Religious Authoritarianism III: Dominionism and the Second Coming

“When Jesus Comes Back, He’ll Be Carrying An AR-15 Assault Rifle.”

– Lt. General William “Jerry” Boykin


Data from 2005 showed that over 33 per cent of religious adherents of the world are practicing Christians, followed by Islam at 20 per cent and Hinduism at 13 per cent. That’s a sizable chunk of the planet’s population. Roughly 4.5 million Americans consider themselves Christian and within those mostly law-abiding and benevolent citizens there lies a growing problem. [1]

2012 saw a veritable hysteria of Christian fundamentalists, Jewish Messianics, and Islamists busy gnashing their teeth, wagging fingers and generally frothing at the mouth from various pulpits and podiums that we were all hopelessly lost in decadence and destined for a fiery descent into their respective cultural hells. Now that 2012 has come and gone it seems the anticipation on the part of the religious right has ascended to stratospheric levels. Ordinarily, we can switch channels, avoid barmy internet forums and simply walk on by as the righteous attempt to save our souls with yet another gaudy pamphlet proclaiming a Second Coming.

But there’s a hitch.

Contemporary politics is presently infested with right-wing religious authoritarians (RWAs) determined to save themselves by arranging our collective entry into a large global conflagration. They are also busying themselves with fermenting as much carnage as possible in order to make sure that Christ returns for the Big Judgement. The “End Times” and rapture fever have become entrenched in the United States and they mean to do everything in their power to drag their Christ back from whatever mythical or spiritual reality he has been hiding.

That means creating the potential for World War III in line with biblical prophecy.

It seems the Christian duty has become a little different to Christ’s message of love and compassion. Rather, they have interpreted scripture to not only believe in the objective reality of these End Times of tribulation but to actively have a hand in creating it. And if that isn’t doing the “devil’s work” then I don’t know what is.

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© unknown

Fundamentalism or the Christian brand of Religious fanaticism made its presence known in the 19 Century and quickly combined with Millennialism and End Times prophecy to create a formidable belief system whereby fear and authority can exert significant control over the mass mind. Charismatic spellbinders usually take on the task of corralling individuals and playing the father figure to those in need of “punishment” and rigorous discipline to ensure the obedient sit at God’s side. If you think it sounds sado-masochistic then you’d be right: the role of domination and submission is rather similar. The Evangelical priests on TV and Church are roaring at his flock about how terminally wicked they are while the flock in return offers up pots of money in the acceptance of the spiritual “bribe” so that they can to continue to cleanse the world of sin and thus make room for more souls. This is probably why so many priests and preachers – especially on the right wing Republican side – have been caught with their pants down, in the most literal sense.

There are several groupings clamouring to be heard as the true word of God. British Dispensationalism was one of the most influential in its sales pitch of judgement day and “End Times” rhetoric. Revelation was revealed in stages or “Dispensations” each of which characterised a period of tribulation and all-round mayhem for those who had strayed from the path of righteousness. Which meant that anything that was not in the Bible was the Devil’s work and those not part of the in-crowd of believers were automatically Satan’s groupies. According to the Book of Revelations the final battle of Armageddon would see the return of Christ descending gently to earth surrounded by a host of angels, bent on saving dutiful Christians and ready to preside over a New Spiritual Order. This could only take place when humanity had been suitably culled so that only the righteous are left to experience the waiting Eden of milk and honey.

