, FEMA leaving thousands stranded for days in a football stadium after a hurricane, you can point to the utter failure and proudly state that “Government IS the problem!”
This is, essentially, the same tactic used against public schools. Break the system, use the resulting failure as proof that the system doesn’t work, rinse, repeat until you can privatize everything. Part of it may be cronyism, but the main part objective is to tarnish the concept “of the people, by the people, for the people.” When the Right is in control of the country they do everything they can to make the government look bad. When they’re in the minority, the chant of “Government is bad” is nonstop. No expense is spared, no boundary is left uncrossed, no taboo is considered too great in their quest to convince the populace that their Government is the worst thing to ever happen to them. But what’s the endgame? For a Dominionist, the goal is not to eradicate Government outright but to first subvert it and infect it with religious extremism. As the rot of extremism permeates and becomes the norm, it will become easier and easier to erect the Theocracy that is the ultimate goal. When you hear a politician demand a smaller government and more “freedom” while simultaneously demanding that the government legislate who you can marry, what kind of sex you can have, who you can have sex with and what kinds of services your doctor can offer, they are not describing “freedom” as you and I understand it. They are describing “freedom” from sin and vice, or, in other words, the “freedom” to not be tempted by supposedly immoral behavior by making that behavior illegal. The louder the call for “freedom” while the greater the demand that restrictions be placed on your personal life, the clearer it is that a Dominionist is speaking.
The final aspect of Dominionist behavior that we will be taking a look at is the misogyny inherent in the movement. It’s never been more apparent that the Religious Right has some serious issues with women. The Religious Right is attacking Planned Parenthood, which provides affordable health care to millions of women across the country. They consistently blame the victim in cases of rape (although this is not strictly a Right Wing phenomena, they are the most vocal about it). They have started to speak, openly, about how women should not be allowed to vote because they are “too emotional”. This is 1950’s code for “too stupid.” The Religious Right wants to ban all contraception, taking away all reproductive options for women. Including the pill. Some have even gone so far as to enact laws that would place women that miscarry under criminal suspicion unless they can prove it was a natural occurrence. Women are already being held against their will if they so much as hint that they want to terminate a pregnancy. The flood of anti-woman sentiment that has spilled across the country is unprecedented in my life time. It also makes no sense unless you look at it from a religious angle. Women have proven themselves just as capable as men in the workplace, in politics, in the military and in the classroom. Despite the setbacks of Paris Hilton and the Kardashians, women have easily earned a seat at the table and have made no small contribution to the country. Yet they are under attack. Why? It’s about control. Dominionism is always about control and in Extremist Chistianity, just as in Extremist Islam, the woman MUST submit to the man. It’s the “natural order” of things. A woman must dress modestly. A woman must defer to a man’s judgment. A woman should remain in the home, raising the children. To do otherwise is to challenge the male-dominated establishment.
Partly, the need to exert authority over women stems from the overwhelming insecurities of the Dominionist movement. Remember, the entire movement is built on the concept that they are under attack from all sides by enemies who would destroy them in a heartbeat. The role they have cast for themselves is one of perpetual victimhood and powerlessness. This is not a sustainable role for a man to be in that is engulfed by the machismo paradigm[i]. You know what I’m talking about: I am a man! Master of my castle! I wear the pants in my family! I am the provider! Grrrr! Arrrggg! Blah, blah, blah. How could such a walking stereotype NOT be threatened by a strong woman? Or even a mildly assertive one? And so, these manly men of the Christian Dominionist movement lord over (pun much intended) “their” women and try to reduce them to the cardboard cutout that was June Cleaver. To this end, women are denied reproductive rights wherever and whenever possible under the guise of “protecting the unborn.” Somehow, though, all contraceptives are evil in the eyes of the Dominionist, even the ones that prevent fertilization, thus, exposing the lie of their opposition. A woman that has control over when she gets pregnant is free to live her life as she pleases. Unthinkable to the extremist. Says Janice Crouse, of the anti-choice Concerned Women for America:
“…Radical feminists accurately see abortion as a woman’s ultimate weapon in the battle to escape the control of men. The issue is of power, of having the power to call the shots. With abortion as an option, a woman can escape pregnancy...” (emphasis mine)
Could that be any more clear? When you hear a politician rail against abortion mills and the decay of morals among women, you’re hearing a Dominionist tell you that a woman must be put in her place.
If this series of articles has done anything for you, it should have helped you understand just what it is that is going on in this country and why. There IS a method to the madness of the GOP. It is not just conservative politics that are driving us to ruin, but a concerted effort from a group of deeply disturbed fanatics. Will they succeed in instituting Biblical law? Of course not, but they will do incalculable damage in the meantime. They will squander billions of dollars in tax payer money and resources and ruin the lives of millions with their radical agenda. For that alone, they need to be understood and stopped.
Edited by Sherri Yarbrough