Underpinning these visions was the doctrine of inerrancy on the part of the Bible which, as it was the word of God, was therefore beyond error. The fact that human beings were fallible and remain so didn’t seem to feature. As we have discussed, reason plays no part at all in fundamentalism only insofar it can be useful in reaffirming belief and the avoidance of uncomfortable facts. Rather like Zionism which uses the meme of anti-Semitism to avoid criticism, so too the fundamentalists see the Bible as synonymous with God and thus beyond critical analysis or reproach. Thus an empty mind instead of an open mind is mandatory. Similarly, the Catholic Church and the Vatican acting as the All-Seeing Eye of redemption offers its own brand of millennialism, dispensing Papal edicts and declarations as a download from God and therefore beyond contention. Those who do not agree with the magisterium are condemned to a fiery hell by God’s unending compassion.[2]

By the start of the twentieth Century these beliefs had evolved into a broader synthesis of dogma which meant that all the Biblical accounts, the Virgin Birth; feeding of the five thousand, the creation of the earth in Genesis, the bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ etc., were not allegorical or elaborate teaching myths – they were literal truths. The development of what came to be known as Creationism in the 1920s was in direct response to the wildly popular theories of Darwinism which caused a major revival in evangelical preaching and “reaching out” to save souls from Satan’s encroachment.

The End Times (or the Eschaton) describes a period of conflict and global war leading to a redemptive transformation (usually for a select group) which is prophesied in most major religions. For Jews, the End times or “End of Days” refers to a Messianic Age, where the exiled Jewish diaspora will be gathered in to the promised land of Israel to reclaim their spiritual birth right. Under the coming of the Mashiach, olam haba, a resurrection of the Tsadikim or “righteousness” will take place.  Christianity’s take is much the same, with added ingredients of the Anti-Christ emerging just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and his gathering in the righteous faithful during the Great Tribulation. [3] Islamist belief concurs and describes its own version of a “Christ” or the al-Mahdi who will preside over the Day of Judgement or Yawm al-Qiyāmah; to vanquish the Masih ad-Dajjall (Anti-Christ) and send the faithful into paradise.

Christian fundamentalism, along with ultra-orthodox Judaism, is in danger of comprehensively wresting control of the United States military and political processes. Christian Reconstructionism advocates a Calvinist, right-wing, capitalist belief, laden with theocratic overtones. This movement has helped to introduce the concept of “Dominionism” which demands activism within civic society but most importantly, the domination of the political process as mandated by God. it is a belief that characterises Protestant Christian Evangelicals and Right-wing Fundamentalists in the United States and is best summarised by a passage from the Bible, Genesis 1:26:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (King James Version). And further: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” (New International Version).

While most of us would interpret this to mean that Christians can choose to live as benign helpers and caretakers of the animal kingdom as well as humanity, the authoritarian personality will read this to mean that they should dominate and control secular institutions in order to suitably prepare the ground for Christ’s return – getting a huge kick out of it in the process. [4]

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The Dominionist’s Version of Peace on Earth

While Dominionists all believe that straying from the literal word of the Bible has meant the rise of immorality and sin best expressed by liberalism of any kind, the real threat within dominionism comes from the hardliners and Social Dominators (psychopaths) who see theocracy as the only way forward. And that means authoritarianism leading to totalitarianism under the name of God which just about characterises every genocide, atrocity and military conquest of the last two thousand years. But because authoritarians have no capacity to understand the relevance of history these basic flaws in their theocratic wet dreams are quickly brushed under the carpet of the sub-conscious. What remains is the constant anticipation of a black and white, dangerously simplistic framework of good and evil. Again, Bush’s “If you’re not with us you’re with the terrorists” drivel was particularly delicious for the Dominionists. Hence, when you read Dominionist literature one may understand why Social Dominators are immediately attracted to the concept as it resonates with their perception of reality, whether they are in the military, preaching from a pulpit or strutting around Congress: the theme of domination – to carve out their own spiritual dominion – is at the core of their actions.

Dominionism easily aligns with the beliefs of Social Darwinism (eugenics) which is why it is so useful to the Conservative Establishment. Such beliefs indicates the amount of inversion which has occurred within fundamentalist Christianity and how it veers towards the ultimate and tragic irony of being more akin to Satanism than any compassionate and inclusive doctrine. That has to be the greatest irony to beat them all, yet it is precisely this kind of deception that the Bible warns about, where the “very elect” will be deceived.

Journalist Katherine Yurica describes it in much the same way. Like the old Levitical priests of Babylon, the Dominionists assign great importance to wealth and power as a sign of God’s blessing.

She notes:

“… out of the masses of people and the multitude of nations – wealth, in and of itself, is thought to indicate God’s approval on men and nations whereas poverty and sickness reflect God’s disapproval. The roots of the idea come from a natural twist of an Old Testament passage, … Essentially there were two elements necessary to establish Dominionism among Christians who previously believed helping the poor was a mandate of Christianity.

First, Old Testament law had to be accepted as an essential part of a Christian’s theology.

Secondly, the Christian had to undergo a second conversion-like experience that went beyond being born again and demanded not only a commitment to reestablishing the Old Testament legal structure but required the implementation of that law in the nations of the world (including the U.S.) based upon a different understanding of the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20).[50] Under this concept Dominionists are to go into all the world to take dominion and ‘make disciples’ teaching the disciples to ‘observe all’ that Jesus ‘commanded.’ All nations under Dominionist’s teaching are to convert to biblical laws, which are ranked superior to secular laws that were not God given or God directed and are found wanting. The Christian therefore must be willing to overthrow all laws that are secular. In other words, a measure of one’s spirituality rested upon the individual’s willingness to accept the concept of taking dominion over not only the people of America, but taking dominion over the people of the entire world.” [5]

And this leads to yet another reprise for Pathocracy where the religious “elect” preside over mere mortals inadequate to the task of transposing God’s Kingdom on earth. As Yurica reminds us: “A Christian who raises his voice against the ‘elect’ could be labeled a ‘false prophet or a dreamer of dreams,’ and therefore, according to the Deuteronomic law ‘shall be put to death.’ ”

This belief in a sort of Divine blessing to wipe out undesirables is the stuff of authoritarian ecstasy and the basis upon which many serious abuses of power are now taking place in the United States. And if you happen to be in the US military then be prepared to be inaugurated into a New Christian Crusade against America’s enemies, which of course, means all Muslims, which are all te’rusts and heathens, so too anyone who claims otherwise …

Former Air Force Judge Advocate General Mikey Weinstein believes there is a Fundamentalist Christian tsunami sweeping through the US military.  He is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organisation set up to offer support for victims of fundamentalist Christians within the military, seeking to defend against their influence in the Federal Courts and the news media. According to Weinstein, there are four main types of fundamentalist Christians currently making a bad situation much worse:

“The first is virulent anti-Semitism and virulent Islamaphobia. Then you’ve got virulent misogyny, the belief that women should be consigned to preparing food, selecting food, serving food, cleaning up after a meals, spreading their legs, getting pregnant. That’s pretty much it. Then there’s this virulent homophobia. And then, last is a great desire to subordinate what they view as flawed man’s law to this pristine, weaponized gospel of Jesus Christ that they propagate.” [6]

The West’s Middle Eastern Gladio creation that is ISIS has served to stimulate the resurgence of fundamentalism still further. One such example from many jumping on the New Crusade came from U.S. Air Force Colonel Mark H. Slocum, the Commander of Seymour Johnson AFB’s 4th Fighter Wing, who, according to Weinstein, was: “… busy marshaling his officers, enlisted troops and AF civilians stationed at the North Carolina F-15 fighter base to fight the good fight … against ISIS, under the banner of his “Lord’s” heaven.” Soldiers were either none too pleased or whipped up into a bloodlust to rival ISIS itself. If you care to visit Weinstein website you will find many other examples.

In the same vain you have influential individuals like Former Lt. General Boykin who shouldn’t be let anywhere near a blunt object let alone a whole army. A passionate advocate of Dominionism, he advocated a “weaponised gospel of Jesus Christ” with a decidedly aggressive form of attack to be levelled against the non-Christian world with the Second Coming of Jesus delivering the seal of approval for such blood-letting. Such thinking is essentially a form of religious fascism and its taking the Us military by storm.

boykin

Christian Dominionist and former Lt. General Boykin: Dominionist General Preaches: “Weaponized Gospel of Jesus Christ”  A classic Double High or just your garden variety Religious Authoritarian? (wikipedia, public domain)

James D. Parco PhD. writing for Center for Inquiry (CFI) Office of Public Inquiry Washington D.C., wrote a 2013 paper titled:  ‘For God and Country’ introducing some disturbing conclusions regarding the Christian Evangelisation of the U.S. military.

These key findings included:

  • Institutional support for fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity in the military has spread and entrenched since September 11, 2001, beginning in haste during the Bush administration and remaining unchallenged by the Obama administration.

  • Many of the military’s civilian overseers, along with many in the military’s commissioned leadership—to include flag officers, speaking on duty and in uniform—have repeatedly couched the American military’s civic and global role, and American military operations themselves, in the language of Christian religious crusades.

  • Through explicit leadership messaging, senior officers have created cultures and atmospheres of religious sectarianism in their commands and institutions, including the various service academies, even instructing subordinates to partake in actions for the express purpose of Christian evangelizing and proselytizing.

  • Officers who raise concerns about fundamentalist Christian proselytizing … when not ignored completely—have facedreassignment and other punitive actions.

  • Air Force training programs for Nuclear Missile Launch Officers featured Christian ethical justifications for the use of nuclear weapons and quotes from historical figures lauding morality guided specifically by the Bible.

  • To gauge the mental health of Soldiers, the U.S. Army developed and has relied upon a “Spiritual Fitness” evaluation system that leans heavily on theistic religious concepts, and marks as “spiritually” deficient any non-religious or religiously unorthodox Soldier who answers honestly.

  • Fundamentalist evangelical Christian organizations are given preferential access to numerous military installations, including the Pentagon and the various service academies, and have had their activities sanctioned and even promoted—in uniform and on duty—by religiously aligned military leadership.

  • Fundamentalist evangelical Christian organizations have attempted to use the deployed U.S. military as international missionaries, providing units in Afghanistan with Bibles printed in the native Pashto and Dari languages, the distribution of which is in direct violation of standing general orders.

If that doesn’t send chills down the spine I don’t know what would.  In the next post we will dig a little deeper behind the attraction to so many to Fundamentalism and why it has risen to the top of the present American brand of ponerology.

 


Notes

[1] World Religious Adherents data 2005, http://www.wikipedia.com
[2] p.328; Faith, Religion & Theology: A Contemporary Introduction By Brennan Hill, Paul F. Knitter, William Madges. Published by Twenty-Third Publications, 1997. “Catholic fundamentalists, like Protestant fundamentalists, stress the need for an absolute external authority to guid the thinking and decision making of the individual. They do so because of the sinfulness of the human person. Left to his or her own devices, the individual, they feel, will generally make bad judgements. Consequently, individual freedom must be directed by the right authority. In the case of Catholic fundamentlaism, this means literal adherance fully to past tradition, or who have difficulty assenting to every official statement of the hierarchial magisterium, are judged harshly. Such sinners, say fundamentalists, are condemned by God.”
[3] “The Great Tribulation (Greek: θλιψις μεγαλη, thlipsis megalē) refers to tumultuous events that are described during the ‘signs of the times’, first mentioned by Jesus in the Olivet discourse. The Great Tribulation is also referenced in the Book of Revelation.” (Wikipedia)
[4] For more information on Dominionism and its relationship to Christian Reconstructivism please read the excellent Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right By Sara Diamond. Published by Black Rose Books, 1993 | ISBN-10: 0921689640.

[5] ‘The Dominionism Apostasy: The Despoiling of America by Christianity turned Evil’ By Katherine Yurica, The Yurica Report, 11 Feb 2004.

[6] “The Weaponized Gospel of Jesus Christ”: Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation on fascists in the US military, By Nick Holt, January 18, 2010. |http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/press-releases/2010/tgr_weaponized.html

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